Youth from over 20 states spanning all of the regions in Mexico made great efforts to attend the youth conference held on a ranch some 25 kilometres north of the city of Aguascalientes. For some, preparations had begun months earlier, with efforts to raise money for transportation to the conference so that as many youth as possible would be able to attend. The majority of the participants travelled to the conference by bus, many having journeyed for almost 30 hours.
The enthusiasm, energy and eagerness of the youth were demonstrated early on when, a day before the conference was due to start, the arid land of Aguascalientes received a rain that flooded two out of the three large tents assembled to facilitate the study sessions, meals and sleeping arrangements. Everyone rushed to brave the water and mud, rescuing suitcases and sleeping bags while digging trenches to detour the course of streaming water. Finally, they gathered in the remaining dry tent, forming circles to sing and dance!
“We have the tools to make a change and we know how to use them. It is our responsibility to share them with others.”
A participant at the conference
After this unexpected prelude, 320 youth listened as the conference was opened with a warm welcome from a 24-year-old member of the National Spiritual Assembly of Mexico. Sessions in smaller groups of around 50 youth followed shortly afterwards, where there was focused study and discussion about the nature of the unique period of adolescence and youth, along with the ways in which they can contribute towards the construction of a better world. The participants identified some of the destructive habits of society that affect them and can often have an even greater influence on the younger generation, and spoke about their responsibility to help and encourage their peers to direct their inherent characteristics and qualities towards positive change. One of the youth stated: “We have the tools to make a change and we know how to use them. It is our responsibility to share them with others.” Another youth commented: “Let us hold hands with the other youth and show them that there is light at the end of the tunnel.”
Artistic presentations were full of joy and reflected a depth of understanding gained by the youth through their study of various concepts during the sessions. The audience raised their hands and danced to musical presentations by groups of friends from all of the regions in Mexico. Highlights from the artistic presentations included a song sung in Nahuatl by a youth from the Huasteca region, and a folk dance by a youth from the state of Yucatan.
In the closing ceremony, youth from all of the regions in Mexico shared the plans of action they had made to take back to their communities with them, and a song that was written and dedicated to the conference was taught and sung by a group of children, youth and adults. The energy of the conference continued into the night, with more music, dancing, games and fellowship.
The youth practiced their artistic presentations for the evening session
Even though the participants were physically tired, they wanted to keep studying
A group reflecting under the shade of mesquite trees
Youth playing music to reflect the concepts of mutual support and true friendship
Youth preparing for an art activity
The conference was held on a ranch normally used for nature and ecology camps
The participants made simple yet strategic plans of action
A group photo of the conference participants