Red Tuc Youth: First Summer Camp

August 17, 2021  |  abigailwilhelm

As we gear up for a new school year, and another year of Youth Group at Redemption Tucson, we (Abigail and Jake) want to share an update with the congregation about our summer.

We took four students this summer to Point Loma to join in the summer camp put on (mostly) by Redemption Gilbert. They have been doing this camp for over 25 years! This was Redemption Tucson’s first time joining, and it was a blast! We’ve had many conversations with church members about camp since then. But for you those of you we haven’t gotten to talk to personally, we would like to share a bit more. After all, it was your (our congregation) generosity that sent our students to camp. We hope you know how grateful we are. 

How was camp? 

Camp was amazing! We had such an incredible time! Our kids had an amazing experience– it’s hard to describe how impressive the whole setup was. As a mentor, it was so sweet to get some quality time with our students. We took four students so we really got time to get to know them on a deeper level. Really, the whole experience exceeded our expectations. 

What did you spend your time doing?

The bulk of our time during the day was spent in chapel or playing games. Chapel ran two times a day. The band was made up of people from the six different congregations there. Pastors Seth Troutt and Paul Artino from Redemption Gilbert and Redemption Gateway spoke at the sessions. These men preached the word in a mighty way to these kids. They spoke about real life issues– sin, shame, and living in a broken world. Our pastors didn’t shy away from the hard things and continually met those difficult realities with the hope of the gospel. It was powerful. 

We also played a lot of games– crazy, big, messy, intense games. The kids broke up into 16 teams and given one of four colors. Our boys were Pink Pandas. Our girls were Green Guinea Pigs. The level of hype these kids brought to the field was intense. There is an entire ministry of men from Gilbert that come to set up both chapel and the games. They spend hours and days bringing gear from Arizona and building things like an 8-way platform for Barbarian Capture the Flag or a 30ft climbing wall for the Amazing Race. We were blown away by their commitment to our students. 

What was the biggest take away? 

Our students kept repeating “We’re not alone! We can’t believe all these other kids love Jesus too!”

Our students kept repeating “We’re not alone! We can’t believe all these other kids love Jesus too!” There were over 350 students there from all over Arizona, Junior High and High School, boys and girls. Our youth group here in Tucson has about 10 students each week, and until camp, we didn’t realize how isolated they feel at times. Seeing other kids worshiping with one voice, sharing their lives with one another, learning about Jesus together, was very impactful. Redemption Flagstaff also brought a small number of students, and when they met our youth the two groups became inseparable.

By the end of the week, our kids were on one group text thread and began to call themselves “Flagson”. It’s a relationship we hope to continue to foster. We are so grateful for the Flagstaff students and leaders who tangibly shared the love of God with our kids! Additionally, we are incredibly thankful for Redemption’s generosity, making it possible for Red Tuc Youth to go to our first summer camp together. Thank You!