The 2019 Albany Youth team has just returned from a life–changing trip to upstate New York.
Nine young people and two leaders left for Down and Dromore’s link diocese of Albany on 5 July to spend two weeks serving at the Beaver Cross Ministries Summer Camp.
Not only did they learn a lot and grow personally and spiritually, but they made a big impact on other young lives as part of the Beaver Cross team.
Mark Wells (Youth Worker with Bangor Parish) and his wife Abi led the Down and Dromore group this year. Six of the team came from Banbridge parish plus one each from Donaghcloney and Waringstown, High Street Methodist in Lurgan and Brannockstown Baptist, Kildare.
Before the real work began the group enjoyed a warm welcome and BBQ at the home of Bishop Bill Love and his wife Karen (not forgetting Lily the dog).
Beaver Cross Ministries runs an overnight camp that starts on Sunday and ends on Friday, a day camp, and a shorter overnight camp for 5 to 8year–olds which lasts for three days. Each of our team members were assigned to these different camps and helped out in lots of different ways, including taking part in activities such as archery, crafts, high ropes, sports, horse riding and swimming. They also had the opportunity to share their faith through the evening routine of Bible time, worship and bedtime devotions. The days were long and hard work, but also a lot of fun and weekends were free so that they could unwind and recover before doing it all again!
Highlights included camp fires, the talent shows, canoeing and seeing the campers conquer their fears on the high ropes course. Another was the final evening celebration for the overnight campers attended by their parents. It was a joyous time of thanking God for all the fun they had had – singing songs, sharing communion and having dinner together afterwards.
As the team left they said: We’ve had an amazing two weeks, have made memories together, made new friends, worked really hard and impacted the lives of kids and young people for Jesus. We are so grateful to Danny, Cait and the rest of the Christ the King and Beaver Cross staff for having us. We have been made welcome, have felt like valued members of the team and have been united in our desire to see kids come to know the living Saviour, Jesus Christ.”
The journey home included a short stopover in New York City to see the sights and round off a fabulous trip.
The first team of young people travelled to Beaver Cross in 2003. Since then a number of groups have travelled in each direction, with Down and Dromore regularly hosting American teams at Summer Madness.