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RYM Committee Retreat

By Terence Toh

Date:      15 - 18 January 2010

Place:    Selesa Homes, Bukit Tinggi

People:  RYM Committee members 

Selesa Hillhomes. A quiet little country resort in Bukit Tinggi, Pahang. Known as a quiet, peaceful place, ideal for PGA wannabes to catch a round of golf, or for city-weary folk eager to relax and get away from it all. A place that few people would connect with hard work and planning. 

RYM committee retreat 2010

Yet hard work and planning were precisely what happened from 15 to17 January 2010, when a bunch of 14 rambunctious youth from the Revolution Youth Ministry of Saint Ignatius Church, Petaling Jaya, descended upon the hill resort for a three-day planning retreat. This retreat is something of a tradition for RYM, which holds it annually in order to facilitate discussion and promote brainstorming for the youth ministry’s main events of 2010. Combining brainstorming sessions, year reviews and open discussions, as well as good old-fashioned fun activities, the retreat was a great success, allowing for members to bond better with each other as well as well as properly structure the upcoming year’s events. 

Present at this retreat were the main committee of the Revolution Ministry, together with their advisor, Francis Loh, and four other regular members specially invited to this retreat in order to get a closer look at the inner workings of this ministry. Sadly unable to attend, however, was Youth@Work leader Kevin Avinash, who unfortunately had personal matters to attend to. 

The group arrived at Selesa Homes at the dead of night of 15 January. After checking in, they first engaged in Quirks, a lively game designed to reveal the achievements, fears and secrets of their members, before a night prayer session and finally calling it a night. 

RYM committee retreat 2RYM committee retreat 3

The following day was all business. Day 2 of the retreat started off with a team-building exercise conducted by the group’s advisor, called The Blind Leading The Blind. The committee was divided into two groups, with one group putting on blindfolds and the other tasked to guide them to a specific area through voice guidance along, with groups switching roles on the journey back. The experience was aimed to foster trust among the group as well as stress the importance of proper communication in a ministry. Most members found the experience enlightening, sharing freely on both the helplessness they felt at being deprived of one of their senses, as well as the burden of responsibility taken on when guiding their friends back. 

After that, the Planning Sessions officially begun. Facilitated by the group’s Chief Coordinator John Low, the events of the previous year were discussed and analysed, and suggestions for future events mooted. Discussions were thorough and comprehensive, covering all matters from the group’s Finance and Cell Groups to their bimonthly Workshops and mamak outings. Major events such as the annual Youth Camps and Christmas parties were discussed, with new members put in charge of organising them. Despite the long and often gruelling sessions, members remained attentive and helpful throughout, never at a loss to contribute ideas for the betterment of their ministry. 

The group only took a break for a short swim at the Selesa Homes pool and a scrumptious steamboat dinner, as well a short visit to one of the local Bukit Tinggi mamaks. 

The last day of the retreat was a conclusion of the planning sessions, as well as a wrap-up of the group’s mission and plans for this year. The Committee decided on a new mission statement for the Revolution Youth Ministry, proclaiming themselves to be a ministry dedicated to ‘reaching out to youth and guiding them to be modern-day disciples of Christ’. The four new members in this planning retreat were also appointed as assistant coordinators in the group’s various ministries, which they accepted with pride: Alan Keevan was appointed to the Praise and Worship team, Damian Khaw to the Youth@Mamak team, Norah Khor to the Publicity team and Patrick Lai to the newly revamped Youth@Work and Sports. 

Once all this was done, the group packed up and checked out, and headed for lunch at a local restaurant. But the adventure was not over yet: from there, they further headed to Bentong, where they paid a visit to the Paradiso Fruit Farm, which happened to be owned by the group’s advisor. 

RYM committee retreat 4

After all the hard work at the retreat, the group took the opportunity to let their hair down and really have a good time at the farm, picking fruits, going hiking, and motorcycling all around. Some members were privileged to enjoy a four-wheel drive journey on a rocky road up a nearby foothill, which proved to be a delightful experience full of thrills and excited shouts. The group was also fortunate enough to have come right around the durian season, and thus were able to try out a great variety of durians with various textures, smells and tastes, most notably the famous ‘Elvis Presley’ variety.  

Night soon fell, and a campfire was built and enjoyed for a while before the group decided to call it a night, and return to Petaling Jaya. Most of them enjoyed themselves so much that they pledged to return to the farm someday, despite it lacking modern conveniences such as phone and wireless reception. As tired as they were, the Revolution Youth Ministry left Bentong happy, as well as excited for the many coming events they had planned for 2010.   

“This was a very fruitful and well-spent retreat with the leaders of the youth,” advisor Francis Loh said about the trip. “The cooperation and excitement shown by the youth, as well as their commitment in the planning of this year was very inspiring.”

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