Neorama Winter Retreat

Winter means hot chocolate, fairy lights and sweaters, but for youth group RISE, the winter season signals the coming of an event much more exciting: Neorama. This three days winter retreat, sponsored by BAYCC, took place in the Concord Hotel Plaza, and is a productive, diverse platform for a reflective and spiritual experience as the year comes to a close.

The annual Neorama- in 2023- functioned in a similar fashion, featuring interactive lectures, reading sessions, entertainment and much more. The event ran in correspondence with the BAYCC Winter Retreat: each day in Neorama featured one Cay, Cekirdek & Chat open discussion session, one informative lecture, one entertainment activity, one creative activity, two meals, and a lot of fun breaks.

Neorama hosted two different speakers daily, who then presented their expertise in an engaging discussion on topics previously voted for by the RISE members. Among the speakers were established names within the community, such as Alp Aslandogan, Nuray Yurt and Ibrahim Okuyucu to mention but a few. These discussion and lecture spaces were home to insightful and reflective conversations, marking the year’s end to be all the more memorable. Some of the favorite topics were “Anger Management and Taking Benefit” and “Leadership, Network, Connection”, which held the highest attendance in the event.

Engaging open discussions were not the only jewel of the program, however. As the pinnacle event of the youth group RISE, Neorama featured the regular RISE events in one big production, granting the participants the complete retreat experience. Activities such as Hiking, Ice Skating, Game Night and Escape Room were a few examples of the entertainment and team-building events that the program had to offer. The entire retreat was open to individuals from all ages, backgrounds and ethnicities, trademarking itself as a point of connection and diversity. The entire program ran in English, and accepted full time, as well as drop-in, attendance.

Handmade bookmarks, tally counters, masks, a rich collection of books, and other little gifts were available to the visitors as needed in the event lounge. Participants also got to enjoy a rich supply of snacks and beverages- in addition to the two meals provided daily- completely free of charge. That’s a lot of tea!

RISE: an emerging youth group in the Bay Area, is a youth activist team consisting of the younger members of the BAYCC – and many more. The team is committed to bridging and empowering fellow communities around the Bay Area by equipping them with knowledge, critical thinking, reflection, and the necessary resources. Through art, music, drama, philosophy and spirituality, RISE exercises this motive, laying stepping stones that kindle connection through the needs of the human soul.