Rooted and Reaching: Montreat Youth Conference 2014

This time last week I was in the middle of attending my first ever Montreat Youth Conference.

Just so everyone knows my background (and maybe some bias…) I attended Syond Youth Workshop as a youth. It was an integral part of my growing up in the church. I have made some life long friends through SYW. Synod was what helped my faith grow while I was being a surly teenager.

All of that is to say that I did not have the privilege of going to Montreat Youth Conference until I was an adult sponsor. The Presbytery of South Louisiana took 17 youth, from 6 different churches, to Montreat, NC for a week. Along with the youth were 5 adults, me, Layne (my site coordinator for YAV), Barrett Milner (pastor at Lakeview Presbyterian Church), Mike Watson (Associate Pastor at UPC Baton Rogue) and Vic Robertson (yoga goddess and chef extraordinaire, who also worships at UPC Baton Rogue). I could not have asked for a better group to attend this conference with. First off, if there is any hesitation or shyness happening with your youth, just stick them in a car together. Bake… er drive, for 12 hours, and some how even the most shy will come out of their shell.

It was pretty obvious to me that the holy spirit was moving among the group. We had a hodge podge of kids from the New Orleans and Baton Rogue area and somehow not only did the tolerate each other, the actually liked each other! Montreat is a large conference, and the small groups should really be called medium groups, so I personally saw the strength of the conference in how home groups were able to bond through out the week. I have never laughed so much while still being in charge (or at least pretending to be in charge). I can't wait to work with these awesome young people in the fall.

Here is a run down of the highlights for the week:

1. There are two youth from UPC Baton Rogue who were in my small groups at Junior High Jubilee at Mo Ranch. It took me a few hours to connect the dots, but seeing Claire and Elizabeth and knowing they have survived junior high and are growing into beautiful, strong, awesome young women makes me very happy. The presbyterian world is small and that makes me happy most days.

2. Climbing up to Look Out Point (or whatever it's called). Good news! None of the youth had to worry about being the last to finish the hike. I took care of that one. In fact, if there was a prize for almost dying on a mountain trail because you are so out of shape, I would have won it. I still maintain the thin air didn't help.

3. Meeting some amazing youth in small group. Seriously, there are some cool teenagers out in the world and some how I keep bumping into them.

4. Going to visit this awesome member of Lakeview who has a house she summers in. The view is amazing.

5. Thrift store finds for Kathryn's performance in the talent show. Check out the pics to better understand this.

6. Spending a week with Layne and Barrett and Mike and Vic. Not only were our youth great, the sponsors were also all wonderful. This is a direct quote from one of our youth, Kevyn, " I have NEVER met adults that are crazy like you guys." I take this as a compliment.

7. Kathryn singing All by Myself in the talent show (yes, she definitely did this as a joke, just incase there was any confusion). One of our seniors got up and performed this emotional number dressed in a mumu found at the local thrift shop. It was one of the only funny acts in the talent show and man did she own it. Seriously, one of the craziest things I have ever seen. The entire worship service leading up to the talent show I would break out in giggles thinking about her performance.
Lake Susan sans démon swans

Candlelight ceremony for the graduating seniors

Occupants of bus #1

Occupants of bus #2

Bus ride with my lovely host sister, Maggie

Barrett takes himself very seriously, all the time, especially when trying yoga

Vic, yoga goddess. Mike, baby yoga.

Look at that view!

That view tho...

Well worth wanting to die on the way up.

We are the cutest, seriously.

Some pamphlet things and stuff.

Kevyn and Neil were obviously our more serious and obedient youth all week. Kind of...

Porch sitting was a favorite pass time for me, Claire and Phoenix.

Dixit, Barrett's favorite game.

Can you blame me for enjoying the porch sitting when this is the view?

The stage at the conference.

Mike, looking so fresh and so clean.


Another awesome view

Here is all I have to say, don't me 'cause you ain't me.


I do love the mountains

Layne prepping Kathryn for the talent show. What a great vocal coach.

Barrett's thrift shop find.

Kathryn re-enacting her stellar performance.

Also, here is a picture of what could be my new pet hedgehog. If it's not this little guy it will be one of his siblings. I can't wait to carry on Lester's legacy through one of these little prickly guys.



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