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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church


    news article

    CCYM Training Camp-an amazing experience

    July 3, 2019 / By Danny Gekonge – Emmaeus UMC / Albany District Kathryn Helms – Brockport UMC / Genesee Valley District

    Greetings from CCYM training camp! Here at Asbury Retreat Center, we participated in worship, games, and welcoming gestures. We sang lots of praise songs to get us energized and in a good mood. We lifted our voices to God many times every day. We used skits, lessons, and songs to teach messages about God. We served communion and had short services, one of which was around a warm campfire, where we sang even more praise hymns.

    Also around the campfire, we roasted marshmallows and waved our glowsticks in the air. The community at CCYM was designed to make people feel welcomed and included. When we arrived at Asbury, we were immediately matched up with experienced CCYM members who showed us how things work and moved us into our rooms. The Welcome Committee even baked cookies! After this warm welcome, we gathered in the meadow and we did ice breakers. Each CCYM member was assigned a ‘Warm Fuzzy’ (another CCYM member) to show affection towards and make feel welcome. People hung encouraging signs on the wall and bought candy for their Warm Fuzzy. People became very creative with their gifts to others this week and did so secretly. At the end of the week, the identity of someone’s Warm Fuzzy is revealed after three guesses.

    There’s no other way to say this: The food was amazing. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner were not only healthy, but well organized. People signed up to set tables, then someone said grace, and then tables were called on to go and get food. There was always enough to have seconds, and it was always enough. There was also a snack shack that we could use during evening free time, to play games and get a late-night snack, if needed. Between table hospitality (the fancy term for setting the table) and the infinite supply of food, our meals were set up to be welcoming and comfortable for everyone.

    Other activities we focused on at camp were about bonding. Building trust and connections is an essential part of the CCYM training camp experience. One of the first things we did together as a team was a game called Hog Call. Blindfolded, we tried to find our partners using a phrase that only our partners knew. We made new friends and it helped us to have more people to hang out with during camp. Overall, training camp was a productive, spiritual, and fun time that everyone enjoyed. We’re planning future events - stay tuned for more details.


    With more than 168,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises 865 local churches and 91 new faith communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our mission is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."