Not Your Average Youth Camp

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Recently I had the absolute pleasure of taking the youth I'm serving to the national youth camp, WYCAMP, in Ngaruawahia(I've still yet to pronounce that place correctly upon request). As an adult, the importance, energy, and efficacy of these summer camps had become a distant memory that was made anew as soon as I was greeted with the vivacious yells of 90 youth yelling "WYCAMP!!!!!" in response to the simple, yet effective "CAN I GET A WYCAMP?!" Needless to say, it was an amazing time! The youth were blessed with incredible sermons, awesome facilities(waterslide, mudslide, AND kayaks), gorgeous weather, and an atmosphere I had almost forgotten could exist, an atmosphere so inspiring that it tore through every layer of character and simply allowed each person there to feel welcome. The Holy Spirit blessed us in ways that only it can. In this 4 day bonanza of high energy, its presence forged unlikely friendships and softened hardened hearts. 

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But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.     2 Corinthians 3:16-18

I'm not sure most people remember what it was like to be in high school or, heaven forbid, middle school. I know I don't. Most of it resembles a hazy dream. I remember events, but the perception of those events has been lost on me with time, but perception is key into understanding, helping, and coaching others. After many talks and fireside chats and evenings spent playing soccer and Mario Kart, I think I've learned that often times adolescents feel trapped. They've allowed caring about what their parents and authoritative figures say and think to apply to most people in their life which leaves them feeling judged and often hardened. This is why I took the time to emphasize the importance of the atmosphere at WYCAMP. It was a place where kids growing into adults weren't trying to prove themselves to anyone but were just enjoying the company of others and themselves. It's all too easy, especially in the vulnerability of youth, to get trapped in a cycle of fault and judgement. We find fault in the world around us, the people around us, and in ourselves and are constantly looking for flaws in an attempt to use the things and people around as stepping stones to elevate ourselves. Does it work? No. Misery does love company, but miserable company leaves all its participants feeling downtrodden and cynical. 

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My takeaway and challenge from this camp unto myself, my youth, and now you is to seek good and remember who your enemy is. Our enemy is not construction workers blocking off roads, rude-behaving colleagues, or baristas that can't seem to get your order right. Our enemy is Satan and his team of rogue minions. Empower each other and help each other not fall into the holes of pride and insecurity because our battle is not with fellow men but with evil.

Eliza Edge
Resident in Mission with World Methodist Evangelism 


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