The Champion Grant allows churches to answer their “what if” questions and “how might we” wonderings with new or expanded ministry ideas. In coming alongside Anglican student ministries with financial support, we are seeing students formed into the likeness of Christ.

The Village Church saw that the high school students in their ministry needed to be cared for and discipled during this phase of life. Village’s youth group is middle school heavy, so Smyth Taylor, Village’s student ministry director, was looking for a summer retreat that was high school specific. To respond to this need, she decided to take them to an RYM Conference in Florida.

The adult leaders were hopeful that this time away from regular routines and rhythms would create new opportunities for students’ faith to deepen. Throughout their week together, students engaged well in the teaching, which included large group worship and teaching as well as elective breakout sessions. Students from the Village Church chose to stay together and attend the same electives. They attended breakout sessions focused on Identity and Anxiety and Depression. Because they were all together in breakout sessions, they also had an opportunity to reflect on those experiences as a group during small group time.

One of the most encouraging parts of the week was the ways that students connected outside of the regular programming. In between sessions, students were talking to each other and to the adult leaders about what they were learning and what questions they continued to have. They loved being at the beach and spent their free time unplugged from devices and building new relationships.

Now months later, Smyth says that she still sees the impact of the friendships that were built during camp. High schoolers who could have easily been overlooked were seen and cared for as a result of this trip. Going forward, Smyth shared that she’s hopeful this trip creates a kind of legacy for high school students that younger students can look forward to. Time away from regular routines in a wonderful place like the beach will always be exciting. Even more exciting is the ways that this trip allows students to hear the Gospel proclaimed clearly.

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