State Youth Games (SYG) is an annual event run by Youth Vision Vic/Tas (the youth and young adult arm of Churches of Christ Vic/Tas), for church groups and youth organisations all over the state. It combines a casual camping atmosphere with action packed sporting activities and includes dynamic evening programs and events.
State Youth Games uses sport, social interaction, and evening events to provide many valuable opportunities for ministry with young people.
• Groups can build and deepen community, and grow teamwork through the campground setting and sporting activities
• Young people can use this space to invite friends from school, work, university, or the local community into a casual Christian environment
• Youth and Young Adults can be challenged and encouraged in faith through their interactions with other young people and through the evening program
Meet the Team
State Youth Games is managed by a group of talented and dedicated volunteers and staff who form the State Youth Games Committee. During the event you can recognise Committee members and SYG team members by their warm red jackets.
State Youth Games occurs over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend in Victoria. The event beginning during the evening on Friday and concludes on Monday morning.
Located amongst the rolling green fields of Lardner, Warragul, State Youth Games is situated about ninety minutes east of Melbourne. The site at Lardner Park is home to the camping grounds, evening programs, and some sports. Other sporting venues are spread across neighbouring towns of Warragul, Drouin, and Trafalgar. Many of the venues in the centre of Warragul are within a short walk of each other.
State Youth Games is open to high-school aged teenagers (year 7-12), young adults to the age of 30, and youth leaders. Age categories in each sport ensure fair and friendly competition, with divisions in Under 15s, Under 18s, and Open.
Individuals attend as part of groups formed by local churches and youth ministries around Victoria. The State Youth Games team can help connect you with an existing group, or support you in putting a group together yourself.
The State Youth Games team goes to great lengths to ensure that registration prices are kept as affordable as possible. Individual registration covers GST, camping ground hire, sport venue hire, first aid, amenities, evening program entry, and sporting umpires and equipment.
Please note that prices do not include food and transport; these costs are added on by your participating group, based on your group’s needs.
All registration fees should be paid through your Group Coordinator, not directly to State Youth Games.
How do I register a team?
All our registrations happen online. For more information on registering a team, please click here or contact the State Youth Games team. Our team will send you registration information and help you get connected.
It’s just me, can I go on my own?
Not really. All individuals must be linked to a team to come for a day visit or participate throughout the whole weekend. But our team can help find a team near you. Shoot us an email and we’ll help you get started.
Before my church commits to sending a team, we’d really like to check SYG out. Can we?
Yes! We have day tours available during SYG for interested churches. Please send your details here to reserve your place.
I’m in grade 6 but am the same age as some of the year 7s at church, can I still come?
Sorry, but minimum age participants must have a year seven student card. But feel free to come down and spectate during a day visit!
The History of State Youth Games
The following text is adapted from an article in YVQ9: MAKE IT COUNT.
State Youth Games began in 1990 at Ocean Grove. The team leader of the then fledgling Youth Vision, Andrew Ball, worked with Nunawading Church of Christ youth minister Lynda Gordon to put together a June long weekend sport event for youth ministries in the area. They gathered roughly sixty people together to share in that inaugural SYG, and coordinated all the sports, venues, advertising, and administration themselves.
The next year there was already a need to move SYG to a new venue, so the event transported itself to Queenscliff. It was at this point that Russ Croxford joined the team to help coordinate sports. Already, SYG was growing and, by necessity, so did the team that supported it.
After only a few years, SYG had outgrown the spaces available at Queenscliff and, with an attendance of over five hundred, the choice was made to move SYG to the grounds of Lardner Park, Warragul, where it has been held every year since. By this stage, the SYG Committee had emerged, and this team of volunteers has runs this event to this day, supported and led in different seasons by YV team members. There have been many amazing committee members contributing their unique talents, perspectives, and voice to the SYG story over the years.
ANDREW BALL: “I think it was an adventure. We thought, ‘let’s have some fun and see who comes.’ It was meant to be a healthy expression for young people to engage in competition in a safe and fun environment. Personally, I hoped to create a community over a long weekend that would cause people to want to come back. I think we achieved that. I was privileged to hold the reigns of this event for the first five or six years. I never imagined some 25 years later that it would grow in scale to the experience it has now become.
“Sport creates a medium for all kinds of personalities to engage creatively. Because we built both individual and team sports into the program, we captured spaces where anyone could be involved if they so desired. We also affirmed a place for people to come and spectate and cheer. Again, a sense of community and engagement together was paramount for the foundation.”
RUSS CROXFORD: “The other day we were talking about SYG at our church and it suddenly occurred to me that there are more people planning to go to SYG this year from just our church than the total attendance at the first SYG! The incredible growth in this fantastic event since its humble beginnings has been amazing. I guess I knew, even back in 1991, that it had the potential to become so massive, but to see over 3000 going to Warragul these days blows my mind and gives me a great sense of satisfaction that I was able to be a part of it in the early days. I thank God for the opportunity he gave me to be involved in SYG and for the way he has blessed this event, which is now such a priority activity on the youth ministry calendar in so many churches today.
State Youth Games also runs in other states around Australia. You can find out more information about State Youth Games in other states at stateyouthgames.com.