November 27, 2015

National Catholic Youth Conference 2015

Young adult siblings return to NCYC to volunteer as a means of ‘giving back’

Siblings Andrea “Andie” and Luke Grant pose at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Nov. 21 after the NCYC closing Mass. The siblings, both past NCYC participants, returned this year as volunteers. (Photo by Natalie Hoefer)

Siblings Andrea “Andie” and Luke Grant pose at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Nov. 21 after the NCYC closing Mass. The siblings, both past NCYC participants, returned this year as volunteers. (Photo by Natalie Hoefer)

By Natalie Hoefer

Andrea “Andie” Grant attended the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC) in 2005 and 2007. Her brother Luke participated in 2011 and 2013.

This year, they were back at NCYC—as volunteers.

“I loved NCYC, and I’m a big believer in giving back,” said Luke, 19, of his reason for volunteering.

“I’d never been around that many Catholics, let alone high school Catholics,” he recalled of his first experience at NCYC. “Being around 20,000 other Catholics is really energizing.”

Andie, 26, agreed.

“It was neat to be around so many teens who were passionate about their faith, and to celebrate Mass, go to the sessions and meet people from around the country—California, Alaska, Hawaii. Even as a young adult, it’s so reaffirming to see all these kids here.”

Both young adults credit NCYC as part of the reason they are still active in their Catholic faith.

“It helped me continue to be active in my faith after high school,” said Andie, who graduated from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Mich. She now works for a law firm, and is a member of Christ the King Parish in Indianapolis. “I surrounded myself with other Catholics in college who were active. It reinforced the kind of people that I wanted to associate with and be around.”

Luke, a sophomore at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Mich., is a member of his college’s Catholic student ministry team.

“A lot of those people [on the team] went to NCYC,” he said. “You meet these people later on that are still passionate about their faith.

“By the time I signed up to volunteer [for NCYC], everyone else was booked up and couldn’t come, but they were all like, ‘That’s so cool! I want to volunteer at NCYC next time!’ ”

Luke hopes to go into youth ministry after graduating. When that time comes, he considers leading youth groups to NCYC a must.

“[NCYC] was a huge brick in the foundation of my faith life as a high schooler,” he said. “I would definitely take kids to it.

“I think all but one of my friends have stopped practicing the faith. I want to make sure that doesn’t happen to our next generation.”

As for Andie, she plans on volunteering at NCYC again.

“I had such a great time when I went [as a youth], and it was a great opportunity to be a part of it again,” she said. “You can talk to the kids and say, ‘I went to NCYC when I was a kid, and you can come back as a volunteer or as a chaperone.’

“It’s important to tell them to come back after high school, because the more volunteers you have, the more [NCYC] is possible, and it keeps them active in their faith.” †

 

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