Things I Learned at CYF Conference 2015 (or Summer Camp 2015)

CYF 2015I had the great privilege of being the co-director at our camp for our older high school youth in Middle Georgia last week. In our tradition its called CYF Conference and I thought I would share some things I learned last week.

Youth plan moving worship services- I felt like we have moving worship services each and every night, planned primarily by the campers. Our Friday night worship, planned by the graduating seniors, was particularly moving.. Can you imagine people praying with one another for close to 40 minutes? It is powerful!

You can have a sandwich every day for lunch- You may expect some variety in your daily lunch choice at camp, however a sandwich is on the menu for each day. I am not sure I can look at a sandwich for a while

Youth ask the right questions about faith- Our youth have amazing courage in their willingness to ask the difficult questions. They are asking the questions that over time shapes a strong and convicted faith. They also make camp a safe space where people feel comfortable exploring and expanding their faith.

There are some amazing adults who work with our youth- I could not imagine a better group of counselors and co-director to work with than I did last week. Special shout out to our keynoter Rich Voelz who inspired and encouraged all of us last week. He can bring it! Our youth are fortunate to be ministered to by such a caring and talented group.

Everyone likes Cracker Barrel except me- Who knew? Everyone does. Like, everyone. Couldn’t find one person willing to join my side

Youth are accepting of others- I am inspired by and encouraged for the church by the accepting nature of our youth. They completely understand the grace thing (although they could extend it to themselves a little better) and are willing to forgive each other and be vulnerable with one another. When we talk about a “come as you are” community, this sets the bar for me.

Camp Christian has species of bugs no one has seen before– I am beginning to think Camp Christian is Jurassic Park for bugs. There are species of bugs that even native and lifelong Georgians have never seen before.

Youth are concerned about the global community- our youth are deeply concerned with issues facing us and deeply interested in what Jesus might say or do around some of these issues. They have a sense of shared responsibility for others and for creation. Justice is important to them.

You should not drink milk that expired on June 8– It probably shouldn’t be served either. Just sayin

Youth care deeply for one another– They understand the purposes of Christian community. They realize it takes a village and no person is an island unto themselves. They are not only willing to work together, but they are willing to care for one another in life-giving ways. They embody the concern God has for all of humanity

Camp Skit Night is still really funny– You want to see creativity mixed with humor mixed with talent, head to your local camp skit night. You never know what may happen.

Counselors still beat campers at volleyball- It’s the truth. Tailgate Tuesday was awesome topped off with the crafty veteran counselors winning the volleyball tournament. It was good to get back on the sand this year thanks to SSCC.

The church and the world are in great hands– Not in some distant future, but now. Sometimes we (me included) just need to listen to and follow our younger generations. They inspire me in my faith and to be more authentic to God’s call upon my life.

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