Hello! My name is Maggie Weber and I just recently went on a trip with my church to the 2017 Steubenville Youth Conference in Rochester, Minnesota! I am 16 and just got confirmed this past May. I’m going to talk (apparently a lot haha) about the trip and the lead up to the trip with all that I felt.
We had to go to weekly Wednesday classes in order to be confirmed. One of the nights Nikki Walz handed out flyers talking about a Steubenville Youth Conference. My first instinct was nope, no way. I am not a Jesus freak and this is not for me. Slowly throughout the weeks, however, she kept mentioning it to us and it was growing on me, sounding more and more interesting each time. When it came to about April, I had to have my confirmation interview. We got to choose who we wanted to do it with and I picked Nikki since she’s super awesome and I knew it wouldn’t be awkward with her. Nikki and I talked about different things and went through the questions. She then asked me if I wanted to go on the Steubenville trip. I finally caved in and said yes. Oh man, am I glad I said yes!
About a week before we were to leave, I was really doubting if I was “Catholic enough” to go. My mom was telling me that it was okay and that I would have a good time. The big thing she told me was to nourish my soul. I kept talking about how I wanted to meet a cute, Catholic boy (as a joke lol) and she would laugh with me, but she kept telling me to first and foremost nourish my soul, and that stuck with me the whole conference.
Finally! The first day of the trip had arrived and I was excited to go with my good friends Katie and Becca. That first day we went to the Our Lady of Guadalupe shrine in La Crosse, Wisconsin. There we did some service work, I stained tables, and we walked up to the shrine which was/is AMAZING. 10/10 recommend you go see it someday! We then went to our hotel and had a good night of sleep to prepare us for the next morning.
The next morning we got in the three vans and drove up to Rochester, Minnesota, for the conference! After we had lunch at Culver’s, we had to pick popsicle sticks, like usual, to see which van we would be in for that leg of the trip. I chose a blue stick which was Father Scott’s car. It was me, Father Scott, and four other boys in the van. I was the only girl so I got to sit in the front seat next to Father Scott! The coolest thing then happened to me, I was next to Father Scott while he was driving and all, and I get a call from Old Navy with a phone interview!! I had applied to Old Navy in late May and I finally got a call from them in the middle of July! I got an in store interview and I got the job!! I love it there 🙂
Anyways, that afternoon we got to the hotel, unpacked, and then walked to the Mayo Civic Center as a group for the first night of the conference. That first night was AWESOME! The band Sonar was there playing music to lead us in worship. Paul J. Kim and Bryan Kissinger both spoke to us that night. That same night we had adoration for maybe 10-15 minutes and it was okay. We had to do adoration for our confirmation requirements and I didn’t really understand it.
The second day was VERY LONG yet amazing. The day started at 8:30 am and we didn’t leave until 11:30 pm. That day we had Katie Prejean McGrady, Father Mike Schmitz speak to us, and were in adoration for 2 hours. Yep, 2 hours. And may I say that changed my life. When I get bored I look at my watch all the time to see how long things are taking, during Adoration I never looked at my watch. I cried a whole lot, that sounds kind of crazy but once you experience it there’s like 200 other people crying, some were falling over, it was crazy yet insanely beautiful. Father Mike Schmitz was carrying around the monstrance to show everyone and I got really close to it. All of a sudden it was just like woah, that is Jesus right there in front of me, and so many things in my life just clicked and I realized why things happened or what feelings I had locked up inside of me. When we first started, I felt a surge in my body and it never happened again after that and I realized that that was the Holy Spirit coming through me. It thoroughly changed my life.
Oh yeah! I also got a fast-pass for Reconciliation since Katie and I were waiting in the line and never got through haha. The food was really great, the people were nice, and I told Nikki and Tricia that I wanted to go again next year already! Katie, Becca and I were in the same room and we CRASHED that night. The next day we woke up at 6:40 ish and went to Starbucks at 7:35, we didn’t get our drinks until 8:10 lol. The last day was only a half day at the conference and we had Matt Regitz talk to us and we also had Sunday Mass that day which rounded out the conference. We went back to our room and packed then left Rochester which was sad but I felt like a whole new person.
That night we went to Camp Victory and it was SO MUCH FUN! We played carpet ball, 9-square, mini golf, and shared stories in our cabin. I truly did not want to leave. The next day came and we had to pack up and leave after we had morning prayer. The final thing we did was visit Saint Paul’s Cathedral and it was GORGEOUS! We had Mass there and then we went on our way back home to Saint Cloud. This trip changed my life and I truly feel my soul has been nourished in a great way. If you’re reading this and think it sounds kind of interesting or you have kids who maybe would like to go, GO!! It will truly change your life for the greater good! Thank you for reading this and may God bless you!