By Avriel Burlot
In January we celebrated our 7th Youth Development Conference with nearly 50 participants from all nine homes!
What a better way to start the year but with energy, inspiration and motivation! Each January, at one of our NPH homes, we invite youths from each of our homes for a conference to focus on personal development, team work, leadership and a special focus on our NPH family.
This past January 20th to 27th, 42 youth from Mexico, Honduras, Haiti, Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Peru and Bolivia gathered at NPH Guatemala for our 7th Youth Development Conference. This year the theme was Family: past, present and future. The week focused on our NPH family in the past and how we have grown to where we are today and where we will be in the future.
Throughout the week, different topics were focused on, which included how to be an effective leader, self-awareness, how to manage one’s emotions, faith and the family and
the history and development of our NPH family. The participants were engaged through various lessons, activities, games, reflections and prayers to really understand the themes throughout the week. In addition, the participants were able to actively engage with the special guests throughout the week with a panel and small group break out session. Special guests included Dr. Michael Maccoby, Reinhart Koehler, President of NPHI Board of Directors, Miguel Venegas, Executive Director of NPHI, Kara King, Fr. Reynaldo and John DeBlasio.
One of the integral themes of the week was empowering the youth to carry on the message and mission of Fr. Wasson. During the week, the participants were broken up into small
working groups. They prepared and taught a lesson about Fr. Wasson and NPH to the children at NPH Guatemala. Each group was responsible for a different age group and had to adapt their message to reach their specific group. The groups were extremely creative and the children in the home thoroughly enjoyed spending time with their brothers and sisters from their international family.
This year we were fortunate to have an hermano mayor (older brother) and staff member from NPH Mexico and a university member and staff member from NPH Guatemala on the planning team. Ricardo Klayen (NPH Mexico) and Jacinto Arias (NPH Guatemala), both have attended the Youth Conference and are both graduates from the Seattle Institute, and Ricardo also graduated from iLEAP this past summer. They were essential members on the team. It is a huge success to have past participants now on the planning side of the conference. They bring a new perspective, new energy and in the end make the conferences more successful.
One of the participants in their evaluations commented, “to be in touch with our brothers [and sisters], we are able to realize that we are all important and we should all be heard and that we all have an important role in our family.”
Our youth are the future of NPH and these conferences are a great opportunity for them to reflect and learn side-by-side their fellow brothers and sisters from all the NPH homes. The overall goal is to provide the information and keys for personal and professional development and for our youth to take what they absorb back home and to put it into action.
The Family Service Team (at your service)
Photos and article by Avriel Burlot