NYE was founded in 1980 as a quadrennial gathering for youth of the United Church of Christ between the ages of 13 and 18. The event centers on four pillars: faith, leadership, service and social justice, with a global emphasis for each. With more than three decades of transformative ministry with, to and by youth; NYE continues to evolve.
Over the years, NYE has incorporated technology as a tool of worship, integrating social media platforms and becoming a paperless event; welcomed youth delegates from four continents; expanded to include non-youth visitors and guests; and in 2016, proudly welcome The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) as co-hosts of the event.
Worship & Plenary: "Rethink before you type, rethink before the damage is done." -Trisha Prabhu
Trisha Prabhu was one of the speakers at NYE. The center of NYE 2016 was believe. Trisha believed in peace. She believed that there can be a stop to cyber bullying. I was really happy when I heard Trisha was going to speak during the service that day. I got to see her live and that was more powerful than just watching her in a video.
Trisha created an alert that pops up on a your device before you comment something offensive. That alert, called Rethink, changed many people's mind into not posting a certain comment. I thought that was really cool, because Trisha's creation is actually stopping cyber bullying. I was glad she was one of the speakers in the service the second day of NYE. The service had at least one speaker each day.
There was also a lot of music during each service. My favorite part of the services was the question of the day. There would always be a question, and you would answer them on Twitter. One question was "How does God work through your uniqueness?" That day Kuya Rambu's tweet was shown on the big screen. I loved that the tweets were shown on the big screen because you got to see people's answers, and what they thought.
Overall, I thought the services were similar to ours, but at NYE there was more praise songs, and multiple speakers. Some of the songs they sang were "Fierce" "Unstoppable God" "Colorblind" an original by one of the singers and "Love Love Love" another original. NYE was a great experience for me because I got to learn more about God. Also NYE was really fun, because I got to meet new people and we got to go to Disney! Oh and I faced my fear of going on roller coasters! I'm glad I was able to go to NYE 2016!
Disney's Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (EPCOT) & NYE Workshops
Joining the NYE was really a good experience for me as I got to talk and know other young people from other states.
One of the activities we did on our second day was at Disney’s Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow park or EPCOT. We were grouped with two other teams from Maine.
At EPCOT, we were taught about cultures and population. Using marbles and water, our facilitator taught us how cultures may be assimilated, coexist or at times disappear—teaching us the importance of being aware of and respecting one another.
Part of this was giving each participant a chart with different types of categories about what we know and do. Using the chart we went around asking people in our group to put their initials on the description that matched who they are or what they could do. This was a good idea to know other people on the first day which made it no longer awkward for me to meet others.
Our facilitator then showed us a photo of an iceberg, telling us that most of the time we know others only on the surface level which makes us sensitive to others and must know them more before saying anything.
We also had the opportunity to join other workshops. I got to join a workshop about Disney and some of its “unhappy” parts; another workshop me and my team joined was about refugees and what we can do to help them. I also got to join a workshop called, Mandala, which uses diagrams and art to practice focus and centeredness. One workshop I enjoyed was about using social media for social justice. One topic we talked about was bullying—how people are being hurt, getting depressed and even commits suicide. We watch a video about a lady who took out a confederate flag as her stand against racism and slavery. The workshop taught us we can use social media—videos, wall posts or photos to stand against cruelty and encourage one another.
My belief to think before I post things online or share anything was reinforced because of this workshop.
I thank God for sending me to NYE which made me happy and that there was nothing to be mad or stressed about. I really enjoyed meeting other people from other states. NYE was a new experience for me and I would be glad to join the next NYE.
Theology at the Parks:
"If you can dream it, you can do it." - Walt Disney
Disney has had a really big part in my life. When I was four years old I would be sitting in the living room from am to pm re-watching Disney movies. When I found out there was a Disney World I asked my mom to go. We hardly go on family vacations so I never been there. I went to Disneyland but I hardly remember it because all I wanted to do was go on rides and I didn't really take in the full experience. Now that I’m older I really regretted not taking in the atmosphere.
Coming to NYE was such a great opportunity. Not only to connect with God with people my age but to connect with myself. I hardly go out and enjoy myself and NYE definitely made that possible. Especially at the park. We met a girl from Canada, her name was Georgia and she was spectating the NYE because the Canada NYE is next year. I thank God for meeting her, she was an amazing person and super fun to be around. Even if I wasn't at Disney with my family I still felt just like that four-year-old in my living room.
Enjoying it with my friends and even a new one was such a great experience. I took in the atmosphere and just overall enjoyed everything and enjoyed my self. It really made me appreciate the small things because at the end of the day when we were watching those fireworks and it brought me to tears. God made so many amazing things, and made people with such amazing minds. That day has really made me not feel like an adult. I became the little four-year-old obsessed with Lilo and Stitch singing Hawaiian rollercoaster ride in my head.
Disney made me forget all of my hardships and just filled my day with pure happiness. It was a really big dream of mine to go there and I finally got to do it. Walt Disney said himself that “If you can dream it, you can do it”. I will forever live by his quote. Because if you put your mind and soul into something. You can do it. Believe was the center of our NYE experience and dreaming and believing go hand in hand together. I will never forget this event. It happened so fast. I learned so much from the people who were there and the speakers. God is still speaking and I will forever still be listening. I thank you all for allowing me to go on this trip.
The Unhappy Side of the "Happiest Place"
Good morning, my name is Ginger Soy Broccoli, er, I mean Brennan Idor. I am one of the delegates sent to NYE. So during Park Day, where everyone from NYE spends their whole day at any of the Disney Parks, in which we chose Magic Kingdom. The day was about to end and I grew afraid that I haven't gotten a topic yet for the testimony today. But during the Parade & Fireworks Event, which was the last thing we did, I awoke.
I awoke in the sense that I realized or became aware of something. While everyone was watching the magnificent fireworks up in the air, so many questions & thoughts kept racing in my mind. I asked Kuya Rambu, "Aren't fireworks bad for the environment?" He replied, looking at the fireworks,"Yes." I asked him again,"And this happens every, single day?" He had an evil grin, for some reason, and looked at me and answered a pretty long answer, but in short was about the dichotomy of the scene and how the fireworks is "temporary happiness" but regret and suffering in the long run. I mean, this literally blew my mind and I kept thinking about this for days. I mean, they do all this while they have this "Disney Conservation Fund." That's just pathetic.
I'm not really against fireworks but what Disney does is too excessive. I also understand that every day, there's new visitors so it'll be more memorable with the fireworks. But for me, fireworks is just another "thing." It's really the experience you have in the whole day with the friends and family with you. That's what really matters. The experience. So to conclude this, I believe I can change this "fireworks dilemma." Even though Disney may be a big corporation, it's not as big as my will, determination & effort. Like what Walt Disney said himself,“If you can dream it, you can do it. Always remember that this whole thing was started by a mouse.”
Words of Thanksgiving
Good Day! This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it. For indeed it is a day of rejoicing as we heard glad tidings from five young people whose lives have become intertwined with more than 3,000 other youth from across the United States and other countries.
As in words of Franklin Roosevelt and I quote, "We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future."
On behalf of the NYE Team I would like to thank all those who have supported us, especially for the youth delegates, to be able to join this year’s National Youth Event. It is with thanksgiving to God to acknowledge all who gave, encouraged and prayed for us in all our endeavors leading to, within and traveling back from Orlando.
You, who believed in the young people; who believed in the still speaking God; who believed that all we do is for God’s glory—you who believed—have a made a difference in the lives of Bien, Selena, Frechie, Brennan, Prely and even to those of us who accompanied them. As you have heard, these young people have brought with them the four pillars of the NYE—faith, leadership, service and social justice—with the call to fulfill the responsibility to make their faith, to make our faith into action.
It is with thanksgiving to God to acknowledge the parents of our delegates who allowed them to join for you have believed in the faithfulness of God. For wherever God leads, the Lord will prepare the resources, the people and the places for our youth to achieve the necessary needs and preparations for the NYE.
It is with thanksgiving to God to acknowledge, Ate Glo and Ate Aida. When many find their age challenging to chaperone the youth and at times walking around in 90-degree heat (feels like 115), they have proven that the youthfulness of the Holy Spirit, the strength of Jesus Christ and the grace of God is upon them. As Pablo Picasso puts it and I quote, “Youth has no age.”
It is with thanksgiving to God, to acknowledge our five youth delegates—their willingness, participation and cooperation to make sure they would engage as much as they could at the NYE from learning new things about God, faith, knowing youth from other places and experiencing moments and activities for the first time.
I commend all them for not giving me a hard time—not that they would—maybe they did but I kind ‘a just let it go as we were in Disney anyway.
I do give an extra commendation to Bien, whom I have requested to be a fellow group leader many times on the spot and has shown the broadness of his leadership and service towards his fellow delegates; from assisting others with their luggage; caring for Selena when she was sick; he kept the team together in many ways; helped served the communion during the closing worship; kept me updated of their whereabouts; and when we discovered we had to split into two groups at the parks due to “conflicting interests” he volunteered to lead one group but he made sure we get to eat dinner together and head back to our hotel as one group.
Remember, youth, as the Apostle Paul taught Timothy, to not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity (1 Timothy 4:12).
Remember to be strong but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not a bully; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant (Jim Rohn); faith and Christ-like attitude will build you, not having the sense of entitlement.
For all that has been, Thank You! For all that will be, God’s glory and purpose be fulfilled.