Youth and Young Adults
Youth Worker Gatherings
A colleague group for youth workers meets the first Tuesday of each month from 12 noon to 2 p.m., at St. Thomas Presbyterian Church (14100 Memorial Drive, Houston, Texas 77079). Bring a lunch and come ready to share ideas, discuss struggles, and fellowship with some amazing people! Contact person: Kristi Blankman (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Presbyterian Youth Triennium
July 16-20, 2019 | Purdue University, Indiana
Wilson Upchurch, Youth Participant from Brenham PC
When I first heard about Triennium I had no clue what it was, and I definitely did not know how much fun I was going to end up having. Triennium was an all-around blast, thanks to Purdue, the small group leaders, worship team, and amazing pastors that helped make it great. There was definitely never a dull moment at this extended conference, and I think I speak for many when I say that it was a life-changing experience. It wasn’t all fun and games. There were times of serious, thought-provoking life messages that helped us all grow in our walk with Christ, which in my eyes was the whole point for the event. The theme “Go!” was very beneficial when it came to the final worship service and we were told to go out and spread the word that had been preached to us. That was not a hard task because I think I’ve told just about anyone who will listen about the amazing time that I had in Indiana. When it came down to finally saying goodbye, it was quite difficult because I didn’t really want to leave all the amazing friends that I had made throughout the week and I wanted to stay longer to learn even more. My only complaint is that Triennium can’t be every year. Triennium has definitely changed me for the better, and I’m so thankful for the opportunity I had to go!
Krista “KK” Langley, Youth Leader at Livingston, Indian PC (lower right in photo)
Ever had a lifelong dream come true? Ever felt like you were truly part of something so much greater than anything you could have imagined? Have you ever felt God using you to guide others to Him and feel Him working through you in ways you never thought possible?! Well, that's exactly how I felt in at the 2016 Triennium! It was an honor to be asked to serve as one of the five adult recreation stage leaders and amazing to see how much work and laughter go into planning recreation for an event this size.
You have to admit, planning recreational activities for almost 5,000 people could be slightly overwhelming! Yet, it was one of the greatest experiences I've ever been a part of! I was able to work with three incredible overall recreation coordinators, eight creative production team members, the four other awesome stage leaders, and an extraordinary work crew.
Now take a moment to think about some pre-event uncertainties I had: inexperience, being a Native American female in a leadership role, and self-doubt of my capabilities. I've led recreation at events with 100 to 150 people and had previous conference leadership experiences since I was 12, but just the thought of helping lead an event for 5,000 people was scary! Native American Presbyterian churches are usually very tiny, and while there are many great leaders in these communities, most are preachers, clergy, or program directors. Not many are simply a youth leader that loves energizers!
The rest of the week just showed me one amazing moment after another! I met people from all over, and several told me what a great joy it was for them to watch me lead energizers and games! When youth asked what made it possible for me to be a leader in front of so many people, I told them the truth: faith and trust in God and a whole lot of prayer! I’m so grateful God blessed me with this opportunity and for my family’s support!
I thought back to my first Triennium in 2000 when I was a youth participant, and I saw the recreation leaders on the stage hyping people up and having fun! I told my cousin, “I want to do that one day! That's my dream!” She just laughed and said I was crazy, but she could picture me doing it one day. That day actually came! Now my challenge for everyone else, youth and adult, is don't worry about the small-minded thoughts… with God all things are possible! And it's time for you to GO AND DO LIKEWISE! Set your dreams and goals high and know that God will help you always! God is Good, All the Time! All the Time, GOD IS GOOD!!!
By Lily Yoder, Leila Abel, Mike DeKrey, and Susan Reese from Beaumont,St. Andrew's PC
How does one describe an event involving 3 years planning by countless volunteers for nearly 5,000 youth and “adult-ish” participants? One word: Triennium- (Noun) a specified period of three years.
This year’s #PYT2016’s (Presbyterian Youth Triennium 2016) overall theme was GO!: GO & SEE! (Luke 2:8-20), GO & DO! (Luke 10:25-37), DISCERN! (Psalm 32), ADVOCATE! (Exodus 3-7), GO! (Matthew 28:16-20).
Engaging– The command to “Go, make disciples” is given directly by Jesus, “the one with the authority!!!!” This is not a suggestion. This is the word of God. What are you going to do? How will you define this GO moment for yourself? What story will you tell when you get home? Next year? In 10 years? Will you still have your trading pins(!)?
Enlightening– Throughout the week we worshiped together, engaged in small groups, and participated in activities each day, all coordinated around specific sub-themes. Who knew there were so many Presbyteries with such inventive designs for their trading pins(!)?
Exhilarating– The thousands of people eager to worship and sing together, the excellent preachers at each service, the small groups gathering for more intimate Bible study, the organized activities each day, and the pins(!) from hundreds of Presbyteries across the nation being traded by individuals from thousands of churches were all invigorating.
Exhausting– Who knew Purdue University was so enormous?!? We walked 6 to 10 miles a day in 90+ degree weather, did energizers at worship, met thousands of people, had hundreds of things to do with long days and longer nights, and hundreds of pins(!) to collect.
Enhancing– Triennium helped shape and create people physically and spiritually. It helped individuals build their “people skills” by encouraging them to meet and connect with new youth with pins(!)! We had to learn how to navigate the large campus of Purdue University, and how to respond if he/she happens to get lost. Triennium also created closer relationships with God through worship and small groups. Whether it was candle-lighted outdoor sessions or sermons, everyone attending Triennium had many opportunities to become closer with God.
Enduring– Triennium offers an opportunity to connect with Presbyterian individuals across the country. Although it is only a week, Triennium binds people together into life-long friendships. From sunrise to sunset, we are introduced to new people around us, and are constantly meeting new kind-hearted Presbyterians… and their pins(!), of course!
Emotional– Triennium was also filled with personal, emotional aspects. The worship sermons sparked emotion inside whoever was listening, and the songs we all sang created a joyous atmosphere throughout the entire auditorium. The many goodbyes to our small groups, Triennium friends, and even our delegation group once we were back in the Houston Airport all sparked sad emotions within us. Will you still wear your pins(!)?
Empowering– We were told to GO! And spread the good news, sharing God’s love, and to GO be the difference in the world! Share your pins(!)!
Triennium was unlike any other regular “church camp” for it was a week-long experience with Presbyterians from around the world that we will never forget. We were gifted the opportunity to make lifelong friendships and thousands of memories, and in three years we will all be begging to go back again… with new pins(!) to trade at #PYT 2019, of course!
By Rebecca Almendarez, Youth Participant from Dickinson, First PC
The trip to Triennium was a great experience for the 5,000 people who went. It was filled with many great events and activities to participate in.
The first day, we traveled for the first half and then went to opening events. We had recreation time that night and most of us got lost and returned to the dorms late. We all did eventually get back to our dorms and went to bed after showering. Some people had to stay up until two in the morning to shower.
We all woke up for breakfast the next morning before going to small groups, which were spread out across the campus. I was in small group 2A, which was changed from the Armory, which was about a 10 to 15-minute walk from our dorm to the Cary Quad, which was a 30-minute walk. I was nervous when I was on my way because no one else was going in that direction and all of the doors to the building were locked. Eventually, a resident let me in and I found our room. I had ended up walking past about half of my small group and they also got in.
The first small group was mainly about introductions and breaking stereotypes. We started by writing a poem based on information our subject gave us for a Mad Libs. After that, we got a sticker placed on our backs and we had to treat the people based on what the sticker said about them. I got stuck with “country,” and if the Northerners from my group knew that I was from Texas, they probably would’ve still treated me like that, which I found somewhat amusing.
After that, we all returned to our dorms and met with the rest of our travel groups. We visited for a bit before going to lunch and worship. We did energizers and listened to a sermon on the Christmas story. After that, we went to dinner and had recreation time again. I hung out by two different fountains and talked with a few people. Curfew called soon after and we went back to the dorms.
The next morning, we went to breakfast and went to small group again. This time we were all completely exhausted from a lack of sleep. We learned different methods of praying, one of which we all sang “Let it Go,” due to the similar titles. After that the day proceeded as usual and we went to worship.
Seeing as we were all tired, we started dozing off during worship. But the moment that Pastor Alice Ridgill got on to the stage, we all sat up straight. She had an aura about her that just drew us to watch her and pay attention to her. She talked about how our God is a F.U.N. (Forgiving, Understanding, and Never-too-busy) God. The moment the sermon ended though we all sort of went back to our dozy states.
We had dinner and recreation before going to bed again. My friend Katherine and I made shoes for people in Africa by drawing patterns on old pairs of jeans. We sent them to other stations were our patterns were cut up, sorted, and made into shoes. 180 pairs were made in one night.
The next morning, recreation was set immediately after breakfast, so most of us just slept in and didn’t leave the dorm until lunch. We went to small groups after lunch and then prepared for dinner. After that, we went to another service on a hill near the Cary Quad, which was again about 30 minutes from the dorm. We found a spot on the grass and watched the stage. We had communion and a candlelight dance, but the real show was the music we sang. The band played popular songs such as “Firework” by Katy Perry and we sang along. We were given glow sticks earlier on in the night, and every time we heard the chorus, thousands of them would be sent up into the sky, creating our own fireworks, which lit up the sky in green, yellow and pink. It was absolutely beautiful and the highlight of the night.
The next morning we packed up and went to a closing ceremony, where we did a mash up of energizers and sang a bunch of songs together. We then loaded up on the bus and went to the airport. Both of our flights were delayed, and thankfully we made it back by midnight on the 24th. It was an amazing event that I hope to attend again in three years’ time.