On 22-25 September 2023 over 300 young people from across NSW and ACT converged on Cataract Scout Park, on the south-west fringe of Sydney, for Baptist Youth Ministries STATE YOUTH CAMP (SYC). 23 youth groups were a part of SYC in 2023, all bringing their young people to gather together and explore the theme of ALL THINGS NEW.
For many of our smaller churches and smaller youth groups, putting on a youth camp is outside of their capacity. Being able to come along to SYC means that their youth don’t miss out on experiencing the power of this concentrated time diving deeper into the scriptures.
One such youth group is from Glenbrook Baptist Church, who came to SYC for the first time this year. “It would take years of just Friday nights to get there,” reflects Rachel Stuhr, Youth Pastor at Glenbrook Baptist Church. Being freed from managing logistics, giving talks, and everything else that comes with pulling together a camp, Rachel was grateful for the opportunity SYC gave her to just sit with her youth for four days and talk about Jesus.
One such young person was Katie. Katie was invited to the Glenbrook Baptist youth group by one of her school friends in 2022 and become a regular in 2023. As a generally quiet girl, Katie was a regular at youth group but reluctant to speak in discussion groups, answer questions, or read the Bible out loud.
Katie was on the fence about coming to SYC. She wanted to come but was anxious about being away from home. Registering at the very last minute, Katie became more and more excited as camp got closer. At camp she engaged with the games and activities from the start but was more reluctant to engage in the talks and discussion groups. But as camp went on, Katie opened up more, starting to ask questions in discussion groups.
By day three of SYC, Katie was taking up more space in discussion group, volunteering information and answering question. That evening, Katie was deeply impacted by the talk and was able to spend time in prayer with one of her leaders from Glenbrook Baptist
Later that evening in the extended worship session there was not a single moment where Katie was disengaged or wanted to leave. She was fully engaged; praying and crying out to God alongside the others from her church. By the final day of camp, Katie was stepping forward to pray in discussion group.
“To see God speaking into her hurt and her brokenness (because we all have that) was already so powerful and a beautiful thing to witness,” says Rachel, “But to see her grow closer to Him through that and more confident in Him and our group was overwhelming. If that was the only thing that happened at camp it would be worth going.”
But Rachel has four more stories just like that of how God met her youth where they were at. And there are 300 more stories from all the youth and leaders who were a part of SYC in 2023.
As we celebrate State Youth Camp 2023 and all that God has accomplished please pray God will continue the good work he has started the hearts of young people like Katie as He continues to make “all things new” in Him.
If you are interested in joining us with your youth ministry in 2024 or would love to join our volunteer team to serve please contact email@example.com.