Written by Kiana Hardcastle and Mackenzie Dixon
As young impressionable students our minds can be influenced by the many toxic messages we see on social media, through friend groups and through society itself. Ignite Conference is a time where we were able to throw away those expectations and join together for an exhilarating experience for kids, students and adults from all over Australia. Held in the vibrant cities of Brisbane and Sydney, Australia, this annual conference brought together aspiring young minds to ‘ignite’ their passion for Our Father and service. It’s a time where we can “wonder” about what our calling is, where we are destined to go. As student attendees at the conference we were able to experience workshops that directly impacted our year level as well as a diverse range of keynote speakers which could cater to our individual interests.
From sessions on prayer and spirituality to discussions on social justice and advocacy, there was something for everyone. As a group of young women we were majorly impacted by the “Beautiful Girls” session. We left that workshop feeling a sense of belonging and had a significant amount of self-worth under God. That God loved us - we were perfect and God created us exactly how he wanted us to be.
Furthermore at Ignite we were surrounded by individuals who didn’t judge, mock or criticise the way we prayed and worshipped and I can say the people I’ve met at ignite are the most incredible, nicest people I’ve ever met. Therefore the strengthening of relationships doesn't just start with God but also with the people we attend Ignite with. We travelled as a group of 6 girls and 2 staff members and throughout the conference we experienced the flourishment of new found friendship with everyone and God. Our connection with God was so strong, it was almost like his presence was there. No matter if you felt you weren’t worthy enough or strong enough to build a relationship with God, anyone knew that it was ok and felt that it was just.
From the morning masses to late night rallies, we all experienced a new thought, mindset and life when searching for God. Filled with music about the praise of God and how he is our “wonder” in the light, we also come to expect the unexpected. Although everyone feels they are different, under God we are all the same. We were engaged by speakers, thought-provoking workshops and encouraged to join a mindset of reflection.
The conference also provided ample opportunities for worship and prayer. Daily Mass, adoration, and prayer services allowed us to come together as a community to praise and worship God. These moments of spiritual reflection and connection were truly transformative and helped us grow our relationship with God and understanding of what it means to be a Catholic.
With new found friendship with God and other inspired people, we come to thank everyone who organised and contributed to Ignite Conference. Through all their effort, personal stories that pulled our heart strings, and the entertainment of Emmanuel Worship and dancers, made our experience at Ignite, the time of our lives! We can’t forget to thank our parents who contributed and allowed us to attend this experience as well as Miss Helena and Miss Mears who took time out of their holidays to take us to Ignite!
If you are a student seeking to grow in your faith, connect with like-minded individuals, and explore how you can make a difference in the world. I highly encourage attending Ignite Conference. It is an event that will inspire, challenge, allow you to throw away those toxic expectations for good and equip you to become a servant leader in your faith community and beyond. So mark your calendars for the next Ignite Conference “RISE UP” and get ready to embark on a transformative journey of faith, fellowship and personal growth!
Kiana Hardcastle and Mackenzie Dixon