Written by Barb Powell
Teens at the United Church of Christ’s National Youth Event aren't spending every minute in workshops, worship and service. They are also finding free time to tour the exhibit hall at the Memorial Union Club.
The Literacy Labyrinth, a campaign with a goal of collecting 3,000 books, grew a little more with each donated book Wednesday. There were booths on a range of issues and memorabilia on sale on the Purdue campus in West Lafayette, Ind., after the conclusion of the day's afternoon break-out groups and project sessions.
Official NYE 2012 T-shirts sold out in the afternoon as attendees weaved through The Store at NYE for shirts, books, pins and bumper stickers.
M.K. Asante's book, It's Greater Than Hip-Hop, flew off the shelf Tuesday night before another set arrived. Kaitlyn Benware knew she needed a copy and promptly purchased one.
Benware, a 17-year old from the Church of the Nativity in Buffalo, N.Y., said Asante's speech was "very emotional" because she had a difficult childhood.
"I thought [the book was] something I could relate to, because I'm a writer and a musician," she said. By reading the book, Benware hopes to better understand herself and learn about pushing through obstacles.
Around the corner from The Store, the UCC's Justice and Witness Ministries distributed 13 colored wristbands –– each representing a specific issue ranging from racial and gender justice to poverty, sex education, environmental awareness and fitness. Justice and Witness also had an on-site voter registration area as part of its ‘Our Faith, Our Vote’ campaign.
Among those ready to participate in the fall election, 18-year old Justin Dubois of Manchester, N.H. stood over a laptop and registered to cast a ballot in early November. He saw the booth and acted on a chance to participate in the democratic process and vote in a presidential election.
Dubois, traveling with the New Hampshire Conference to his first NYE, attended workshops on bullying and human rights. "This has been an opportunity to learn about a variety of topics," he said.