Junior Madylan Scott reflects on her experience at World Youth Day

Lianna Arenas, Staff Writer

By Lianna Arenas

While witnessing the Pope driving through the streets of Panama City, junior Madylan Scott thought she was dreaming.

“We got a spot that was 10 feet away from him and at one point he waved at us,” said Scott. “That experience is something I will never forget.”

Unforgettable, irreplaceable, and inviting are three words Scott used to describe her recent trip to Panama City, Panama for World Youth Day, a five-day event in which youth from all around the world congregate in one city with the presence of the Pope. World Youth Day was first instituted by Pope John Paul II in 1985. This year’s theme was based on the following scripture: “I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your world” (Luke 1:38).

With about four million youth taking part in this event, they could barely walk down the streets. Every single country representation that Scott could possibly think of was at this event.

Scott was picked to go to Panama this year because her Virginia Beach community wanted a representative from its church in hopes to build up its youth community.

“They wanted someone who was kind of strong and head on, so they asked me,” said Scott, who added that she had great experience filled with various activities in the presence of multiple youths who had the same beliefs and passion of the Catholic Church as she did.

“I really wasn’t expecting it to be as good as it was,” said Scott. “It changed my perspective on why the Catholic Church is so universal, why all of these retreats and pilgrimages happen, and I  saw the positive impacts that these different events have.”

Activities such as exploring the city and visiting different churches enticed Scott as she took in the culture such as Panama’s architecture.

“There’s still a little bit of [American architectual influence] along with Spanish influence,” said Scott. “Our group wanted to go to the different churches to see the different types of architecture and how the different cultures influenced the way the churches were built.”

Scott encourages students to participate in other youth conferences as all are very eye-opening and hold valuable lessons.

“We have different events throughout the year, and I would definitely recommend this to others,” said Scott. The next worldwide youth conference will take place in Lisbon, Portugal in 2022. Panama was very welcoming according to Scott as the inhabitants filled the streets with cheers and smiles.

“The culture was very inviting to everyone as it showed that all were welcome,” said Scott.

Scott wants other youth to know not to take any experience up for granted and reach out as much as you can.

“It’s a lot easier to be indulged in a culture,” said Scott. “It is super important to go travel, to go to these different countries, and to go explore to broaden your experience.”