; charset=UTF-8" /> 2010 Annual Gathering Report of the Youth & Young Adult Ministries Coordinator : Connecting Voices
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2010 Annual Gathering Report of the Youth & Young Adult Ministries Coordinator

by Neal Washburn
Youth & Young Adult Ministries Coordinator

     Greetings to the Southern California Nevada Conference of the United Church of Christ! The Youth and Young Adult Ministries of the Conference are dynamic, evolving, active, and relevant to your times.

     Here is a summary of the Conference youth events since the last Annual Gathering:

  • Conference Youth Ministries Camp (CYMC) was the senior high youth program for week 5 of summer camp at Pilgrim Pines. We had 42 youth of the conference attend CYMC! CYMC continues to be a unique part of the Pilgrim Pines summer: all of the adult counselors and directors are volunteers; additionally, the program is facilitated also by the Youth Roundtable. This year we had several first time (to Pilgrim Pines) campers!
  • The fall event Funtastic Festi-Fall was a one-day event this year; we went to one of the Southern California/Nevada Conference’s outdoor ministry camps, Palomar Cedars. The event was attended by about 20 youth and adult volunteers. All helped Pilgrim Pines staff and Palomar Cedars caretakers, to clean up and close Palomar cedars for the winter.
  • Junior High JANboree (JHJ) was as fantastic as ever! Tracy Halter-Balin from Long Beach served in her first year as the UCC co-director. The DOC co-director was Asa Moore, also serving in his first year.  The theme of JHJ was “In the Beginning…” and was keynoted by Mr. Tim Cliffe from the DOC. For the first time, we held this event at Loch Leven, the DOC Camp facility. Since both Junior High JANboree and FEB Camp are partnership events, we decided that we should alternate events between Loch Leven and Pilgrim Pines. JHJ tends to be an event with a smaller number of campers; it made sense to hold JHJ at Loch Leven. Overall, our numbers were slightly up from last year. We will continue to look for opportunities to engage and encourage Junior High youth to attend.
  • FEB Camp was equally fantastic! Rev. Mark Pettis served his first year as the UCC co-director (traveling all the way from Minnisota). Lisa Kolbe served her first year as the DOC co-director.  The Theme of FEB Camp was “Finding our Gospel” and our keynote speaker was Rev. Mike Denton, Conference Minister from the Pacific Northwest Conference of the UCC. This year there were 112 campers as compared to 116 campers last year. Counselors at the FEB Camp event continue to be a challenge. Prior to the event, I sent out a plea to the ministers of the Conference, reminding them of the covenantal responsibility we have to provide staff. This request did result in a few additional people to sign up as counselors.
  • Youth Uniting in Mission was held March 13th – 14th 2010 at First Congregational Church UCC, San Bernardino. We had an overnight at San Bernardino with dinner, fellowship, games, movies, etc. On Sunday, we worshiped, engaged in local service projects, and (most importantly) saw Jason and deMarco perform in the afternoon! Overall, we had about 90 participants, which included about 17 adults. The event was aptly facilitated by Cynthia (Wally) Hoeger, friend of the YRT, and the YRT.
  • Throughout all of these events, the youth and adults serving on the Youth Round Table continue their work dedicated to planning, leading, and participating in these Conference youth events.

     Coming up soon in July is the Western Region Youth Event (WRYE) in Billings, MT, one of many regional youth events held for the youth of the United Church of Christ. We sixty four youth and adult leaders scheduled to attend.

     In order to better understand and serve our churches of the Conference, I have started visiting churches for Sunday worship. I always call and email ahead of time so that churches know that I am coming, and in some cases, I have received an invitation to attend. My involvement ranges from simply attending worship and providing the opportunity during fellowship time to discuss youth, young adult, camps, etc.; to being given sermon time to do the same! I have also stepped up communications using email, Facebook and Twitter to reach out to youth, young adults, and adult youth leaders.

     We are facing some significant challenges as we approach the next year: multiple competitive commitments for youth participation, budget issues, increased costs, and inter-conference travel issues. The overall goal for youth and young adult ministries remains the same as it has been: to offer relevant, important, and exciting events so that people will want to make room in their busy schedules to be the body of Christ with their sisters and brothers in the wider church.  I look forward to seeing more youth and young adults from our Conference gathered together in community!

     I also want to take an opportunity to recognize and thank the Youth Round Table for their dedicated participation. The YRT is the youth leadership organization of the Conference.  YRT is comprised of youth (grades 9-12) and adults who represent the Associations and the various recognized special ministries.  The YRT plans the variety of events previously mentioned and the participants have the opportunity to develop and use their leadership abilities. I specifically want to recognize our graduating seniors: Michelle Lampert (I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention that Michelle is also a member of the Council for Youth and Young Adult Ministries (CYYAM) sort of like the YRT at the national level); Sean Balin; and River Dowd-Lukesh. Thank you all for your dedication and your leadership.

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