Presbyterian Youth Triennium: Days 2 and 3


At Purdue University, even the butterflies have to be in school colors. That’s what this guy told me, anyway.

boilermaker butterfly

I just couldn’t do it last night. I stared at the screen for a post. I tried to put words in the right order. The box had what looked like sentences but all I was creating was mush. Tonight’s better. I have a little more energy.

DAY TWO: (Mostly just a small group recap. Other stuff was neat, too, but small group is what’s memorable to me)

We met our small groups yesterday. That was completely the highlight for me. Since finding out I would be leading a small group, I’ve been praying vague prayers that boil down to: “let me be the right leader with the right kind of teaching for the group of youth and adults in my group” and “please please please let the group be cool.”

Collaborative art from 21 very cool people

Collaborative art from 21 very cool people

I love group #47. We have bonded. A small group number is on the back of everyone’s name badge. The sorting takes place on a big grassy area. Small group leaders line up (roughly) in order, holding giant signs with their group number. I was afraid nobody was going to join my group. I tried to steal early arrivers from group #44 and #48. Then our group started taking shape. Personalities were out immediately. Within 20 minutes, I had most of the 21 group members. We cheered that we had Hope and Joy in our group. ” Everyone showed except for Elizabeth. We did the right thing and added “Find Elizabeth” to our group covenant. (Turns out she was assigned to another group. She’s hear and we wish her well.)

Last night we all watched a documentary called “I Am” and for the most part, the youth in 47 appreciated it. I’m just going to leave the link for the international movie data base page for now. I’m afraid if I start trying to review it, I’ll never get day 3 written up. It’s worth a watch, though. The movie is thought provoking and clever.

One of my favorite parts of  Triennium is overhearing conversations. I did that during the discussion our group had after the movie. They were divided into two smaller groups and I wanted ideas from both to be shared. I decided to take notes on the chalkboard. Today I took a picture of that before letting my 47ers erase the board so they could practice drawing elephants. (So cool, these teens!) Anyway, I don’t know if it’s legible, but here’s the picture of my notes.

chicken scratches on a blackboard

(I was told I had handwriting that should be a font. I was also told “your notes remind me of when I used to debate.” Hmmm…)

There were some pretty great conversations on the way back to dorms last night, too. I was going to write down some of the “overheard at PYT” material, but most of it falls in the inside joke category. I’ll keep my ears open the next day and a half. I promise to share the good and/or funny stuff.

DAY THREE (aka today)

Man, I’m tired. Not just in need of sleep tired– though that’s true, too. I need rest. My feet are puffy from so much walking. My skin is soft from so much sweating. Tomorrow morning is a Sabbath where not much is on the schedule. I need it and I’m sure I’m not the only one. The humidity is making the air so heavy. I really feel for the participants not in air conditioned dorms. I’d share my a/c with them if it were possible. I know Triennium is doing as much as they can for hydration needs. There are a few misting and watering stations around campus. I talked to a non-Triennium participant who must be taking classes here. I didn’t catch his name and his English seemed a little new still, but he asked me if he could take a drink there and wanted to know what our conference was. He was glad we shared water.

Heat and humidity are tolerable if there's a fountain.

Purdue has some great fountains. They seem to be a pretty good source for cooling off, too. I’ve not been brave enough to leap through one….. yet….

Small group was more awesome today. In the morning we talked about hunger and did some food packing. The bummer part is that our station was almost out of bags. We had 30 minutes allotted for time and spent over half of it waiting for more bags to fill. The logistics of having 5,000 people pack food blows my mind. We were hot, sweaty but pretty understanding. We went back to our room and did a hunger simulation with a bag of skittles and some scenarios for lower, middle and upper class. The discussion was fantastic. It felt very #occupysmall group.

During afternoon small group, I pointed out that we only meet one more time tomorrow. There was weeping and gnashing of teeth. Not completely.  A sit in was mentioned. I don’t think they’ll do it but I will laugh very hard if they try. I’m already going to miss the characters in my group. I’ll have to get a good group shot.

This is not important but I feel I should mention that the Purdue Memorial Union has this great flatbread/pizza place and I had amazing Thai chicken pizza there. So yummy.

Okay. Tonight was the outdoor worship. I hate being outside on humid, bug-filled summer nights. You outdoor loving people are crazy. Bats were zooming overhead. I couldn’t find a comfortable position to sit in on the big hill by the amphitheater. My feet hurt. Whine, whine, complain, etc. In spite of my grumbling, God is still good and worship still resonated with me. My favorite parts were the unscripted parts: like when several youth ran down the hill to be in the pit right in front of the band during a rousing cover of Mumford & Sons. I was a little sad when, just as the youth seemed fired up from the song, they were told to go sit down because worship was starting. The candles are always cool. The internet will be littered with pictures of the cool candlelight stuff. You should know that as we were sent to our dorms, “This Little Light of Mine” was sung near the front and it spread through the crowd. I don’t think that part was planned but it was beautiful.

candlelight worship

(I was thinking “Silent Night” but then, I’m weird. In other weird song news– I heard someone whistling as I was setting out stuff for my small group. I didn’t take time to track down the whistler but I was trying to figure out what the song was. It was so familiar. Finally I realized it was an Elmo song from Sesame Street. How fun is that?!)

Okay. I’m using too many ( )s and am to the rambling stage– sort of where I was last night when I decided I shouldn’t inflict a zillion words on you. I’m just giving snippets here. I’m sure after processing more of PYT, I’ll be a little more succinct and coherent. Sleep might help, too. I’ll try to post something after tomorrow but it will be late and I will be in mourning because no more regular group 47 meetings.

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