so you’re going to #ccoriseup

FILED IN: Personal, Rise Up

Rise Up is an annual young adults conference spanning five days & packed full of all sorts of good things to end the calendar year. This will be my fourth time attending CCO’s Rise Up & my third time photographing it, so I figured I’d pass on a little advice with the help of a couple friends :) 


Since the conference is in Vancouver (where I attended my first Rise Up!) let’s get this out there before anything else:

It’s called Raincouver for a reason, people. Waterproof your shoes. Bring a rain jacket. Little umbrellas aren’t bad, either. We’ve also been experiencing snow out here in the lower mainland (dude it’s weird) so be prepared for the cold, too!


Keep a pack of Halls nearby. Even if you don’t get sick odds are decent you’ll lose your voice anyway.



Bring a water bottle, yo. As CCO alumna Marlena Loughheed said recently, “Bring lots of chap stick and drink lots of water. Hotels are dry.”



A sweater for the main sessions is never a bad idea, especially if, like me, you’ve been used to having a blanket as part of your attire over the holidays.



Bring something to write with and something to write on. The amount of information coming at you will be incredible – give yourself a fighting chance to remember what stood out to you most by writing it down. It’ll help commit that stuff to memory AND you’ll have something concrete to go back to later.



Sleep. Or at least mentally prepare not to sleep. If you see me horizontal behind the comms table odds are I’m napping because the wall is real & I know I won’t be at my best if I ignore my body’s need for a little rest!



Give yourself extra time to get from your room to the sessions & vice versa. 700+ people all trying to use the elevators at once – just sayin.



Speaking of the elevator, that is a GREAT place to introduce yourself to people! You’re all stuck in a confined space breathing the same air so you’ve at least got that in common!



See someone sitting alone? Introduce yourself. Invite them to sit with you. It can be intimidating to attend Rise Up even with a group of friends, but some people go alone. How cool is it that they’re there & how cool that this opportunity to connect with them is right in front of you??



Fight for your prayer time. It’s easy to think, “I’m surrounded by a bunch of Catholics and I’ll be going to Mass everyday, etc so I don’t need time alone to pray”. Nope. There’s a 24/7 Chapel at RiseUp. You’ll be receiving a lot of information during the sessions that you’ll need to process and bring to the Lord. RiseUp can be noisy- not just sound, but an influx of information coming at you. Spend time in silence, make an effort to spend time on the most important relationship: you and Him.” – Carissa Benevides (CCO staff)




700+ people in the same room for five days = lots of potential for new friends. It’s easy to stay with the group you came with, or a group of people you know well, but what a great opportunity to meet new people from across the country! Make eye contact. Say hello. Ask a stranger what they thought of the session. Sit at a table with people you don’t know during brunch. Life is better when you share it with friends & this could be where you make new ones!



Explore the city. Find someone whose name tag says they’re from Vancouver & ask them for a recommendation! Or ask them to go with you on an adventure!


If you see people with silver badges on & dressed all nice, those are the CCO staff & they LOVE when y’all say hello! I personally go for a high five or a hug depending on how far into the conference we are & how much caffeine is in my system. Got a question? Ask the staff! They’re more than willing to answer it, to chat with you about how your conference experience is, to point you in the right direction for brunch – their schedules are demanding during Rise Up but they always, always, ALWAYS have time for you!



Get to know your roommates. You may be with people you already know, or you may not know anyone in the room, but you are roommates for a reason. Take a minute to debrief the day, ask each other what stood out to you from each talk, coordinate shower schedules. You never know what will come from those room assignments!



Start each day with your palms up, ready to give the Lord all the things you’re carrying into this conference & ready to receive all He wants to give you. Expect that the Holy Spirit will move. I can’t promise this conference will be life changing for you, but I have great expectations that if you ask Jesus to show you more of who He is throughout these five days – He will.



Anything you think should be added to the list? Let me know!


Give me a holla // Join me on the instagram