It’s happening. PY Summer Camp 2021 is happening. Did you think it would? Sarah Fabri always did! Sarah knows and advocates for the critical importance of PY camps in forming the way that young Christian men and women live for Jesus.
When Sarah was 12 years old, she was invited to go along to PY’s Junior Winter Camp by friends at her church (Campbelltown Presbyterian Church). She shares, “At my very first camp I realised that even though I knew a lot of basic Bible stories, I’d been to Sunday school, did scripture… That the leaders that were there, and some of the campers, knew about God in a different way.” And Sarah has not looked back. She has attended camp ever since, and has been leading in various capacities for 18 years.
Sarah first began as a PY Leader when she was in Year 12, leading Study Groups for 3-4 years, then moved into assisting in the Kids Program. Now Sarah is operating the Kids Program. Sarah shared with us, “The reason why I’ve wanted to stay involved is because I see PY as such a valuable ministry… My role in operating the Kids Program, I may not be directly working with the teenagers, but I’m allowing others to be able to do that.”
In preparation for PY Summer Camp, Sarah’s role in the Core Leadership Team requires monthly meetings throughout the year, increasing to fortnightly meetings as the camp date becomes closer. Then as the Kids Program leader, Sarah attends the camp training day to listen to the talks, and then develops a program for the kids which includes Bible time, some fun, and relaxation.
A big consideration for Sarah in the planning process is trying to create a godly, challenging, and engaging program for the kids. “Sometimes I feel like that they may, at times, be a bit bored, or they’ve been to camp, so they know what happens and so the challenge is to be able to challenge them as well!” And of course, the challenge of retaining attention of children of varying ages – “I think our youngest is going to be seven weeks old or something on camp, up until kids who are in Year 6,” Sarah explains – can be a significant challenge to respond to.
But even through the challenges of committee planning, programming, and balancing kids, not to mention COVID-19, Sarah couldn’t think of a better way to serve God and His people.
“I don’t come from a Christian family; my mum did become a Christian later. But even then, we didn’t do things like read the Bible together… I’ve always found camp refreshing, to be able to be 24/7 surrounded by people who love Jesus… You see the way that they live their lives, the way that they lead their families, and you can clearly see and say that Jesus is very much a part of their life.”
So, when it came decision time for as to whether PY would have Summer Camp 2021 or not because of COVID-19 concerns, Sarah was one of the biggest advocates for following through with PY Summer Camp 2021.
“All of COVID has been a challenge for PY, but my biggest concern was for those kids who kind of come from similar situations to me where they’re the only ones in their family that may go to youth group, or have a living faith in Jesus, or even that they’re sort of exploring faith. And it’s been 18 months, and two years by the time we get to camp. That’s a long time. I was really feeling for those kids and thinking back to when I was a teenager. If I had to go through this, I would have been really devastated!”
PY is critical to the lives of so many young Christian men and women, and Summer Camp really matters to these young people.
Sarah shares, “I just think it is such an important ministry and if we didn’t have camp this year, it would be three years then. We need to build the momentum of people coming back to camp.”
The passion, skill, and conviction of Sarah, and all the leaders at Summer Camp is so evident in the way that they love and lead through the most challenging of circumstances. COVID-19 isn’t stopping Sarah or any of the camp team!