Young Life Beyond Malibu's weeklong sea kayaking and mountain adventures in British Columbia, Canada are designed to challenge high school and college students, and adults of all ages to explore who they are in Jesus Christ and their relationship to God. Princeton Theological Seminary interns train to be mountain guides and help to lead groups of eight to 10 on these expeditions.
“There is always a quest to help participants know Scripture, and PTS students bring a higher level of that understanding,” said Rob Duyker, camp manager. “Our connection with PTS is strong because the students are serious about their faith journey and want to share that.”
Interns at Beyond Malibu must complete a rigorous 36-day training that encompasses everything from biblical content and leadership to first aid, maps, and compass reading. Aside from the physical challenges, such as extreme weather conditions, interns must also constantly manage the participants, and lead group discussions and Bible studies.
“They’re on the front lines, grieving and rejoicing with the kids and hearing their stories,” Duyker says. “They help participants see the many different ways they can reflect on God and His presence in their lives.”
Ryan Pearce, an MDiv student, interned at Beyond Malibu for two consecutive summers in 2017 and 2018.
“The adventure of Beyond is not the terrain, but the life experiences that get shared with other people that allow us to connect on a far deeper level than otherwise would be possible,” Pearce says.
Pearce’s most memorable experience was his 24th birthday when he realized he was about to summit Mt. Albert, an 8,200-foot mountain in the Coast Range of British Columbia, alongside 11 high school seniors “for the sole purpose of proclaiming Jesus’ salvific work in their lives,” he says.
“That day I saw what an adventure God brings us on when we choose to say yes to his calling on our lives. It was exhilarating.”