Young people need spirituality and they also seek fellowship with other church people their own age. GOYA (Greek Orthodox Youth of America) provides opportunities for young people aged 12 to 18 to learn about their Orthodox Faith and heritage. They participate in social and athletic activities in a wholesome Orthodox Christian atmosphere. Meetings are held on regular basis.
Our GOYA participates in the following Tampa Bay Area events:
- Voleball Tournament in St. Petersburg at St. Stefanos GOC (Mid-October)
- Clearwater Winter Event at Holy Trinity GOC (Martin Luther King Weekend)
- Great Lent Retreat at St. John GOC in Tampa (varies according to the time of Pascha)
- Summer Olympics at St. John GOC in Tampa (second weekend in June)
There are two major Metropolis of Atlanta events for GOYA:
- St. Stephen Summer Camp with four sessions in the month of July and beginning of August at the Diakonia Retreat Center in Salem, SC
- Winter Rally organized every year by the Youth Ministry Department of our Metropolis in Atlanta, GA – December 27th-January 1st.
Our elected officers for this year are:
Evan Geis, President
Dimitri Smith, Vice President
Tyler Shanahan, Treasurer
Demi Gianopoulos, Secretary
GOYA Advisor and Liaison is Maria Geis.
WHAT IS GOYA?
MISSION AND GOAL OF GOYA MINISTRY
The mission and goal of GOYA ministry is to lead our young people into experiencing the Holy Orthodox Faith. By developing a personal relationship with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and becoming active sacramental members of the living Church, our young people will be equipped with tools necessary to assist them in their journey toward salvation.
WHO IT SERVES
The Greek Orthodox Youth of America, or GOYA, is the ministry to teenagers of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Since GOYA is ministry, the orientation and implementation of the program should reflect the Orthodox Christian Faith, Tradition and Life.
GOYA is ministry to junior high and high school grade Orthodox Christian teenagers. Teenagers should be in seventh through twelfth grades to participate. It is recommended that GOYA ministry be divided into two distinct groups, the junior high GOYA ministry and the high school GOYA ministry.
The teenagers themselves prefer the specific age groupings since they can relate better with others who share the same age and school environment. More importantly, it is more developmentally appropriate for these age groups to be separated. Senior High GOYAns are ready to learn different things than Junior High GOYAns.
This approach is the most effective, however it does demand more of the parish priest, youth director and advisors. In smaller parishes, the number of teenagers is fewer; therefore, making GOYA two distinct groups may not be feasible.
If having two groups is not possible, pay special attention to the developmental needs of the individual young people in the group by making sure activities are appropriate for all of the youth. Occasionally, special activities can be planned for specific grades. For example, an outing to a College Career Night for the high school seniors may be planned.
YOUTH MINISTRY FOUNDATION
The foundation of all youth ministry is the cultivation and education of our young people in order to become viable members of the Body of Christ. GOYA is but one means to this end. GOYA must not stand alone, but be incorporated into the entire sphere of the Church’s mission.
The adolescent world is constantly changing – it is virtually impossible to keep up with every new trend and movement of youth culture. Growing up in today’s society is a much more difficult task than it was in previous times. Our young people are being shaped by negative and destructive influences, ones that can and will define who they are and who they will become. For this reason, the positive teachings and traditions of the Orthodox Church must become a living presence in their lives. This makes young ministry not an option — but a necessity.
THE FOUR CHARACTERISTICS
The National Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries recommends that GOYA ministry be based on the following four characteristics: Worship (Liturgia), Fellowship (Koinonia), Service (Diakonia), and Witness (Martyria).