; charset=UTF-8" /> 2012 Annual Gathering Report from the Youth Ministry Coordinator : Connecting Voices
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2012 Annual Gathering Report from the Youth Ministry Coordinator

By Neal Washburn, Youth Ministry Coordinator

The Youth of the Southern California Nevada Conference of the United Church of Christ are active, dynamic, and a very pleasant challenge. Overall, we had a very busy, 2011-2012 year. Here is a summary of the Conference youth activities over the year:

General Synod 28: We had two youth delegates attend GS 28 in Tampa, FL in July (along with our Young Adult delegate gave SCNC the status of having over 20% Youth and Young Adult delegate representation). There were also a number of Pacific Islander and Asian American Ministry (PAAM) Youth from SCNC in attendance. We did not have any youth formally attending “Youth @ General Synod” program.

Conference Youth Ministries Camp (CYMC): CYMC is the senior high youth program for week 4 of summer camp at Pilgrim Pines (July 31-August 7, 2011). We had a record 65 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 at the camp; additionally, the program is also facilitated by the Youth Roundtable (YRT). Our keynote for the week was Ms. Myrna Pappas former YRT adult advisor and CYMC counselor, In addition, Rev. Felix Villanueva came to visit during the course of the week.

Youth RoundTable (YRT): In the fall, we continued with our Youth RoundTable. We had 17 youth members, representing three of our Associations! And five volunteer adult advisors representing three of our Associations. YRT meetings are held four times a year, and our meeting sites were as follows: September, Pilgrim Pines; December, First Congregational Church of Bakersfield; March, SCNC-UCC Conference Office (the YRT had the opportunity to meet with the Conference Board of Directors); and May, Pilgrim United Church of Christ in Carlsbad. Many thanks to these host churches!

I had previously nominated one of our YRT members, Hannah Hyatt from Riverside, to be part of the Council for Youth and Young Adults (CYYAM). CYYAM representatives are from each of the regions, and we had Michelle Lampert (YRT 2007-2010) as the last Western Region representative. Hannah was elected as the new Western Region representative at General Synod 28 and is very excited about her new role!

Funtastic Festi-Fall (FFF): FFF was held on October 30th this year.  Our FFF event was the second annual Festival (or Festi-Fall) with our youth and the residents of Peppermint Ridge in Corona. The festival included some basic games, face-painting, photo booth, and a dance, styled after a “Pinester Dance” at Pilgrim Pines. We finished the event with a pizza dinner for the youth and their adult advisors. We used that time to talk about the YRT, future Youth events in the conference,

Once again, FFF was a rousing success! We had 46 youth 14 Adult Advisors attend the event. Coupled with 50 or so residents that participated from Peppermint Ridge made for an amazing event!

Junior High JANboree (JHJ): Junior High JANboree is one of our partnership events with the Pacific Southwest Region Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). JHJ is for 6th – 8th grade youth and was held January 13th -16th, 2012 at Loch Leven. We had a total of 83 campers and 30 adult volunteers (31 campers and 16 adults were from UCC churches). With a total of 113 people we were pretty close to capacity of the Loch Leven. The UCC co-director was Ms. Tracy Halter-Balin who served her third year in this role. The DOC co-director was Mr. Kyle Griffith, serving his first year. The JHJ theme for this year was: “Connect the Dots” and our keynoter was Dr. Jim Ruby from the DOC. Overall, the event was considered an amazing success! 

FEB Camp: FEB Camp is our other partnership event with the DOC and is a winter camp experience for senior high (9th – 12th grade) youth. FEB Camp was held at Pilgrim Pines February 17th – 20th. Chris Hause from University City United Church (UCUC) served his first year as the UCC co-director. Robbie Arevalos served as the DOC co-director.  The Theme of FEB Camp was “Love” and our keynote speaker was Waltrina Middleton who serves as Minister for Youth Advocacy and Leadership Formation at the National Offices of the UCC. Rev. Joe Zarro from United Church of the Valley in Murrieta, CA served as our worship leader. Mr. Paul Svenson served as our music leader. FEB camp was, once again, a fantastic experience for all.

Youth Uniting in Mission (YUM): YUM was held April 14, 2012 at the Conference’s Camp and Conference Center, Pilgrim Pines. The purpose of the event was to show support for Pilgrim Pines by taking on tasks that needed to be accomplished to help the camp ready for the coming summer-camp season. Our event was slightly hampered by several inches of snow, but nevertheless, we were able to do some important work by cleaning and sorting of materials in the Craft Lodge, the Health Lodge, and underneath the Dining Hall.

Last year we reported that we were going to start covering the cost of counselors for partnership events with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Pacific Southwest Region. We and the DOC agreed to share this cost for both events. I am very happy to report that this plan was extremely successful! For the first time in many years, both camp events were appropriately staffed without the leadership having to do a last minute scramble to try and find people.

I continue to be involved with other UCC Conference or Association Youth Workers across all of the UCC. Our organization is called Network of Wider Church Youth Ministries or NOWCYM. This group meets (in person) annually, and facilitates quarterly telephone conferences to exchange ideas, discuss our respective ministries, offer mutual support, and continue to develop our ministries. This last year, our Conference hosted the event at Centro Romero in San Ysidro. Our brothers and sisters throughout the UCC now appreciate why I love my ministry here in the Southern California Nevada Conference.

We have some very dedicated adult volunteers that serve as advisors to our Youth RoundTable. I would very much like to thank Alison Morales, Barbe Mitchell, Cas Mata, Jackie Rader, and Tracy Halter-Balin. The youth of the conference are very well served by your involvement… Thank you.

Other Reports:

Report of the Conference Board of Directors Chair

Report of the Executive Associate Conference Minister

Report of the Associate Conference Minister for Church Relations

Report of the Associate Conference Minister for Border & Latino Ministries

Report of the Young Adult Ministry Coordinator

Report of the Outdoor Ministry Team

Report of the Joint Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)/United Church of Christ Global Ministry Committee

Report from Retirement Housing Foundation

Report from Peppermint Ridge

Report from Pilgrim Place

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