[RECAP] KAYM Annual Youth Camp 2018

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“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” – Proverbs 27:17

It was a fulfilling four days for the youths of the Chapel of Kristus Aman as they attended their annual Youth Camp last month. Held from the 14th to the 17th of June at St. Matthew’s Church, Tangkak, Johor, the camp served as a time for the youths to foster a deeper relationship with God and to build stronger relationships within the ministry. The main message that was made known to the youths throughout the camp was the importance of having a connection with God and with the community. The speakers for the camp who conveyed the message were Fiona Biggs, Derek and Beatrice Chong.

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The 65 youths, accompanied by newly ordained Fr. Dominic Tan, 3 speakers and 2 chaperones headed towards Johor bright and early on the 14th, buzzing with excitement and enthusiasm. Stirred up with spirit, they started the first day with an ice-breaking session. At the camp the youths played games, had sharing/ bonding time over meals and free time as well as participated in a talent night, where they got to showcase their group performances and hidden talents. This year, groups presented a bible story with a Disney twist which was nothing short of creative. The winner of this year's group performance went to the group which presented the Prodigal Son story with elements from the soundtrack of Mulan.

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Daily mass was also an essential part of the camp, being the most important form of Catholic worship. Each and every mass was beautiful in its own way, with homilies given by Fr. Dominic focusing on the themes from the daily gospels which had very strong messages about fostering healthy relationships in community (i.e. forgiveness, gratitude, being truthful and faith). Fr. Dominic was also present to minister the Sacrament of Reconciliation to all present. Benediction and the rosary were also elements incorporated into the camp. The youths too had praise and worship sessions throughout the camp, encouraging them to praise God using their voices and their bodies through song and dance.

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In the sessions conducted by the speakers, they first spoke about the big picture of salvation history and about foundations, making the youths question what truth are they building their lives upon. Following this, they than shared about the "Images of God" according to examples from scripture on the nature of God. In the “Who am I?” session, to encourage a reflection on self, youths were asked to create an artwork of themselves and share in small groups, highlighting what they reveal of themselves to others and what is not revealed/ hidden selves. Also conducted was a time of prayer ministry where the facilitators and youth leaders prayed for the participants to grow in their identity in Christ.

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Other topics discussed by the speakers were about the practical responses in community and romantic relationships, emphasizing the importance of keeping Christ as the center of all relationships. They also talked about the call of each person, and how everyone is a gift in a community. The youths learnt that they are meant to be a gift and the true definition of love is being a sincere gift of self (Pope St. John Paul II). On the last day of the camp, they shared their own testimonies of growing in their own calling. They closed the camp with a recap session and finally praying for each other.

This camp was indeed one that will not be forgotten by the Kristus Aman youths. With all the new friendships made and old friendships strengthened, the aim of the camp was achieved. Everyone went back home praising God and were fueled with the fire of Christ's love.