Letters Home: Dear Forest Lake – From Montreat Youth Conference
July 19, 2018
Even though I have been involved with Forest Lake Youth (FLY) for several years, I have never had the opportunity to attend the Summer Youth Conference in Montreat until last week. I must tell you it was an amazing experience. Overall there were over 1200 youth and youth leaders from as far away as Ohio and Kansas. The theme for the week was “Lift Every Voice” and we learned how to use our own voice while respecting all voices as we relate to God and other believers.
Each day our youth participated in a large group session with energizers, singing, and a keynote speaker. Afterwards, the youth took part in small group discussions with youth from different churches. Following lunch and free time, youth returned to another small group time and an evening worship service. At the end of the day, we returned to the house for our own debriefing so we could process what we learned and experienced throughout the day.
On the final night, all the participants gather around Lake Susan with candles. The summer staff begin the tradition by blowing their candles out and other groups follow. The graduating seniors are the last to extinguish their candles. This closing is an emotional time for many seniors as they know it is their last Montreat experience before heading off to college. This ceremony is a moving ending to a great week.
I saw God at work as our youth continued to build their relationships with each other and formed new relationships with youth from other churches. This week was transformative not only for the youth, but also for the adults who attended. I enjoyed spending time with our group and my fellow adult leaders, Margaret Shackelford and Carter Grant. If you ask Margaret or Carter, I am sure they will agree that their time at Montreat has been very rewarding. I highly recommend that you attend if you ever have the opportunity.
Thank you for the prayers for the youth during the week and for the opportunity to attend.
Youth Ministry Coordinator