Gavin Hays grew up as one of three children in a Christian family and says he always understood the importance of needing Jesus as his Saviour. Throughout the years, Gavin also experienced the importance of community and what having a supportive group of other Christians can do for personal faith.
“I saw the importance of community in high school with a committed group of Christians meeting up during lunch once a week, and making the effort to open God’s word,” he shared. “Most significantly, the spirit of God was at work during my time at Newcastle University, as I learnt to actually live out my faith with other Christian students and see extraordinary faith at work.”
The beginnings of Hunter PY Camp
Gavin attends Mayfield Presbyterian Church and considers it his home and his family. He is passionate about sharing Christ with his church family, and the Youth Group.
As part of his commitment to the youth group, Gavin, along with other youth leaders from their church attend the PY National Leaders Conference. “We attended the conference in 2021 via livestream at the Newcastle hub with the other Presbyterian Youth Leaders in the area.”
As a result of attending this conference, Youth Leaders in the area got thinking… “By God’s providence, we had multiple youth groups with a similar desire to meet up all together for one big camp”, he says.
It didn’t take long for the desire to become a reality. Gavin said following the conference, there were a few emails that went back and forth between the youth groups and they were ready to plan a combined youth camp!
Presbyterian Youth NSW (PYNSW) assisted in the planning of the camp, with David Phillips offering a great source of excitement as well taking minutes in meetings, gathering resources, providing communications and knowledge, finding the camp speaker, setting up the registration and making sure it was all accessible to the team.
“As leaders of this camp, I believe we all saw the tireless desire of Dave and the PYNSW team, alongside Camp Organiser, Alicia Barnes (Gateway Presbyterian Church), with incredible time commitments before, during and after camp with a contagious joyful attitude,” Gavin said.
The camp kicked off on a Friday night and consisted of Bible talks, games, small group time and devotionals. Camp ran for a jam-packed 24 hours, and included a scavenger hunt!
Encouragement from camp
Gavin shared that the camp had many encouraging stories but that there was a real focus on growth as leaders.
“With regular meetings, Alicia brought us together and asked us deeper questions about our blessings, convictions and struggles with the youth, and we could encourage and pray for each other’s groups,” he shared.
“And even more encouraging was that after all the effort of a big camp, youth and youth leaders were committed to a reunion just a few weeks later! We met all together for some crazy games in the centre of Newcastle City, heard a testimony from one of the leaders, and broke into small groups, opening the Bible with an incredible level of concentration not seen before.”
Gavin said that upon reflection, it would be wise to spend even more time together as leaders in the preparation stages, prior to camp to get to know one another, and soak up God’s word. Now that they’ve run the camp and have a better idea of what it looks like, Gavin said they’d like to invite even more youth to the next one.
Gavin calls PYNSW Supporters to pray:
- Pray for the PYNSW team, that they can keep fanning their flame for Christ, participating together in the glorious suffering of the church, and consider if you can support financially alongside your prayers!
- Pray for more communities to come together and to see their unity in Christ.