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Christian Youth Camps Inc (CYC), a not-for-profit Interdenominational Christian Camp, was founded in the late 1950’s, at a time when many Christian Camps, around Aotearoa, New Zealand, were set up, as local churches reacted to the needs that had sprung out of World War II. The result of large numbers of children now growing up without fathers, along with increased amounts of families moving to bigger cities, missing out on traditional Kiwi Kid experiences, created a need for outdoor education and a place to connect, in a Christ-centered environment.
One of the many people trying to respond to those needs was a man named Don Bullin, who with others, under the auspices of BTI (Bible Training Institute, now Laidlaw Collage), were touring the country, running Christian after school programs. Don could see that a weeklong Camp environment would be an even better way to impact children’s lives, and so he started, first with a weeklong camp, in a Church Hall in Matamata, and then a year later, on land used for the Easter Convention near the center of Ngaruawahia.
It was during this second camp that Don met a local farmer, Vivian Rankilor, who he approached to gain insight on whether there was any local land for sale, so that he could set up a permanent Christian Children’s Camp. Vivian didn’t know of any available land, but later came back to ask if Don might like to look around a bit of land that he owned. Don, his wife, and another gentleman did so and after looking at it, asked Vivian if they might be able to purchase a few acres at the front. Vivian said no they couldn’t; instead, God had told him he was to give them the entire 90-acre property to be used as an Interdenominational Christian Children’s Camp. And so, CYC was born!
CYC quickly grew and we now have two “Camping” sites on the property. Now day’s Camp Waikato sleeps 250, currently, fully catered, and Camp Waipa sleeps 196, either self-catered or catered. We run our own Holiday programs during school holidays and the rest of the year we hire the site out to school groups, church groups, family reunions, sports groups, and overseas based tour groups.
We have been so fortunate to have an incredible legacy behind us with sixty plus years of people building a strong foundation for us to be able to continue building on, reaching out with God’s love and sharing the message of salvation through Jesus Christ, to the youth of Aotearoa, New Zealand and their whanau.