The first Eastern Caribbean Youth Encounter (ECYE) was held in 2005 in St. Kitts. Since then, Encounter has been an annual event for youths from across the Eastern Caribbean. Over the years, it has brought together youths from Antigua, St. Kitts, Nevis, Anguilla, Dominica, St. Lucia, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and the USA. Due to the tremendous explosion and high participation rate, Jamaica has been hosting its own event since 2013.
(i) To provide the environment for the youths to have a divine encounter, leading to a personal choice to serve the Lord.
(ii) To build in the youths a clear understanding of the importance of adhering to the values and principles of the kingdom.
(iii) To heighten their awareness of world affairs and to ensure that they understand its implications in the context of the kingdom of God.
(iv) To create an environment in which they can learn to build healthy relationships among themselves and with others.
To cater to the varying objectives and wide range of youths who attend Encounters, a wide variety of activities are regularly planned. These include:
• Teaching Presentations
• Worship Sessions
• Personal Watered-ness sessions
• Ark Building Sessions
• Talent Presentations
• Sports and Games
• Beach Picnics
The first Sunday of the Encounter is usually dubbed Super Sunday. Several Kingdom Communities (i.e. churches) join the campers for corporate worship followed by lunch. The evening usually concludes with a talent display.
A second major highlight for many of the youths is the banquet, a formal dinner that is held on the last night of the Encounter.
Leadership and Oversight
The robust leadership structure is set in place to ensure effective management and stewardship of the event. This consists of:
- A Coordinator and Assistant Coordinator(s)
- Dorm Leaders
- Team Leaders
There is also a resident kitchen staff, which is usually assisted by several adult volunteers.
Each year, the Senior Elders and other leaders of the church communities from which participants are drawn attend the Encounter. They provide valuable oversight and support for its management team.
The ECYE has been an immensely successgful experience. Many lives have been transformed and there is no doubt that the impact will continue through generations