Reflection on Summer Camp 19/20
By Elisabeth Roberts
Well, this year's Summer Camp was definitely an eventful one. We had it all: 40°C weather, high fire risk, smoke haze, a brief storm, a 15-hour power outage, and a cursed prank in one of the boys bathrooms (which was all dealt with rather coolly by our phenomenal convenor Caleb Schulz). But through it all everyone stayed safe, and the potential disasters led to some great times of fellowship.
On the evening of day four, after hiding inside from the skin-melting heat all day, we suddenly lost power—back-up generator and all. This meant a Q+A session in the dark and the unfortunate cancellation of The Even Later Show with Shady and Di. It seemed like a pretty unfortunate situation, but ended up turning into one of the best nights of camp.
After Q+A everyone started to congregate on the deck outside the dinning hall in the dim light of dusk, chatting and enjoying a very welcome cool change. It started to trickle with rain, but no one was fazed, it was still nicer outside than in the stuffy buildings. Someone put on music and people started dancing and singing along. (The key demographic of the camp became quite obvious when everyone started belting out the chorus of Country Road, and when over a hundred kids were stomping their feet in unison to the Nutbush.) Instead of spiralling into disaster, our loss of electricity seemed to bring everyone together. It was an entirely impromptu night, but ended up being memorable for all the right reasons.
Among the unexpected occurrences one thing stayed consistent this camp: God’s word was faithfully taught. We were blessed to have Andy May deliver six gospel filled talks on what God’s will is for our lives. We were reminded each day that ultimately God’s will is for us ‘to know Jesus: Maker, Manger, and King’ as well as how to apply that truth as we make decisions like: ‘who should I marry?’, ‘where should I live?’, and ‘what should I study at uni?’.
Andy was able to bring such a big scary topic to a simple relatable level. I was so encouraged chatting with campers over the week, during studies and in free time, about how they were wanting to shape their lives and decisions around their relationship with Jesus, and their desire to know Him better.
After such a wholesome week, we finished things off on New Years Eve with a murder—facilitated by our activity coordinators Ben and Isaac. It was their crescendo to a week of board game themed activities. Luckily, the murderee didn’t seem super bothered by the situation and, after frantically running around the campsite in search of clues, we found the murderer. I’m not sure what happened to them though, they may still be at large somewhere at Forest Edge...
Anyway, it was a great camp, (I did definitely have a lowlight though: the return of Climb, Climb Sunshine Mountain. It should have stayed dead, how dare you Noah Patterson.) and as we move into a new year of PYV—a new decade of PYV—I look forward to being a part of more fun, Jesus filled camps and events (and Sunshine Mountain disappearing into obscurity once more).
Looking back at Summer Camp 18/19
Check out Brian's Summer Camp 18/19 reflections here:
Looking back on Summer Camp 16/17
By Nathan Smith (Drouin Presbyterian Church)
Summer Camp 16/17, for me, was one of the best things PYV has put on in my time going to camps. Although I have never had a bad speaker or discouraging leader in my time with PYV, this topped the list.
The numbers were down a little with not so many older campers which for me, changed the camp not having as many friends around. But that didn’t matter in the end; the activities this year gave a great challenge for a large skill range. Whether you could run 2km in 5 minutes, paint a detailed picture of a Shrek and Donkey, or remember the year each Disney cartoon was released, you could participate in the activities in one way, shape or form, and enjoy them. When you weren’t running around like a headless chicken, the leaders were there to play, talk and keep you company. Their effort in studies and activities also were outstanding making for a non-stop, exciting time.
The camp was a whole lot of fun, to say the absolute least, but there’s one thing that made the camp. Each day, campers, leaders and all met in the Sessions room to praise God and listen to His word. The music team, led by Kevin, played some really moving, modern, praise and worship songs that really connected with the age bracket attending and led into some encouraging events. Jared Keath (minister of Frankston Presbyterian Church) presented a talk each and every day from Exodus to just over 150 campers and numerous leaders; a pretty tough gig to be honest. But, man, did he do it well.
Jared mainly looked at the life of Moses, but the way he compared that and made it relevant to us today is astounding. The connections were a great encouragement and challenge at the same time. The main points we learnt/were reminded of were the God is faithful and in control, that He’s King, Judge and Saviour all at the same time, and His overflowing holiness. Along with this, I personally had the greatest encouragement on the fourth day where Jared read of the Israelites leaving God when they were tested. And the way he related that to us was so encouraging; God works through tough situations to 1. see the heart of the person and 2. work for the good of those who love Him. For me, that was extremely relevant and a great encouragement. If you want to hear more about this and the other talks, you can check them out on the PYV Website (https://www.pyv.org.au/multimedia/audio).
I’ve talked for a bit long but to wrap up briefly, camp this time around has been oh so very well done. Encouraging, challenging, relationship-building, great fun, character-building and faith-strengthening (most of which are [hyphenated] words I made up). Before I sign off, I’d like to say a huge thank you to Jared for some spectacular talks, Sherif for organising some great studies, to Callum for the entertaining activities, Bec for the fun sessions, the First-Aiders for all your time and effort, Chaplains for support, Radio show hosts and other leaders too. And second lastly, Brian for all the effort and direction you give in these camps. And finally, Kirsten for putting so much into this year’s (and last’s) camp and giving it the best possible opportunity to influence and bring young youth into a relationship with God.
By Brian Harvey (Youth Ministries Director)
For six days from Dec 27 2016 to Jan 1 2017, nearly 130 campers along with a terrific team of leaders gathered at Rawson Village in Gippsland for the 2016 PYV Summer Camp. Over these days we spent time together as a large group, time as smaller groups, and even time alone. And it was all done to the glory of God.
Rev Jared Keath preached six times from the book of Exodus. Through these sermons he helped us to see not only how God was active in the time of Moses in Egypt, but that God is still very much active today in our towns and in our lives. We were able to see through the first 13 chapters of Exodus that God is a God who is holy, who is faithful, who makes himself known, and much more. Jared helpfully led us to see that what we read here points forward to Jesus. How blessed we are to have preachers of this calibre in our churches, helping us to understand the Old Testament in light of all that Jesus has done.
The campers were divided into smaller groups to reflect on what they had heard in the sermons. There were good discussions taking place in these small groups, and I am thankful for the chance to have been a part of those discussions. If you have some from your church who were at the camp, please talk with them about what they heard and discussed in these groups. I hope they will be able to share with you some of the good things they talked about.
Campers were also divided up into smaller activity groups. Where the study groups were age-based, the activity groups were divided evenly so all groups had younger and older, shorter and taller campers involved. Through the camp there were a number of activities everybody was involved in. Each of these activities scored points for their team and when there is chocolate for a prize, you don't want to waste the chance to win.
Campers and leaders also had time each day to sit quietly and read through a passage of scripture and reflect on it. Some questions were offered to everyone to consider as they read through that passage. It is our undying hope that teenagers will use this model when they get home and be able to read through the Bible consistently and give thought to what they are reading.
The weather wasn't always in our favour, and so a few activities needed to be changed. Our leadership team at camp were amazing and were able to put some other plans into place to create a time that was still fun even if we needed to be inside.
PYV acknowledges the amazing work of Kirsten Bryant as convener for the camp, and we also thank the team she put together. It has been a great week, but much of that is because of the work that Kirsten and her executive team put in before camp.
We have prayed for safety, and we believe God has answered that prayer. We prayed that God would move hearts, and we believe that God has answered that prayer. One girl has come to faith in Jesus. Please pray for her as she returns to a family that don't share her faith. May God support her in remarkable ways.
Rev Toby McIntosh, supported by Nathan Barbieri, were also there leading the YouthMETRO training. This intensive week included an introduction to theology and evangelism training. It was wonderful to see these trainees out amongst the other campers sharing their faith. Not only is this a safe place for them to practice, it is also a time that God moves hearts. It was through the clear language of these trainees that the girl mentioned above came to faith.
Thank you for your constant interest and support for PYV. As always, please keep an eye on our website or our Facebook page to keep up to date with what is happening through PYV. There's always something on the go. www.pyv.org.au