One of the primary ministries of Youth for Christ in Slovakia is CampFest.
Having challenged leaders and participants to think about what and how CampFest will be this year, organizers thought about faith.
They dreamed, prayed, and asked what is needed at this time for the Kingdom of God in Slovakia – “What do young people need?” and “What is our role in this?” Their dreaming led to planning. Below are hints of what the new CampFest will look like this year.
Organizers are preparing CampFest this year on two weekends in a row, 29 July through 1 August and 5 August through 8 August. The venue of the festival will traditionally be the Kráľova Lehota Ranch in the settlement of Svarín, 5 km behind the village of Kráľova Lehota.
Last year, due to the corona measures, CampFest INAK was not a classic big festival for 6,000 people, but a whole month of evening programs with a smaller number of visitors for each day. At the same time, they prepared accompanying activities, counseling, a prayer room, a chillout zone, a linden garden, a mini ZOO in the complex, and together with volunteers and participants, they managed to create an atmosphere of camping well-being.
Good conversations, relationships, inspirational people, volleyball, cheering, sharing and prayers. It was a turning point for the team. They learned to do things differently, to improvise, not to give up in the middle of adverse conditions. And they have rediscovered the value of time invested in friendships, conversations and relationship building.
And what awaits this year?
This year there is a longing for something bigger than last summer. Everyone misses the times when a full Hangar praised God together in one evening with one voice, when they saw the whole team at once, not just a tenth of the team. Past participants nostalgically remember the lively bustle of the area full of people and the soaked program on the big stage with all the details and gadgets. Not so much for the program itself, but they miss the people with whom they “pulled the night” together to give their best and see the fruit in the form of changed lives. And they miss the young people.
Distance students and zooming teenagers they haven’t seen in a year or two. So this summer they have an idea of an “almost big CampFest”. There are plans to set up the Hangar as in the old glorious times, and one more – two more program tents, in which a parallel program will take place. In CampFest HOME, attendees will be able to sit, drink coffee or a classic CampFest mojito, talk to friends, watch books and T-shirts or just relax on the couch and soak up the impressions of the program. Another tent on the big CampFest meadow, a counseling tent, sports attractions, the opening and closing CampFest program – these are all things for us without which they can’t imagine a big CampFest, so they are dreaming about them again as if 100 years had passed since the last big CampFest.
The “Almost big CampFest” is because it is being split into two weekends. Nobody knows what the summer will look like in terms of the epidemiological situation, and it seemed easier to deal with restrictions and measures in two weekends. The desire and idea can be seen in the CampFest complex every weekend with 1,000 participants, if the measures allow it. And if by chance it would be possible to organize events with more than 1000 people, they will certainly not limit themselves.
As is true every year, CampFest seeks volunteers to secure the entire organization of the festival. Youth for Christ is blessed that every year young people come to CampFest; they spend the whole week working on everything they need, from building tents and preparing the area, through guarding, cleaning, raking hay, registration, collection and sorting of waste and various services at CampFest HOME, to folding the tents and cleaning the area after CampFest.
A special service is always the kitchen and cafe, to which they are looking for volunteers with a health card to work with food every year. Volunteer CampFest will take place in two tours: 25 July to 1 August and 1 August to 8 August. Last year’s volunteer time and morning programs with volunteers were a great inspiration.
Organizers hope to leave the CampFest complex open and freely accessible to passers-by, cyclists, tourists or holidaymakers this year, as well as to give the general public the opportunity to join the morning or evening volunteer program for the whole two weeks. A prayer room in a caravan, a chillout zone, children’s attractions, a linden garden – these were all things that added to last year’s CampFest atmosphere and leaders would like to keep them this year as well.
The whole CampFest complex will look a little different – different than last year, and also different than years before. The exceptional situation helped to “dig through the system” in both spiritual and practical matters. Organizers have relocated and reorganized everything to make their work easier and to improve the experience for the participants. They long for personal, deep encounters with the Lord God and with people. And they believe that the Lord God can surprise them again with something unexpected.
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