For as long as I can remember I looked up to the older youth in my community. Every year I asked my mom when I would be old enough to join GOYA, as that was the only youth group available to our community. I remember when I got the phone call from our youth advisor at the time; it was the best 12th birthday present ever.
After my first two years in GOYA, I became treasurer; it developed my organization skills, gave me more responsibility within our church community and taught me essential time management skills. In 2010, I was voted GOYA president and have been working to promote GOYA within the community by reaching out to all children eligible to join.
Being part of GOYA for almost 7 years now has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life. It has helped me to grow stronger in our faith, as well as develop many life-long friendships and connections within the Greek community, not only in Winnipeg but also across Canada and even parts of the States.
I encourage all youth across Canada to get involved in their communities. Whether it is by joining GOYA, YAL (Young Adult Ministry), Camp, helping out in the Altar, or organizing an activity for your community. Becoming involved in your community provides a great way to meet new people, gain responsibility, and often times allows for travel and scholarship opportunities. As well as organizations within your church community, Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) is a college campus ministry that helps students learn more about our faith, educate others around campus, organize fundraisers and go on several mission trips throughout the world.
In order to learn more about OCF or any other Hellenic or Orthodox committees at your school, ask an advisor. Often times, young adults choose to leave home to pursue postsecondary education, and looking into these types of ministries and community groups on campus or in a nearby area helps to keep a piece of home with you always. And if one is not available, consider starting one in your local area as a great leadership opportunity.
Being involved with your church and with youth groups helps keep our faith alive and active, while also bringing all youth together. Unity is an important aspect of our Orthodox faith, and what better way to keep it going than in a positive, fun and worthwhile way.
written by Angela French, VP Central