Ted Miles

Top 5 Elements of an Epic Youth Conference

Erin Mackey

“Dear young people, let yourselves be taken over by the light of Christ, and spread that light wherever you are.” —St. John Paul II

Young people today are living out the message of St. John Paul II and spreading the light of Christ like never before. They are also asking tough questions, challenging the status quo and looking beyond their electronic devices to discover a deeper relationship with Christ. This generation wants to know Christ—to find Christ in the people they encounter, including those behind their purchases. They want to make an impact and are searching for ways to do so.

One opportunity for youth to seek out Christ is at Catholic youth conferences. These conferences are transformative experiences that provide a unique opportunity to connect, reflect and grow in faith.

So, what makes a conference transformational?

Here are the top five components that we believe come together to make a truly epic youth conference:

1. Mass, Adoration and Confession

At the center of a great youth conference are the sacraments. The real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Forgiveness through reconciliation. Mass, adoration and confession allow for true transformation through Christ.


2. Dynamic Speakers and Musicians

Chills. Tears. Excitement. Skilled, dynamic speakers and musicians engage, motivate and inspire youth at a conference—and for years following the event. They help provide the inspiration for prayer, contemplation—and action.


3. Advocacy

An important way for young people to live out their faith is through advocacy. A conference provides an opportunity for them to learn about international issues, the root causes of poverty and how they can respond.  

4. Hands-on Service

Hands-on service projects provide opportunities for young people to assist others in need, especially our brothers and sisters around the world.

5. Swag That Makes an Impact

It wouldn’t be a youth conference without swag, so you might as well include swag that makes an impact. Young people want to know who’s behind their products, and ethically sourced merchandise is the perfect avenue to tell the stories of people who make the products we buy.

While NCYC has historically included the first four of these five elements, this year the conference will add ethically sourced merchandise from CRS partner Ethix Merch! A purchase made by NFCYM will result in a $6,000 donation to CRS for our works of mercy around the world.

We invite all dioceses, parishes and schools to consider working with Ethix Merch to buy ethically produced T-shirts, branded apparel and other products. Please visit the CRS Fair Trade Catalog and Ethical Shopping Guide wholesale section to learn more about Ethix Merch and other companies offering wholesale prices to Catholic institutions and ministries.