Y-Factor Round Two Gets The Green Light

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121 students and 25 Youth Ministry leaders joined the Sydney Catholic Youth team for the 2021 Annual Y-Factor Camp. PHOTO: Sydney Catholic Youth

Sydney Catholic Youth have announced a second Y-Factor Camp for 2021! Connect talks to former participant and current leader Emily Cousins to find out more about this special event.

Sydney Catholic Youth’s annual Y-Factor camp made a long awaited return during the April school holidays. The four day event held in collaboration with Youth Ministry Coordinators from across the Sydney Archdiocese encourages teens to share and discuss aspects of their faith and experience God in new ways.

Due to the popularity of the Y-Factor camp, Sydney Catholic Youth have announced they’re coming back for round two from 5 to 8 July at the Benedict XVI Retreat Centre in Grose Vale.

“We can’t even begin to tell you how excited we are to have our Annual Y-Factor Camp back again for round two,” said the Sydney Catholic Youth team. “If you haven’t been in previous years or missed out on our April Camp, you’ll just have to pack a bag and join us this time round!”

So what is Y-Factor? And what should teens be expecting if they decide to go along? The best way to answer that is to ask someone who has done it before!

19-year-old Emily Cousins from All Saints Parish in Liverpool is a veteran of the Y-Factor camp. She now works as part of the leadership team, bringing her experience as an All Saints “Encounter” youth group coordinator and a Youth Mission Team member at Our Lady of the Rosary Parish in Fairfield to the camp with her.

Connect had some questions for Emily and had the opportunity to get her insights on Y-Factor ahead of round two.

What is Y-Factor?

Y-Factor is a youth retreat that provides an opportunity for young people to learn more about their faith, and to open their hearts to growing closer to God.

Round one of the camp was held at the Benedict XVI Retreat Centre in Grose Vale and we had 121 young people attended! There was over 25 Youth Leaders from across Sydney and the SCY team who all worked closely together to create this year’s awesome camp.

Youth Leader Rachel Vala talks to students at the Sydney Catholic Youth 2021 Annual Y-Factor Camp. PHOTO: Sydney Catholic Youth

How did you get involved in Y-Factor?

I first heard about Y-Factor when I was only 15 years old and in year 10. I decided to attend the 2017 camp to socialise and meet new friends without any intention to get to know God better and work on my relationship with Him.

Fast forward a couple of years and this year’s camp was my fifth Y-Factor and second one as a leader! This year I was beyond blessed with the role as one of the head leaders of Activities and Environment for the camp, which entailed organising and preparing the activities, assisting with planning the sessions and flow of the camp and coordinating design and aesthetic aspects of how the camp would look overall.

The whole team worked extremely hard to be intentional with every decision, always keeping in mind how we can show the students Christ in even the little moments.

How long were you and the team preparing for Y-Factor?

At my last Y-Factor as a student in 2019 I mentioned to the SCY team that I would be interested in coming back as a leader if they were looking for new leaders to join the leadership team. That next year I was approached by the SCY team to be a leader for the 2020 camp which was later postponed due to COVID-19 but thankfully a Y-Factor weekend was held late last year.

This year I was approached not long after I attended the Young Leaders Evangelisation School where I met heaps of young adults and ended up serving with a handful of them at Y-Factor this year.

Once the team was formed, we started preparing for Y-Factor in the first week of February and had weekly meetings either in person or on zoom to organise the camp, as well as small meet ups with each other and the SCY team to check in with each other and how we were going- not just with planning the camp but with our hearts as a whole.

Y-Factor was an amazing opportunity and saying ‘yes’ opened my eyes to how I can live a life like Christ.

The preparation for Y-Factor this year was a long process, but it was so rewarding! Each leader was appointed a specific section of Y-Factor that they would oversee, these included teams of Prayer & Liturgy, Program, Tech & Media, Music and Small group leaders, as well as the Camp Coordinators.

There was a multitude of people behind the scenes working to assist with the camp in prayer teams, talks and design aspects. The saying goes that many hands make light work – that was truly evident with this year’s camp. Everyone gave 110% and the camp ran seamlessly and we as leaders were able to be attentive to the students and how we could walk with them on their journey to Christ.

What makes Y-Factor such an important event?

Y-Factor is such a monumental event that I have always looked forward to every year! This camp provides a safe space where young people can be themselves and explore their faith without having to worry about the distractions and pressures of society today.

Y-Factor is for everyone and caters to all students’ interests, offering fun and interactive activities, multimedia dramas and phenomenal music.

Most importantly the camp is for all levels of faith, whether an individual was just baptised into the church, was born into a practicing Catholic family or doesn’t know God and isn’t a Catholic – it doesn’t matter! We meet them where they are at just like God does and simply show them how they are loved and made for more.

Any highlights from this year’s Y-Factor?

This year’s Y-Factor was amazing! A standout moment for me was seeing the young people slowly open their hearts to the graces of God, which was clear in the nightly adoration events we had.

On one of the nights during adoration there was confession available, once it was announced suddenly without any hesitation about 30-50 young people all stood up and created a huge line to go to confession that went all around the inside of the hall.

This moment made my heart do backflips as seeing the students want to go confess their sins and want to be better not just for themselves but for God was beyond amazing and for that may God be Glorified!

The boys group gather outdoors at the 2021 Annual Y-Factor Camp PHOTO: Sydney Catholic Youth

What would you say to a student considering attending Y-Factor round two?

To any student considering attending Y-Factor but who isn’t sure I would say go! Chase God’s throne of Grace for He is waiting for you always!

Y-Factor was an amazing opportunity and saying yes opened my eyes to how I can live a life like Christ. Whether you found out about Y-Factor from your High School, Youth Group or you know somebody who went and never stops talking about it (that is still me I am that person!) I would say be radical and take that leap of faith you won’t regret it!

No matter where you are at with your faith just go and be open to change because at the end of the day whether you say ‘yes’ because, like me, you just want to socialise and meet new people, this might just be what God is calling you to without you even realising it. Just do it!

To register for Y-Factor round two or to find out more details click here!