March 19, 2017: A virtual storm of social media updates erupted as Adventist youth around the globe flooded the online world with their experiences of Global Youth Day 2017.
Youth volunteered in various practical community-based service projects in an effort to “be the sermon” on Saturday, March 18.
Using the hashtag #GYD17, Adventist youth uploaded pictures, videos and a torrent of creative comments from community service projects to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other platforms.
Event organizers said the campaign generated more than 130 million impressions or online views of the hashtag #GYD17.
The aggregate of the social media activity amounted to what easily is the largest social media campaign in Adventist history.
A virtual airline called AirGYD “flew” around the world as mostly live updates from each “stopover” were aired.
Filmed on a set made to look like an airline cabin, AirGYD cabin crew hosted the 24-hour programming.
Service projects around the world ranged from free dog baths in South Africa to a “Love Booth” in Spain where passersby were encouraged to discover their “love language.”
The practical focus for the day was on donating blood. Definitive data is not yet available for all the blood donated by Adventist youth on the day. However, organizers think a Guinness World Record may have been set.
Flash flooding in Peru also received a lot of attention. Updates from the country featured efforts to aid survivors of the natural disaster.
In addition, volunteers in Germany and elsewhere focused on helping refugees struggling to survive. Live commentators singled out the world refugee crisis as a major priority for service.
AirGYD hosts emphasized the need to see #GYD17 not just as a day of service but to adopt service as a lifestyle.
Global Youth Day was launched by the General Conference headquarters of the Adventist denomination in 2013. It has since been held annually.
The event is held on Saturdays. Adventist youth are actively encouraged to skip attending church on the day and instead find a way to “be the sermon” through community service.