Reflections on Summer Camp Online 20/21
By Rebecca Stephens
2020 was a hard year for everyone involved, so what better way to finish it on a high note than with PYV Summer Camp Online. After so many unexpected difficulties, changing of plans and separation from friends and family throughout the year, it was a blessing to be able to bring our thoughts and days back to focusing on Jesus and all he has done and will do for us.
Of course, an online camp brings many challenges. How do we do activities through a screen? What will studies look like? Won’t singing alone in our bedrooms be awkward? How do we still engage in fellowship with one another when the majority of the time we’re muted? And don’t forget the endless potential for technical difficulties.
Well, I’m happy to say that each and every one of these challenges was met and overcome by our fantastic convenors Zack and Bec Grace and their exec team, as well as all the camp leaders. With patience, hard work and prayer they were able to create an amazing camp that each and every one of us were able to enjoy.
We would kick off each morning with a session conducted on Zoom, in which we were able to sing together, hear encouraging testimonies, and listen to Nello Barbieri’s talks on Zechariah. The talks focused on the promises of God to his people to bring them back to Himself, forgive their sins and give them cause to celebrate and live in joy. A beautiful message, but not one that came without its challenges as well.
Our activities and study groups were the same, which allowed us to spend more time together as a group and get to know each other on a deeper level. The studies were conducted in breakout rooms on Zoom, and allowed us to think and talk through what we had learned during the session, and apply it to our day to day lives.
In activities we found ourselves forced to save the planet from an alien invasion, and to do so we had to establish communication with said aliens. There was only one way to do so – through memes! We created memes, deciphered memes, played a game of Codememes, did our best to make it through the Google Docs escape room, and got Rickrolled a couple of times along the way.
Activities were followed by The Late Show, with Matt and Aradie (aka Smooth and Snazzle), in which we hung out, chatted and rated a lot of memes. The Zoom chat would explode each night into heated debates about which were the best memes, plus some good old PYV banter between campers.
The sheer amount of questions received for the Q&A session was a testimony to how engaging and thought-provoking Nello’s talks were. Being able to begin the new year with a prayer time in our study groups was a great encouragement. Seeing the memes that campers and leaders alike were able to create out of their pets, the talks and oh so relatable situations never failed to give me a laugh.
While I pray our next PYV camp will be in person, I am incredibly grateful for the experience that was Summer Camp Online. May the Lord’s light continue to shine through these camps - wherever they are - into the lives of those who attend. Seeing the way that God is working through His people, I have no doubt they will.