The Experiences of the Week Enable Young People to Turn to Jesus
July 20, 2021
MINNEAPOLIS – “In spite of the fact that COVID-19 prevented Youth For Christ (YFC, www.yfc.net) from hosting our traditional national model of summer camp this year, I’m delighted to report that YFC has been nimble enough to roll with the punches, resulting in powerful blessings to our campers’ faith journeys this summer,” said Greg Gudal, Executive Director, South Central Minnesota Youth For Christ.
Youth For Christ, known for being “geared to the times, and anchored to the Rock,” made changes this year to enable campers to have a camp experience on a local level. YFC South Central Minnesota owns Prairie River Camp, also located in South Central Minnesota, where camp weeks so far have brought groups from several YFC locations, including Southeast Iowa, Greater Iowa, West Central Minnesota and South Central Minnesota.
YFC’s Prairie River Camp exists to raise up lifelong followers of Jesus by creating a transformational environment for young people through authentic relationships, shared experiences, outdoor challenges, and times of solitude that draw students to the heart of God.
Despite the uncertainty and restrictions due to COVID-19, “the local camp ministry site was still able to bring a few YFC locations together to uncover God’s story in the lives of young people, not only in South Central Minnesota, but beyond,” said Gudal.
Middle school participants were able to explore God’s word and His promises by participating in activities including a climbing wall, a waterslide, and playing paintball, all while forming lasting friendships and discovering more about God and their relationship with Him.
God’s presence was made known amidst the fun and camaraderie of the week, in both big and small ways. Peter Coffey, Camp Director of Prairie River Camp, relays one encounter that occurred the week of Paintball Camp:
“One young man shared that he and his girlfriend had recently given birth to a stillborn infant. Being at camp for the week helped him so he could not only talk to leaders, allowing them to dig deep. And he was also able to impact another young man who had gone through something similar. As a result, both of these young men turned to Jesus that week.”
It’s not unusual for camp participants to turn to Jesus as a result of their experiences at camp. 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 change the lives of those around them for Christ.
When asked what the best part of camp was for them, one camper responded, “Everything! Seeing my YFC leader. We haven’t seen each other since last year.”
Another camper said he was grateful for “being able to meet new people, and being able to talk to a YFC leader, Aaron, about life situations.”
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 encourages staff and volunteers to be good news while also sharing the stories of the Good News of Jesus. It involves building relationships through the ups and downs of everyday life in order to lead people to Christ.
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 approximately 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.