This update excerpts a report prepared by Johannes Maree (camp director) and Tim Maguire (camp chaplain) concerning the youth camp held recently in South Africa.
Since about 1974, we have been conducting an annual youth camp here in South Africa named SEP (which stands for Summer Enrichment Program). Our camp in 2015 was held in December at a beautiful facility about 60 miles north of Pretoria with 57 staff members serving 35 teen, 37 pre-teen and 13 young adult campers. With about 50% of the campers being unchurched, evangelism was a primary emphasis for us. The camp is a joint effort of GCI South Africa congregations and Youthworx, a Christian non-profit that has several GCI members in its leadership. Together we run the camp, manage the facility, and are working to purchase the facility.
This year our camp had three Christ-centered programs that ran concurrently: a VBS for pre-teens, traditional camp for teens, and leadership development for young adults. Our aim in all three was to develop the campers emotionally, physically and spiritually, with a focus on helping them build their relationship with Jesus. As mentioned in a report following SEP 2014 by Pastor Tim Maguire, “SEP has really become a powerful tool in evangelizing youth.”
Every morning camp began with an hour-long chapel service that included praise and worship and a presentation by one of our key speakers on the sub-theme of the day. That sub-theme was linked to the overall camp theme of EPIC, which focused on our journey through life with and in Jesus. The EPIC curriculum was provided by GCI-USA Generations Ministries. Campers regularly commented that chapel was the highlight of their camp experience. Other camp activities included mountain biking, obstacle course, rock-climbing, soccer, softball, swimming, volleyball, dancing, life skills Christian living, crafts and a camp banquet.