Local Youth & young adult

On a mission–NCYC 2011

Swaps make NCYC memorable


by Jessica Langdon
jessica@theleaven.org

If anyone uttered the words “Oh, there you are, Perry” during the final day of the National Catholic Youth Conference, there’s a good chance they had spotted Juliana Alvey.

Juliana, a member of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Kansas City, Kan., is a big fan of the animated Disney Channel series “Phineas and Ferb” and its Perry the Platypus character.

She didn’t start out the conference set on finding something related to the family pet who leads a secret life as “Agent P.” But trading is big business at these conferences. When she spotted the green knit hat with Perry’s image, she knew what she had to do.

It wasn’t her first trade. She had actually been wearing a plain pink hat similar to the Perry one while eating with her group on Nov. 18.

“This kid with a wolf hat was, like, ‘Oh, my gosh, trade me your hat,’” she said.

So Juliana did.

The next morning, she spotted the hat she had to have.

“I am obsessed with the show — like hard-core obsessed,” explained Juliana.

But it wasn’t an easy trade; the other girl had her eye on something, too.

“I’m not trading unless you can find me a corn hat,” she told Juliana.

Her mission was clear.

“I literally went around the whole bottom of Lucas Oil Stadium looking for a corn hat until someone would trade me, and I ran back to get my hat,” she said, proudly adjusting the braids that hang down from the cap.

As far as she knew, she was the only one wearing this particular hat, and people kept asking her to trade.

She wouldn’t put a price on Perry, though.

“It’s completely priceless,” she laughed. “There is nothing I would trade for.”

Groups took everything from buttons, wristbands and slap bracelets to pens, beads, hats and more to trade at NCYC.

If, like Juliana, a participant really wanted something, there was a good chance he or she could barter for it. There was even a “Trading Post” set up in Victory Park, the baseball-themed area that featured games, a coffee house, hundreds of exhibits, and places to shop.

While the trading was fun, all the kids knew their souvenirs weren’t the most important things they’d be taking home from NCYC.

For Juliana, her real keepsake would be a lesson in learning to take new steps in life. She’s a senior, and her high school years have been filled with NCYC experiences, World Youth Day and Teens Encounter Christ retreats.

Although that chapter will soon close, she knows her story of faith doesn’t end there.

“I have to take what I’ve gotten in high school and bring it with me to college, bring it with me out into the world, and bring it to everyone who needs it,” she said.

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Jessica Langdon

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