A weekend of discovery & self-enrichment

Relationships in today’s society often prioritise appearances, status, and social affiliations over deep personal connections.

May 17, 2024

By Annavisha Alfred and Fiona Nunis
Relationships in today’s society often prioritise appearances, status, and social affiliations over deep personal connections. As we navigate a world dominated by image, money, influence, and recognition, the essence of truly knowing someone is frequently overlooked. This shift toward superficial interactions might be preventing us from forming meaningful relationships.

The growing sense of isolation many people experience, despite unprecedented connectivity through technology and social networks, underscores this issue. Recent studies in America reveal a stark contrast in loneliness across generations: about 79 per cent of young adults aged 18 to 24 report feeling lonely, compared to 41 per cent of seniors aged 66 and older.

This is where the CHOICE weekend comes into play - a transformative experience unlike any other. It is not only a journey of personal discovery but also an opportunity to understand the profound impact our relationships have on our wellbeing. The programme encourages participants to reassess their priorities, forge more authentic connections, and cherish the relationships they have, offering a path out of the loneliness epidemic.

The CHOICE programme began touching and transforming lives in the 1970s with a very simple, down to earth, personal, intimate yet powerful way of approach, with the guidance and fundamentals of the Catholic faith. The core of the programme is to emphasise on the importance of relationships with family, friends, church, community, and God, through a personal commitment in acts of love and service to others, encapsulating its motto: To Know, To Love & To Serve, while elevating participants’ perception on their general outlook of life.

The weekend allows us to cut away from the hustle and bustle of the city life, allowing us to submerge ourselves deeply into the experience of the weekend. Sharing from individuals and presentations from others help us open our mind and reflect on our own relationships with others. Group interactions to exchange experiences and solo exercises help participants to express, talk and think about the hard things that usually are brushed away under carpets especially common in our modern society.

The most recent CHOICE weekend, held from April 19 to 21, brought together 38 individuals for an unforgettable experience. Participants left with renewed perspectives, having deepened their selfawareness and formed meaningful connections. Here are some reflections shared by those who attended:

Nicholas Kuan recounted his transformative journey: “A weekend disconnected from reality. It was nothing short but an enriching experience. I discovered more about myself, recalled core memories, and made new friendships. I went in with zero expectations and not thinking about what was to happen next. It was definitely worth it.”

Hannah Grace shared her enthusiasm: “In the beginning, I went in completely blind, with no expectations and no clue what we were going to do. A few of my friends who were previous CHOICE participants urged me to go. I’m so glad I did! I'm so blessed to be part of this family now. It was truly an experience of a lifetime, deeply fulfilling and touching. I went to CHOICE with no friends and came out with 50 of them. Thank you for giving me the chance and opportunity to know, to love, and to serve.”

Lorrenzos David Emmanuel expressed his gratitude: “I had no idea about the programme initially. ‘JUST GO!’ was the response I got from previous participants. I will never regret joining the CHOICE programme. It gave me a chance to selfreflect. If you are curious about what CHOICE is all about, just go and see!”

The CHOICE programme is usually held once or twice a year, catering to a limited group of no more than 40 participants per weekend. This is to maintain the effectiveness and intimate nature of the experience. It is designed specifically for young single adults aged 24 to 40, from various backgrounds and ethnicities, ensuring a rich diversity of experiences and perspectives.

The team is heartened by the strong interest shown by potential applicants and warmly invites them to join us for our next session in August 2024. Currently, CHOICE is active within the Arch/dioceses of Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Malacca Johore, Kuching, Miri, and Sibu. We look forward to welcoming new participants from these communities and beyond.

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