For Youth For Christ USA, Camp Looks Different than Years Past, But that Means More Young People Impacted
June 21, 2021
DENVER, Colo.—When COVID-19 threw a curveball at the traditional model of summer camp, Youth For Christ (YFC, www.yfc.net) responded. Like many ministries, YFC has had to pivot and adapt its camp strategy to accommodate COVID-19 times.
“We’re thrilled to report that YFC Camp experiences are back in 2021; at a time when kids need authentic, Christ-sharing relationships more than ever. Our team viewed the pandemic as an opportunity to pray, to discern, and to innovate. The result is a more nimble, localized, and collaborative approach to Christian camp experiences in 2021; all of which we believe will help uncover God’s story of hope in the next generation,” says Jake Bland, President and CEO of Youth For Christ.
“YFC has always been ‘geared to the times, and anchored to the Rock.’ While our mission and message has not changed, the ‘times’ we find ourselves in demand a fresh and new approach to youth ministry,” says Bland. “We will always be focused on creating environments that invite God to transform the lives of young people through participation in our camp programs. This new model may actually position us as better Kingdom partners, with local churches and YFC serving as collaborative partners to reach more kids than we were able to before—through community-based experiences.” These programs incorporate shared experiences, outdoor challenges, and times of solitude that draw students to the heart of God within the context of authentic relationships and memorable learning experiences.
With safety as a paramount priority, YFC Camp’s theme during this season is to replace, not cancel, responding in innovative ways to reach youth, through technology and other means, in order to create resources that will address a range of impacts.
In place of large, regionally based overnight camps led by YFC’s National Camp Team—typically many hours from home, efforts will be strategically focused on providing resources, training and support to all 140 YFC chapters across the country for a more localized camp expression. YFC chapters are encouraged to partner with local churches in order to build natural bridges for kids who wish to begin a relationship with Christ.
“This will empower our local chapters to provide evangelistic ministry opportunities for young people, as well as development opportunities for our leaders, while protecting and serving our youth community during this unprecedented time,” says Bland.
This summer, YFC is committed to providing innovative and engaging summer opportunities so young people will experience:
- The thrill of a new adventure
- Purposeful conversation with caring, Christian adults
- A change of scenery and a break from their normal environment
- Friendships strengthened by shared experiences
- An opportunity to begin or strengthen their relationship with Jesus
Many people can point to a camp experience that ignited their faith in Jesus:
- “This week God taught me to look beyond what my eyes can see.”
- “I realized that by surrendering my life to Christ I can be the ultimate me. I also learned that His plans for my life far exceed those I can make on my own.”
- “I know now that I am the most important and beautiful thing God has created.”
- “God healed a lot of places in my heart that were wounded, and He really confirmed for me that He does not condemn me.”
- “This camp made me realize that I want Christ in my life!”
- “I found HOPE here.”
Bland notes that, “YFC Camp has become such a pivotal place to help kids take that next step in their faith; whether making a first-time decision to follow Jesus, or to grow in their walk with Christ. Only God could use a pandemic to provide innovative opportunities like this, which may actually allow us to impact more young people for Christ than we would have before.”
Camp can have a permanent impact on a person for the rest of his life. Bland, who was encouraged to be a volunteer at YFC Camp when he was in college, understands the impact of a camp experience. “It was through the YFC Camp experience that God broke my heart for lost kids.”
YFC’s vision is to provide an excellent experience through which Jesus Christ would forever alter the life of every person who comes to camp – that they, in turn, would be driven to alter the lives of those around them for Christ.
YFC Camp is a ministry of YFC whose mission is to reach young people everywhere, working together with the local church and other like-minded partners to raise up lifelong followers of Jesus who lead by their godliness in lifestyle, devotion to prayer and the Word of God, passion for sharing the love of Christ and commitment to social involvement.
YFC haschapters impacting thousands of communities across the nation that seek out and serve youth from all walks of life. Many teens are silently struggling through a variety of challenging issues—and now they see the living power of a loving God.
YFC has been a pillar of missional ministry since 1944, when the Rev. Billy Graham served as YFC’s first full-time staff member. Since then, Youth For Christ has continued to be both a rural and urban ministry on mission, and it is always about the message of Jesus. YFC reaches young people everywhere, working together with the local church and other like-minded partners to raise up lifelong followers of Jesus who lead by their godliness in lifestyle, devotion to the Word of God and prayer, passion for sharing the love of Christ, and commitment to social involvement. Youth For Christ operates in over 100 nations and has more than 140 chapters that impact communities across America.
To interview a Youth For Christ representative, contact Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Jeff Tolson, 610.584.1096, ext. 108, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.