I spent the first week of my trip to Italy with a German campmate at the home of a kind and welcoming family in Prato. During this time, I got to see the joys of everyday Italian life.
Most of our time was spent sightseeing and eating, as we had home-cooked Italian food waiting for us at the table in the afternoons and evenings. We participated as much as possible in the daily activities and made the most of every day to explore northern Italy.
Thanks to the family's Lions connections, we were able to meet one of the camp leaders before the train ride to the camp, and on departure day he helped us get to the train station and, of course, accompanied us.
On the way to Naples, we were able to meet and mingle with the other campers on the train. When we arrived in Naples, a bus was waiting for us with the camp directors and other camp leaders, with whom we arrived at our accommodation a little later. Here we spent the next week. At the hostel we met the other campers and settled into our 3-4 person rooms. During the days, we had several lunches and dinners at the hotel, as well as a day or two of ice-breaking games and Lions orientation programs in an open space. The days were packed full of activities and things to do, and often our conversations stretched into the evening. There was even a flag ceremony at a local Lions club member's villa to coincide with the Naples camp, where everyone was able to showcase their country of origin.
After a week, we set off on the 11-hour bus journey to Sicily. By the time we got there it was getting dark, once settled into our beautiful villa the staff were waiting for us with a traditional dinner.
The next day the begun. Due to the heat of the island and thanks to the villa's pool, we had a couple of days where we could spend the morning swimming and relaxing. However, the rest of the day was always full of fun, often staying in a town until the evening and having dinner there, unlike other days when a local Lions club would "treat" us to dinner delivered to the accommodation. The list of cities visited included Syracuse, Taormina, Catania and many other breathtaking places. There was also beaching and cruising, as well as a second flag ceremony in a hotel on the last few days, where we thanked a roomful of people for the opportunity to travel and experience. During the days we were lucky enough to meet a local camp, made up only of disabled and mentally handicapped people and their helpers (family members), and have ice cream together.
In the last days we held the "country presentations" where everyone who was there presented their country and shared interesting facts and history with the others, along with a couple of home-made treats. This was also the time for the cooking competition, where we tasted the countries' home-cooked dishes for dinner. To everyone's surprise, four of the countries prepared pancakes in their own special way. The competition ended with the announcement of the results, decided by one of the camp directors. The prize was a camp sweater, of which I was the lucky winner.
On the last night, we had our usual dinner under the stars. But it was not just any party, as it was a farewell party. Everyone dressed up and got ready to celebrate together one last time. The evening was filled with memories, karaoke and dessert.
The next day we left in groups for the nearby airport after a sad goodbye, we and couldn't even part at the gates.
All in all, I had the experience of a lifetime in the company of wonderful people and in incredible places. This experience introduced me to myself and to people around the world, and brought me closer to understanding the work and role of Lions. It all would have been impossible without the Lions members from Italy and from my country, especially my camp directors Stefania and Gabriele. And the best camp leaders, Gaia, Giuseppe, Giancarlo and Valeria, could not be left out as they have been a worthy part of the new generation of Lions who have astonishingly taken part in the leadership of the camp.
Babarczi Borbála, Hungary
Beszámolók éves bontásban
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Lions szövetség eseményeiÉvközi Konvenció
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