International Youth Festival - 2014 - Liberec
The International Youth Festival 2014
LIBEREC, CZECH REPUBLIC from August 4-9, 2014
The international Youth Festival 2014 took place on the renewed campus of the University of Liberec. The theme of the festival was Follow the Star and Search for the Heart. Two key symbols decorated the festival this year, the heart and the star. We hosted ninety particupants from eleven different countries, most of the participants this year came from The Netherlands and the USA. Performing at this festival were the Hytha Family Band, Steve and Ainsley Apirana and a cast consisting of young people from New York performing the Broadway musical Godspell.
On the second day we left the festival site for a discovery of our host city and ended up at the top of Mount Jested from where we took the group picture after everyone first got their T-shirts. Two days later we left the festival site again and took the busses 45 minutes north of Liberec to Herrnhut, the birthplace of the Moravian mission of the Herrnhutter. At this unique historic village we played the Hernhut Heritage Hunt, a two or three hours discovery of the spiritual and history roots of this mission.
Most of the groups attending the festival were involved in a week long discovery adventure prior to the festival. From different places they became part of the KARAVAAN, a project to discover and perhaps recover some of the spiritual heritage of Europe. At the festival each of these groups shared their stories during the evening meetings.Check out the Karavaan stories under the category KARAVAAN.
Some impressions of the festival this year by the participants.
It was a good experience. I really hope someone is looking at this because I really loved it and I’m so thankful that you chose to involve Romania! (Romania) This festival is my second one.Atlantic Bridge changed my life and my personality. I think it makes me a better person and gave me a chance to build bridges and break down walls. I’m doing it. (Hungary) Good to understand and have a complete picture of the idea of Atlantic Bridge. The concept of connecting people, understanding each other, even though we all don’t have the same beliefs. It was great. (Diego from Spain) The theme of following the star was a perfect theme for me because I loved seeing what to follow. (USA) It was an invitation of love. I love how in our small group everyone was so vulnerable. (USA) The festival made me grow in faith. I saw God and I know he saw us and looked at us and thought it was good. I made lots of new friends and had amazing conversations! (Dutch) I was surprised when I came here. It’s so different from other festivals. I had a great time. (Dutch)
The Youth Festival signals the end of the Bridgebuilder year. You get together with a ton of other Bridgebuilders in a week of fun and cultural learning.
The International Youth Festival is the ‘flagship event’ of Atlantic Bridge. It is the only activity during the year that brings multiple Bridgebuilders Clubs together and best expresses the vision of Atlantic Bridge. Youth from many different cultures, countries, lifestyles and beliefs meet each other for seven days of fun, friendship and faith. The key elements of the Festival are introducing and inspiring participants to the mission of bridgebuilding and the Christian heritage and faith.
The International Youth Festival takes place in a different country each year with between 120 and 180 participants. Most groups come to the Festival after participating in an exchange with their Bridgebuilders Club. Each festival has a specific theme that is explored during the week.
The morning of each day is filled with a MeetPoint where games, music and the news and love reports prepare everyone for the speaker of the day. Then everyone goes to their Small Group where the theme is unwrapped on a more personal level and youth can discuss related issues.
The afternoon is a relaxing time with various Workshops and Optional activities. One afternoon the entire Festival goes on a Discovery Trip to learn about the town or region that is hosting the festival.
The evening program is a chance for each group or individual to present themselves through the Country Presentations and Talent Show. And Café de Connexxion provides the perfect end to the day with a cozy chat and cup of coffee, relaxing music or invigorating game.
Although Atlantic Bridge is a Christian organisation, many of the participants have no church background or belief in God.
If you are a Christian and you want to join us next summer, we will ask you to keep that in mind. This is not a festival where you will get a lot of in depth Bible studies, but one in which you will be challenged as you learn to openly share with people who think and believe different from what you are used to.
If you don’t believe in God, we ask you to keep in mind that there are people at the festival who think and behave different from what you are used to. This is not a festival where you will be ‘indoctrinated’ with the Christian faith, but it is a place where we openly share our lives and experiences with each other, and talking about the role of faith in our lives is an essential part of that. Come and join us for an incredibly fun and inspiring time.
Participation in the festival is usually per group. If you are interested in participating as an individual, you can contact us directly by email or write to us.