Youth Camps Are Go!
As I started writing the heading for this Spotlight I was reminded of the Thunderbirds television series that was born in the same year that I was. As a kid, I used to love watching episodes before school each morning. It was such a clever show with scale models, puppets, special effects, a catchy soundtrack and of course Lady Penelope and Parker. The Thunderbirds were International Rescue and whenever there was a crisis in the world, they were quick to respond. Whether into outer space or the depths of the ocean, the Thunderbirds had the vehicles to get the job done. The opening titles had the classic “5…4…3…2…1…Thunderbirds are Go!” and we’d count down with it as we ate our breakfast. Of course we had the models of their vehicles as well – my favourite was Thunderbird 2.
In many ways 2020 can be described as a year of world crisis, with the spread of Covid-19. Rising case numbers are now approaching 36 million and deaths recently passed 1 million people. With lockdowns, working from home, online learning, mandatory hotel quarantine, border closures, second waves, face masks, economic pressures, job losses, and increasing mental health issues, it’s no surprise that last weekend had many suggesting that we wind our clocks forward 4 months rather than 1 hour, so that 2020 can be over and done with. It’s been hard to find a good news story in the midst of the ongoing crisis. As I write, we have had 11 days in NSW without a new covid case from local transmission – that’s good news!
With so many school events and activities being cancelled, including youth camps during term 3, it’s also good news that camps are able to be on again in term 4. This means that Anglican Youthworks Outdoors staff are able to carry out their ministry again as schools bring their students to the properties. I know that youth camps are not “International Rescue”, but I also know the power of a youth camp in enabling spiritual and relational growth among young people. Progress at a weekend camp can be equal to a whole term of youth group.
Thankfully, even though our annual FUSE CAMP was unable to run in term 3, we have been able to secure a larger property that will enable us to be compliant with current Covid restrictions and run the camp at the start of term 4. As of last night, the FUSE Camp is now full with 60 campers registered for the weekend of 16-18 October. During the weekend we will be investigating the resurrection of Jesus as it’s recorded for us in the Gospel of John. We also have an Amazing Race theme with activities taking campers on a virtual worldwide challenge.
Our annual XII ESCAPE camp for those who have just completed their HSC is also able to proceed. We have 22 year 12 students registered for 8 days at Nelson Bay from 21-28 November. During the week Josh Maule will be taking us through Paul’s letter to the Ephesians and we’ll also partake in a number of excellent activities including a Marine Discovery Cruise and a Quad Bike Safari Tour on the sand dunes of Stockton Beach.
Sadly though, our annual SUMMER CAMP for students entering years 9-12 won’t be able to operate at Chittick Lodge Gerringong because the site isn’t big enough with the Covid 4m2 restrictions. However, on Friday of last week we were able to secure a larger property (after another camp needed to cancel their booking) that will enable us to proceed with Summer Camp on the same dates (11th-16th January 2021), making use of both the Deer Park and Chaldercot campsites at the Youthworks Port Hacking properties. While this is good news for us, it isn’t good news for the larger camp that needed to cancel. Please pray for the youth of that church and their leaders who need to find alternate arrangements. Registrations for Summer Camp will be open early in 4th term.
Finally, our annual IGNITE program for students entering years 6-8 is scheduled for 18th-23rd January 2021. This is normally run from our church site and so there are no guarantees that it will be operational by the time Ignite starts. We also have a number of Covid regulations that will need to be addressed in order for us to proceed as most activities at Ignite are done offsite and in the community. Please pray for the teams as we negotiate the best way to proceed.
So, our Youth Camps Are Go!
Wile they will have minimal impact on the global pandemic crisis, our camps will have a huge impact on the spiritual and relational wellbeing of those who are able to attend and for this we can give thanks.