History - Baptist Youth Ministry Training & Support
The origin of CYS rests with Baptist Youth Ministries, an organisation that was set up in 1980 to resource and develop youth ministries of Baptist churches throughout New Zealand. BYM expanded as the need and demand for youth work related training and support grew, and in 1995 it became apparent that there was huge demand for similar services across denominations. Under the leadership of Mike Dodge the concept of an organisation serving all local youth ministries was given legs to stand on. So in 1999 Canterbury Youth Services was birthed to serve all youth ministries in the Canterbury Region and has been constantly expanding ever since. Those in the know fondly describe CYS as being like “Baptist Youth Ministries on steroids, for everyone”.
Since its inception, CYS has grown to include running two major events and two focused leadership-training events throughout the year. Combining that with the constant resourcing of local youth leaders, and involvement in youth ministry nationwide this has meant we never have time to watch daytime television. (Which we are so thankful about)
In 1996 Easter Camp was launched with 360 campers, this event has now grown to become the flagship event of CYS. In 2005 Easter Camp numbers surpassed 3000 for the first time and in 2009 registrations exceeded 4000, compiled from the 110 youth ministries from around the South Island. As this has grown and continues to grow so does the impact that CYS has on youth ministry within New Zealand.
CYS pioneered the Strengths Based revolution in 2007 as the first batch of CYS Strengths Coaches were trained by Gallup. Since then demand for Strengths Finder assessment and coaching has gone ballistic and currently we have two full time coaches that frantically try to keep up with demand.
2009 saw the inception of the younger sibling to Easter Camp – an intermediate focused weekend named Amped that we are excited to see grow and develop.
So where to from here? Well the growth of the camps is a snapshot of the health of the groups we are serving and the strength of their relational connections, so our aim is always to be pioneering new ways to foster that growth and health within youth communities. With that in mind there are some exciting things on the horizon… but for the moment you will just have to wait and see.