114 teens from the Philadelphia Church of God just finished 2015’s Philadelphia Youth Camp (PYC). PYC is a three-week camp designed to show teenagers that God’s way is a happy, fun, abundant and productive way of life. Teens do this by participating in many activities, including Bible classes, speech classes, sports and dances.
Gerald R. Flurry started Philadelphia Youth Camp (PYC) to continue in the tradition of the Worldwide Church of God’s (WCG) youth camps called “Summer Educational Program.” Founder of the Worldwide Church of God, Herbert W. Armstrong, always believed in having strong youth programs and held the camps annually, just like the Philadelphia Church of God (PCG) does today.
The importance of this annual camp and its purpose is emphasized by God in the Bible. In Malachi 4:5-6, God directs His people to turn “the heart of the children to their fathers.” This instruction is repeated in the New Testament, emphasizing that the youth need to be prepared for the return of Christ: “And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias [Elijah], to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:17).
Gerald Flurry wrote in the Philadelphia News in 1992 that PYC helps “prepare our youth to assist Christ in changing the world—even the universe!” The camp works hard to teach the teenagers of the PCG that wonderful vision.
In order to do so, preparation for PYC starts long before July when the camp is held. First preparation begins with getting the Teen Talent Contest ready. The PCG musical director starts planning out the year’s contest in which teens from all over the PCG compete in categories such as art, writing, and musical and dance performances. The finalists of the performance categories perform at PYC every year, and the winners of the contest in all categories are announced at the end of the camp.
Six months out, the Herbert W. Armstrong College kitchen staff begins buying food to prepare to feed all the campers and the workers. The kitchen looks for non-perishable foods on sale trying to save money when possible.
Four months out on March 1 PYC registration begins. Volunteers to help run the camp are selected and contacted to make arrangements for their stay. Hundreds of teens send their PYC applications in by April 31. Two months out PYC director Wayne Turgeon begins the selection process for the future campers and by the end of May teens are sent their acceptance letters via e-mail.
One month out, PYC staff begin to take inventory and stock of the equipment necessary to run the camp, such as camp shirts and sports equipment. Staff also starts to prepare their lectures, the schedule the activities and plan the food menu.
One week out students at HWAC begin finding out their work assignments and start preparing for their responsibilities.
Two days before PYC starts a special training session is given to all the workers. The kitchen crew is walked through their responsibilities and students are put through the final preparations for the arrival of the campers.
All of this is done under Gerald Flurry’s direction with the goal to prepare these teens for their wonderful future.