I have been going to the British Columbia Anglican Youth Movement (BCAYM) Thanksgiving Long Weekend conference since I was fourteen years old. My parents made me go, and just like many other experiences in my life, I am very happy that they did.

It was at a conference where I first felt safe enough, as a teenager, to express my faith-and to be my wonderfully weird self. It was OK to be odd and awkward because the cool people at conference were usually the people who are also a bit odd and awkward.

I have made many good friends at conferences. Some I hope will belife-long friendships. I have had some of my most moving spiritual experiences surrounded by those same people at conference.

The BCAYM Thanksgiving Long Weekend conference drew nearly 60 people to Williams Lake.

Friends have shown me Christ's love has no conditions. I have found that most people who attend BCAYM don't talk about their faith at length; rather they let their actions speak for them. I suppose it is this attitude of faith lived in action that has made the BCAYM a very positive and uplifting community for me.

This year's conference was held in the diocese of the Parishes of the Central Interior, formally known as the Diocese of Cariboo, at St. Paul's in Williams Lake. The parish, a mid size to small church, was very welcoming and accommodating-no small task with just under sixty young people descending on their parish.

Our theme speaker Dan Hines gave a very interesting introduction to Franciscan theology, with the aid of the movie "Brother Sun Sister Moon". It is a difficult task to engage an age range from fourteen to twenty-five, yet Dan managed to make Francis of Assisi engaging for both those who were just learning about him or, like myself, have had some formal and informal exposure to St. Francis.

Beyond theological engagement, the BCAYM has a tradition of small group game activities that build friendship and trust. This year the theme for our activities was "the Olympics." We threw the shot put with water balloons, we went "bob sled" bobbing for apples, and performed a type of "figure skating." Watching Ward Cooper and Greg Bueschkens "skating" through the parish hall to a rewritten, gender-appropriate rendition of Avril Lavigne's "Skater Boy," was most memorable. Ward and Greg performed with the best choreography of the lot.

BCAYM conference has been a great experience in my life. I have served on the BCAYM council in the past and I am presently one of the diocese's representatives to the BCAYM. Alex Starr and Amy Bushby also serve on council from our fair diocese. In two years the BCAYM Thanksgiving Long weekend Conference will be held here.

A new development in our diocese has been the formation of a diocesan youth ministry group made up of youth and others involved in youth ministry. We try to promote interconnectedness among all youth and those interested in youth ministry throughout the diocese.

We have had a few planning meetings, a BBQ in August that was attended by people from all over the diocese, and a Pub night on October 9th. There are also plans in the works for a sleepover event in January or early February. If you are interested in what Diocesan Youth Ministry is doing, we are on Facebook, with the group name Dioceses of New Westminster Youth, or you can contact Louise Cooper at my email lmc6@sfu.ca for more information.