2013 Family and Youth Conference Reflection
By Michele Pothen
who has attended the annual Family and Youth Conference every year since a
child, my feelings and experience with it has evolved each year. From sports
day, to inspirational speakers, to the always entertaining talent show, FYC
packages an interesting balance between fellowship and spiritual enlightenment.
When I was younger, the Family and Youth conference was always the highlight of
my summer. I got to hang out with some of my church friends around the diocese
for three whole days, I learned how to make countless arts and crafts projects,
and I could sing all the praise and worship songs for hours in a day. As I’ve
gotten older, FYC is still the highlight of my summer- but for slightly different
reasons: I get to listen to speakers from all around the diocese, meet
countless of new people, and, of course, sing praise and worship songs for
hours in a day. FYC offers an incomparable experience for all age groups and
serves as a spiritual summer cleanse. The main two focuses of the conference,
fellowship and praise, are always communicated in different ways to the
participants so going every year does not feel overly repetitive. Overall, FYC
is an essential part of my summer as it aids in my spiritual growth and brings
me closer to my church family.
In terms of
curriculum, FYC is not your typical area retreat or conference- it is much more
than that. In recent years, the sessions have evolved from simply speakers
lecturing for hours, to smaller discussion groups where each group teaches
about a topic and discusses it. This type of learning is more hands on and
makes the material much more impactful on the participants as they are shifted
into this more proactive role.Another
recent development at the family and youth conference is the establishment of
“super sessions.” A day during FYC can seem very scheduled; depending on your
age group, there is always some place to be at each time of day. The super sessions consist of three sessions
on three different topics which run at the same time. Participants are able to
choose which topic interests them most and attend that particular session. This
development has allowed for FYC to cover more topics and for participants to
hone in on topics that they would like to learn more about. However, my
personal favorite spiritual aspect of FYC is the speech given before Holy
Confession is offered. Often given by a clergy member, this speech tends to
resonate with its listeners the most. This is where the true spiritual
cleansing comes into play as the speech often consists of a reminder that we
need to be cleansed ever so often to continue a healthy relationship with God
through the church. It’s this one powerful speech that introduces one of the
most sacred sacraments of the church and allows us to experience God’s true
forgiving nature. To me, FYC has served as an annual spiritual enlightening
retreat and leaves me with a rejuvenated mind. While this aspect is an
important element in the FYC experience, it goes hand in hand with the
essential fellowship which occurs as well.
is facilitated in multiple ways throughout the three day conference. The
obvious mechanism is the ability to meet and spend time with new people during
sessions and free time. It is extremely important that we partake in fellowship
activities with people who belong to our church as it builds a support system
for us and strengthens our relationship with our church family. Each night, the
MGOCSM leaders also host fellowship events for the youth, particularly game
nights and various activities which bring the MGOCSM present closer together.
Another event which promotes this church fellowship is the sports day where all
the participants partake in a variety of field events. It can be compared to
one giant picnic with your diocesan church family. By uniting our church
members into a family we maximize our presence in this world and develop
strength to tackle spiritual challenges as whole.
I see FYC as an essential component of my summer as it provides spiritual
enlightenment and fulfillment. This year, the conference will be held from July
16-19 at The Lancaster Host Resort and Conference center. This year is sure to
deliver on all of the vital aspects of FYC and the hard work of the committee
members is sure to culminate in a successful conference.
MGOCSM, MGOCSM Alumni Network, MGOCSM Newsletter
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