Monday, July 01, 2002

World Youth Day 2002

World Youth Day 2002 is coming up and it looks like the numbers are going to be down this year. I think they estimate approximately 200,00 with over 52,000 coming from the U.S. 9/11 and the consequent terror madness have definitely made people afraid of flying. Also because there is no guarantee that the pope will be there, given his health, more people are deciding to stay home.

I think there has to be a serious rethinking of the WYD project. In a sense it is fine and if it ain't broke then don't fix it. The way it is, they are assured of getting anywhere from 200,000 to 750,000 every WYD. But one issue that bothers them is the age range. They would like WYD to be seen more as an event for young adults, young 20s to 35, and less as an event for teenie boppers.

Well that's never going to happen given the current construct.

1. The word "youth," Europe notwithstanding, invokes images of 9-12th graders. No 20 year old and over would consider themselves "youth."

2. The cost is terribly prohibitive. If they want young 20 somethings and thirtysomethings, they have to realize that these people are either just starting out in the professional world or have very young families and cannot afford the costs of the events. Younger kids can have mommy and daddy pay, but not young adults, unless they are still students in some cases.

3. Housing is not geared to young adults. The standard package housing is gyms, dormitories, etc. This is fine for 16-18 year olds who are leaving home for the first time and find the whole experience to be one big adventure, but for adults, especially those with very young children, to offer such accommodations would border on being a cruel joke.

4. No child care or activities for toddlers or young children. If they are serious about the 25-35 age group then it is very likely that practising Catholic 35 year olds may have kids ages 7-10.

But can one solve these problems and not lose momentum. I don't think so. So I think instead they should re-focus on "youth" and skip the young adult rhetoric, at least for now.


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