This year, UYE took over 45 inner-city high school students to a summer camp
One conviction that animates UYE’s efforts on high school campuses is the belief that Jesus meets our students where they are. He pursues them in all their endeavors, and our mission is to partner with Jesus, seeking to establish and deepen their relationship with God.
Young Life Summer Camp
Young Life is an organization that UYE collaborates with due to their shared commitment. The summer camp, hosted by Young Life, is in many ways the culmination of our ministry with the students throughout the year. This year, UYE took over 45 inner-city high school students to a summer camp. Our gracious donors provided a full or partial scholarship for most of our students.
Because of the prayers and efforts of many, God moved, and 36 students responded positively to the call to follow Jesus! However, the response of our students doesn’t signal the end of our work, but it’s beginning!
It is crucial that we capitalize on the momentum of camp and avoid the crash of the ‘camp high.’ A week after camp we had a reunion and began discussing discipleship and bible studies in the coming weeks. We need your prayers once more, asking that the Lord bring fruit from the seeds planted throughout the year and during camp. We’ve already seen a measure of fruit, but we want to shape our students into disciples that would change their schools and communities!
We should begin this report by thanking the donors who provided scholarships for over 40+ students and 10 staff. Without these resources, we couldn’t have done the work the Lord has called us to. Throughout the weekend, we saw the seeds we planted throughout the semester blossom into decisions for Christ. Many students decided to strengthen their walk with the Lord, others professed faith in Christ for the first time, and others left interested and wanting to know more. Additionally, our staff met throughout the week to pray for the students, thus experiencing a rich time of fellowship. It was a joy to have our board member, Ken Kortman, join us at camp and witness firsthand all that the Lord was doing.
Agenda During Camp
During camp, Jesus is encountered with our students in various ways, a few of which are listed below.
Every night throughout the week, a message is given. Camp speakers are always dynamic, relatable, and find creative ways to make the messages relevant to students. It is a delicate balance of accommodating the students while preserving the integrity of the Gospel message, and Young Life does this exceptionally well. The messages usually follow a pattern that crescendos in messages at the end of the week on the cross, resurrection, and the Christian life. This year’s camp messages were led by Veronica, and she did great!
Cabin times and one-on-ones:
After messages occur, leaders then go spend an hour or so processing the camp message with students. This is the space for students to share and be vulnerable with their classmates. As leaders, we facilitate the conversation and help clarify the teaching students heard. Undoubtedly, cabin times are the highlights of the week.
The next step is for leaders to have one-on-one time with each student throughout the week to go even deeper. In these individual conversations, we ask where students stand with the Lord. We want to know what’s stopping them from taking the next steps with Jesus. Often the hurdles they face relate to family and other life difficulties. This is where UYE comes alongside students and help them overcome the hurdles, both spiritually and socially.
Throughout the weekend, leaders have multiple meetings. During these meetings, we pray, sing, read the bible, and cast our burdens on one another. Camp is often a draining week. Hearing students’ struggles, tending to them for six days straight, and being “on” non-stop tends to exhaust staff. Thus, during our team meetings, we can process how we are doing. We share our frustrations and ask how we can serve one another. These times of fellowship with leaders are sweet, and deepen our bonds. To the right is a picture of the leaders of downtown Phoenix.
Finally, we participate in what feels like endless activities during the week. The philosophy behind the activities is that as we engage with students in games, dancing, multiple meals, and competitive events, this will break down the barriers between leaders and students for more fruitful conversations with students.
UYE is dedicated to collaborating with Jesus in reaching out to inner-city students at their current state. Through the combined influence of divine grace and your hard work, this camp achieved success. Moreover, as highlighted earlier, the journey of guiding these students is only commencing. We kindly ask for your ongoing prayers, hoping that the path of mentorship takes shape and that our students continue to walk alongside Jesus.