International Youth Festival - 2011 - Litvinov
The 17th annual International Youth Festival took place from August 8-14 in the Czech town of Litvinov, just under the mountain range bordering eastern Germany. Seven countries were represented among the fifty participants. USA-Germany-Hungary-Poland-The Netherlands-Canada-Czech Republic.
The theme of the festival was SEARCH FOR THE HEART. We all took on the role of Sherlock Holmes. First we searched for the heart of Litvinov. We visited the elderly to hear the stories of their lives, went on a discovery trip to investigate the various aspects of this town and region and took surveys among the few younger people we found (most of them left for vacation or for the montains).
We searched our own hearts this week, discovering the meaning of life through the most difficult book of the Bible: Ecclesiastes. Blahos Fajmon challenged us to rediscover old books. Dr. B (John Bechtold) talked about new bridges of today, the social media, concluding that the only difference between how our grandparents communicated with each other and we communicate with each other is wrapped up in one word: speed! And what does the number of facebook friends say about the quality of our relationships? Is there really anything new under the sun? Anne Sophie from Germany shared her love story and how a relationship with God adds meaning to your life, and, in fact, makes your cup flow over so you have something to give to others. 'Grandma' Cathy concluded the messages about meaning when she summed up all of the week to conclude that building bridges in various directions is not only needed but meaningful.
In the evaluation afterwards, the FLASH MOB received the highest marks. Dancing in regular and irregular movement to the song Dynamite became one of the favorite activities. We did it in the town square, after the Game Without Walls and whenever an occasion would present itself. It was just fun to do and it brought a smile on faces of participants as well as observers. We tried a Flash Mob on the song Turn, Turn , Turn (the Byrds) which was the theme song for the week, but that did not create the same effect.
The FLASH MOB was Dr B's idea and so here he is up front next to Timea from Hungary, the only gypsie girl I know that loves God, leading the troops in the town square. Dr. B is on a path to gather data for a research to discover the effects of the social media on the quality of our relationships. A real good but heavy thing! He was a great speaker and connected with all at the festival.
Other researchers at the festival were the FIVE BROTHERS OF PUNKY MONK. Punky Monk was held up in a hospital in Africa after an elephant stepped on his foot. But Five Brothers of his monastery were happy to take his place. Brothers Martin, Nathanael, Balint, Tomasz and Brother - sorry Sister - Katinka. They led the research into the heart of Litvinov and reported their progress each day at the morning Meetpoint. At the end of the week it was still unclear what was the real heart of Litvinov. Most said it was Ice Hockey but some disagree and said it was water! The brothers concluded that there was one thing that sadly was not part of the heart of Litvinov....faith in God. They were a bit dissappointed to have to draw that conclusion.
We only got 26 surveys filled out among youth in the ages between 15 and 26 but, with the conversations with folks from town, we estimate that the results are fairly accurate.
1. What is most important to you?
FAMILY was by far the most important, especially for the girls. Then EDUCATION and RELATIONSHIPS. HEALTH, MUSIC AND MONEY were not as high and FAITH IN GOD was only answered positive by three boys from a church who joined us for some of the activities.
2. Who has the most influence in your life?
FAMILY was highest, then PARENTS and FRIENDS.
3. The biggest challenge facing youth in Litvinov?
DRUGS got the most votes by far! VANDALISM and NO JOBS also got a few votes. Lastly BOREDOM
Do you know the meaning of the YELLOW FLAG? If the yellow flag goes up, the air pollution of the nearby petroleum factories has reached dangerour levels and people are required to wear masks. In the summer young people were required to leave the area for at least three weeks so their lungs could breathe clean air.