YOUTH CONNECTION of New Covenant Presbytery
Welcome to the YOUTH CONNECTION of New Covenant Presbytery. Through the Youth Connection, this presbytery seeks to provide a comprehensive youth ministry for young people and the adults who work with them. We aspire to connect youth to one another, the whole church, and the whole world through faith in Jesus Christ.
These pages are designed to introduce you to the youth ministry of the Presbytery of New Covenant and provide opportunities and resources to assist you in your ministry with young people.
The Youth Connection is always looking for new ways to keep our presbytery’s youth connected. Keep an eye on this page for new opportunities or email us an idea! email@example.com
Presbyterian Youth Connection Council (PYCC)
The New Covenant PYCC is a team of youth, in partnership with mentoring adults, who work together to plan and lead events and activities for the youth of the presbytery. These young people develop leadership skills, grow in their spiritual life and their ability to articulate their faith, and experience the connectional church. They form close friendships with youth from other congregations while sharing and exploring their God given gifts.
“And don’t let anyone put you down because you’re young. Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity…And that special gift of ministry you were given when the leaders of the church laid hands on you and prayed – keep that dusted off and in use. Cultivate these things. Immerse yourself in them. The people will all see you mature right before their eyes!” 1Timothy 4:12-15 (The Message)
Pictures / Video
The Presbyterian Youth Connection Council (PYCC) exists to assist in developing a comprehensive ministry for youth and adults who work with them in the presbytery.
- To develop and nurture a presbytery-wide youth ministry network.
- To plan and implement quality programming such as, Conclaves, Youth Rally and other youth ministry programs that offer opportunities for fellowship, study, service and worship for the Presbytery of New Covenant.
- Serve as liaisons between local congregations and the presbytery.
- To provide a model of partnership between youth and adults at the presbytery level.
- To empower youth and adults to participate in all areas of the church’s ministry while equipping them in their tasks.
- To advocate for issues of justice and peacemaking for young people.
YOUTH COUNCIL MEMBERSHIP
New Covenant Presbyterian Youth Connection Council (PYCC) is re-formed each year with adult and youth leadership from all over our presbytery. The Council meets at least once a month to plan retreats and events for young people.
The Council is led by two youth and two adult co-moderators and guided by presbytery staff.
Rev. Kristi Click-Blankman, Coordinator for Youth Ministry
Within the Council, there are six ministry teams on which to serve: Music, Mission, Worship, Curriculum, Keynote, and Recreation. Each team is led by a Youth Team Lead supported by an Adult Team Lead.
Selection of PYCC Members
Members of the Council are selected by their home church. Congregations are entrusted with identifying young people and adults in their congregation who have gifts for ministry and leadership potential, a strong relationship with Christ, and who will make the commitment to be a member of the Council. Churches should have interested youth and adults complete the application forms and submit to the pastor and/or youth leader for evaluation and selection.
Each church may name up to 4 youth and up to 3 adults as members of the Council.
YOUTH who serve on the PYCC must meet the following criteria:
- Be in a committed relationship with Jesus Christ
- give evidence of that relationship in their daily life
- Be an active participant in their local church and youth activities
- Be a rising 10th – 12th grader
- Be willing to learn new skills and take risks in leadership roles
- Be willing to make PYCC a priority in their schedule and be regular in attendance at meetings and events (see attendance policy)
- Be a member of a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in the Presbytery of New Covenant that they will be representing
Churches may select and endorse up to four (4) youth
ADULTS who serve on the PYCC must meet the following criteria:
- Be in a committed relationship with Jesus Christ
- Give evidence of that relationship in their daily life
- Be an active participant in their local church, have experience with or currently involved in local church youth ministry program
- Be willing to learn new skills and take risks in leadership roles
- Be willing to make PYCC a priority in their schedules and be regular in attendance at meetings and events (see attendance policy)
- Be willing to make a minimum of a one (1) year commitment
- Have a current criminal background check on file with the home congregation
- Be willing to sign the sexual misconduct form
- Be a member of a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in the Presbytery of New Covenant
- Be at least 23 years of age.
Churches may select and endorse up to three (3) adults
Term of Service
Youth will serve for a one (1) year term with an option to apply to serve up to three (3) years from August 1st through April 30th each year.
Adults will serve for a one (1) year term with an option of serving an additional one (1) year term from August 1st through April 30th each year.
- Two unexcused absences will be grounds for dismissal from the council.
(Unexcused absences are considered those in which members did not notify the Presbyterian Center at least 24 hours prior to a meeting they will miss).
- A total of 3 absences (excused or unexcused) may be grounds for dismissal.
Youth Connection Council members are expected to attend the following:
- 2 planning retreats
- Youth Rally
- 7 meetings
- 2 Youth Conclaves
There is some financial cost for participation in the council activities. The participant’s share is $300, which covers the cost of two planning retreats and two conclave weekends. Congregations are encouraged to pay this fee or a portion thereof on behalf of their youth and adults. A check for $100 payable to “Presbytery of New Covenant,” should accompany each application. Write “PYCC: (name)” in the memo.
Application packets are mailed to churches each May for the next school year’s council. Rising 10-12th graders are encouraged to apply for the 2018-2019 PYCC.
Download the 2019-2020 Application Packet
The Application Packet includes lots of good information including the application, FAQs, and Questions to Consider.
Deadline & Submissions
The church should submit the following for each endorsed applicant by July 1, 2018.
All returning PYCC members must complete new paperwork.
For YOUTH Applicants:
- Youth PYCC Application Form
- Youth Medical Consent Form
- Parent Consent & Photo Release Form
- $100 deposit
For ADULT Applicants:
- Adult PYCC Application Form
- Copy of Background Check Report
- Adult Disclosure Information Form
- $100 deposit
Please send paperwork and deposits to:
Presbytery of New Covenant
1110 Lovett Blvd, Houston, TX 77006
Presbyterian Center is located at 1110 Lovett Blvd, Houston TX 77006
Ministry team moderators and Co-Mods meet at 8:30 a.m. on meeting days.
Throughout the year, our Presbytery’s Youth Connection Council (PYCC) hosts a variety of opportunities in which youth groups can participate. We worship and play. We work and pray. We provide time and space for youth to connect with God and with one another.
Each spring our PYCC leads weekend retreats at Camp Cho-Yeh for senior high and middle school youth. These weekends enable youth groups to grow closer together, connect with other youth from our presbytery, engage in Bible Study and small groups, participate in mission projects, experience dynamic worship, and of course have fun playing games and making new friends!
Come one, come all, to the Youth Rally in the fall! The PYCC host an afternoon of fellowship, worship, mission and fun for senior high and middle school youth.
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Matthew 25:35-36
We are called to be the hands and feet of Christ, to build up the body, and to love and care for our neighbor. Whether it is a work day or food drive, there is always a need for mission work. The Youth Connection of the Presbytery of New Covenant provides opportunities throughout the year for youth groups as well as individuals to come together to serve in the name of Christ.
Mission projects are a key part of our Fall Youth Rally and Conclaves weekends. The projects range from clothing drives for area homeless to packaging meals to be sent across the world.
“I was blown away by what we did in a short amount of time. What a difference this will make!” said one youth participant.
One adult sponsor described it this way, “It’s simply amazing what can be done when we serve together. A PERFECT example of the body of Christ at work in the world!”
Mission Days: Our PYCC plans and leads ONE DAY MISSION EVENTS in the Houston area for the youth groups of our presbytery. Youth groups are invited to work and fellowship with their presbytery friends as we serve others in the name of Jesus Christ.
Summer Youth Mission Trips: Our presbytery helps connect churches that want to team up and go on summer youth mission trips. The presbytery assists the churches with determining trip location, dates, lodging, and mission projects. The churches are then empowered to plan and lead the experience for their young people.
“This is a chance for our youth to continue to make connections with other area youth and perhaps reconnect with youth met at Presbytery youth events like Conclaves. With a smaller youth group, it becomes difficult to get enough youth to make a trip like this possible. Joining forces with other small churches gives us an opportunity that we might not otherwise have.”
“The fact that Presbytery coordinates and supports youth mission is a great avenue to build relationships between churches and their youth as well as gives them experiences in helping others that they might not have otherwise.”
Presbyterian Youth Triennium is an event for high school youth (entering freshman through graduating seniors) hosted by the Cumberland Presbyterian Churches and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). This event is held every three years at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. Participants experience the event as a part of a presbytery delegation or a church group. This presbytery organizes and sends a delegation of youth and adults. Informational packets and applications are sent to churches the fall semester prior to the event. Don’t miss this powerful week of worship, small groups, recreation, & fellowship with thousands of Presbyterian youth from all over the world!
Young Adult Ministry
Plans are underway for a ministry designed specifically for young adults ages 18 – 25. Our aim is to provide events and opportunities that will help young adults stay connected to the church, build friendships, and continue to grow in their faith. Stay tuned for more details. If you have an idea or would like to serve on the planning task force, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
College Connection at Mo-Ranch: May 15 – 19
College Connection is a time to relax at Mo-Ranch after the semester ends and experience thought provoking keynote presentations, creative worship and music, a writing workshop and great discussion groups made up of students from Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas. Held every May, it’s a great time to grow spiritually and unwind from a hectic semester. Click here for more information.
Additional Opportunities for Youth
Celebration is a weekend retreat event for high school students to explore their faith in a loving and supportive environment. Activities during the weekend include music, worship, fellowship and fun. Youth leaders guide the weekend’s activities (with the assistance of adult leaders) to provide opportunities for focusing on what it means to be a young Christian in today’s world.
The staff is made up of youth who have attended previous weekends. Also, “moms” and “dads” are there to chaperone and support – NOT to run things. A COOL Presbyterian pastor is also present throughout the weekend.
If you’re looking for a fun way to explore your personal faith journey with new friends, Celebration is for you. Celebration weekends are usually the 3rd weekend in January (MLK weekend) and the 2nd weekend in July.
Cho-Yeh is a Christian Summer Camp and Retreat Center just 1 hour north of Houston. Loaded with fun activities like archery, paintball, horseback, riflery, blobbing, wakeboarding, waterskiing and more, Camp Cho-Yeh is a great place for summer camp or a retreat.
Each year, Camp Cho-Yeh hosts our Presbytery’s Youth Conclaves weekends in late February and early March as well as our PYCC planning retreats. Several churches in our presbytery also utilize Camp Cho-Yeh for church, youth and/or staff retreats.
Synod Youth Workshop
The Synod Youth Workshop is a unique conference for high school youth (entering 10th grade through graduates). Held at the University of Tulsa, OK, each July, this conference brings together Presbyterian youth from across our Synod of the Sun to engage in small groups, worship, Bible study and mission projects. This conference gives youth and adults an opportunity to encounter God and others.
Mo-Ranch Presbyterian Conference Center
Located in the beautiful hill country of Texas, Mo-Ranch offers a variety of camps and conferences for youth and young adults.
Resources for Youth
The following are resources and websites to assist you in your ministry with young people and the adults who work with them. This is by no means an exhaustive list. If you have a website or resource to share, please send it to us at: email@example.com.
PCUSA Youth Ministry
General Resources: Journals, Magazines, Leadership Guides
Cokesbury (“I Lead Youth”): www.ileadyouth.com
Creating Safe Churches: www.pcusa.org/sexualmisconduct
Dare 2 Share Youth Resources: www.dare2share.org
Exemplary Youth Ministry Project: www.exemplarym.org
Faith Factors: www.faithfactors.com
Group Magazine: www.groupmag.com
IDEAS! Magazine (free resource for church leaders and educators from PCUSA): http://gamc.pcusa.org/ministries/curriculum/ideas-magazine
Insight (reflections and resources on youth ministry): http://insight.typepad.co.uk/insight/
Opening Doors to Disciples: http://openingdoorstodiscipleship.com
Youth and Religion: www.youthandreligion.org
Youth Specialties: www.youthspecialties.com
Youthworker Journal: www.youthspecialties.com/articles
Consulting and Coaching
Youth Ministry Architects: www.ymarchitects.com
Presbyterian Camps & Conferences
Cho-Yeh Camp & Conference Center: www.cho-yeh.org
Synod Youth Workshop: www.synodyouthworkshop.com
Presbyterian Mo-Ranch Conference Center: www.moranch.com
Montreat Conference Center: www.montreat.org
Presbyterian Triennium: http://presbyterianyouthtriennium.org
Vocational Discernment Programs
Houston Cursillo “Celebration”: http://houstonareacelebration.com/default.html (Christian Youth Retreat for High schoolers led by High schoolers)
Way to Live: www.waytolive.org
The Youth Ministry and Spirituality Project: www.ymsp.org
The Way of Christ: www.methodx.org
d365-Daily Devotions: www.d365.org
Practicing the Faith: www.practicingourfaith.org
PCUSA – Youth Curriculum: gamc.pcusa.org/ministries/curriculum/youth-curriculum (“We Believe” for Younger Youth; “FAQ” for Junior High; “Faith Questions” for Senior High; Confirmation Curriculum; Bible and Church History survey courses)
Mission Stories for Youth & Adults (We Believe series): gamc.pcusa.org/ministries/curriculum/mission-stories
The Thoughtful Christian: thethoughtfulchristian.com (downloadable resources and lessons for Sunday school and youth group)
Youth Specialties: www.youthspecialties.com/shop/products/curriculum
Faith Alive (Reformed Curriculum): www.faithaliveresources.org/TabCenter/Tab/2/Youth.aspx
Abingdon Press (Youth Resources): www.abingdonpress.com/forms/classroom.aspx?category=25B5D7A6-0292-11DE-9F37-6FBA56D89593
Logos Ministry: www.thelogosministry.org
Feasting on the Word: www.feastingontheword.net/Pages/Item/1444/Curriculum.aspx
Living the Good News: www.livingthegoodnews.com
PCUSA Confirmation course: gamc.pcusa.org/ministries/curriculum/confirmation-and-survey-courses
Faith Guides: shop.faithguides.com/onlinestore/store.html?cid=130301
DISCIPLE Series: Becoming Disciples through Bible Study – Youth Edition: www.cokesbury.com/forms/DynamicContent.aspx?pageid=204&id=17
God’s Yellow Pages: www.divinepeace.com/yellow/Gods_Yellow_Pages.html
Bible Trivia, Quiz, & Puzzles:
Make Your Own Bible Board Game: www.mssscrafts.com/games/biblegame.htm
Fellowship and Activities
Fun and Games: www.funandgames.org
Build Your Own Jeopardy: www.wolfescience.com/byojeopardy
Recreation Express – online game catalogue: www.recreationexpress.com
Ministry and Media
Family-based Youth Ministry: www.familybasedym.com
Youth and Family Institute: www.youthandfamilyinstitute.org
Milestones Ministry: www.youthandfamilyinstitute.org/milestones_ministry.html (marking milestones in the faith journey of children and youth; church manual and conference event)
- Kids’ Against Hunger @ St. Philip Presbyterian Church, Houston (meal packaging): saintphilip.net/ministries/kids-against-hunger-houston (Coordinated by James and Sandra Cooper, firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Kids’ Meals Houston: www.kidsmealshouston.org
- Stop Hunger Now (Houston branch coming): www.stophungernow.org/
- Church Under the Bridge Houston: www.1000hills.org/c.aspx?cid=38
- Montrose Street Reach: montrosestreetreach.org (ministry to homeless in downtown Houston, especially children and elderly; can provide meal and worship for homeless in presbytery parking lot Wed evenings or do one-day or week-long mission)
- YWAM (Youth With a Mission) Houston, Martin Dale (coordinates mission trips for youth groups around the downtown Houston area) ywamhouston.wordpress.com/
- Houston Food Bank: houstonfoodbank.org/volunteer
- Northwest (Houston) Assistance Ministries: www.namonline.org
- SEARCH Homeless ministry: www.searchhomeless.org
- Nehemiah Center, operated largely by FPC, Houston: www.nehemiahcenterhouston.org
- Open Door Mission – www.opendoorhouston.org/
- Souper Bowl of Caring: www.souperbowl.org
- Small Steps Nurturing Center: www.ssnc.org/. Preschool for children in low-income parts of Houston; need yard work, cleaning, children’s books, etc.
- National Volunteer Opportunities (PCUSA – mission trip connections): www.pcusa.org/nvo
- Heifer Ranch: www.heifer.org/visit/heifer-ranch-educational-programs-for-groups
- Presbyterian Border Ministry: www.binationalministry.org
- Presbyterian Pan American School: www.ppas.org
- Pasos de Fe: www.pasosdefe.net
- FPC Dallas Stewpot: www.thestewpot.org/children.asp
- Habitat for Humanity: www.habitat.org
- Disaster Relief:
- PDA (Presbyterian Disaster Assistance): www.pcusa.org/pda
- UMCOR: www.umcor.org (Disaster Relief through United Methodist Church)
- Episcopal Disaster Relief: http://www.epicenter.org/get-involved/outreach/texas-episcopal-disaster-relief-/
- Burnamwood Camp and Conference Center offers Burnamwood Appalachian Ministry (BAM), a week long mission experience in the Central Appalachian region www.burnamwood.net
- TeamEffort: www.teameffort.org (Non-profit Christian Organization offers mission trips world-wide)
- YouthWorks Mission Trips: www.youthworks.com/trips/index.asp
- Experience Mission: www.experiencemission.org
- Group Workcamps: www.groupworkcamps.com
- West Virginia Ministry of Advocacy and Workcamps: www.wvmaw.org
- Young Adult Volunteers: www.pcusa.org/nvo/youngadultvolunteers/yav.htm
**This is by no means an exhaustive list. It is a place to start. Please contact me for additional opportunities.**
Dove Self-Esteem workshops for young girls: www.dove.us/Social-Mission/Self-Esteem-Toolkit-And-Resources/default.aspx
Stop Bullying (information, videos, lessons, etc.): www.stopbullying.gov
Burst: Bullies & Mean Girls (Bible Study): www.abingdonpress.com/forms/ProductDetail.aspx?pid=6347
INformed Adolescent Development Resources:
www.informedteens.org/INformed/index2 (new online resource providing biblically based and relevant materials pertaining to challenging topics facing today’s youth)
PCUSA: “God’s Gift of Sexuality: A Study for Young People in the Reformed Tradition in the Presbyterian Church”. Leader’s guide, parent’s guide, and student workbook can be found in our presbytery resource center or online at amazon.com
Let’s Be Real (for Older Youth): www.cokesbury.com/forms/curriculum.aspx?lvl=Youth&lnb=Curriculum&catname=Sexuality+Studies&subcatname=Youth
Created By God (for PreTeens & Younger Youth): www.cokesbury.com/forms/curriculum.aspx?lvl=Children&lnb=Curriculum&catname=Sexuality+Studies&subcatname=Children
Presbyterian Colleges and Universities
Association of Presbyterian Colleges and Universities: www.apcu.net
Austin College: www.austincollege.edu (has leadership program “Activators”)
Lyon College: www.lyon.edu
The University of the Ozarks: www.ozarks.edu
Trinity University: www.trinity.edu
University of Tulsa: www.utulsa.edu (has a leadership program)
Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary: www.austinseminary.edu
Tools for doing ministry
Church Volunteer Central (associated with Group): www.churchvolunteercentral.com
Rev. Kristi Click-Blankman
Coordinator for Youth Ministry
Presbytery of New Covenant
713-526-2585, ext. 231
PCUSA Youth Ministry & Staff Contact
Gina Yeager-Buckley, Ministries with Youth Associate
100 Witherspoon Street
Louisville, KY 40202
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 (email@example.com).
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.