You did WHAT with your summer holiday?
This week we caught up with Abby, a physiotherapist from London, about her experience of running CY at the children’s summer camp she volunteers on.
Thanks for chatting to us, Abby! As a full-time physio, you probably don’t get loads of time off. So why do you give up five days of holiday to volunteer on a camp?
Hm, good question!
To be honest, when I started working the idea of giving up annual leave wasn’t all that appealing so I didn’t start doing camps immediately.
However, I had been on Christian camps as a teenager and so many of my friends became Christians or really grew in their faith through a camp, so I already knew how valuable they are for many young people.
Lots of my friends at church were involved in this particular camp so last year I decided to take the plunge. I absolutely loved it!
What did you love about it?
The camp I help on - which isn’t in tents, by the way, we stay in a school! - is an activity holiday with the opportunity to learn about the Christian faith, so it brings along loads of children with no sort of Christian background. For many of them it’s the first time they’ve heard the gospel with any clarity, and it’s so exciting to be part of that.
It’s also great seeing the boldness of some of the Christian campers who invite their friends along. Seeing them seek to share the gospel at such a young age is a real encouragement, and also challenges me to be doing the same when I get back to work.
Camp is so much fun, too! We do loads of great activities, get to hear the gospel being preached every day and build wonderful friendships as a leaders team.
So where does CY come in?
This year I helped on a junior camp (11-13 year olds). Every day the campers have the opportunity to hear the gospel during short talks in the two main meetings.
We also offer an optional chance for those interested to explore what they are learning in the talks in a bit more depth in ‘Explore’ sessions, for 20 minutes before breakfast. This year we used CY in these sessions, which goes through Mark’s Gospel, as it fitted well with the talk scheme.
Each day, 15-20 of the 90 or so children on camp came along.
How did you use it?
We had to adapt it a bit as we only had 20 minutes per session. CY is designed to be a bit longer and there are seven sessions, while on camp Explore only ran for five of the seven days.
We decided to cut the first and last sessions as we felt these were covered quite well in the camp talk scheme. For the other sessions, we used the Bible study questions and didn’t use the talks or activities. I sometimes added a few of my own application questions at the end of the studies.
Did CY work well? What were the encouragements?
It’s such a good, clear presentation of the gospel.
It was also super easy to use and adapt. The leader’s handbook was really, really useful as it had some good tips, explained everything clearly and anticipates tricky questions you might get.
In our first study we were looking at Jesus’ authority to forgive sins, with the story of the paralysed man in Mark 2.
One of the questions we were looking at was ‘why did Jesus heal the man?’ and one of the boys just piped up: ‘Because he needed to prove that he had authority to forgive sin so that we can be sure he can forgive our sin.’
Another boy, from a Muslim family, came every morning and seemed to be really engaging with the Bible and understanding for the first time why Jesus came and what he came to do.
That’s so exciting! OK, so what were your highlights from camp this year?
I had two girls in my group who I was really encouraged by as I watched them spur one another on in their faith and had some great discussions with during the Explore sessions.
This year we got to do some really fun activities too - including visiting an aquapark (which was as humiliating as it was fun!), stand-up paddle boarding and llama trekking!
CY is a series of seven fast-paced sessions for 11-14s exploring the identity, mission and call of Jesus in Mark's gospel.
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We'd love to hear whether you've run one of our series on a summer camp or at a holiday club.