Alastair Ross from Greenbank Parish, Edinburgh

Even though I’d never been before, I could sense that the NYA was going to be something of a special weekend  -not only for being something I have long craved (debating current issues with diverse peers while bringing a Christian perspective into play, no matter our individual strength of conviction), but also on something of a personal level too. I am pleased to say it did not disappoint! Despite some initial nerves (and consistently disorientating déjà vu) I began to settle into the non-stop rhythm of the weekend (Bambelela and the other songs helped with this greatly), meeting some amazing people and making new friends along the way.

The small groups setup was probably one of the best organisational ideas I’ve seen in regards to a debate and as such I hope to see this emulated elsewhere. As for the events out with the main debates, I felt overwhelmed by the choice of the workshops and didn’t want to have to choose only one of them to go to (what a nice problem to have!). Also, the late night discussions (‘The Great Divide’) were some of the most open, frank and enlightening discussions in which I have ever partaken, covering topics usually considered too taboo to be talked about by members of the church.

Despite not listening to the advice of not staying up late three nights in a row (I didn’t want to miss a thing), I was just too wired from the past few days and too uplifted by personal revelation to care: I can honestly say I have never had such an ingratiating, liberating and rejuvenating experience and pray that next year’s NYA brings the same sense of community and love as it did this year.