As a youth animator of the Diocese of Mangalore from 1978 to 1984 & was fortunate to associate myself with the growth of YCS/YSM in Karnataka. Gladly, I would like to share a few experiences of these days.

    A few cells of YCS were in existence in some of the schools in the Mangalore City, but the movement gained momentum in the late seventies and the early eighties. Sri George Joseph the national president of YCS/YSM with encouragement and guidance of Rev. Fr. Valerian D’Souza SJ and Fr. John Desrochers opted to work full time to consolidate YCS/YSM in the diocese of Mangalore and extend it to the other dioceses of Karnataka. At this juncture I was appointed the youth animator for the diocese of Mangalore and Fr. Leslie Moras, the youth animator of Mysore. We formed the team along with a few other animators and then began the works of consolidation and extension of YCS/YSM in Karnataka.

    Initially the work of identifying, contacting and bringing together of animators and student leaders, first in individual dioceses and then in the regional level was a daunting task. It meant long hours of travel through the length and breadth of the dioceses in Karnataka. Initial discussions with the diocesan authorities and the heads of the schools and institutions to convince them of the needs and possibilities of youth animation required considerable skill and tact. Everywhere we went with enthusiasm, encouragement, and appreciation were not lacking. This helped us in accepting all other hardships that we had to encounter due to long hours of travel, tiring sessions and meetings with rest and comforts.

    Question of finances too was big; at least in the initial stages. But people of good will and generosity often came to our rescue. Once I had just concluded a training programme for students and I had gone to visit the director of the institute before departure. Somehow he came to know I was unable to put together enough money to pay the bills immediately. He asked for the bills, when I handed over the bills he asked me to leave them there and go. Similar experiences I have had in many places while conducting programmes for students. Of course, the support from YCS and other donor agencies was always there. Students were very supportive. My belief that no good work has ever suffered due to lack of funds is reinforced due to the generosity and good will of a number of persons. I came into contact during my work with YCS/YSM.

    Work of training, and motivating youth animators and student leaders at the diocesan, regional and national level were conducted in various places. It was a team work and a number of committed animators and students emerged. True, the sessions were tiring, but the enthusiasm of the participants kept our hopes soaring. Even after so many years away from the mainstream from the movement. I feel so comforted when some of the students now in various responsible occupations tell me the movement gave a direction to their life, and how the fellow feeling they experienced during the camps makes them feel nostalgic even today.

    Questions like to spirituality of the movement, methodology of awareness- reflection- action needed time to be imbibed by the students as well as animators. Attraction of activities over reflection on values needed patience to overcome. The multi religious context in Karnataka, was never a hindrance as the students were often more broadminded and catholic in their outlook and attitudes than expected. As there were a number of generous and hardworking animators and students within a short time, we could boast of a regional setup of YCS/YSM in Karnataka, with its own regional office, its own regional newsletter containing articles in English and Kannada, and booklets for guidance during cell meetings. By the time I moved over to full time teaching in school in 1984, most of the catholic schools in Karnataka were contacted and many had active cells of YCS/YSM in their schools I wish that the movement grows, becoming the leaven of transformation of our society reaching out to many more students and people at large

Rev. Fr. John A Barboza
Karnataka Region


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