The following is a recount of Texas Youth Academy and CTCYM from the perspective of Brady Watson, CCYM’s President for 2013-14.
Three weeks out of my summer I spent them at a camp called Texas Youth Academy and at the CTCYM junior high mission trip. Texas Youth Academy was recommended to me by Mateo Martinez, my youth director, and after asking him and another TYA graduate what I would be expecting at TYA they really never gave me a straight answer. Truthfully it really made me more nervous. But after my amazing two week experience at Southwestern University I began to understand why they couldn’t really explain the whole camp to me, because you really couldn’t wrap it up in a few words. But I will try.
Every morning we had morning prayer that we did the exact same way every day. After doing that for two straight weeks we really started to really understand what the meaning of it was. Even on the last morning we weren’t scheduled morning prayer and because it meant so much to us, students, we decided to put on our own morning prayer. We had to wake up 30 minutes earlier but we were all so excited to have it.
We had a plenary session everyday, which at first was extremely boring, but after a while it really started to mean something to you and you truly started to realize how in-depth scripture really is.
After plenary, we had worship planning. My group had a contemporary worship service and I literary thought it would be picking 4 or 5 songs and slapping together the order of worship. Boy, was I mistaken. My worship planning leaders made us dissect every piece of the lectionary verses and the entire worship service from the theology of songs to the set up of the table. It really made me realize how much work goes in to plan a great worship service.
About mid-afternoon we had art village. Art village was made up of 4 different stations. Every small group had one a day and switched every day we had it scheduled. The 4 stations were creative writing, storytelling, painting, and making prints. The whole focus was worshiping God through art which I’ve never thought about (and my worship planning group actually incorporated into our service) before and it was really awesome to experience.
So to try to wrap up TYA, it was based on creating Christian fellowship and I can guarantee you that everyone that went felt God’s presence and made lifetime friends. The whole experience was INCREDIBLE. When I got back, everyone that asked me about the camp said I bet your happy to be back, and my response was the same, no I wish I was still there. They looked at me like I was crazy but, I mean when you spend every waking moment with people for two straight weeks, you really bond and that bond you create is practically unbreakable.
Now for the Junior High CTCYM trip. I was told like Friday of the week before that I was needed to go lead worship. I was also told that they needed me to speak on Wednesday. I was also an assistant program director. So to say the least, I had my hands full. When I have gone on mission trips in the past I’ve really thought that all program directors do was go buy stuff for games and take pictures. But I was mistaken. I went to bed at 12 o’clock midnight and woke up at 5:30 in the morning on average. But something that I really took away from it was that I could see these kids’ attitudes change from day to day. Starting off shy and then just branching out and going fun. I had a very good prospective to see God’s presence through them all week long.
So far, I’ve had a extremely busy summer and I’ve had to take some leadership roles that has really molded me into the leader I am! I’m excited to see what God has for me next!