This past December, we took dozens of highschool students to winter camp hosted by Young Life in Williams, Arizona.
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 in this task. Young Life is an organization that UYE partners with because they share this same commitment.
Young Life Winter Camp
This year, UYE took 65+ inner-city high school students to winter camp. Our gracious donors provided a full or partial scholarship for most of our students and multiple leaders. Because of the prayers and efforts of many, God moved, and 60+ students committed, or recommitted themselves to following Jesus! The photo on the left captures a glimpse of the laughs, community, and good times our leaders and students were able to share with one another.
Over the weekend at camp, our schedule revolves around various club sessions where the camp speaker discusses Jesus. Right after these talks, we engage in cabin discussions with the students to delve deeper into the message we’ve just heard. The club talks follow a trajectory that moves from the speaker’s personal testimony, to the life of Jesus, to Sin, to the Cross, and finally, to the Resurrection and the gift of eternal life. We engage in 5 club talks and 5 cabin times in less than 48 hours! And get this, students give up their phones for the whole weekend! It is very rare to speak with students for more than 15 minutes without them being on their phone. During winter camp, we get them away from their phones for two days. During cabin time, leaders sit down with students and process what they heard, asking questions, clarifying what was said, and taking the conversation deeper.
Around the club talks and cabin times, there are various events that are scheduled for students and leaders. The sweet part about many of the events is that they purposefully engage the whole cabin, with the intent that it would bring the cabin closer together and allow the leaders to be servants to the students. On top of the club talks, cabin times, and various events, leaders have one-on-ones with students. After club talks and cabin times, students need individual discussions to process what they’ve heard. During one-on-ones, we can ask personalized questions that we couldn’t ask during group discussions. This is where a semester’s worth of ministry really pays off. We have planted seeds with our students for months and during one-on-one conversations we have the relational equity needed to ask the tough questions in full confidence that our students know we love them and want the best for them.
From the bus rides to and from camp to club talks, cabin times, one-on-ones, multiple events, late night chats, endless bags of chips, and no phone usage, it is safe to say God was at work throughout the weekend.
We conclude this report by thanking UYE donors who provided scholarships for 60+ students and leaders. 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. We are in need of your prayers. As we head into winter break, our plan is to capitalize on what God has done during winter camp by developing these students into disciples of Jesus. We covet your prayers as we plan to continue the work of the Lord with our students.