Forty-eight young Chinese people from Hong Kong, Canada, Britain, the United States and Shanghai took part in a leadership course held at Breakthrough Youth Village last month. All participants were members of the International Chinese Youth Leadership Academy. The seven-day Leadership Academy 2000 programme had the theme 'Commit, connect, care and action'. The camp aimed to help young people face challenges, discover their inner selves and develop team spirit. It also aimed to show the young people how to connect with other Chinese youths from all over the world. The camp focused on interaction with the community. Participants were divided into six groups and visited six different places, including Fo Tan Cottage Area, Sha Tin Fishermen's New Village, Pai Tau Village, Ronald McDonald House, Kwong Yuen Estate and Tai Wai New Village. The students interviewed residents and used a video camera to record what they saw. The aim of the exercise was to better understand the people they met and their way of life. It also helped develop a good team spirit among the group members and improved their communication and presentation skills. Cream Wong Wing-hang and Eugene Tang Chi-kin, both 20, visited Fo Tan Cottage Area. The group found that all residents had already moved out. 'We considered choosing another location, but finally decided to stay,' Wing-hang, the leader of the group said. 'According to the banners hung outside the buildings, the residents had to move because the area was due to be demolished. 'We tried to learn something about the people by looking at the things they left behind. 'Although we didn't talk to anybody, we were able to learn about the people through evidence we found, rather than by interviewing them. 'Many of the residents had obviously left in a hurry as they had left things behind. Judging by the furniture and clothes we came across, their standard of living was not high. 'Each flat had its own story to tell. We recorded what we saw on tape and hope it will help to raise awareness about their plight.' Chi-kin said the camp had helped him learn more about himself and to face reality. 'I didn't do well in my Advanced Level Exams and was feeling depressed when I got to the camp and didn't speak to anyone for the first day. 'People kept asking me about my results and I realised I couldn't hide from the fact any more. 'Now I know that to face every challenge positively is an only way to go.' Li Zhen, 19, was a participant from Shanghai. She also participated in the academy last year and signed up again this year because she enjoys meeting Chinese from Hong Kong and around the world. 'It is good to meet people from different backgrounds and to talk, listen and share ideas with them,' she said.