St. Ann’s Youth Day 2017- Kristine Pham
Our annual Youth Day is one of the few days in the year where it’s all about us, the children at St. Ann’s Parish. During this special occasion, we get to go outside, play several games, and overall, have fun. Usually on Sundays, students of different youth groups are in class, learning about our religion and other teachings of the Church; but it’s nice to have a break once in a while and have a day where we could just relax and mingle. We all know that we would much rather be outside than stuck in class. Despite how early in the morning mass starts, we look forward to Youth Days.
Every year, Agnes, the Samoan choir director, puts together a dance choreography for Youth Mass. I remember the dancers of the Vietnamese youth and the Samoans, including myself, rushing to put our costumes on and running out to our positions after Communion. In the end, it was a successful performance and soon after that, the kids of the congregation went down into the basement for donuts that the adults were serving for breakfast. As we finished our pastries, the youth leaders then led everyone upstairs and outside to begin the games.
The first activity was a simple game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. Everyone was really into it, especially the younger ones. How to play is you were supposed to find a partner to start off with. If you win, you get a sticker. Then you would move on to find a new partner that has the same amount of stickers as you do. And the game goes on. I saw many kids with stickers all over their face and hands. They looked very proud of them. The next game was Simon Says. Jane, a leader from the Samoan youth group, facilitated the game. She would tell everyone to do things such as “raise your hands,” or “shake your head,” or “put your right hand on your nose,” etc. However, we were supposed to only do what she said if it started with “Simon says…” If she didn’t say that and someone still followed, they were out. The last five remaining players got special prizes. After that, we went back to playing rock, paper, scissors. But this time if you lost, you had to line up behind the winner. Eventually, four lines were formed in this game, we then turned the game into Dragon Tail, one of our favorites. The last person of each line (tail) had a scarf hanging out of their pocket, and the first person of each line (head) had to steal the scarfs but at the same time, protect their own tail and make sure the line remain intact. It was an extremely fun game. We got to run around, yelling and screaming, but also had to communicate and work together to strategize how to win the game. Since the teams were formed randomly during Rock – Paper – Scissors, one of the team had more youth leaders than the rest and another team was made up with mostly younger kids. Yet to our surprise, the youth leaders team was the first to lose their tail and the younger team was one of the finalists. However, BT – our youth leader - had to sadly call a tie and stop the game as we were getting a little too competitive.
Later, we returned to the basement only to find that the youth leaders had set up several activity booths each with their own prizes. They had musical chairs, darts and balloons, face paint, airplane toss, ping pong toss, balloon race, etc. and even a shooting range. Everyone wanted to give all the booth at least one try. We tried to throw paper airplanes through holes in a cardboard, toss ping-pongs or pennies into cups, assort M&Ms, or blow cups away using a balloon they had to blow themselves. Everyone was having a lot of fun!
After a while, lunch was served with fish burgers and hot dogs. I personally came back for seconds. Once we were done eating, some of us went outside to play volleyball and soccer, and the rest stayed down in the basement to continue testing their skills with the booths.
After about 3 hours of fun and laughter, Youth Day slowly came to an end. It was another great experience to have. It was nice to see the people who usually interacted with their own group of friends, playing games with other people. There were no cliques or separation. It was just everybody together, having a good time, which I find rare nowadays.
I feel that Youth Day provides us with an opportunity to meet new friends and creates unity in us through exciting games and activities. In my opinion, Youth day this year was better than last time and I have a feeling it will continue to be more fun and successful each year.