SYM NIGERIA 2016
December 20,,2016 - Nigeria
The Salesian Youth Movement congress for Nigeria was held in Akure with the theme: “Let us Adventure in the Spirit Together with Jesus”. It started on the afternoon of 15th of December 2016, with participants from different communities in Nigeria, namely Ondo, Onitsha, Abuja, Lagos, Ibadan, and Koko, Ijebu-ode, Oka-Akoko and Akure.
The first evening was more about welcoming and introducing the enthusiastic participating youths to this year’s theme, following the Salesian Strenna. Br Samuel Job gave the goodnight explaining why this theme was chosen and what it means for the youth to be filled with the Spirit in a life of adventure following the examples of Christ and the Saints before us.
The event set out to expound this theme by focusing on the ways young people can build themselves up spiritually but also focusing on entrepreneurial skills and other talents. Hence, on the second day, the whole morning was dedicated to advent retreat, spearheaded by Fr Anthony Ekezie (Onitsha), with the assistant of other youth directors, Frs Gerald Umoh (Ibadan), Daniel Agbor (Lagos), Peace Ike (Ijebu-Ode), Augustine Okeke (Koko), and Rev Augustine Koroma (Abuja). This important moment was rounded up by Eucharistic adoration and confession.
The second session after lunch was dedicated to capacity building workshop with the first topic covering different ways to self-empowerment. The two speakers, themselves youth, are immersed in the world of work and had different and interesting things to share of their own experience trying to maneuver in a tough economic condition that Nigeria found itself at this dire times. In the evening, the activities changed tempo with a variety show tagged “SYM Got Talent”. It gave youths from different communities an avenue to showcase their talents and get direct feedback from their audience.
The third day, 17th December, started with Morning Prayer and Mass like the other days, followed by a capacity building workshop after breakfast with the topic: Maximizing ICT for Self-empowerment. This went on till lunch time. The afternoon session featured quite an interesting vocational workshop. Interesting because there was full and attentive participation since this is an area that could be considered as a major preoccupation of youths. The speakers tried to enlighten the youth on the different vocations available in the church, and to answer some of the questions that bother the mind of the youth when honing in on a particular unique vocation. Br Samuel Job and Fr Joachim used their life and vocational journey as concrete examples that the youths could easily relate to and indeed the audience had lots of questions to ask.
The evening was spiced up with a unique show called “Bosco variety night” and “SYM dinner night”. Complete with a red carpet entrance and all the trappings of a star studded event, the participants donned their best clothes and took photographs. There was a solemn dinner and the finale of the talent show which saw features in the poetry, dance and song categories. It was indeed a memorable night for both those who entertained and were entertained. The lights out was extended because of the program and those who found it hard to go to sleep because they knew they had to part from friends to their different destinations the following day.
Indeed this was a memorable congress, thanks to the hard work of the hosting community of Akure, under the direction of their parish priest and youth director Fr Niyi Omoniyi and Fr Joseph Oraegbunam. The participants expressed their satisfaction that the organization and inputs were good and had a lot of intervention on the youth problems and they were anticipating even more next year.