GYA:Nima Dorji from Buli Middle Secondary School in Zhemgang didn’t look forward to come to Thimphu when he was selected to participate in the 8th Golden Youth Award (GYA) camp.
It was his first time venturing into the capital city and he was worried about spending six nights in a hostel with strangers. On the first night, everyone was silent, just looked at each other and smiled, he said. A participant from Lungtenzampa MSS first talked to Nima Dorji and instantly became his friend, the first at the camp.
“Now everyone here is my friend and I like being with them,” said Nima Dorji with a big smile.
Phub Lham, 17, from Drujegang Higher Secondary School in Dagana too dreaded the feeling of being with strangers. Now she yearns to be here longer. “I would like to spend more time with my new friends,” said Phub Lham.
Like Nima Dorji and Phub Lham, most of the participants were anxious about attending the camp initially. But with time, they became friends and now enjoy each other’s company.
Yeshi Yuden from Norbuling MSS in Sarpang had the same feeling about coming to Thimphu like many others but her dream to be in the Golden Youth Award Camp was much bigger and mattered the most to her.
She knew about the camp through the media and from her seniors who had participated in the camp, which motivated her to work hard and earn an opportunity to be a participant.
“Everyone here is equally talented and the competition is tough but I am trying my best,” said Yeshi Yuden feeling determined.
To most of the participants, the learning experience they get from the camp matters more than winning the award.
Passang Dorji from Gongzim Ugyen Dorji HSS in Haa said that winning the award would make some changes in his life but whatever he learns from the camp like the training in leadership activities and programmes would make a big difference.
Every year about 80 class 10 students gather in the capital during the summer break to compete for the golden youth title of the year. After an initial selection in the dzongkhag, four participants from each dzongkhag attend the camp. The camp ends on July10.
The award would be given to the youth for outstanding achievement not only in academics but also in categories such as literary, general knowledge, talent, sports, culture, leadership and social services. The Golden Youth Award winner receives scholarships under the Bhutan Youth Development Fund (YDF).
YDF has provided seven scholarships to the winners till now. The winners are sent abroad for higher studies in places like Canada and Netherlands.
The event was initiated in 2005 to commemorate the 50th birth anniversary of His Majesty The Fourth Druk Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuck. The first GYA camp was organised by YDF in 2008.
By Dechen Tshomo