Youth Unify 2016 took a group of around 35 young christian leaders from around Europe and one from the USA and threw them deep into the Ukrainian Carpathian Mountains surrounded by raw Ukrainian culture. Youth Unify 2016 is the second youth unify camp after the massive success of 2015’s camp which attracted around 120 people from all over Europe and again, America. This year saw Matthew, Kayla, Stephen, David and Sam from YMCA Perth, YMCA Paisley and YMCA Renfrew attend representing Scottish YMCA’s.
Youth Unify this year focused on leadership and mission by looking at the trinity: The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The whole camp agreed, the venue couldn’t haven’t been any better for such a camp. Deep and high up in the south west mountains of Ukraine brought a sense or closeness to our father and quietness to actively listen to him and study his word.
Many from Youth Unify 2015 attended this years camp which quickly made this years camp feel like day 5 of last years camp on day 1. New faces from Germany, Switzerland, England, Scotland and more settled in quickly and got involved in all that was on offer.
The week consisted of so much its difficult to some it up. We had main sessions focused on leadership and mission, small groups where the larger group split up into smaller groups for focused chats and discussion as well as time to relax and enjoy the fellowship together. Of course, in natural YMCA fashion there was plenty of dancing, singing and great laughs together.
Being in Ukraine was a first for many and a huge thank you must go out to our YMCA friends in Ukraine for hosting us so well. Without them, a lot of the camp would have been lost in term of the language barrier, lost in terms of knowing what the traditional food was that we were served and it just wouldn’t have been the same without them there. The serving loving hearts of our hosts were something to take note of. Waking up at 3am to leave the camp in search of lost luggage for the English group was just one such example of the heart our hosts had to make this camp the best it could ever be. A thank you goes out to Ukraine for a brilliant time from all the nations involved in Youth Unify 2016.
Wednesday the 24th of August was Ukraine’s independence day and the Youth Unify camp was privileged enough to spend it at YMCA Karpaty and join in on their celebrations. The day consisted of rafting, hiking, a whole load of YMCA camp type activities like zip lining, racket sports and even a concert to enjoy put on by the YMCA there. Even though many where meeting for the first time here and the language barrier was hard to overcome it still felt like God was in every minute of the day. Such a special time spent seeing another YMCA and meeting people for the first time but leaving as if you have known each other for much longer. That is just testament to the power and love our YMCA movement has on Earth.
Nearing the end of the week Youth Unify already starting looking towards the future and thinking “What should Youth Unify 2017 look like?” Judging by the ideas that was coming through this little exercise, whatever youth unify 2017 looks like, its going to be incredible. We already cant wait.