Creativity and energy at Metro Youth Retreat Day

14 youth members from across Sydney Metro Youth Conferences gathered for the inaugural Metro Retreat and Planning Day on Sunday 22 January at the Lewisham State Support Office.

Collaboration, volunteering, outreach, marketing and empathy building were order of the day of in a smorgasbord ideas and opportunities to run successful Youth Conferences.

John Walden, President of the Sydney Archdiocese Central Council, spoke about the mission of the Society and opportunities for collaboration with Conferences to the gathered Presidents and Vice-Presidents at the Retreat Day, representing six universities and one parish young adult Conference, including:

  • University of New South Wales Vinnies Society
  • University of Sydney Vinnies Volunteers
  • Chatswood Young Adults Conference
  • University of Notre Dame Vinnies Society
  • Sydney Youth and Young Adult Conference
  • University of Technology Vinnies
  • Australian Catholic University Health Sciences Faculty Vinnies Society

University Orientation Weeks featured as an opportunity to hold events and recruit new members.

Rachel Lawton, Marketing Manager, dug into contemporary marketing realities and spoke about platforms to recruit new members at O-Weeks, including TikTok, Meta and Instagram.

“People see on average 4,000-10,000 advertising messages per day,” Rachel said.

TikTok was the second most downloaded application in Australia in 2022, she said.

Rachel encouraged youth members to have confidence to put themselves and their Conferences out there and not be afraid to fail.

Youth members created their own logos, reflecting the identities of their Conferences, guided by Christina Sukkar and Marissa Papaspiros, Youth Representatives of Sydney Central Council Region.

Joy Bowen, Mission, Spirituality and Pastoral Care Partner, facilitated a goal setting and planning exercise for the year ahead. The CEO Sleepout and Community Sleepout were some of the events that featured in the coming year.

The insightful Brain Architecture Game wrapped up the day, providing an opportunity for team building and empathy by considering how the early life experiences of the most disadvantaged people in society can adversely affect long-term wellbeing.

Alysha Wong-O’Connor, Youth Engagement Officer Metro, facilitated the fun day, along with Marissa and Christina.

“It was inspiring to hear personal success stories about their young adult conferences and the bigger dreams they have for their groups,” Alysha said.

Participant feedback was effusive, including appreciation for the inspiring, productive and supportive nature of the day.

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