EDMOND—One hundred twenty youth from America, Canada, Australia, Chile and the Bahamas attended the 2016 Philadelphia Youth Camp from July 6 to 26 on the Herbert W. Armstrong College campus. Under the theme of “God’s Teens: Measured and Treasured,” energetic campers heard more than 13 hours of biblical instruction about God’s unique plan for them and had the opportunity to apply what they learned in sporting contests, work, cultural events and social gatherings.
Campers arrived on campus July 6, weary from long flights and drives but visibly excited to make friends and to experience a wide variety of activities. Camp director Wayne Turgeon gave an orientation lecture that evening in which he reviewed camp rules and standards and introduced the theme. He outlined God’s three-step plan for developing character in His children: 1) God sets the goal: perfection, 2) God sets the standard: His law, and 3) God reveals the process of measurement. He stressed that under God’s plan, first comes correction and loving guidance, and second comes glorious eternal life.
The next night, campers tamed their public speaking fears and introduced themselves and their pyc goals at Stick Night. That was just the start of a packed schedule that expanded their comfort zones and introduced them to new challenges and hobbies, such as a new offsite campout by Skiatook Lake approximately two hours from campus. Two dorms at a time learned how to canoe, wakeboard and hold on to an inner tube for dear life as a motorboat yanked them all over the lake. It was the first pyc campout since 2006.Mr. Turgeon said the excursion to the lake “was so popular, and so many campers commented on it, that we’re going to repeat it next year.”
Other activities that filled the campers’ every waking moment included five Bible classes; three games each of softball, flag football for the boys, volleyball for the girls, soccer, water polo and basketball; three sessions each of archery, cycling, leadership lectures for the boys, and womanhood instruction for the girls; three hymn sings in which more than half of the male campers led songs; two public speaking opportunities; two camp-wide dances; two campus improvement sessions involving raking, cutting, weeding and more; a Bible Bowl showcasing the biblical knowledge of each dorm; a visit to the home of a Herbert W. Armstrong College faculty member; a campus tour of Armstrong Auditorium, the Hall of Administration, the Mail Processing Center and the kpcg radio studio; a track and field meet; a Teen Talent Contest performing arts final; an etiquette dinner; and a choir performance during Sabbath services.
Pyc 2016 culminated in three days of all-star games in which campers played campers in every sporting contest for the first time ever, making for more competitive results than past camper-versus-worker matchups. The boys’ basketball game on July 23 ended on a buzzer-beating, game-winning layup by Samuel McKoy that precipitated deafening cheers and thunderous applause from an audience of hundreds of fans.
After outstanding campers and dorms and Teen Talent Contest winners were recognized at awards night on July 25, campers departed for home the next day—save for a few who traveled straight to England to attend the inaugural two-week session of pyc Edstone.
Mr. Turgeon said he has seen continued improvement in the youth over the past several years of pyc. “We’re noticing that the campers are really well behaved,” Mr. Turgeon said. “That could be a product of parental involvement and less influence from the public schools.”