The aim in youth work is to raise youth to responsible people able to adequately find their places in the rank and file in the church and society. The Presbyterian Youth Department undertakes developmental and not welfare youth work. That is, the department equip youths with skills for self-development. Youth work calls for partnership and the participation of many. This is because raising leaders for the church and nation needs great efforts.
After several years of the work of the Basel Mission in Cameroon, she saw the need of constituting the youth of the church into a veritable crop for witness. This in 1957, a bible study or bible reading fellowship group (BRF) was introduced in Beach in Victoria. It constituted youths of 18 to about 40 years old. Later in 1958, the group was named Fellowship of Youths (FOY). In 1959, with the birth of other FOY youth groups in Ombe, Sasse College, Tiko and CDC Bota, the youth movement of the church was born and it was called the Christian Youth Fellowship (CYF).
The Rev. A.C Miaz of Swiss nationality was appointed the youth secretary. He was thus given charge over youth activities of the entire Presbyterian Church in Cameroon or (West Cameroon as was the case then). Briefly, this is how the Youth Department of the church came into being, and its main spring is the Christian Youth Fellowship (CYF).
The Christian Youth Fellowship (CYF): This is the spring of the youth department. It is constituted of youths of both sexes between 18-25 years old. The aim of the CYF is “to bring together youths who want to serve Jesus Christ”. The movement wants to develop among its members a sense of responsibility towards the church and her mission to the world.
Membership into the CYF is open to anyone who has been baptized with water and in the name of the triune God and to whoever is willing to be led to Christ. Nobody is denied membership because of nationality, societal status, or political conviction. The pledge or promise of CYF: upon admission into full membership of the CYF, the members promise “to seek under the leadership of Christ and in the fellowship with one another, the will of God for self, the church and the world and to do it”.
Activities of the CYF among others include: Peace building and conflict transformation, bible studies, evangelization, singing, sports/games, excursion, camps, leadership training, and capacity building especially economic empowerment of girls, HIV/AIDS education, civic education, and fight against environmental degradation example- tree planting as well as activities of social corner. There are 818 CYF groups all over Cameroon with a membership of 14.935.
The Young Presbyterians (YPs): The YP started in 1963 in Mamfe, South west region of Cameroon. The YP is made up of boys and girls aged 10- 15years. The aim of the YP is to; enable young people become dedicated to Christ, to develop the character of young people so that one day they may grow to full mature men and women, to develop a sense of fellowship among youths by enabling them play together, to develop in youths a sense of responsibility towards meeting the social needs of their families, neighbors and citizen, to develop their conscience and personal commitment to the Christian faith, in church and the youth movement. The motto of the YP is “everything with Christ (Colossians 3:17)”
The promise of the YP is “since I have become a YP, I know that Jesus Christ is my only Lord, I promise that I will do everything with him in my work, in my words, and in thoughts. I shall always allow him to lead me”.
Some of the activities of the YPs are: bible studies, sports/games, tracking/tracing, excursions, camps, handicraft, Singing, personal hygiene. There are 688YP groups in the country with a membership of 13.296.
The Sunday School: This was begun in 1886, with the establishment of adult congregations by the Basel missions (BM). The Sunday school is the church at work, studying and teaching God’s words to win the child for Christ. This is done by translating the message of the word into terms that are realistic and clear to the life experience of the child. Abstract preaching is little or not understood by every young. Bible message must thus be related to their social age.
The aim of the Sunday School work is: to lead children to Christ, to help children grow into a relationship of trust and believe in Jesus Christ, to help children grow into church membership, to instill in children a sound knowledge of the bible, to lay a solid foundation amongst children, to enable them live an honest Christian life. There are over 1.000 Sunday school groups in the country.
The Presbyterian Youth Centers (PYC): The Presbyterian Church in Cameroon affirms that youths are leaders of today and tomorrow. Thus the church is interested in their moral, spiritual and social well-being.
The raison d’etre establishing youth department is to take youths off the streets and out of old cars into a Centre where they can find vocational training, creative leisure and spiritual nurture. The first youth center was built in 1967 in Victoria. The objectives of youth Centre works are: to provide a place for recreation and education, to empower youths for self-reliant development through education and available trades, to train youths for church and nation building, to inculcate in the youths the respect for human rights and the search for peace among people, to give the underprivileged youth the opportunity to create a new and meaningful beginning for self-development. There are five youth Centres in the whole country.