All About EC

NORTHERN EASTER CAMP 2022

THE STORY OF EASTER CAMP

In the 1910s “The Baptist” magazine reported that young Baptist men were the first to run and attend Easter camps. By Easter 1921, young women had caught up with the idea of Easter camps and ran their own - at a cost of only a stunning 2 shillings. In the late 1950s, some daring person suggested females and males could be at the same camp and they combined the two camps. By the 1970s Baptist Easter Camps were being run in most districts of New Zealand with “sophisticated studies, workshops and polished concerts”. The focus was to have young people leading other young people.

This meant most youth communities had dance, drama and music teams, each
contributing to their local Easter camp. The 2000s have seen huge growth as smaller district camps combined together. Baptist Youth Ministries was a catalyst for this, running the camps to enable youth leaders to be free to focus on hanging out with and developing their own groups of young people. Today, Northern Easter Camp has 500 campers and is held, annually, at Mystery Creek Events Centre, Waikato. Southern Easter Camp also has several thousand campers andCentral Easter Camp currently has 120 campers.

The best part of these camps is seeing the change and development in the lives of each young person. They grow
and develop in leadership and relational skills, learning to come alongside others (teenagers and adults) and build community with people from both similar and vastly different walks of life. People young and old, leaders and campers encourage one another to participate in and experience sport, competitions, culture and the arts.

Camp is a safe and encouraging environment where we come alongside young people, build healthy and diverse relationships and learn from and challenge one another to become better people in our communities. Our hope is to be developing men and women who shape, lead and contribute positively to the future of our nation.

THE PHILOSOPHY OF CAMP

We were all young once. We can remember wanting to be a part of something bigger than ourselves, something that was fun, adventurous and crazy. For almost 500 teenagers and young adults, from the Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Auckland and the far North regions,Easter Camp is that place.

Camp is packed full of worship, world-class communicators, concerts, sports competitions, seminars, creative arts, talent quests and many other fun and engaging activities. Why do we do this? Because there are many teenagers in our society who feel misunderstood and confused about many of the issues they face in life. At camp, we want to create a space where young people can belong to a community, through a local youth community. Together, young people can learn about the issues they face and the challenges they will come across in life. In challenging these young people mentally, physically, spiritually and socially we hope to provide them with tools for life and a hope for the future.

A NOTE FROM OUR DIRECTOR

Kia ora koutou katoa! Welcome to Easter Camp 2022! It’s so good to have you here.

It's November as I'm writing this and I'm sitting in my backyard trying to imagine what camp might look like this coming April. I’m in, albeit the tail end, of a three-month lockdown. So much has changed since August and the world we all walk in is quite different.

I could write a large list of all the things we haven't been able to do, the things we have gone without - simple things like going to the movies, catching up with mates, walking inside an actual shop.

There are bigger things as well, such as saying goodbye to loved ones as they pass, celebrating weddings with friends and family, worshipping together as the gathered church.

No doubt, by the time we get to camp there will be more changes and hopefully less restrictions. Over these past months I have noticed a growing divide of opinion about lockdowns, vaccinations, human rights etc. These are tough times for Aotearoa and tough times for youth communities and there are so many held opinions about what should be done. 

So what do we do about Easter Camp? Could I encourage you to use camp as an opportunity to meet together, put aside our differences so we can be united as one? This is one of the many things I love about camp -  all our differences of opinion, all our differences of faithful expression, all our different denominations are laid aside to come together and worship, no matter what. It's one of the best examples I have encountered of communities working together. Yes we will have all of the normal fun stuff to do - the bands, the sports and the hangs - but I long to see what God will do in us, and through us no matter what differences we hold. 

No Matter What! will be our war cry this year as we listen to amazing speakers unfold the incredible easter story, as we learn about Jesus who faced overwhelming pressure to conform to the loud voices around Him  - in spite of those voices, He held onto His purpose and God’s plan No Matter What. A Jesus who showed us the way so that in troubled times such as these we can hold tight to our faith, No Matter What. 

This Easter, I pray that you will find hope, a hope in Jesus, the main character in the best story ever told, a story that leads to life, love and hope, a story that lives on way after camp that we can hold onto and encourage one another in times such as these, No Matter What!

Can't wait to be together again. 


Aroha nui,
Blue x