A Mother’s heart warming account, on the fantastic experience of her child, Kavya, who just returned from a YAP (Young Ambassadors Programme – The Flagship Programme of 41 Clubs Of India) trip to North Europe.
“When Pankaj asked all the children to write about their experiences at the YAP trip before they fade away, I realised I too as a parent had learnt something from this experience!
I had heard about this YAP program many years back as a young Circler and somehow it got stuck somewhere in the recesses of my mind . When I heard of it again after a very interesting and nostalgic trip to Corbett with 41ers from all over India, I was quite sure in my mind that my child should experience similar camaraderie!
Frankly, convincing Kavya and my husband James wasn’t an easy job. Though Kavya has travelled extensively and had just done a solo backpacking trip to England and Scotland a few months back, she wasn’t really convinced on the merits of traveling with 12 complete strangers and staying with unknown people in their homes.
James had the usual fears every parent has about safety and the unknown and the fact that we had no control or idea about the itinerary or planning.
Call me foolishly trusting or ignorant, I was really excited for Kavya about the trip. I took a chance and applied on behalf of Kavya for the YAP trip to North Europe.
The concise and precise mails that followed and the selection process reassured James and me that everything was in excellent hands . Kavya was still sitting on the fence not entirely convinced! A very stressful and tough month of exams and submissions in college had her with no time to think of the trip till it was time to go!
Kavya left from Cochin on the 5 th of June for Helsinki not really sure of the places they were going to be in and who they were going to meet. Kavya was contacted by her host Jarkko a day before she was leaving . He seemed like a nice person .
Reaching Helsinki and then Hamina a small town a few hours later, I think changed Kavya! The six days in Hamina had my daughter calling me every day to say that she was so glad that she made this trip! I saw a kind of transformation I never imagined could take place in so little a time!
Jarkko and Sanna treated my child as their very own ! Both Jarkko and Sanna became so emotional when the kids left ! They now have their own “Jarkko family “group on WhatsApp that was formed so that they could ask for any help if required on the remainder of their trip. I still see lots of activity on that group!! The fact that the entire 41ers and their families travelled all the way to Helsinki to bid the group a goodbye speaks volumes!
The unconditional love, time, money and energy spent in giving the children unique and lasting experiences by all the 41ers and their children in Finland, Denmark and Germany is unparalleled and something money can’t buy . It just brought back a rush of memories from our Round Table days.
The friends Kavya has made I know are friends for life and every day at the dinner table the conversation somehow still veers to the small incidents and little adventures she had on her trip. Getting 20 year olds to talk about their friends and experiences is a tad difficult but here the experiences have been so amazing that she can’t help but tell us all!
In less than a month I have seen a more confident , outgoing and mature girl emerge.
Thank you 41 Clubs Of India’s YAP programme for reaffirming our faith in friendship!