The theme for Philadelphia Youth Camp in Edmond this past year was “Live Right—Take Flight.” You can think of pyc as a part of your ground school—or the training that students must go through before they can become pilots. If you throw your heart into applying everything you learned at pyc 2017 over the course of the next year, it will get you ready to take flight.
There are three specific areas that ground schools cover: the flight and aircraft operational procedures, the aeronautical knowledge, and preparation for the faa tests. faa stands for “Federal Aviation Administration,” a government organization that is in charge of all civil aviation in the United States of America. You have to pass three faa tests—knowledge, oral and practical—before you can become a certified pilot. You must pass the knowledge test before you are allowed to move on to the remaining two. Each test makes sure that you have the correct foundation to successfully move on to and complete the next test.
In other words, ground school is cumulative. You start by learning procedures on the ground. You learn about fuel management, weight and balance, flight route, meteorological briefing and flight plan filing. These tasks must be completed before you step into the cockpit. Once you do start the engines in an aircraft, you must learn air traffic control procedures, how to read a sectional chart, what to do in an emergency, and how to navigate. This is all learned while you are still on the ground. Once you have learned the foundational material—first in the classroom and then in the cockpit—you are allowed to take off. You learn, and then you apply what you learn. Ultimately, the instruction and practice culminates in flying across the country. This cross-country flight is one of the last steps in achieving your pilot’s license.
Prior to the cross-country flight, all of your training remains in your local area—whether it’s on the ground or in the air. Most of it has taken place on the ground, where you are laying the foundation for your future success. The harder you work to build a strong foundation, the faster you will be on your way to becoming a certified pilot and taking flight.
Ground school is a great analogy for your life. God wants you to be a part of His Family. He wants you to be the kings and priests—the teachers—of the World Tomorrow and beyond (Revelation 5:10). But in order to become teachers in the future, you have to be taught and trained today. You have to go through ground school—and pass all the tests of character that God will set before you—in order to become a certified Son of God.
The ground school that you attend is not limited to pyc only. God also uses your parents and your local congregation to train you in the way that you should go (Proverbs 22:6). You do receive a lot of concentrated instruction at pyc, however, and it’s important that you take advantage of every minute of the experience if you are privileged to go. It does not last long. Compared to the 49 others weeks in a year, it is just a blip on the radar. It’s over before you know it, but it is a crucial part of ground school. There is no other camp—no other ground school—on Earth that prepares you to fly into the Kingdom of God.
At pyc, you learn how to deepen your relationship with your Pilot—God the Father—through prayer. You also learn how to use your ground school manual—the Bible. Isaiah 48:17 says, “Thus saith the Lord, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the Lord thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldst go.” The Bible reveals that man’s ultimate destiny is to achieve sonship in the divine Family of God. Your parents, your siblings and you have been given the opportunity to become co-inheritors of the entire universe (Romans 8:16-17). If you use the flight plan that the Bible contains, you will reach that destination. Pray and study diligently like you learned at pyc, and God will lead you to a successful graduation from flight school.
Pyc teaches you “a more excellent way,” as 1 Corinthians 12:31 says—God’s way of life. Volunteers from around the world come to work at pyc. The food services department alone has volunteers from New Zealand, South Africa, Canada and all across the United States. They give three weeks of their summer because they love God’s teens and want you to succeed in your ground school training.
Ultimately, your ground school graduation will lead to you ruling with Jesus Christ for all eternity. Revelation 3:21 says, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” Take everything you learned at pyc and diligently apply it in your life, and you will be on your way to graduating from ground school into the Family of God.