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You MAD – Youth Camp

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Caritas Penang's first You MAD Camp for the youth

Caritas Penang held its very first Youth Camp titled YOU M.A.D You Make A Difference at Sacred Heart Church, Kampar, Perak which brought 40 young people from the diocese together to experience a glimpse of the Catholic Church’s social mission. The You MAD Camp intended to make the young people of the Church to believe that they matter and each of them make a difference in this world. The title of this camp was inspired by the message of Bishop Bernard Paul who is also the President of Caritas Malaysia to the youths on Herald Malaysia Dec 01,2023.

The camp was not only to bring the young people of the diocese together but also to engage them in meaningful activities and social mission initiatives. Participants were enlightened on understanding their purpose as a human and as a young follower of Christ and then a community exposure visit.

Youth With A Mission

A session titled Youth With A Mission was presented by Joshua Jerome Robert, a young adult who is closely connected to the young generation and one of the World Youth Day 2023 pilgrims. Joshua shared to the participants on how they could find their purpose and listen to God’s voice, he emphasized on how significant it is to be obedient to God at the vulnerable age and to pursue with the gifts and talents God blesses us with for His glory and purpose. Joshua stirred up the participants to reflect on the setbacks and sins that are drawing them away from their purpose and highlighted the modern-day challenges that are keeping the young people away from God. He introduced the IKIGAI model to the participants for a better visual understanding on the reason for being. The talk session was followed by Spiritual Conversation where the participants were facilitated by the WYD23 pilgrims to have constructive communication and to reflect.

Union of Hearts and Minds

Pauline Yeo, from Caritas Malaysia conducted a session focusing on Union of Hearts and Minds where she interacted with the young people by involving them in certain activities that made them practically reflect and understand themselves. Pauline highlighted how the social mission has to be balanced between being and doing. She also touched on five important areas of the social mission which were Advocacy, Awareness, Empowerment, Reaching out, and Working together. Participants shared their understanding of these areas and Pauline briefed them how they could apply those practices.

Turun Padang: Outreach to Migrant communities

Fr.Simon Anand, who is the head of PDYN and the parish priest of Sacred Heart Church, Kampar shared to the young people about the marginalized community and how we could serve them, to make the young people to have a real experience, Caritas Penang team with the assistance of Fr.Simon arranged a visit  to the marginalized community around Kampar which was the spotlight of this camp. The participants were divided into three groups to visit three different communities. Participants were informed earlier about the visit during the camp, thus, they brought gifts to exchange with the people they visit. All three communities welcomed the participants with so much joy and songs and their home cooked food. The whole visit started off with a prayer, praise and worship and it went on to learning the traditional dance of the community and followed by fellowship.

The three different community visits were at different locations and everyone had different experiences as the journey towards their villages was challenging for some. The participants and the marginalized community united in the spirit of Christ and had a great time bonding. For the majority of the participants, it was their first experience and for some it was a new experience visiting the marginalized particularly. The evening visit to the communities brought only joy and happiness which cost nothing from the participants. Some participants took time to snap back to reality as they were stunned by the environment the people there were living in and yet they have so much happiness and love that they were able to share. They welcomed the participants with everything they had and that evening was all about the joy and love God blesses us with.

The Church needs young missionaries

One of the purposes for Caritas Penang to organize this camp for the youths is to break the stereotype that charity is not all about money where young people can’t afford and volunteering is for the elderly. The talks, sharing sessions, and the visit enabled the participants to have a live experience of how they can make a difference by being and doing the Jesus way.

Testimonies from the participants

I enjoyed and felt lovely, connected to Jesus during the Spiritual Conversations that took place. I enjoyed the most during the visit to outreach village. This visit makes me realise of how the marginalized are happy for what they have and make the most out of it.

I thought we were going to show love to them but I felt so much love from them, honestly, I felt like I was the one that received more than them. It felt like they were my long-lost family. I learned a lot through the sessions as well, especially being and doing is how to sustain the relationship with Jesus.

“I’ve come to realize that charity isn’t solely about material aid. It’s about being present, embodying love, and standing in truth. My time at the migrants’ village was profoundly humbling; their warm welcome still resonates with me. I’m dedicated to continuing my missionary work in every small gesture I can offer. Thank you, Caritas, for showing me the true essence of giving.”

“No one is too young or too old to make a difference in someone’s life, it’s never too late to start God’s work. I would like to thank You M.A.D team for giving the opportunity to me to visit the marginalized community as it was a great way to bring Christ to others”

“I believe I am already a youth with a mission after reflecting during the camp, one of the leaders said purpose never ends; so, I will serve however the way I am able to because for every phase in my life God has a purpose for me”

Dear young people of Christ, indeed YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE! Let’s unleash the Caritas within us!

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