International Youth Festival - 2001 - Liberec
The 2001 International Youth Festival took place in the city of Liberec, Czech Republic for the second time.
The first festival in Liberec in 1999 counted about 140 participants. With 160 participants, this one was the 3rd best attended festival in the 9-year history of the Atlantic Bridge International Youth Festivals to date. Participants came from England, USA, The Netherlands, Germany, Czech Republic and Iceland. If you want to know what all happened, you will have to read this whole paper. And even when you have finished it, you will know only a very small part because you really had to be part of it to catch the spirit of excitement of this week!
All you need is love
"All you need is LOVE" was the theme of this festival. Doctor Love and his assistant Boris, Joel, Mr. "O" and Todd introduced this topic to us every morning during the Club meetings. Now we know there is more to love than romance. Actually, as great and wonderful as 'love' can be, that's how bad the negative side effects of love are. Love makes the world go around, but the lack of it also causes people to destroy themselves and others, and often God gets the blame. Christians believe in a personal God who is the source of real and unconditional love. Leaving God out of our lives can cause us to create distorted views of love. Mr "O" taught us that love is embracing others at the expense of self, while lust is the embrace of self at the expense of others.
And what about sex?
One of the opportunities presented to students during the festival was to listen and learn more about sexual issues. In the talk for the girls, four women from different cultures shared their thoughts and relevant experiences from their lives. We touched on a variety of topics during the discussions and the following question and answer session, including: fears about sex, sex before marriage and its consequences, waiting until marriage for sex, and what God wants for each of us in regards to sex. We were able to learn a lot from each other, which was a blessing. (Reported by Leslie)
Ingo, during an increasingly heated discussion during the leaders meeting about relations between the USA and Germany: "Do you think it will help if we take over America".
"You can't get good and than get God, but you can get God and than get good".
"The best way to get even is to forget."
"God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts"
"Feed your faith and your doubts will starve to death."
"It isn't difficult to make a mountain out of a molehill. Just add a little dirt."
"The tongue must be heavy indeed. So few people can hold it."
"You have to wonder about humans. They think God is dead and Elvis is alive."
"You'll notice that a turtle only makes progress when it sticks out its neck."
Six Countries - Six Opinions
Some reactions gathered by Cecile Cuvelier USA - Stefany Rovito:
- The festival was amazing.
It being my first time, I didn't know what to expect. As we went along it was a great experience.
- ICELAND - Margaret Gudmundsdottir:
I liked the festival very much. I met a lot of new people. I also liked the Czech Republic.
- ENGLAND - Rebecca Melbourne:
It was brillant. I enjoyed all the activities. There was a lot of love in town and in the school.
- GERMANY - George Uberall:
First of all I like to say thank you to all those wonderful people who put all their strength together for a couple of teenagers who do not always appreciate the 'adult' world. But as the main topic of LOVE definitely came true, they didn't have to worry at all. Especially the final Club meeting was one of the most powerful and amazing happenings I've ever participated in. See you in Britain next year.
- First prize: Jirka
- Second prize: Thomas Heijtink
- Third Prize: PAVEL, a little short man created by Jeroen and Joachim with the help of Chris Walker.
Expression teams at the festival
The Nubian Gents
- The Nubian Gents Step Ministry is an all male fraternity based on the principle: If the purpose of a thing is not clearly understood, abuse is inevitable. The team's history dates back to 1994 when Spanish teacher and Dean of Students, Lamont O'Neil, sought to lift the morale of the youths, particularly the males, at Junior High School 231 in Queens, New York. As a part of their first summer missions tour, the Nubian Gents participated in the 1999 International Youth Festival in Liberec, Czech Republic. The profound impact of the festival lead the team to return to Liberec in 2001. The Gents' overall response to the 2001 experience is summed up in the following quote of one Gent: "We have to return next year!" Embrace the theme of the IYF 2001-All You Need is Love- which has been implanted in the Gents' hearts, and will be remembered for a long time to come.
- Hans and Ingo are from Wanne, a town in the German Ruhrgebiet, and that is where their name comes from. Each morning they presented a dramatic analysis of the meaning of "love" through the personages of Dr. Love (Professor of Psychology) and Boris, the unlovable vagabond who can play only one song on his guitar, 'all you need is love'.
- This American troubadour from York PA took part in the exchange in Upice and was involved in the camp.
- Only a few days into the week, burglars broke into the school and our sound system was stolen. Liberec 'detective' Marek Bistranin, started investigating the theft and found the equipment in a Casino ready to be sold. With the help of his friends and police he was able to arrest the burglars and get the sound system back. Thank you detective Marek.