Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Youth 'fought a good fight' at Camp

This year's combined Young Men's and Young Women's camp was held at the Heybridge Scout Camp. The theme 'Fight a Good Fight' encouraged the youth to think about the apostle Paul's words to Timothy: "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith".


A fireside was held leading up to the camp where the youth were divided into 5 troops and given their first task: to come up with a troop name and share the reasons they chose that team name. Some troops chose scriptural heroes, some chose Book of Mormon Army names, some chose prophets, while others chose a name because they had run out of time. Jalen King, a teacher from Esk ward shared how in a hurry they randomly chose the name 'Habakkuk' and thus became the 'Habakkukites'. "After we looked him up, we realised he was a pretty cool guy", he said from the stand with laughter from his peers and parents in the congregation. The 5 troops: Smithonians, Stripling Warriors, Lachoneus, Sons of Mosiah, and Habakkukites were ready to fight a good fight.

This fireside gave a strong spiritual foundation to the camp. It was here that the 'fight a good fight' theme was introduced. Brother Jordan Christie from the stake Young Men's presidency showed the connection between the theme of the camp and this year's youth theme: "Embark in the service of God". Brother Spilling talked about the importance of seminary. Esther Woolley and James Sayers, presidents of stake Young Women's and Young Men's, both agreed that seminary puts youth in the best position to fight a good fight and to learn how to be better at serving those around us.

First Day

The priests and laurels were invited to camp a day early to prepare for their leadership roles they accepted for the camp. Georgia Christie, a laurel from Deloraine ward was one of the troop leaders. She explained that it was more than just getting ready for the following youth camp: "On Wednesday the priests and laurels had a training day before everyone came. This was extremely beneficial as we learnt valuable leadership skills that would last for a lifetime".

Jordan Triptree, a priest in Tamar ward expressed his thoughts about their role as a troop leader: "We were given time as youth to discuss thoughts and ideas about how to get everyone involved. Everyone felt very much connected together and understood each other so much better before we had the younger youth join us the next day."

The first day was a preparation day which had troops chanting, designing flags and getting to know their troops. Troops protected their flags from other troops: to have the flag stolen was a costly mistake and would result in 25 points deducted. That night the troops battled it out in a game of Ultimate Frisbee. Everyone played extremely well but the leader's team really showed their experience and unexpected stamina. The dangerous Szekely partnership left youth and leaders talking for the remainder of the camp.

Youth leaders were highly impressed with the troops; they worked well together and were led well by the troop leaders. "We were split into 'Troops' of all different ages and wards, with the priests and laurels as leaders. This provided an awesome feeling of comradeship and belonging within troops. Everyone was accepted and had something to bring to the group. This brought a friendly competition to the activities  and encouraged everyone to try their best", sister Christie said.

Second Day

On the second day, troops put their teamwork skills to the test. They strategised in an all-on-all tennis ball dodgeball game, worked together to design a shelter that would later have to take the water bucket challenge whilst they remained inside, constructed a raft that they later raced at the river mouth, and searched and strategised in night games in which they had to evade blunt blow darts and (fake) knived attackers dressed in Ghillie suits. Brother Peri Kauwhata, a bishopric member from Tamar ward, showed tremendous skill on the blowpipe.

Brother Triptree expressed his impression of the younger youth during the night games: "In the night time we played games that were organized by the leaders and everyone worked so well as a team and communicated in a great way", he said.

Third Day

The last day was a cleanup day but the competition between tribes was still in play. A few flags were stolen which altered the points tally dramatically. In the end, team Lachoneus came out the victors and claimed their prize: a scrumptious food platter. The other troops did such a good job that they also received minor prizes.

Spiritual Side

Whilst it was a physical camp, it was also spiritual. Each day youth would participate in troop devotionals led by the troop leaders. This was a chance for youth leaders to step back and allow the troop leaders to take responsibility. For some priests and laurels, this was the first chance they had had to plan and carry out a meeting without youth leaders present. It was both enjoyable and challenging. 'Compliment Chair' was one such morning devotional which had each youth receiving compliments from each member of the troop.  "This was a huge bonding experience for our tribe and something that I'll always remember", sister Christie said.

A fireside and testimony meeting on the second evening encouraged youth to never give up and to fight to the end in challenging times. Brother Phil Challis of Tamar ward taught that 'fight a good fight' means standing up for what we believe but still maintaining meekness and dignity in our conduct towards others when they have mistreated us.

Sister Christie summed the camp up: "I loved camp so much and I know it is something that I'll always remembers and cherish."

Brother Triptree expressed his thanks to the leaders and concluded: "A really big thanks to the leaders for making the 3-4 days possible, everyone had an amazing time we will not forget. We made really strong friendships with everyone and we all felt like one big family."