Kelly Sheldon considers herself lucky to have grown up going to church and first gave her life to Christ when she was in Year 6. Her love and commitment to Penrith Presbyterian Church is such that it has been her home church for her whole life, and she would still come back to attend church there, even when not living in Penrith.
Currently, she serves on the music team by singing and running the audio visuals, as well as heading up the evening Presbyterian Women’s Association as the youngest member in attendance. She’s also a part of the committee of management and assists with the financial management and other tasks that keep the church running.
Starting with PY
After two years of being a youth group leader, Kelly was approached to do some training through the newly established Presbyterian Youth (PY) Internship.
She, along with 10 others made up the very first cohort of the 2002/03 Summer Camp.
“For me it was the best start. I got such a fantastic understanding of my faith.” She reflected. Almost 20 years later, Kelly is still with Presbyterian Youth, volunteering as a Summer Camp leader and training up new leaders.
It continues to be a highlight of Kelly’s year and she has loved the opportunity to see young people grow in their faith and take on leadership roles.
“I’m ‘PY Furniture’ nowadays. I absolutely love the place.” She said.
PY Annual Forum
The PY Annual Forum, formerly known as the Annual Conference, is a chance for all the PY leaders to get together and understand how PY connects with the wider church community.
“So, there’s a little bit of looking at finance, a little bit of looking at structure and what’s happening, but it’s also an opportunity for us as those who are part of the PY camping groups to get our voices into the General Assembly”. General Assembly NSW is an annual meeting of Presbyterian church ministers and elders where decisions are made about the Church’s various ministries and direction.
“Annual Forum is also where our two working groups get their members. So, I’ve been part of the training team for probably about eight or nine years now.”
Another of Kelly’s roles within PY is looking at the Lead for Life Internship program and seeing what changes need to be made and assisting with keeping it running. The internship program has three components including a week of residential training during the summer camp, 12 months of ministry and mentoring in a local church and leading a small group on a camp.
Kelly has seen first-hand the benefits and relationships that come from attending the PY Annual Forum each year. She encourages others who are passionate about youth and ministry to attend also.
“I would encourage anybody who wants to continue with PY for the long term. If people are wanting to get an understanding of the program and PY as an entity of itself and not just the camps, to attend!” Kelly said.
She also encourages anyone who has been thinking about going to a PY camp to go.
“It is worth the money! I have seen some of the most amazing friendships made at camp, with kids from all over the state and even interstate,” she said. “It’s just a great way for young people to be able to connect with people their same age. There is a wealth of love and wisdom. I just love the opportunity of seeing people grow.”
Prayer for PY Camps
In the lead up to Summer Camp 2022/23, here are some points that you could be praying for…
- For more campers to register and attend
- More study leaders to join the team
- Thankfulness for the good numbers of both male and female leaders
- That more families with young kids would also sign up to lead
- For campers to grow in their faith and understanding of the Bible