Why I Believe In Youth Week

As we prepare for Youth Week, I started thinking about why I believe in youth week. Youth Week camp in South Africa has been run by Youth for Christ (YfC) since 1963. Youth Week will be 50 in 2013! This camp is one of the means in which YfC reaches young people to make them followers of Christ and discipling them into a local church.

I am involved in Youth Week again and looking forward to it! This camp not only brings together, young people from around South Africa, but from around other Southern African (Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique) countries as well as overseas (Germany, Netherlands, USA etc).

2010, with the theme, “The Ultimate Goal” gathered about 600 campers. The theme for Youth Week 2011 is, “Got Milk, Need Meet”. The theme scripture is Hebrews 5:12-14. The heart of this camp is to challenge young people to go to a deeper relationship with God.

Youth Week 2011

I thought I’d share some of the reasons why I believe Youth Week, which are some of the reasons I believe have helped this camp “live” this long:

Geared to the times, Anchored to the Rock

This has been YfC’s “modus operandi” for years. This motto affirms the importance of staying relevant in communicating the unchanging message of Christ to young people. There are universal needs that young people have that do not and will not change with time.

Despite this the means of communicating the message of Christ needs to change as the language of young people evolves. The needs of all generations maybe the same but it is very apparent that the language is not.

Communication

The essence of communication is ensuring that the receivers perceive the sent message as intended by the originator. Hence     speaking the ‘language’ of your (target) audience is paramount. One of the reasons I believe in Youth Week is the willingness or   openness to change or adapt methods as need arise.

The need to change the means is derived from a realization of the changes   in youth culture. This is as a result of also staying in touch with the changes in youth culture.

For any organization or venture to  survive there is need to constantly study the environment it exists in and adjust accordingly. Not adapting to the changing needs of your environment may guarantee not only your failure but extinction.

Tossed Salad

I like that Youth Week brings together young people from diverse backgrounds and places but countries as well. This enriches understanding of the world that they engage with and will engage as they mature, broadening their worldview and outlook.

There is no better way to better way to understand people from a culture alien to yours than actually interacting with people. The interaction also encourages the young people to be more open and accommodating to those coming from environments foreign to them.

The Challenge

When Jesus walked the earth, He made it apparent what it meant and cost to follow Him. Youth Week embraces this model. Young people are challenged to wholly follow Christ, with no fluff. No watered-down Christianity is presented to the campers.

While being “hip” is characteristic of Youth Week, staying true to what Jesus calls his followers is core to the camp as well.

I believe as youth ministers we may rob young people of the ” full reward” of what it means to be a follower of Christ if we give them a somewhat “anemic picture”  of what it means. Authenticity will outlast fluff any day! Hence Youth Week “living” for this long.

The Other Stuff

There are many other things I like about the camp e.g. the worship – great! The diverse electives (break out groups) that are not only fun but empower young people with practical skills and creatively challenge the campers.

These bring in “different voices” besides the speakers in the main sessions. I like the competition that comes with some of the day activities that adds an extra vibe, giving no opportunity for the campers to be idle… Among other reasons this is why I believe in youth week.

Check out Youth Week’s website; connect with Youth Week on Facebook and Twitter

What do you think is important for youth camps? If you’re “youth-weeker” what do / did like about Youth Week?

Author: Blessing Mpofu

just a guy changing the world

14 thoughts on “Why I Believe In Youth Week”

  1. I attended youth week at a very troubled time in my life nearly twenty years ago now, i attended as a camper in the beginning, and then came back as a leader. Youth week as one of the best christian experiences of my LIFE….i look back on those years with longing and fondest memories. the scenery, the vibe, the bible teach was and i am sure still is out of this world. i didnt know that you week still exists, and now I will be speaking to or Youth Pastor at our church to see if we can get our kids involved as well. Long live YW – and may God continue to work in the hearts and lives of our teens through this amazing project.

    1. hey tracey, thanks for sharing! really appreciate it! it encourages us to continue doing what we're doing when we continue to hear testimonies such as yours… we would love to have the young people in your church come through and be impacted and challenged in their walk. you can drop an email to info@youthweek.co.za for further details. take care and allow God to help you create a platform for other young people to experience what enriched your walk with God. take care… thanks again!

  2. It feels like I grew up in Youth Week! I think my first was when I was 3, in 1975. My last in 1985 before we immigrated to Australia was my first "legal" one as a 13 year old. By then I'd been a part of the YFC Bulawayo Quiz Team three times and came agonisingly close to scoring a goal against our arch-nemesis East Cape in the soccer comp.

    Thanks so much for this post, because you're right, there's a power to camping and Youth Week that is life-changing. I think the great memories of Youth Week would have to be instrumental in guiding me towards my current ministry – as Director of Camping in Queensland! And yes, there's enough of us Southern African refugees here that we're giving serious consideration to launching a Youth Week concept here.

    Here's a little post of memories of the mad Bulawayo YFC trips to Youth Week! http://wp.me/pWkZi-9N

    1. thanks for sharing & affirming Youth Week. i think you should go ahead and impact the lives of young people… never underestimate the impact we can make in young people for the kingdom and the good of nations. for all we know we are making a difference in the lives of people that are going to be presidents & parliamentarians. stay strong!

  3. I really thank God for YFC, ever since 1980 till now YFC has always been part of my life. I have also done what we called Y-One or Youth Harvest back then(what you would call Gap Year now) I have attended all the Youth Weeks since 1980 till 1990 when I got married and had my firstborn, who became part of the YFC staff in 2009 doing Gap year(Sishen). Today I am a pastoring a Church in Pretoria and its all thanks to YFC and Youth Week. My two eldest children have been coming to Youth week 2008 and this year they are bringing 20 of their friends, so you see the impact Youth Week has had in my family….its on the 2nd generation already and I told mu kids to pass this on to their children and children's children. So if nobody is coming to Youth Week….you can always count on my family. may YFC and Youth week grow from strength to strength

    1. it's very inspiring to hear that as one of the Youth Week's / YfC's "product" you now lead a church…a testimony to how God uses the camp to reach young people many years beyond the camp! also, i've had the pleasure to go on a missions trip with sishen when she went on the year of your life program. we look forward to seeing more of your family in the coming years!

  4. I was involved in Youth Week 1965-1980 that makes me a stoneager! What an incredible impact it has had on so many lives over the years. Praise the Lord!

  5. I attended Youth Week from 1981 until 1991 not missing one. They eventually had to kick me out because I was now way too old. YW moulded me into the person I am today and because of the input of leaders such as Brian Helsby, Brian Human, Ted Carr and Dennis House my love for Jesus increased. I follow the balanced life concept for living till this day (Luke 2vs 52). I will always be thankfull for the awesome sport , fun, laughter and awsome meetings. My son Jason will hopefully be doing at the end of 2011. Thanks guys for the opportuntiy to share.

    Andre Blignaut
    ex-YFC PE
    Now in CApe Town

    1. Wow Andre! thanks for sharing the impact YW had in your life. what a story! it is inspiring to know that what you learnt at YWs is still "code" you live by. We look forward to seeing your son (another generation) in 2012!

    2. I also used to attend YW, but not as many as Andre! We were both from Eastern Cape! YW was the absolute highlight of the year for me. I remember leaving camp on such a spiritual high, having made stunning friends and couldn't wait for the next year! As a result, I also joined Y-one (1985) – yonks ago! Those were the "best days" of my life and what I learnt during those camps kept me standing firm in my faith, during trying times as a teenager, and throughout my life. I wish my daughters could also attend, but unfortunately I'm living overseas now! But to those of you who plan to attend – IT'S AN ABSOLUTE BALL! ENJOY!

      1. Thanks for the shout out Therese, really appreciate it… It's really encouraging to that Youth Week has made a long lasting impact in your life. This does encourage us to continue. thanks!

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