A Night at the Movies This past weekend was so wonderful! It was spent with 50 young people from the Archdiocesan High School and Young Adult Leadership teams. These teams are made up of young people from around the diocese who come together to work on projects several times a year. Each member of the team is also asked to do a project of some description in their own home communities to help raise funds/awareness for a worthy cause. I have been in a number of communities over the year where our young people have done a great job in doing so! THIS particular project that I am talking about today: “Variety Night: A Night at the Movies” is the effort put together by the folks from the leadership team who are from Regina and area. They joined forces to “go big” instead of each doing a project in their individual parishes. In my humble opinion and based on the feedback I have received, this venture was a rousing S U C C E S S!
Support: I want to extend a huge thank-you to those families, friends, businesses, parishes and community members who came out to support the efforts of the young people. They were able to raise approx. $10,000 to put towards a Missions projects in the Philippines in 2014.
Unity: As I think back over my experiences this past week working with these young people, I am moved almost to tears by the countless ways in which they supported, encouraged and mentored one another. Whether the person up there performing was an “old” pro at being on stage or they were up there for the first time, they were given equal support and encouragement. They worked together as problems and conflicts arose and solved them like the adults they are (or are becoming). A number of us could learn from them.
Catholic: This is an event put on by Catholic youth for a worthy cause. It also allows anyone who gets to work with them for any period of time, to understand, we write our young people off way to quickly. They DO care about faith and about things that matter. They are capable of representing us well and we have reason for great hope!
Community: “What happens at Variety night does NOT stay at Variety Night!” After a number of years of working with this annual project, I continue to see fruits that reach far past fundraising. Out of the Variety Night experience have come groups of young people who have independently formed bible study groups. Friendships have been formed which have supported conversion experiences, accountability partners, and an increased interest in working in ministries. I have seen wonderful mentoring taking place and in the end this is about so much more than song and dance.
Entertaining: Recognizing that I clearly have a bias in this situation, I have to say it was an incredibly entertaining evening! The variety of talents and acts combined with the creative and professional way in which they were presented never ceases to amaze me. The kitchen, costumes, and backstage folks were all a well-oiled machine and executed their roles flawlessly! The band, sound and light and many assorted performers are a highly competent, talented and humble bunch. One woman chatting with me at the end of the show stated it had been “2nd to none.” I also overheard an elderly gentleman telling the band that “he had seen a lot of bands in his day…but this one was among the best he had seen.”
Synergy: This project brings people together! Period! I am overcome with gratitude and encouragement when I think of all the people and organizations that came together and offered their services, expertise, resources and support.
Solidarity: Solidarity of purpose: With very few exceptions, it never ceases to amaze me how little complaining goes on! All of them are unified in their desire to raise funds for their chosen cause and they also come to the experience with good size doses of humility. All egos get checked at the door and it becomes their common purpose to bring out the best in each other and to put on a show they can all be proud of.
Not all experiences of "church" take place IN church. When we call out the gifts of our young people and give them opportunities to grow while doing something they enjoy,something that gives them a healthy experience of community, something that gives them the chance to think about others, we gain insight into who they really are and what matters to them. We gain their friendship and trust and that in turn, can open the door to miracles...I have seen them happen!