Over the last two decades, the LYO has built a culture of youth/adult ministry that cultivates deep and trusting relationships, builds community, nurtures faith, and sends youth out to serve the church and world. It’s now time to expand the LYO to engage congregations todo the same! Now more than ever our world needs leaders who can step into the loneliness, grief, anxiety, and stress youth and adults are experiencing to bring the hope and love of Christ. Are you ready to learn and serve in this way?
The Plan The new LYO Leadership Initiative invites youth and adults from a congregation/area to apply as a Congregation Team to be trained in Peer Ministry Leadership skills. Those teams will then bring their training back to their congregations where they will lead Peer Ministry Leadership with their middle school and/or high school youth and adult leaders. Congregation Teams will receive support and coaching through the process. Congregation Teams will also serve as the LYO to plan and lead the Middle School Gathering with the guidance of the LYO Planning Team. In addition, high school youth who have been trained in Peer Ministry by their Congregation Team will be encouraged to register for the Middle School Gathering with their congregation and serve as Peer Ministry leaders with their congregation during the Middle School Gathering. Congregation Teams A Congregation Team is comprised of one or more adult leaders (must be at least 21 years old) and youth who are currently in grades 9-11 at the time of application. Teams can be as small as one adult and one youth, or a maximum of three adults and 7 youth. You are also encouraged to work collaboratively with area congregations! One adult (or more) can serve as the adult leader for youth from several congregations. The LYO is ideal for youth and adults who are already leaders in their congregations, who want to grow in their faith and leadership skills, and are ready for that next step of leading on a larger and deeper level with more responsibility and opportunities to share their faith. Some questions you might consider before asking youth or adults to be part of your Congregation Team:
Are they active in your ministries? Do they attend worship…youth group? Do they seek out ways to nurture and live out their faith?
Do they follow through with commitments? Or are others left picking up what they have dropped?
How well do they communicate? Do they respond to text messages/emails? Do they address potential conflicts before they happen?
Are they role models? Do you see the same person at youth group as you do on the sports field?
How would they fit on this team? To build a good team, you need all types of gifts – extroverts, introverts, up front personalities, behind the scene workers, and more. What gifts will you need to begin Peer Ministry Leadership in your congregation/area?
We are all growing – perfection is not expected! But this is a leadership role and is not suited for everyone. Youth and adults who thrive in this experience are those who are open to learning and growing, are committed to the vision and mission, and have a heart to share their faith and serve others!
Adult Leader Role Each Congregation Team will have one or more Adult Leaders who will be responsible for mentoring the youth on their team. Adult Leaders will participate fully in learning and growing alongside their youth through this experience. They will also be responsible for supervising their youth at LYO Leadership Camp and Middle School Gathering, keeping youth accountable to their commitment, and be the primary contacts for communication with the LYO Planning Team. Adult Leaders must be at least 21 years old. Each team must have one Adult Leader, and can have up to three.
Expectations These expectations apply to both youth and adult members for a Congregation Team.
Attend the LYO Orientation Meeting held on Zoom May 2, 2021. The meeting will also be recorded for those with activity conflicts.
Attend LYO Leadership Camp.
Lead a Peer Ministry training in your congregation/area.
Plan and lead Middle School Gathering. Required dates are the planning meeting on September 19, 2021 and the Middle School Gathering November 18 (8:00pm) – November 21, 2021 (2:00pm). While this is an expectation, youth and adults on the Congregation Teams will be asked in July to “opt-in” to this expectation and its required dates. To be eligible to "opt-in", participants must attend their full session of LYO Leadership Camp. Not being able to serve on the Middle School Team will not preclude you from participating in LYO Leadership Camp.
Application Process: March 1 – April 14, 2021 Please read through all the information on this website before applying.
Applications need to be completed by the adult who will serve as the primary Adult Leader for the Congregation Team. Applications open March 1 and close at midnight on April 14.
There are limited spots available for this pilot program. Selection will be based on geographic diversity and space available for date preferences given.
LYO Leadership Camp There are three sessions to choose from to attend LYO Leadership Camp. Members of Congregation Teams are required to attend the full session of their assigned LYO Leadership Camp in order to participate in this pilot program. You will be asked in your application which session you prefer. Congregations may apply to bring youth to different sessions, as long as an adult leader participates at each session.
Session options are:
June 13 (Begin 10:30am) – June 15 (end 4:00pm), 2021 at Camp Hiawatha.
June 16 (Begin 10:30am) – June 18 (end 4:00pm), 2021 at Camp Hiawatha.
Online (Zoom): Sundays 6-9pm: July 11, 18, 25
Online (Zoom): Wednesdays 6-9pm: July 14, 21, 28
LYO Leadership Camp is led by Catherine Anderson and the LYO Planning Team. The program content for LYO Leadership Camp will include Peer Ministry Leadership Facilitator Training, small and large group leadership skills, Lutheran theology, group building and fun activities. Congregation Teams will be expected to watch videos as part of their pre-work.
Peer Ministry Leadership Peer Ministry gives youth the relational leadership skills to know how to listen, care, help, welcome and love every neighbor. The skills to be a real friend. The training is highly interactive as youth and adults learn and practice new skills together. You can learn more at www.peerministry.org.
Cost Congregation Teams that are accepted to this pilot program will receive training, housing and meals (in-person Leadership Camp participants), and support at no cost! Congregation Teams will be expected to purchase the Peer Ministry Manual (a 20% discount code will be shared with Congregation Teams), provide their own transportation to the training and Middle School Gathering planning meetings/event, and cover any expenses related to the Peer Ministry training in their congregation/area.
LYO Planning Team The LYO Planning Team is comprised of adult volunteers from the NE MN Synod led by Catherine Anderson, Synod Minister for Discipleship and Christian Community. This group of gifted adults have years of youth ministry experience to equip and support Congregation Teams in their training and planning.
Cardia Deo Leadership In this new model, youth who participate in the LYO Leadership Camp will be eligible to apply to serve on the Cardia Deo Leadership Team to plan and lead this senior high retreat. Applications will take place in the fall of 2021.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can we split our team across two Leadership Camp options? Yes! We know it is hard to find a date that will work for everyone. To apply to attend two different Leadership Camp options, please fill out two applications – one for each group of youth. You will need to have an adult leader attend with each group.
The youth on my Congregation Team have already been trained in Peer Ministry. Do we still need to attend LYO Leadership Camp? Yes! LYO Leadership Camp will deepen those skills. In addition, Leadership Camp is more than Peer Ministry Training. You will do group building, practice small and large group leadership skills, grow in your understanding of Lutheran Theology, learn to train others in Peer Ministry and work with your Congregation Team to make a plan when you return home. It may be helpful to know that in previous years, LYO Board members would often go through Peer Ministry training three years in a row…and learn something new every time!
Congregation Team Application Applications for Congregation Teams have now closed. Applicants will be notified by April 20. If selected, at that time you will receive the Leadership Camp option you have been assigned to, necessary health and release forms, and more details regarding the LYO Leadership Initiative.
Key Dates March 1 - April 14, 2021: Application Process Open to Congregation Teams
April 20, 2021: Congregation Teams Notified of Decision
May 2, 2021 (2-5pm): Congregation Team Orientation on Zoom
June 13-15, 2021: LYO Leadership Camp Option 1 In-Person at Camp Hiawatha
June 16-18, 2021: LYO Leadership Camp Option 2 In-Person at Camp Hiawatha
July 11, 18 & 25, 2021 (Sundays 6-9pm): LYO Leadership Camp Option 3 on Zoom
July 14, 21 & 28, 2021 (Wednesdays, 6-9pm): LYO Leadership Camp Option 4 on Zoom
July 2021: Congregations Teams Submit Form to "Opt-In" to Plan and Lead Middle School Gathering
Fall 2021: Congregation Teams Lead Peer Ministry in your Congregation/Area
September 19, 2021 (2-5pm): Middle School Gathering Planning Meeting Location TBD
November 18 (8pm) - 21 (2pm), 2021: Middle School Gathering at Cragun's
The NE MN Synod is working closely with Voyageurs Lutheran Ministry to make sure the in-person LYO Leadership Camp follows state and CDC guidelines, and keeps participants as safe as possible. Participants will be expected to follow guidelines put in place. Due to the ever-changing nature of COVID-19, a final list of guidelines and safety protocols will be sent to Congregation Teams two weeks before camp. Protocols you can expect:
Participants will be asked to self-monitor their health before arrival. If participants have been exposed to COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms, they will be asked to not attend camp in-person and participate in the online option. A Health Assessment form will be collected upon arrival and a screening will take place.
Facemasks will be mandatory when inside buildings except for when in bed or eating/drinking. Facemasks will be worn outside when physical distancing is difficult or impractical. If you are not willing to comply with wearing a facemask, please apply for the online option.
Physical distancing protocols will be in place.
Activities will be held outdoors as much as possible.
Congregation Teams will be assigned to small “pods” which will do most activities together to minimize contact.
Frequent hand washing and sanitizing of common surfaces/supplies will be built into the program.
Housing will be by congregation. In cases where there is only one adult leader and one youth, the synod will work with congregations to find a housing arrangement that meets the NE MN Synod Housing Policy and takes into consideration COVID-19 guidelines.
Even with rigorous safety measures in place, there is never a guarantee transmission won’t happen. If participants have underlying health conditions or are in high-risk categories, we encourage you to apply for the online option.
We will continue to monitor COVID-19 and make adjustments as necessary. Please be aware that the LYO Leadership Camp may move to completely online if recommendations from the MDH, CDC, VLM, and/or COVID-19 case rates in Northeastern Minnesota Synod boundaries warrant doing so. During the application process, please check back to this webpage for updates. Once Congregation Teams have been accepted, the primary adult leader for the Congregation Team will be notified by email.
Even if the LYO Leadership Camp is offered in person, each participant on a Congregation Team needs to make its own determination, along with guidance from their congregation leadership and Smart Team, if they feel comfortable meeting in person. If not, please apply for the online LYO Leadership Camp option.