I’m writing this review just a month after my first IAYC. Every time I talk with one of my friends, I end up talking about this camp and I tell countless anecdotes. It’s surprising for them how I never get bored and also how I always find new stories! However, I still haven’t managed to explain properly what this camp is. I always feel like I could tell more, like they couldn’t catch the special vibe of this experience. Maybe this is because the only way to do it is to participate in it. You, dear reader, may wonder why I am writing this experience report then. Well, I’ll try to do it the same way I tell my friends.

In the exact moment you arrive in the camphouse you understand this is a unique experience: seeing all the oldies hugging each other so happily makes you suddenly realise this isn’t a camp like many others. It is clear that there’s a profound bound not only between the participants, but in the whole group, leaders included. The leaders are there to help you with your project or any other problem you may have throughout the three weeks. Something I found surprising during this first IAYC, is how much they actually care about every participant. All the parties and afternoon activities are so much fun that you may forget that this is actually an astronomical camp. In fact, people often ask me if I actually did something related to science. My answer is: hell yeah! The working group project is a great opportunity to learn something new and to work with other people, I greatly benefited from it. This experience taught me how to work together and overcome challenges together. The talks are another essential part of this camp. Both leaders and participants give talks about various topics, most of which related to science. You can understand then how much learning is important in IAYC.

I hope I managed to convey at least a glimpse of what this amazing first camp was. It’s incredible how, right away, I felt like a part of this family. I really hope I convinced you to be part of it too, next year.

By Francesco