Young people's ministries rebuilding in the new Mountain Sky Conference

November 22, 2019
Photo courtesy Amanda Daniell
Young people participate in the Ignite! 2019 event at Buckhorn United Methodist Camp in Bellvue, Colorado from Nov. 1-3, 2019.
Story by Diana Aqra
Media and Communications Specialist
Mountain Sky Conference


Amanda Daniell, the Coordinator of Young People's Ministries and Camping Ministry for the Mountain Sky Conference, knew it would be a challenge to rebuild the youth ministries across four states when she started in July.

Daniell said the most common complaint she has received since she started in July was poor communication between the two conferences that encompassed the Mountain Sky Episcopal. “The region is so vast,” she said, that communication was getting lost.
 
But her efforts over the last five months have really paid off, demonstrating a turning point in the youth ministry across the Mountain Sky Conference and bridging the legacy Yellowstone and Rocky Mountain annual conferences.

The Youth Leadership Council met for the first time as a combined conference this year from Aug. 4-7 at Park Hill United Methodist Church in Denver. She described the event as “starting over.” About 20 junior high and senior high students from Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado gathered.

Although “most participants were from Denver and not a lot from Utah or Wyoming,” she remains hopeful for change. “We are definitely in a rebuilding stage currently,” she said.

Daniell also just completed the organization of Ignite! 2019, where 45 young people gathered at Buckhorn United Methodist Camp the beginning of November to discuss the topic of conflict. The annual retreat has consistently organized a theme chosen by the youth that applies to their lives. The Reverend Michael Smith, Superintendent of Congregational and Community Vitality, was the keynote speaker of the retreat. They discussed in-depth the Wesley quote, “If we can’t all think alike, may we not all love alike?”

“The retreat was rather small,” Daniell said. “I was surprised that so many Denver churches did not know about this retreat.”

She is working hard on solving these communication challenges. She is crafting both digital and personal meetings with youth pastors and youth workers around the conference. Zoom meetings have been very successful. “This creates an accountability group that helps youth workers connect with other youth workers in the area,” she explained. She is also working on a youth newsletter expected to go out Dec. 1, 2019, that will go out to all the churches and will provide resources for youth workers.

Personally, she connects with people in person for lunch and dinner when she can by traveling to the various states. She also has several events planned.

Here are the upcoming youth programming events in 2020 to know about:
  • Convo, short for Convocation, will bring together senior high youth Feb. 14-17, 2020 in Helena, Montana. Daniell explained that all churches are welcome and have heard of several Colorado churches making a caravan to Montana.
  • Westside Weekend Retreat will host senior high and junior high students in Western Colorado and Utah from March 6-8, 2020.
  • YouthQuest will host junior high students at two locations – Frontier Ranch and Montana from April 24-26, 2020.
Find more resources on the Young People's Ministries page online. You can connect with Amanda at youngpeople@mtnskyumc.org.