What’s a PY? Ask anyone who has participated in the Ship for World Youth (SWY) Program, sponsored by the Government of Japan, and they will automatically respond, “participant youth”. At this very moment, over 100 SWY alumni are gathered in Peru participating in the seventh annual global assembly. Apart from official visits, they are also involved in a few humanitarian volunteer projects, and will wrap it up with an optional tour to Cusco & Machu Picchu.
I had the great fortune of being selected way back in 2003 to be one of the 12 individuals to represent the United States. During my SWY16 voyage, twelve countries were invited to participate by the Cabinet Office of Japan. Throughout the forty-three day voyage, there were group discussions, presentations, sport activities, and cultural learning activities. I belonged to “L” group, which had a mix of JPYs (Japanese PY) and one representative from each country, also known as OPYs (Other PY). At our port of calls, we visited landmarks and did all the planned activities with our group. As a result, we created many fond memories and developed great friendships.
In 2007, I attended the first global assembly in Greece. I was able to meet up with a few SWY16 ex-PYs, but also met so many other alumni and can say traveling to a distant country with others who are like-minded, but who also shared a common experience (of participating in the SWY program) can be very rewarding.
As they begin to wrap it up, I wish my fellow ex-PYs who are in Peru a safe and enriching global assembly. The memories you are creating will forever change your life journey, as now you have a fellow PY from another country that you can call a friend.