What can I expect a PYPS weekend to be like?
Our weekends are a balance of fun activities, Spirit-filled worship and open discussions. Each event is geared toward a theme which is chosen by the youth leaders at an annual leadership retreat each fall. And each is a time for us to live as a Christian community, in love, faith and friendship. If you want to hear what others have experienced at PYPS, check out our PYPS Impressions page.
Our worship services feature contemporary music played by some talented young people and powerpoint adds a visual level. Frequently we incorporate some “out of the box” worship styles, including liturgical dance and communal prayer. Usually, a guest speaker will be invited to join us and help fuel our discussions with two or three thoughtful talks that focus on our theme.
Activities are created by the event planning team
and in the past we’ve had a wide range of games and crazy fun.
Some of the events also include traditional elements that return year after year. Our May event usually features an ever-popular coffee house or talent show, and the fall event includes a formal dinner and dance.
But you can also expect to encounter some great people who will become friends for life, and who will help support you and nurture your faith in the years to come.
Do you have policies and procedures in place to help keep us safe?
PYPS follows the guidelines set forth by the Presbyterian Church in Canada including Leading With Care: A Policy Ensuring a Climate of Safety for Children, Youth and Vulnerable Adults. All executive members and leadership teams are briefed on appropriate behaviour and safety standards, and all have signed a covenant in which they promise to uphold the values we hold as members of a Christian community. We also ensure that a certified first-aider is present at every weekend. At least two adult deans are also recruited to help us keep an eye on things.’
Where will I stay while at PYPS?
A church in our synod generously hosts us for our winter and fall weekends. During the day, we usually stay in or around the church property, but now and then we’ll go on a field trip to a local park, ice rink, laser tag place or other venue. If we do, we go as a group.
At night, we’re hosted by members of the local church. The church will verify that all hosts are active members of their congregation or another local church. We always ensure there are at least two youth sent to each billet, and we split up according to gender.
For our spring weekend, we stay at Camp Cairn near Baysville and spend the night in cabins.
I’m technically not a part of your synod. Can I still come?
Of course you can.
I’m not a Presbyterian, is that a problem?
Can I bring a friend who doesn’t attend church?
I’m a youth leader. Can I attend PYPS with youth from my church?
Youth leaders are welcome to attend PYPS, but we ask that you be willing to do so as an observer. Part of our mission is to empower youth by giving them leadership roles, so we ask that you defer to the leadership provided by the executive and the weekend planning team while you’re at PYPS. For youth leaders, our weekends can be a great opportunity to network with other leaders who have come along, and to get to know your youth more.
Naturally, we also ask that you maintain the standards set out in the church’s Leading with Care policy if you will be transporting youth to and from events. Be sure you’re never alone with someone under 18, and get written permission from the parents of under-18 youth if you’ll be transporting them from point A t point B.
What is theme speak, and what do Guest Speaker’s do at an event?
Theme speaks are essentially an interactive workshop or sermon with the youth relating to the weekend’s theme. Guest speakers in the past have used crafts, music, personal stories, movies and activities as a creative way to get their message across.
At events, Guest Speakers provide an opportunity for spiritual mentorship. The youth find it extremely valuable to interact with a faithful adult and often will confide in the Speaker for questions about their faith. Speakers are welcome to stay for the whole event, or as much as they can. There is generally a short theme speak introduction on Friday night and two 30 minute long theme speaks on Saturday, but we are flexible to what works for the Guest Speaker. Speakers are paid for their contribution, and PYPS will pay for travel costs and pulpit supply if applicable.
What mission work is PYPS involved in?
At every event, PYPS is involved in a mission activity. In the past we’ve done community clean-ups near the host church, prepared packages for Yonge Street Mission in Toronto, educational programming about global inequality, done site work for our host camp during May Camp, and have had speakers from Evangel Hall. We find that doing mission at our events cultivates new conversations and inspires youth to be more involved outside of PYPS.
What do youth say is the best part of PYPS?
Youth often find that the community-based worship at PYPS is their favourite part. Through various music and worship styles, youth get to explore different types of worship in a safe, welcoming community