For several years, we have been at maximum capacity at Youthfront Camp West. We are so very thankful for God's overflowing blessing. Youthfront leadership has been praying / thinking for a couple of years about how we can best steward the mission, families and churches that Youthfront Camp serves. After much deliberation and prayer, we are excited to announce that we are expanding! In addition to Youthfront Camp West, the Youthfront Camp experience will now also be offered at Youthfront Camp LaCygne.
This is a major and exciting decision for us as a ministry. We understand you may have some questions, but in the meantime, we can assure you that we will provide the same excellent programming, the same quality / trained staff and the same age appropriate experience at both of our camp locations.
With this decision comes expansion and growth at Youthfront Camp LaCygne. We are adding numerous attractions (e.g. new Splash Park, Gaga Ball and more), improving cabins and adding a few other surprises that we are excited to announce soon.
In addition to our expanded Camp program, we are excited to offer special pricing for our Youthfront Camp LaCygne sessions.
We have also added a session for grades 7-9 to accommodate the many 8th graders who have expressed the desire to have a Middle School Camp experience one more year!!
CAMP REGISTRATION IS OPEN!
You can register NOW for any of our available Kids Camp or Middle School Camp sessions. Click here to view the Camp session calendars. Just a reminder: if you register by March 1, 2017, you will receive $15 Early Bird Camp Bucks to spend at Camp. If you are coming with a group, make sure to get your Group Hold code from your group leader before registering. Sessions will fill up quickly! Don't delay and register today!
Cal Farley’sis an internationally renown residential community near Amarillo, Texas open to at-risk children ages 5 to 18. It is one of the best programs in the world for helping at-risk youth. Mike Wilhelm, Senior Chaplain at Cal Farley's, is a good friend and donor of Youthfront. Mike has brought several Youthfront staff to Cal Farley's for training staff. He has also brought Cal Farley residents to Youthfront camps. Mike is a giant of a man and an amazing spiritual leader. Mike launched a program called the Iona Project that is making a big impact.
The Iona Project is an innovative youth ministry internship at Cal Farley's (paid with benefits and housing). The program is currently in its third year. Participants live life together as an intentional community-- -fixed hour prayer - a weekly community meal - weekly spiritual formation - cutting edge trauma-informed childcare training - and soul-shaping Boys Ranch youth ministry responsibilities! Here's an important feature: The Iona community is comprised of 6 members: 3 gals and 3 guys. It is a one-year commitment with one guy and one gal being selected each year for a second year, to join with the 4 new incoming members. So there's an overlap built into the program that gives the community a seamless nature. Thus the beauty of the program is that it has great stability while at the same time considering the nomadic nature of unmarried millennials. Here's a sample of the things they do: Lectio continua: The community's 9-month consecutive read through entire Bible; Weekly lectio divina, utilizing the church calendar RCL readings; Group spiritual reading of Bonhoeffer's, "Life Together"; Group Enneagram work; No less than 56 hours of childcare training, that includes Life Space Crisis Intervention (LSCI) and Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT). Participants present a year-end reflection paper to the Cal Farley's leadership group. Those completing all requirements of the program receive a “Certificate in Spiritual Formation & Youth Ministry” from the Cal Farley’s Childcare Institute. Mike is currently recruiting now for 2017. If you know young adults who are looking for an amazing, challenging, yet rewarding opportunity, have them contact Mike Wilhelm - firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ve worked at Youthfront Camp West for three summers now and it has become something I eagerly look forward to every summer. I first began working for Youthfront in the summer of 2014 after I decided that I wanted to work for something that I felt would matter and have a lasting impact on people’s lives. Youthfront has definitely met that hope.
There are many reasons I enjoy Youthfront and being a part of the summer staff. One of those reasons is meeting and becoming familiar with fellow summer staff. Everyone has a story, and something to offer the world from their life experiences. I enjoy hearing those stories and seeing how God works in people’s lives to accomplish His ends. I also love seeing the sacrifices people make to provide an opportunity for young students to hear the gospel. A lot of staff work very hard at their jobs, sometimes even when they don’t feel like it. We don’t always get to see the results of that hard work, but there is an enormous satisfaction in knowing that what we do matters in the lives of kids and has the potential to create a lasting impact on their spiritual journey.
I also think the atmosphere at Youthfront is a great example to churches and ministries. Even though different staff members might disagree about particulars in regards to faith, we all rally behind the goal of telling kids about Christ in a fun and safe environment. I have always felt accepted and encouraged as a person at Youthfront regardless of any of my traits or characteristics, and I think that is an amazing way Youthfront demonstrates their commitment to loving others as Christ loves us. Everyone has a place and can contribute in a very meaningful way to the mission of Youthfront.
Robbie Hotz, Ropes Course Supervisor at Youthfront Camp West
My first year on Teen Staff was the summer before my sophomore year. I had heard about it from a friend of mine. Before she told me about it, I didn’t know Youthfront camps existed, but after listening to her talk about her experiences, I knew it was something that I needed to be a part of. My first summer, I dove in head first and volunteered for five weeks. My life changed my first week of Teen Staff. It was during that first week that I truly felt The Lord’s presence in my life. The spiritual formations that we do everyday have helped me learn how to set aside time during the day to be in the Word and also how to find God in everything.
One other important thing that I have learned through my experience is how to live in a community with other people. I have been blessed to be able to spend these past three summers surrounded by other believers. Every person at camp is there for a common purpose, and that is to worship God through service. I have learned so much from the people around me, whether it is a Summer Staffer sharing a life experience with me, or a fellow Teen Staffer sitting down with me and just talking about life and Jesus. Youthfront is not just a camp; it is a community of encouragement.
Teen Staff is one of the hardest things I have ever done both emotionally and physically. We work…A LOT, but it is the most rewarding work I have ever done. I have learned a lot about myself through this program. I have learned that praising God through service is one of the greatest feelings in the world. Also, that God definitely places people in our lives for a reason. Finally, I have learned that God can truly be seen in everyone and everything, and that it is definitely possible to survive on ZERO sleep and crummy camp coffee.
So, I guess to sum it up, God is good and His hand is definitely in Teen Staff and throughout the rest of the camp. The Lord has created such a special place in the middle of nowhere Kansas, and it is only through His grace that I have been able to be a part of it.
MaryJane Palodichuk, Teen Staff at Youthfront Camp West
This is a guest post from Mac Maser, Sports Supervisor at Youthfront Camp West
This is my fourth summer on staff at Youthfront Camp West and my third summer as a Sports Supervisor. I am going to be a fifth year senior at the University of Iowa studying Electrical Engineering. My first Youthfront experience was back in 2009 as a camper at Youthfront LaCygne. I camped at Youthfront LaCygne all throughout high school and it is where I first gave my life to Christ. I grew up in a Christian home and had learned about God, but I grew up thinking that there were a limited number of ways to worship God; you can worship through prayer, song, or studying scripture, but God is separate from the rest of your life. Camp is the place that taught me that we can also worship through our playfulness and having childlike curiosity.
After my last year of camping, I came on staff at West as a Cabin Leader. As a camper, I always looked up to the Sports Guys so that was always my dream job. They were always having fun and got to be in the tower of power for Nightstrike (there’s nothing cooler than that). Now, I’ve had the privilege of being one for three years.
My favorite part of my job is that I get to be goofy and carefree with hundreds of campers every week in a safe, Christ-loving, intentional environment. I get to witness the joy of Christ shine through these students as they have fun dancing to worship songs, playing with their friends on the Splash Park, singing along to Disney songs at dinner, and so many more activities. Even if they don’t realize it now, they are worshiping and spreading the love of Christ just by being themselves and having fun. These students are at a critical point in their lives where they are figuring out who they are and wanting to find their identity in something that makes them feel secure. Watching campers come out of their shell throughout the week and have fun is proof of Christ’s love for us and the reason I keep coming back every summer.
Save the date for our last training session of the school year! Dr. Jason Lief will be with us to talk about "Poetic Youth Ministry," and will explore the issue of young people and faith, specifically focusing on the various responses of the Christian community to the research suggesting young people are leaving the church.
Don't miss this opportunity and register now for this session!
Jason Lief teaches Theology and Youth Ministry at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa. He is also the founder and director of The Prairie Project—a week long ministry event that introduces high school students to the diverse culture of Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota. Jason is the author of the book Poetic Youth Ministry: Learning to Love Young People by Letting them Go and is currently writing a book focusing on the intersection of Theology and Heavy Metal music. Jason is married to Tamara and they have three kids: Naomi (13), Christian (11), and Savannah (8).
Session 1: “I Didn’t Know we had a Pool”: Taking WALL-E to Youth Ministry
This session will explore the issue of young people and faith, specifically focusing on the various responses of the Christian community to the research suggesting young people are leaving the church. Using the film WALL-E this session with explore the social and cultural issues that impact religious belief. This discussion will provide the framework for a “poetic” form of youth ministry that is informed by a particular way of thinking about what it means to be the “church”.
Session 2: The Politics of Poetic Youth Ministry
This session will focus on the practical side of a “poetic” approach to youth ministry. What are the issues young people struggle with in the West? How do young people form and shape an identity? How can the Christian community engage in a form of ministry that invites young people to embrace their humanity in the new humanity of Jesus Christ? Using insights from theology, cultural theory, and philosophy this session will explore the practical wisdom at the center of a poetic approach to youth ministry that provides the basis for formative practices and a political approach to pastoral care.
Date: Thursday, April 7, 9:00a – 1:00p, lunch included
The losses in our lives are both big and small, and cover a range of experiences. We leave home. We experience physical illness and disabilities. We struggle with vocation and finances. We may long for a spouse or child. We lose people we love to addiction or illness and death. Following is a video featuring my dear friend and colleague Beth Slevcove talking about her new book Broken Hallelujahs. Below is the endorsement I wrote for the publisher, IVP.
"The beautifully fashioned sentences throughout Broken Hallelujahs summon deep contemplation and provoke a wrestling with the realities of our mysterious lives. What is truly refreshing about Broken Hallelujahs is the absence of sentimentalism. However, with a timely cadence, this book moved me to tears – tears of grief, tears of loss and lament, but also tears of joyfulness and gratitude. Beth’s willingness to be vulnerable and to call a thing what it is gave me permission to sink into the profound truth that Jesus Christ shows us it is truly human to sometimes cry out, “My God, why have you forsaken me?” Broken Hallelujahs ministered to my soul like a Balm of Gilead. I often say, “Wouldn’t it be great if Christians were known in our culture as the people who set aside syrupy platitudes and told the truth about pain, loss and death.” Death is the enemy, but that is not the end of the story… I love this book and hope you take care of your soul by reading this astonishing story."
Mike King, President/CEO, Youthfront; author of Presence Centered Youth Ministry; Twitter @MDKing
On Thursday, February 25th, Ian Cron will be our guest speaker for our third 2015-2016 Youth Worker Training. From 9a to 4p at Christ Community Church Brookside Campus, Ian will be sharing about "An Enneagram Experience for Ministry Leaders." Don't miss it!