The Youth Gathering has given rise to a number of traditions.  For example, every prayer session, from the Dome on down to ServantLife blessings, begins with “The Lord be with you,” “And also with you.”  But not all of the traditions are so formal.

A certain fad has been circulating for quite some time in public places worldwide: “Free hugs.”  The Free Hugs Campaign has apparently made its way to the Youth Gathering, as evidenced by fairly common handmade signs.

As of Friday, free hugs were no longer on the cutting edge: some Gathering participants have begun offering “Deluxe Hugs” for $1.  Shrewd marketing, but no word yet on what makes a “deluxe” hug.

High-fives between JJJ attendees–particularly as an introduction or between those who don’t know each other–are also common.

And just this morning, I met a JJJ volunteer on a smile campaign–asking everyone in sight to “give him a smile” and rewarding them with high-fives.  It made for a good way to add a little optimism to a roomful of JJJ youth still clearing the sleep out of their eyes.  (What little sleep they got, that is.)