It’s sizzling hot in Manila and all over the Philippines. Everywhere you go, you’d feel the summer heat. The streets of Manila can fry you if you don’t have an umbrella. Lots of people are trooping to the beaches, to the cool mountains and other places where they can enjoy the company of friends and family. Some other things are sizzling hot. While their peers are busy in recreation and having fun, these young people are enjoying a different kind of fun, they participate in the programs of the church for youth and young adults.What’s in store for young people this year? A lot!Summer Camps! For a few days, young people go away from home to some retreat place to enjoy the company of other youth and of God. These summer camps are organized by the district and annual conference levels of the United Methodist Youth Fellowship in the Philippines for the enrichment of young people. Some of these camps include sports, swimming, community outreach programs, and spiritual retreats. School for Christian Youth DevelopmentWhen I was in high school a couple of years ago (or more like ages ago), I participated in the School for Christian Youth Development. It’s just like a real school complete with a school director, teachers, a curriculum, and boarding rooms. The School for Christian Youth Development is an intensive leadership training for young people. They are equipped with skills in preaching, teaching and leading Bible Studies, youth ministry and interpreting the Bible. As a youth leader, I profitted a lot from my experience with the School for Christian Youth Development. The whole curriculum runs for three years. I traded my summers for such experiences and I didn’t regret it all. Only a handful of annual conferences are offering this kind of school. The North Central Philippines Annual Conference does, so do Northeast Philippines Annual Conference, Southwest Philippines Annual Conference, and Visayas Philippines Annual Conferences among others. Spiritual RetreatsStudents long for a break after their schools year, working folks also long to reconnect with their spiritual lives so they could replenish their energies and creative spirits. Summer, which is really hot here, can then reignite the embers of passion among young people. Last summer I was at the School for Christian Youth Development of Visayas Philippines Annual Conference held in May 2008 at Jimalalud, Negros Oriental. The place was about 3 hours away from Naga City by bus. Naga City, on the other hand is about 1.5 hours away from Manila by plane. Among the lush coconut trees, breathtaking sunrises and sunsets, towering mountains and the Pacific Ocean, a hundred or so young Methodists gathered for spiritual instruction and renewal. And I was there, too! It was refreshing to see the spirits of young people as they learned more about God and about the Methodist faith. As you enjoy the summer break, I hope you find a lot of worthwhile things to do. May you have a meaningful and enjoyable summer!