With MYC over and everyone still a bit sad that it ended, I decided to ask everyone if they had any advice for future applicants and campers. If you're reading this and hoping to apply, you're probably a dedicated individual, and we really want you to be able to have an amazing experience like we did this year. I didn't get too many responses to my tip request, but here are my own tips plus what I got from others. All of the ones without a name are me. 


  •  In all stages of application, be natural. Write in a simple, concrete way. Communicate your ideas coherently. In the interview, just remember what your second stage project is about. - Francisco M.
  • For the first round application, reflect on what events have really contributed to your scientific/mathematical growth and what events/awards have really demonstrated your ability. Those will probably be good things to mention in your application.
  • Don't procrastinate on the second round application; put time aside, even if it means taking time away from other  activities. You're in the top 20, so you have a good chance at making it into the camp if you do well.
  • Be yourself. This is very related to what Francisco said. 
  • If they offer an interview, take it regardless of other conflicts. - Akila P.
  •  Don't be late for the interview! Not even a minute. Prepare for it by re-reading your project and what you wrote down when you first applied. - Daniel R.
  • Definitely show you enthusiasm and stay yourself. Those are not business interviews, and it works best if you are relaxed, excited and informed (about your work in the second stage) at the same time. - Oliver M. 
Getting Accepted:
  • Feel free to freak out and jump up and down if you get accepted.
  • If you aren't accepted, it's OK! If you will still be within the age limit next year, try again - you might just make it! There will be many other wonderful opportunities out there.
  • Get to know your new MYC friends as soon as possible! Take advantage of social media and the camp's Edmodo group.
  • Get to work on your project! It can be easy to kind of forget about it in the rush of school and all, but the more you do before the camp, the better!
  • Think about your International Evening presentation BEFORE CAMP. So you don't end up doing it a dinner right before International Evening. 
  • HAVE FUN! MYC is an amazing experience!
I'd like to end with a very general and very good piece of advice from Anastasija S.:
Just work hard and put effort in what you're doing, because it really pays off in the end (and this applies not only to science programs).
I hope this helps!

Overall, this camp exceeded my expectations. It was some of the most amazing days of my life. I think the best part of the camp was really the people you met and what you did with them. The friends I've made at this camp were terrific and the staff itself were also terrific. We got to meet representatives from companies, experts in our group fields, the first female president of Finland, teenagers from all around the world, and other amazing people.

During this camp I've:
-chased ducks 

-used AutoGis software,
- played in a moonbounce like a kid,
- tried and failed to roll my Rs, 
-hung out with amazing people, 
-went on a ferry ride,
-Tried a Finnish Sauna (its amazing)
- ran around the University of Helsinki (Amazing Science Race), 
-constructed a raft
-Tried and spat out the Finnish "candy" salmiaki
-Sat around at a camp fire
-Co-Presented the Urban Planning proposal
-Drunk obscene amounts of coffee
-Met with amazing experts
-Ran around Helsinki and tried out their trams and their metro stations (much cleaner than here in DC)
-Danced, flirted, and laughed 
-Taken too many pictures
-Dreaded leaving Finland
-So much more...

 If anyone is following or reading this blog and would like even more information, feel free to email me, Akila Prayaga, or just comment on any of the blog posts, and we'll be sure to reply back! This camp truly was amazing. Not only has it made me more interested in being a guide next year so I can come back, it has also made me more interested in Finland and studying here in this country. It's absolutely lovely. 


I set up a group photobucket account which you can check out over here: PhotoBucket

Other campers also documented their experience, and you can check out their Flickr pages over here:
Francisco's Flickr
Eidman's Flickr

Other Blogs
Check out some of the camper's own blog posts about the camp over here:

Anna's Blog Post
Bokyong's Blog Post

Thank you so much for this experience, Millennium Youth Camp. It's been one of the best in my life.

-Akila Prayaga

Hey everyone,
As some of you may know if you have researched the camp, Millennium Youth Camp has some official media outlets. We had a fantastic media team as a part of our MYC family during the camp, and you should really check out what they have done. Here are some links:

MyScience - A publication of the University of Helsinki that posts on science topics for youth and also covers the camp with blog posts and videos.

LUMA Center Finland on Flickr - Amazing photos from the camp on the Flickr page for one of the camp sponsors.

MYC Facebook Page - Keep up with Millennium Youth Camp on Facebook! Also includes some pictures from the camp.

I decided to break my tradition of writing nightly about the day's events to hang out with everyone before leaving. I mean, only a limited time to see them and such a long time on a plane with not much better to do than write...

Yesterday was Helsinki Day, which I had been looking forward to since getting the schedule. Because who doesn't want to get to see a really awesome city?

In the morning, we boarded the buses and took off. Once we arrived, we had a wonderful tour inside the bus that allowed us to at least get a glimpse at most of the major landmarks of the city. That includes THE SIBELIUS MONUMENT!!! (For anyone who doesn't know, he's a famous composer. Go listen to Finlandia.) Then, we had a short amount of time to sight-see with our groups. We got to check out another part of the University of Helsinki and some of the nice parks and statues.

Lots of water, lots of trees. I like it.

Next, everyone took a short ferry ride to Suomenlinna. It's an island (actually multiple islands), which probably doesn't tell you much since Finland has a lot of islands. Only a ten minute ferry ride away, it's a picturesque island with an old fortress on it. Rather than just sight-see, we did an Amazing Race around the island. Yep, another race. Groups raced to complete various tasks that took them by major sites on the island such as the church. While my team did not win, we really enjoyed it. Plus, there was a little rain!

Playing soccer after finishing the race.

After a short lunch, we returned to Helsinki and had time to do a little more in the city. Team Applied Mathematics joined forces with Urban Planning and bought souvenirs, went to a grocery store to get some food (where food = candy), and just walked around the city.

If you ask me, the weather was nice and the scenery was absolutely wonderful. There was no way we could have covered all of Helsinki in such a short amount of time, but I'm glad we at least got a glance at everything.

After returning, there was a Closing Ceremony * cue sadness *. Everyone received some formal awards, some nice pictures, and some nice informal gifts from their group guides. The guides made nice speeches for their groups, and it made many people teary-eyed. How sad that everything is ending! The group work over, the guides no longer our daily companions! There was a camper speech done by Sruthi and Zhilin, which was great as well. I could give more details about the whole thing, but I don't want to ruin the surprises for future campers.

Campers and Guides hanging out. I actually don't know when this was taken, but I don't have pictures of the closing ceremony yet and I needed something to put here.

Afterwards, the formal schedule of the camp was over and the "after party" began! Everyone had lots of fun, said lots of goodbyes, and gave lots of hugs. Some people, particularly those with early flights (myself included), pulled an all-nighter.

Special thanks to everyone who was a part of this camp - campers, guides, organizers, media team, behind-the-scenes people, and so on. I won't mention names here, but these people know who they are. Our amazing experience would not have been possible without all of these wonderful people.

The big day! Still half asleep after staying up late the previous night, campers go to the 8:00 breakfast. Many drink coffee, perhaps to wake them up. Guides are wandering the halls trying to find campers who are still sleeping to wake them up.

Then, at 9:00 everyone gathers in the conference room. We learn a little about Stuart Parkin, winner of the 2014 Millennium Technology Prize, and hear about the fancy gala they had to award the prize since some people at the camp were there.

Okay enough of this present tense thing. After that we had free time. Some groups had to use it to prepare for the presentation, but most (including mine) were done. Guides offered activities from singing to frisbee for the morning. I went on a great walk in the forest around the hotel grounds and got to learn a little about the flours and plants. Then, I did some singing with another small group of people.

So then lunch, then a little free time, then preparation for the Gala. the MYC Gala is the culmunation of all of the project work from the past two months. Every group gives a brief presentation to an audience, then people walk around to groups' posters and talk to them more.

Everyone got all dressed up, and we went to take group pictures in front of the manor (to be fancy, of course). Everyone was taking pictures with each other and it was great even for people who aren't to big on pictures. After that, ot was off on the bus. It was somewhat amusing to see all of these people dressed in suits and dresses having juice boxes and sack lunches on the way to Helsinki, where the event was held.

Anna, Akila, Polina, and Ege. Many campers took selfies before leaving for the gala. Photo by Akila.

After a brief rehersal and break, the event began. All of the group experts came as well as others from TAF, LUMA, etc. There were even a few ambassadors. First there were a few opening speeches, then the groups each got their presentation time. First, the group expert(s) went up and spoke briefly about the group and their work, then the group came up and did their presentation (anout 3 min). Since they used alphabetical order, Team Applied Math had (got?) to go first.

Team Renewable Resources presents at the Gala. L-R: Bokyong, Lieven, Christian, Ramon, Neja, Iulia
\In the group, only 2-3 people,were supposed to present. For us, it was Matan and I. It was a success, I'd say, especially considering how many people visited our poster. After five groups, three talented campers played some music, and we finished all of the presentations. All of them were fantastic. Afterwords, there was food and time to talk about our projects with others and, or course, finally see the other groups' work. I ended up spending most of the time at our project talking, but it was fantastic. We took plenty of pictures with our experts and said goodbye. It was somewhat sad to say goodbye to two really wonderful and helpful people so soon. However, if was amazing to meet them in the first place. They're super cool.
Team Applied Mathematics at the Gala! L-R: Daniel, David, Jordan (me), Matan, Hrant. Photo Cred: LUMA Center.

So at last, the day came to a close. We got back to our hotel at almost 10:00. with all of our hard work done, we were rewarded with a dance party until 11:50 (normally we are supposed to be in our rooms by 11:00, so this was cool).

The whole thing was totally worth it - from applying to the pre-camp work to the 15+ hours of work during camp. The Gala was truly a celebration of all of that work, all of the things we have done in Finland, al, of the people we have met, and all of the friendships we have forged.

Thanks to all of the sponsors, mentors, camp staff, and everyone else who made MYC possible for us!

Trees. Trees everywhere.
Today was probably the most laid back day of Millennium Youth Camp. We finished up the projects with five or six work hours. Every group created a poster to present at the Gala tomorrow. And I mean the really cool posters that are done on PowerPoint and printed put on really large paper. I love designing those posters, but the combination of the format we wee using and the computers we had made it really tedious, as almost every time we tried to do something the entire text of the poster would just disappear. Finally, we managed to find a solution, and the poster looks great! 

Food Team working hard on their project. Photo Cred: Noora

The Applied Math group is often said to have the coolest project, but I think that's only because we have a whole board game to show off at the gala. We got the board printed out on large paper and glued it to some relatively nice cardboard (we even recycled in the making of the game! So true to the idea of the game). We also got the game pices printed, but something happend and they printed out way too large to be used with the board so we improvised (since we didn't have a color printer) and just used black and white pieces. I was unsure at first (we all were), but it all turned out really nice in the end. Daniel, with the help of one of our guides, Victor, made a program for randomizing the setup of the game (placement of the trash, etc.). It all came together without us having to skip out on other activities, which was nice. 
Also today were the jump pictures. Here, Team Materials Science jumps. Photo Credit: LUMA Center.

Tomorrow is the MYC 2014 Gala, where all of the groups get to present their projects to the whole camp as well as others. From what I heard, some ambassadors came last year. The whole thing begins with each group making a brief presentation, which we prepared today. I am one of my group's two speakers, whoch we actually decided a long time ago bu was really ultimately a given since the plan was to have one girl and one boy present in the group and I'm the only girl (the other couldn't come to camp). 
Camp Staff jump picture. Thanks to all of these amazing people for making this camp possible! Photo Credit: LUMA Center.
Besides group work, there was a presentation by a brainer (brain trainer, yes), Q&A with former campers studying in Finland (including both Applied Math guides), and sauna. Let me tell you, I was slightly skeptical of the whole sauna thing at first, but it was actually really great. Having left my room at 7:00, I didn't return until 9:30. Wrapped up the day with evening snack and some singing (including Counting Stars by OneRepublic!). 

It's hard to believe that only there are only two days left of camp. At the same time, it feels like we have been here longer than we have since we have been so busy. It will of course be sad to leave all of the wonderful people at camp and to leave this beautiful place. I'm sure all of us campers will stay in touch though, and it will be exciting to tell everyone back home about the whole experience. 

Wish us all luck at the Gala!

Finland is green.

Everything is green; trees and other plants are everywhere. Seriously, in the middle of the city there will just be something that looks like a forest. Not to mention all of the water. It seems like we are always passing by natural bodies of water on our drives. It's absolutely wonderful if you ask me.

Today the most relaxed camp day so far, we had plenty of opportunities to enjoy the Finnish nature. After the morning project work, we had a forest adventure at a very cool place called Seikkailulaakso. Ten times composed of both campers and staff competed against each other in five different outdoor challenges. For me, archery was the highlight, because I actually wasn't horrible (with some verbal advice), and bows are awesome. Since we were put into groups somewhat randomly, this event was a great way to get to know other campers and to work together on fun tasks.

Adventure awaits!
After dinner, we had something I have been looking forward to for whatever reason - the campfire! We played some nonsensical games (they were quite fun) and then began. There was (of course) singing, and then we were able to have food!

Campers enjoy the fire.
And it wasn't marshmallows (at first). We started with dough. Yes, dough. Campers wrapped long pieces of dough around (actual) sticks and positioned it carfully over the fire to cook...or bake I guess. It was seriously way better than marshmallows or even s'mores. When the marshmallows arrived, I didn't even bother. I will definitely be making dough for my next campfie back home.

Also this evening was the first sauna and swimming day. Half of the camp went today, and I was not part of that half, which was totally okay to me because it meant more fire time. While others were in the sauna, we also played a cool but hard Finnish game. I went on a walk around the hotel area (which, yes, is very forest-y) and took some pictures, but unfortunately was finally caught by the great Finnish menace...

Not where I walked to, but still in Finland.
...mosquitos. I had only been bitten once before today, but on that walk I got some large, itchy bites. Many campers have also been bitten a lot, many more than me. So future campers, be prepared. They show no mercy.

Finland has a great natural environment that is a sure bonus of MYC. It's a great week of fresh air and trees in addition to all of the other great things. Definitely a great place to spend summer.