UCC's 'one church' emphasis to help youth attend event
Spring still may be several weeks off, but plans for the 2012 National Youth Event, July 10-13 in West Lafayette, Ind., are taking root.
"We're encouraging youth and young adults to bring a friend to NYE," said Waltrina Middleton, UCC minister for youth advocacy and leadership formation and co-convener of NYE. "They don't even have to be UCC. We're also offering registrants the chance to reserve now and pay later. A $100 deposit can hold a spot for NYE, and multiple payments may be made for groups and individuals." The balance is due by the registration deadline, May 21.
In working to help make NYE easier to attend than ever before, Middleton and co-convener W. Mark Clark –– the UCC's associate general minister –– are focusing on evangelism, incentives including scholarships and deferred payments, and creation of a global community.
One way NYE attendees will have an opportunity to create a global community is through interaction with global partners from the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), said Middleton. "To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time Disciples youth have been invited to NYE," she said.
In the UCC's Michigan Conference, the mantra is to "connect your blessings" with others at NYE. Through its Spiritual Discernment and Vital Growth Mission Teams, Michigan participants are embarking upon "Michigan 1," a spinoff of "Mission:1," the UCC's popular hunger-fighting campaign last November.
"We have invited the Conference to send at least 111 youths to NYE," said the Rev. Cheryl Burke, acting Michigan Conference minister. The Conference is reaching out to encourage 111 of its churches to give $111; seeking 11 churches and/or 11 individuals to give $1,111 apiece; 1,111 individuals to give $11 each; and a minimum of one individual and/or church to give $11,111.
Burke said the group is optimistic about overcoming financial challenges.
Said Burke, "We're looking at ‘Michigan 1' and saying, ‘Why wouldn't anyone want to get on board and send our youth to National Youth Event?'"
The conference has been promoting NYE for several months via its email news bulletin, said Burke. As an incentive to attend NYE, plans are afoot to hold a senior high-school camp immediately after NYE. "Youth could go right from NYE to the camp, could extend their time and make for a longer experience," said Burke.
Past representation from the Conference has included 90 to 100 youth and young adults, said Burke, so the goal of 111 this year is reasonable, especially since the distance between many Michigan locations and Indianapolis is relatively short.
"I went to NYE as a youth, I went as a youth leader, and now I'm excited about sending youth when I can," said Burke.
Youth and young adults interested in scholarship information, including matching financial support, should send an email of inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more details about NYE, visit www.ucc.org/youth/nye.
"We don't want anyone to let lack of funding prevent them from attending NYE," said Burke.