Australia YCW/YCS: Annual National Action Conference in Adelaide, July 2023
Between 6 - 9 July, members of the Young Christian Workers (YCW) and Young Christian Students (YCS) gathered together at The Monastery in Adelaide for the annual action conference. Members, workers and mentors from the YCW in Perth, Adelaide, Pt Augusta, Melbourne and Parramatta Dioceses were joined by their YCS counterparts from Parramatta and Adelaide. Together, they reflected on the realities of young people today, discerned in the light of Gospel values and those of the different faiths represented and committed to new actions in the spirit of the founder Fr. Joseph Cardijn's see, judge, act method.
This year's theme for the National Action Conference was "Voice of the Youth".
YCW and YCS are reaching out to a new generation of young people, the so-called Gen Z, who are making positive changes to the world around them in new ways, both online and in person. Young people in the YCW and YCS today come from different faith, cultural, gender and social backgrounds but together share a deep spirituality and a common vision that all young people should be loved and respected as sons and daughters of God.
YCS students spoke about actions in their schools on climate justice, cultural inclusion and body positivity. YCW leaders likewise shared about local actions to address the cost-of-living crisis and overcoming loneliness. A digital campaign to raise awareness raising about work place safety was launched in response to the recent deaths of young workers in the workplace. The group was also treated to Adelaide YCW’s SOLidarity Music Night, a monthly event in the Adelaide CBD for young performers to express their talents for a cause.
The conference was the culmination of a national listening campaign to better understand the culture of Gen Z (13-25 year olds) who are the first generation of true digital natives. The YCW discovered that Gen Z believe profoundly in the efficacy of dialogue to solve conflicts and improve the world, and relate to institutions in a highly analytical and pragmatic way. The conference concluded with the young people supported by mentors committing to local and national action strategies in response to the voice of youth.