How many Clergy Laity events had I attended where I heard various key note speakers state, “There is no such thing as a stupid question” to alleviate the stress and nerves of standing in front of a priest or archbishop to ask a question and yet no one seems to get up. This was not the situation at the Youth Regional Assembly that took place this past weekend in Toronto.
As an advisor of GOYA Ottawa, Chaperone and Youth Board member it was definitely a busy weekend but one that was very rewarding from all three perspectives. For most of the Ottawa GOYA members this was their first conference and I believe it was rewarding for them. Speaking to the youth, one keynote speaker that stood out to them was Fr. Theologos Drakos who spoke about innovative ways to engage the youth and to motivate them to come back into the church atmosphere. One topic that really stood out to me was the use of social media websites like facebook and twitter to “advertise” to the youth. Why would we not use these social outlets to spark an interest in the youth? Let’s be honest, as technology evolves so does interest levels therefore we, chaperones, advisors, board members need to evolve with them. We need to always keep up with the next up and coming thing because pen and paper do not seem to work anymore. As a youth board members, I was very pleased with the discussions that youth seemed to embark on. With the help of simple nudges from various board members we easily got the discussion going and great questions were asked and answered—some more comical then others.
My first conference was Clergy Laity back in 2005 Belleville. Since then, I have been to various Clergy Laity Conferences and had a big part in organizing the Youth Section at the 2011 Conference in Ottawa. I always found, although Clergy Laity was for everyone— priests, philoptochos, Sunday school teachers etc. the youth always got the short end of the stick. It was a weekend where we met quickly to discuss items but never really following through on some. The Regional Assembly was different. The youth seemed to be more
relaxed and while we were there to build the youth, we were there to listen and also help connect the groups. During the Carousel Discussion I had an opportunity to sit with various youth from Toronto, Ottawa, and London. My main question focused on what the youth
would want from their youth board. This question seemed to surprise the group because I don’t think they were expecting me to ask and listen to their ideas but that’s what we are here for and that’s something that our executive—Vikki, Demetra and Tonya made clear
during the conference. Your youth board is here for you, whether your 30 people or 5 if you need us, we will help. Like the title of this blog, there is no such thing as a stupid question.
Why would I choose not to go to the 2014 Youth Regional Assembly? Now that’s a stupid question!
written by Maria Karadakis, Member