For the last year, Magis Indonesia has been helping to prepare volunteers for the 7th Asian Youth Day. With Asian Youth Day taking place from July 31 to August 6, the volunteers are now in the thick of things, doing their part to ensure that the more than 2,000 youth from all over Asia leave Indonesia prepared to leave a mark on the world.
“Being a volunteer for Asian Youth Day is a means for the youth to leave a mark,” said Fr John Nugroho SJ, Coordinator of Magis Indonesia. “Moreover, through their work, the volunteers are also encouraging other youth participants to leave their own mark by getting involved in Asian Youth Day related activities prior to the actual event.”
Fr Nugroho, who is in the Asian Youth Day steering committee, shared that he was asked by Fr Nugroho Tri, the coordinator of volunteers for Asian Youth Day 2017, last year to prepare volunteers for the youth gathering. Fr Nugroho in turn invited some friends of Magis Yogyakarta to help him.
The volunteer preparations are divided into two categories – recruitment and training. Recruitment was done in three batches – in April, June, and August 2016, with applicants coming from across the Semarang Archdiocese. Their training comprised team bonding activities, inputs about Islam in Indonesia, and the setting up of a division task force.
“We believe that the key of a successful event is solid team work. Since volunteers are the backbone of the event itself, they must be able to work as a team,” said Fr Nugroho. This was a challenge since the volunteers are from different places and have varied backgrounds.
To address this challenge, the volunteers were divided into three groups according to their places of origin – Semarang, Yogyakarta and Surakarta.
“This way, it would be faster for them to bond together since they are a smaller group of people,” explained Fr Nugroho.
Each group was urged to organise pre-event activities to build up interest in Asian Youth Day. The exercise served not just as a simulation of the actual event but also gave the volunteers an opportunity to practice working together and strengthen their teamwork.
The youth volunteers organised events around the theme of Asian Youth Day 2017, “Joyful Asian Youth! Living The Gospel in Multicultural Asia”. The Semarang team organised a sporting event called “Joyful Run”, in addition to holding a pluralism dialogue and Easter camp. The team from Surakarta held a Christmas celebration, interfaith dialogue, a clean-up activity dubbed “Joyful Cleaning”, and Joyful traditional festivals. The Yogyakarta team also organised a Christmas gathering, a citywide “Joyful Clenaing”, a Eucharist for youth and interfaith dialogue.
“Please keep the volunteers and Asian Youth Day in your prayers,” appealed Magis Yogyakarta volunteer Genny Anggara Pramana Jati. “We still need much effort to keep the fire ablaze.”