Last month’s Survivor Camp was a highlight of the spring semester and our students and YOKE Folk made memories that will last a lifetime. “Survivor” was our theme, with YOKE Folk and school teams competing in contests throughout the weekend modeled after the popular television series. While West Valley Middle School claimed the title of “Sole Survivor” on our first weekend, and Norris Middle came out on top the second, everyone was a winner.

During club time, talks focused on survivor stories from Scripture. Students got to hear Bible stories about how Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael obeyed a higher law and survived the “fiery furnace;” about how the disciples survived a “furious squall” because Jesus was in the boat; about how Jesus triumphed over death to become the ultimate survivor; and more. Over the course of the two weekends, nearly 400 students and leaders participated, our largest camp since the pandemic by a wide margin. Praise God for our growing ministry!

One special story to come out of camp is our growing impact at South Doyle Middle School, driven by former YOKE Kid and former YOKE staff member, Eli Cockrum. Relaunching the club after the pandemic has been a struggle, but under Eli’s leadership, it’s really taken off this year. The club only averaged between 4 and 6 students during the fall semester but brought 4 girls to fall camp. In the spring semester they had as many as 25 attend club, with 12 joining us for camp.

When asked what the key was, the first word that came up for Eli was consistency. “We had a group of YOKE Folk that just decided to invest in South Doyle Middle, regardless of how many were coming to club,” explained Eli. “They consistently showed up at club and school lunches, taking advantage of every opportunity to build relationships with students.”

He also gives a lot of credit to his daughter, Blair, a 6th grader this year at South Doyle. With her dad on staff for 8 years, Blair grew up around the YOKE family and couldn’t wait to be an actual YOKE Kid at South Doyle. “She’s quite the evangelist,” said Eli. “It was Blair’s dream to relaunch YOKE at her school and she has been instrumental in creating excitement and inviting her friends to club and to camp.”

This story is a great reminder to us that the success of YOKE Camp is most often the result of long-term, consistent, incarnational ministry at each school. We appreciate your prayers for Blair and “her” team as they serve that South Doyle community. Thank you so much for your partnership that makes this work possible.

More pictures from South Doyle