My name is Alyssa Tyson, and I was on the PKF team for Laurelville. My role was to help create a healthy, God-centered, and unified staff culture. I thought this would be a way for me to pour into the staff, but I was so much more filled and poured into while being there. The joy and depth of every staff member were inspiring. We were able to laugh, pray, cry out, have fun, and rejoice with each other. So many people from different backgrounds and situations yet brought together as a family because we all have the same Father. The friendships and relationships that I’ve built are such blessings. Hearing from people even after camp is over has been so encouraging. Each person came into Laurelville with such specific gifts, and when paired with everyone else’s gifts, God was able to flow through his body of people and students came to know him. I saw the blessings of God on this camp, and I believe it is because his followers were obeying His call on their lives. I have been challenged by the staff, speakers, and students to live freely in the life God has given us and to trust that he will take our faithful obedience and will work miracles. I didn’t know where God was taking me next in my adult life journey, but after Laurelville, I’ve been reminded that I don’t need to know all the answers, I just need to follow the One who does have the answers. His promises go with me wherever I will go.
It's late August, which means you can't go one day without being reminded that a new school year is quickly approaching. Commercials, junk mail, even Instagram ads are all out in full force letting you know that it's officially "Back to School" season. All of the sales and ads are focused on helping you prepare physically for a new school year - maybe you need new notebooks, pencils, and you definitely need a fresh pair of shoes. But it's easy to forget to prepare spiritually for a new school year.
Summer gives us an excellent opportunity to be distraction free. There's no homework or classes, and you have plenty of time to hang out with your friends and hopefully even go to summer camp. If you came to Surf City this summer, we hope you had a ton of fun and got closer to Jesus at the same time. After camp, it's typical to feel like you're "on fire" for God and really excited about what you learned. But if we're not prepared spiritually, it's easy to lose that excitement once we start the new school year. Here are a few of our favorite ways to keep that summer camp feeling going all year round.
- Start a devotional plan. "Devotional plan" can sound intense. Here's our advice: start small and figure out what works best for you. Can't commit to doing a devotional every day? Start with a few days a week and go from there. Are you a morning person or a night owl? Do you have a free study hall in the middle of the day? Find a time that works for you! Our favorite free Bible app, YouVersion has hundreds of quick devotionals that you can do whenever you have time. The most important thing is to be reading with some consistency.
- Make smart friendships. There's a saying, "You are the average of the five people you most associate with." Take a look at who you hang out with the most. Are they people you want to be like? Find people you want to be like and surround yourself with them. Be intentional about the friends you spend most of your time with. Good friends will help you through tough times.
- Get involved in your youth group. Your church's youth group is likely full of students just like you who are figuring life out and want to be more like Jesus. It's hard to think of an event throughout the year that is closer to summer camp than your weekly youth group. Your youth leaders are there each week to hang out with you. Connect with them, and they'll support you throughout the school year!
- Bonus. Sign up for Laurelville! Did you know that we run a fall retreat called Laurelville that is just as fun as Surf City but crammed into one nonstop weekend? Ask your youth pastor about signing up for Laurelville.