With a groundbreaking in the Philippines, work begins on the Church’s first For the Strength of Youth camp in Asia. The 24.13-acre site is in Tanay, Rizal, about 40 miles, or 65 kilometers, east of Manila, according to Philippines Newsroom.
Elder Taniela B. Wakolo, Philippines Area president and General Authority Seventy, offered the dedicatory prayer and led in the groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday, June 30. Tanay City Mayor Rex Manuel Tanjuatco and Vice Mayor Rafael Tanjuatco also helped in turning the first shovelfuls of dirt for the camp.
“FSY conferences are designed to help youth have fun, strengthen faith in Jesus Christ and feel joy and belonging as they live the gospel,” said Elder Wakolo. “These facilities will contribute towards strengthening the character of our youth and inspire them to express silent sermons by the way they live their lives as sons and daughters of God.”
Plans for the camp include dormitories, an auditorium, a pavilion, several meeting buildings and an outdoor amphitheater. Once completed, the FSY camp can accommodate 7,200 youth and leaders each year and serve about 400 to 800 participants weekly. It will serve the following areas: Metro Manila, Bulacan, Pampanga, Bataan, Zambales, Laguna, Batangas, Lucena, Rizal, Cavite and the Quezon Province, according to Philippines Newsroom.
FSY conferences, which are modeled after Brigham Young University’s Especially for Youth conferences, are large-scale youth activities of up to five days with devotionals, classes, learning opportunities and activities that are designed to build and strengthen faith in Jesus Christ. FSY is for young men and young women, starting the year they turn 14 and through the year they graduate from high school. Area young single adults serve as youth counselors for the conferences. Depending on the area, youth may have the chance to attend FSY conferences every two or three years.
Mayor Tanjuatco highlighted the importance of preparing the youth of today. “Through this camp, youth will find God’s purpose in their lives. Let’s make this facility the partner of youth development because this facility will transform the youth of the future.”
The 18-month project is expected to be completed in early 2023.
FSY conferences have been held in different areas of the world for more than a decade. It was announced in July 2019 that FSY conferences would be starting for youth in the United States and Canada and they would attend every other year. That has been delayed due to the pandemic until 2022. Where available, the conferences are scheduled at local universities.