“One of the best camps ever.” This is how Area Coordinator for Adventist Youth of Antigua, Vernon Frederick described the recently concluded Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Youth Camp, which was held at the Look Out Primary School, Montserrat from July 20th to August 2nd.
Mr Frederick who has been one of the leaders responsible for the young men at youth camp for many years and who has responsibility for youth in Antigua, was speaking at the New Carmel SDA Church on the weekend. He had taken the opportunity to relax on island, with his family, following the camp.
Frederick also commended Montserratians for their hospitality and for making camp enjoyable for those who attended. [Overseas campers had been made welcome with the distribution of locally bottled water, snacks and promotional materials on arrival, and later they were given key rings and local goodies compliments church members, members of the community and the Montserrat Tourist Board.]
Over 200 Seventh-day Adventist Youth from around the South Leeward Mission (Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts, Nevis and Montserrat) converged on Montserrat for what has been described by some as an ‘experience of a lifetime’. They were welcomed with characteristic Montserrat hospitality, by a team of young people, eager to ensure their enjoyment on this trip and that they return another time. It has been approximately 30 years since Montserrat hosted the annual SDA Youth Camp.
Led by Youth Director Pastor Kendol Doyle, camp staff began arriving on Sunday July 17th to assist with the setting up of camp. On Wednesday 20th and Thursday 21st the majority of campers from Antigua and Barbuda arrived on island by Montserrat Airways (Fly Montserrat) and ABM (SVG Airways) and from St. Kitts Nevis by MV Mark Twain.
This was an adventure, as most had never travelled on a seven-seater aircraft and many admitted that the size of the aircraft almost was a deterrent to their travel. News that the Montserrat ferry service had been discontinued had caused discouragement to many, but the desire to be at camp overruled in most cases.
Camp Director, Youth Director Pastor Kendol Doyle was assisted by a management team consisting Deputy Directors Dr. Eulalie Semper and Sean Joseph; Camp Pastor, Pastor Carl Hastings; a staff of other officers and local SDA pastor, Pastor Sherwin AE White.
The Opening Ceremony set the tone for camp. It was attended by HE Governor Elizabeth Carriere and Deputy Premier Ag Paul Lewis who addressed the campers welcoming them to Montserrat. PS Education was also in attendance.
The emphasis at camp this year was Service to the Community, hence it was promoted as ‘Camp Impact Montserrat’. Campers and Officers were involved in several projects which included ministering to the elderly (plaiting their hair and giving manicures and pedicures to residents at the Warden Supported Homes). They painted several buildings including sections of the Look Out Primary School Auditorium, the Brades Primary School and the Golden Years Home for the Elderly. They also tiled two classrooms at the Brades Primary School. The materials were provided by Ministry of Education, Government of Montserrat.
Spiritual emphasis is a very important part of SDA Youth camp. This year, Pastor Marvin Smith, Youth Director of the Guyana Conference and a young dynamic speaker, presented a revival series during the week Sunday 21st to 30th. He challenged the youth to remember that they were created for a purpose and led them to recommit their lives to Christ and to be transformed into His likeness. His presentations were said to be “enjoyable, inspiring, relevant and interesting”. One camper recalls that “he is definitely a tool in the Master’s hand to touch the lives of these young people”.
Campers had the opportunity to lead out in daily devotional sessions and to participate in discussion on topics of interest as part of their personal development. These included presentations on Emotional Health, Leadership Skills, How to Choose a Life Partner and Drills. They were also involved in skills sessions to include Auto Mechanics, Graphic Designing, Public Speaking and Craft. A Cultural evening, concert, Communion and Consecration Service and Sabbath Services were other features of camp.
Singing and Bible Study are an important part of the life of the youth. Inspirational singing and beautiful music pervaded the atmosphere at the camp as they praised God and ministered to each other. During a session called Bible Boom, youth demonstrated their skills in memorisation and their understanding of parts of the Scripture.
Social interaction is probably the most important part of camp and thus the Secret Pal activity which ended in the highly anticipated Revelation night was something which campers looked forward to. That however could not be outdone by the grand finale, the Banquet, which was held at the Montserrat Cultural Centre which had been transformed by the talented and artistic Mrs Verna Brandt and her team into a place of wonder.
At that event, a King and Queen, Prince and Princess were crowned. These were young people who demonstrated the qualities of a Christian youth in their interaction with other campers. Yannick Lyn of Montserrat was crowned King, Queen was Rachel Trotman of Antigua, Prince was Whitney Fleming of Antigua and Kylene Parris of St. Kitts was Princess. The camp was officially named Camp S.T.E.P. [S – Service, T –Transformation, E – Extraordinary, P – Purpose].
In spite of a very packed program, campers got the opportunity to view the volcano, to visit some of the sites of interest on Montserrat and to shop in Montserrat’s temporary capital, Brades. The latter prompted some residents to express appreciation to the SDA church for bringing Camp 2016 to Montserrat and so stimulating the economy.
Individuals also commented on the buzz of activity at the Ports, as the campers made their way on and off island on Montserrat Airways, ABM (SVG Air) and MV Mark Twain.
Most campers indicated that they enjoyed camp and will be going to camp next year as a result! Next year’s camp is scheduled for Barbados.