The following are statements from individuals describing how TYC has changed their lives or about what TYC has come to mean to them. These testimonials are from a range of people, including clergy, parents, and youth/young adult participants. We are always interested in hearing how TYC has impacted people. If you would like to share how TYC has affected your life, please email your statement to us.


"I had the great privilege to attend TYC summer camp each year from 1978 through 1983. TYC stands out to this day as the most positive, spiritually maturing, influential experience of my adolescent years. It is difficult to communicate how meaningful TYC was to me as a youth. Active involvement in my church’s youth group never provided the depth of spiritual growth achievable at TYC. Each week spent at TYC helped me experience more fully the wonder of God’s presence along with others who yearned for community and affirmation and challenge. I learned what it means to be a child of God as well as what graciousness is. Without the encouragement and teaching of some of the finest people I’ve ever known – Mike Sanford, John Shettel, Larry Chottiner, to name just three – my life’s direction would undoubtedly be very different. Mike, John, and Larry mentored me then, but their impact on my life continues year after year. I remain very active in church. I’ve served as Elder and Deacon, as well as Youth Leader. (I guess I could also count meeting my husband 26 years ago at TYC as rather life-changing!) TYC has changed so many lives in positive ways.

Our son attended TYC this past summer for the first time. We knew from our own combined 11 TYC experiences that this was going to be a great week for him. ‘Thirsting for God's Direction’ and ‘Theological Basics/Foundations of Faith’ were his chosen courses of study. It delighted us that such important topics were available. We told our son he should try TYC once. He came home from TYC this August a more assured, prayerful, enthusiastic 15 year-old with many new friends.

There simply aren’t adequate Presbyterian youth programs available for learning and spiritual growth and community development. In the Kiskiminetas Presbytery, we no longer have any youth events offered or publicized other than the Youth Triennium which occurs every third year. Presbytery Days in past years included guest speakers specifically addressing youth’s issues, but no longer. Current options and advocacy regarding youth ministry for Presbyterian teens seem dismally limited. Additionally, many of our presbytery’s churches have very small or inactive youth programs.

TYC was by FAR the best opportunity we found for our son this past summer, offering everything we wanted for him: ministers who excel in youth work, group-building, teaching, facilitating, preaching, and leading worship. These wonderful mentors share their gifts all week with young people desperate for great role models in their lives. What an awesome task those pastors accept – along with a wonderful opportunity to impact teens and the future of our denomination. TYC is not your average church camp!"

From a former participant, now a parent of a TYC participant
Back to top

"Trinity Youth Conference is the place God really started to make sense to me. While at TYC, I started discovering that God isn't just out there, but living right here in community with people who believe Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior of their lives and this world.  TYC helped to shape my faith.  If it wasn't for TYC I don't know where my faith might have gone."

From a former participant, now an ordained Minister in the PC(U.S.A.)
Back to top


"When I first heard of Trinity Youth Conference, I was still in middle school, and too young to go. My preacher (at the time) had convinced two of the high school youth to attend. Each year they went, they came back raving about how wonderful it was and the unbelievable time they had. By the time I finished my freshman year of high school, my preacher had moved to another church, and I needed a lot of persuading to go to TYC. I was a shy teenager, not afraid to leave home and live for a week with whom I imagined to be a bunch of weird, bible thumping strangers, but also not too keen on the idea. With the encouragement of my parents and my fellow church members, I decided I would try out this whole TYC thing. So on August 6th, 2000 I set off with my mother after church to find this place called Camp Living Waters, not having the slightest thoughts that the week would change my life. An hour and a half later we arrived at one of the most beautiful places I had ever seen. We drove down a big hill, and came upon a big pond with swans and ducks, crossed over a little stream, and saw a gorgeous campsite surrounded by trees. I nervously checked in, filled out some paperwork, unpacked, and told my mother goodbye for a whole week. That afternoon, I met the other campers, played some games, had dinner, and attended worship. The week started off pretty slow. I went to my workshops and I was a little reluctant to open up to all these unfamiliar people. By Wednesday or Thursday I had made friends with people I felt I had known forever, and was having a lot of fun. And all of a sudden, Saturday hit, and it was time to leave. We all met together and formed a circle, holding hands in the middle of the field. I had a feeling in the pit of my stomach like I was going to be sick. I did not know what it was then, and it is still hard to explain, but leaving that place made me feel like I was venturing out into another world. I realized it was going to be a tough adjustment, and that I was going to miss the relationships I had formed, but what I did not realize then was what an impact TYC had made on my life within the short span of a week. Here I am, seven years later attempting to make certain that so many other teenagers will be able to experience what I have. With seven years of TYC under my belt, I fully realize what it has done for me. Unfortunately, it is very difficult for me to explain, but I will try my best. I cannot pinpoint the thing that makes TYC so special. Maybe it's the bonds that form within a week. The friends I have made are irreplaceable. These are people I know I can call any hour of the day whenever I need them. They are people in whom I know I can confide my darkest secrets, and they are not going to judge me or tell anyone else. They are the people who I ask for advice, and actually believe what they say and do what they suggest. They are the people that I feel completely okay crying in front of. They are the people who when I have been at my lowest point, scoop me off the ground and help me carry on. They are the people who I honestly know will be my friends for life. Most of all, they are the people who have built up my faith, kept me active in church, and helped me become the person I am right now; sitting here pushing for more young adults to be able to have a place to learn, lead, and grow with God. Another reason TYC is so special is the indescribable aura that is in between those tree tops for the one week we all convene. Most of us believe that God is with us every day, and from time to time He does something to 'make an appearance' in our lives. My first week of TYC was the first time I actually felt Him with me. It was a feeling of love, one that will never falter no matter what I do, and one that will never be matched. It was the most incredible feeling in the world, and the only feeling besides sadness, that has ever brought tears to my eyes. And by tears to my eyes, I mean a stream pouring down my face. TYC is a place where God can be felt, and where for the first time in my life I had the justified feeling that He is "real." This feeling has carried on with me for seven years, getting me through some tough times that I never could have made it through alone. I give full credit to TYC for who I am today and where I am today, because it opened up my heart, strengthened my relationship with God, and showed me how to allow myself to feel ALL of His love. I have never been as passionate about anything as I am to ensuring that TYC can change the lives of other young adults by strengthening their faith, spirituality, and relationship with God. TYC has given me the best relationships for which anyone could ask. I have met people who I know I can count on no matter what, and who have come through when I needed them. It has given me a week of vacation to look forward to where my life is worry free and there is no stress. Best of all though, TYC has given me a relationship with God that I never would have had if it were not for the opportunity to take a week out of my life to feel Him and really get to know Him."

From a college student and TYC participant
Back to top


"Three years ago our Pastor suggested a summer camp for our daughter that he said would be a good spiritual experience.  She had been to summer camps before and they had been fun for her.  This TYC week sounded okay, so with few expectations we sent her off.  She returned as the same kid but she had seen something she had never seen at her high school.  She had been able to talk about her faith with other teens in a way she had never thought was possible.  She met and had fun with other Christian teens in a place where the name of Jesus was said in a positive way.  She went to TYC again last year and is looking forward to it again this year.  If you ask her about it, expect to hear a long story and all positives."

From a parent of a TYC participant
Back to top


"I am 27 years of age, live in Los Angeles, California, and work in the entertainment industry. I have done TV series, films, commercials, and have worked with some of the industries top professionals. I would not be where I am today without the Trinity Youth Conference.

I, like my two older siblings, went to TYC entering my sophomore year of high school. I was a short, chubby, effervescent boy craving to come out of my shell. Constantly picked on and tormented by the community in my school/home town, this was challenging. It wasn't until I received the acceptance, support, friendships, and love from the community of TYC where I was able to begin growing into myself, and let my inner light shine.

I continued to go to TYC through college, it was in these later years where TYC really saved my life. I was now entering my sophomore year of college and had just gone through an extremely traumatic experience for one at that age. I didn't want to live, I didn't remember what happiness was, I was swallowed by sorrow, guilt, and depression. I wanted to die. So, I thought about it. I was crying in my room, holding a bottle of pills when I looked on the floor and saw a little folded up piece of paper. I don't know why, but I thought, "what is that?" I unfolded it and it was a note from a fellow camper from the prior year. A note reading how important my life was, how much I mean to him, to the TYC community, how I have the power to change people. Even through my tears I was able to see this was a sign.

TYC saved my life in more ways than one. Some of my best friends in the world were formed from this spiritual, loving community. This world is a hard enough place to meet people, but to be able to connect with one on a spiritual level and have an honest support system...that is real. The youth of this world are going through more and more every day. They need support, love, and community. I was fortunate to receive that from TYC. I am confident that many others have and that many others will. Please don't let so many young lives miss out on an opportunity to get the light into their soul that is so needed. "

From a former TYC participant
Back to top



tyc News and events
  • TYC 2024: July 14th - 20th
tyc quick links