Montreat Conference Center

Youth Conference Back-Home Information

The following web page is available to help you prepare for this summer’s youth conference. Sixty days prior to your conference, you will receive a packet via email with additional information specific to your conference week.

Expectations for Back-home leaders

The planning team and Montreat staff expects that you will help with the community life of the conference in your role as Back-home leader. In addition to overseeing the activities of the young people in your Back-home group, we would like for you to help with instances of inappropriate behavior that you may observe. Here are some other reminders:

  • To ensure full participation in the conference, please encourage your group to get the needed rest in the evenings.
  • Help us to discourage walking on, standing on, or climbing over the pews in Anderson Auditorium. They cannot take the abuse. Please help us create a welcoming space for all by supervising youth as they enter the auditorium. Remember, many who are now first will be last and many who are now last, will be first.
  • You should know where your youth are. Please post the location and number of each conferee’s Small Group where your Back-home group is staying.
  • God, not the performance of an individual, is the focus of our worship. You might like to discuss with your group appropriate and considerate responses to worship as the Spirit moves. Let us always keep in mind that responses are to be directed to God.
  • We ask that all groups attending the conference this summer DO NOT STOP AT THE GATE either on the way in OR on the way out to take a group picture. It is too dangerous! Please find other scenic spots away from the road to take a picture.
  • Each evening following curfew, you will have time to gather together with the people who came to Montreat with you. This is a time to reflect on the conference and to plan for upcoming activities. We encourage you to use this time to strengthen your group and enable your week at Montreat to affect your coming year. The back home devotional guide will be available at the back home leader meeting on Sunday night. It may be used during the evening time following curfew, or at other times that work for your group.

Pre-Conference Meeting Planning

Being part of the Montreat Youth Conference requires preparation, planning, packing, and prayer. We have prepared a Pre-Conference session for you to use with your group. To help you prepare your group for Montreat, we offer this session to:

  1. help participants become better acquainted with others in the group
  2. establish a group covenant
  3. acquaint participants with the goals of the conference
  4. finalize any details about the trip

We strongly encourage your group to take time for this 90-minute Pre-Conference Session.

Opportunities

  • The Jeremiah Project: for young people who have an interest in worship leadership as well as a hunger to explore God’s call on their lives. Rising juniors and seniors who have participated in a Montreat Youth Conference before may apply to be part of a special small group that prepares for worship leadership, participates in keynote and discusses vocation. More information and online application available at a later date!
  • Broadly-graded youth groups are invited to bring all members with them. Those who do not meet the grade requirements of the conference (entering 9th grade through spring graduation) must be enrolled in the Clubs Program and may attend worship with your group.
  • Work Crew: College-aged young adults are invited to assist the Planning Team behind the scenes. Interested persons need to register, pay conference fee, and travel and lodge with their Back-home group. No application for Work Crew is needed. There will be an opportunity to sign up during registration.
  • Variety Show: Youth will have a chance to share their gifts and talents with the conference.  Acts in dance, music, poetry, comedy, and more will be welcomed. A form will be available in the back home packet that you receive 60 days prior to your conference. Groups may want to prepare an act in advance, but be warned that acts will be vetted on site and we will only be able to include a certain number of acts. ONCE AGAIN THIS YEAR— you will turn in lyrics and covenants at sign up.
  • Montreat Summer Mission Experience: Are you looking for a way to harness the energy of your youth group to make a difference in the world that you can do while you’re here? Montreat and Asheville Youth Mission are offering Montreat Summer Mission Experiences for your group on Sundays prior to Youth Conference registration (come on in a day early!) and on Free Afternoon Wednesdays during Youth Conferences. Your group can add a mission experience to their youth conference week by adding one or both days to your schedule! Capacity is limited! To learn more, go to: www.montreat.org/montreat-mission-experience
  • 12 Step Program: Is available at Black Mountain Methodist Church, 101 Church Street, Black Mountain, NC. Two meetings each week, Mondays at 7 pm and Thursdays at 7 pm in the Fellowship Hall.

Wednesday: Free Afternoon

Wednesday afternoon is a free afternoon. No conference activities are planned from noon to 7:30 p.m. Use this time for rest, or for exploration of the area surrounding Montreat. Please limit your explorations to this time only. Leaving before Wednesday morning Small Group and/or returning after the worship service will prevent your group from participating in a full morning and evening of conference activities, which are integral to the conference. There are many hiking trails in and around Montreat. Consult the Montreat Nature Center staff for recommendations and maps. Do not hike alone. Tell someone where you are going and plan to be off the mountain before dark.

If you need brochures about places to visit, see the information rack in the lower lobby of Assembly Inn or check out Mountain Information Centers online. We urge you to use this afternoon to make your trips and not other afternoons when conference activities are planned.

Conference Registration/Check-In

  • What: Conference Registration
  • When: Sunday, 3 p.m.-5:30 p.m.  (or following the opening session on Sunday night if you arrive late)
  • Where: Check your back home packet when you receive it
  • Who: Only one adult is needed to complete registration; youth are asked not to come through registration space.

Items to Bring to Registration/Check-In

  • Covenant & Medical Insurance Information (front and back) IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER
    — Two copies of each participant’s signed covenant (one for Montreat and one for YOU). See below for more information and to download the form.
  • Participant Locator Form
    — Online printout or hand-completed form (more info in the back home packet)
  • Money
    — for outstanding housing balance (if any) & additional wristbands.

Back-Home Leader Meeting

  • When: Sunday (immediately following the opening program)
  • Where: Check your back home packet when you receive it
  • Who: One Back-home leader from each group, to meet with Co-Directors & Conference Staff
  • What: This first-night orientation contains vital information and guidelines and addresses specific questions regarding the conference.

Note: If you arrive after 5:30 p.m., please send one adult to register your group in Upper Anderson after the opening session and send another adult leader to the Back-home leader meeting.

It is important for one adult to be present at the back home leader meeting Sunday evening to participate in the seating plan in the auditorium to create a more hospitable entrance to events in the auditorium. Please note that your space for the week will NOT be determined by where you are seated for the Sunday evening opening worship.

Wristbands

Wristbands will be worn by all conferees (youth & adults) and are required for admission to all conference events. In order to accommodate different needs of groups who bring extra adults to function as cooks & drivers, there will be four different wristbands available for sale at registration on the day of the conference:

  • Keynote Only – allows adults to attend keynote only;
  • Recreation Only – allows adults/children ages 5+ to attend recreation events only;
  • Both Keynote & Recreation – allows adults to attend all keynote & conference recreation events, but not Small Group sessions;
  • Young Child – allows children under 5 to accompany their parents to Youth conference events.

All persons wearing wristbands will be expected to adhere to all Youth Conference guidelines. Worship services are the only youth conference events open to the public.

Prices will be listed in your back home packet that you will receive 60 before your conference.

Small Groups

Why is it important that adults attend Small Group during Montreat Youth Conferences?

  1. The youth conferences are a partnership ministry between youth and adults. All Planning Teams consist of both youth and adult members who contribute to the planning of the conferences. By having adults in Small Groups we are further upholding our commitment to partnered ministry between youth and adults.
  2. Montreat’s Juvenile Protection Policy requires youth and adults to meet in groups. We have a two adult rule and an adult is never to be alone in a room full of youth. Whenadults attend Small Group they help to uphold Montreat’s Juvenile Protection Policy.
  3. Adults can help insure that the programming that takes place during Small Group runs easily. When the Small Group is occasionally broken up in to smaller groups of 3-4 youth for short periods of time for discussion, prayer, Bible Study, and games, the adults in the group can be dispersed throughout these smaller groups to participate, helping to insure that conversation and activities are running smoothly. The adultsin the Small Group can be a big help in assisting the Small Group Leader with a variety of tasks.
  4. We always appreciate having several sets of adult ears in each Small Group to listen for pastoral care concerns and issues from the youth that might require the attention and a response from conference staff. Also, in the event of an emergency, adults can serve in very helpful ways to help insure the group’s safety. For a variety of reasons, we never want a Small Group Leader to be the only adult in the room.

Thank you so much for spending a week at Montreat with the youth. We gratefully acknowledge the time, energy, money, and effort it requires to be away from family, jobs, and commitments back home to come for a week of fun and exhausting youth ministry! We are deeply thankful for your presence at the conference and hope you will make every effort to fully register for the conference and to participate in a Small Group while you are here.

Small Group Leaders needed!

We are in need of committed, responsible people aged 21+ who are part of the Reformed tradition to provide critical leadership for the “heart” of the youth conference: the Small Group. Small Group Leaders (SGLs) work hard, arrive one day early for training, and receive full room, board, and travel expenses. Back-home leaders who are SGLs should have another adult who is in charge of their Back-home group. The SGL application is available at www.montreat.org/sgl.

Small Group Placement

Thank you for trusting the process of Small Group placement. It works! Year after year, strangers on Monday morning have become life-long friends by week’s end. Participants are assigned to Small Groups so that there are ordinarily no two individuals from each Back-home group in the same Small Group.

If, as a youth minister or Back-home leader, you are aware of a special need regarding Small Group placement (wheelchair access, recent experience of trauma or grief, etc.), please indicate that need in writing via email at cherylp@montreat.org as soon as you’re aware. Staff and directors will be sensitive to all such requests.

Small Group Manuals

Small Group Manuals are available for purchase at the conference for the cost of printing. They will be on sale beginning Thursday of each week.

Communion

Montreat Youth Conference invites youth elders and deacons to help serve communion. We follow W—3.3616 from the Book of Order: “The bread and the cup may be served by those in the ordered ministry of the church, or by other church members on invitation of the session or authorizing council.”

Environmental Concerns

Stewardship of God’s creation is an important concern for all of God’s people.

  • Recycling: Conferences generate a lot of trash. Your help in recycling is needed. There are recycling bins at most buildings or housing units. If you are staying in a private cottage, you must use “blue bags” available at all area grocery stores.
  • Extra Food: If you are staying in a cottage and have extra food, a local food bank, The Second Loaf, will collect it on Saturday morning by the entrance gate. They accept opened packages, usable cooked food, milk, and non food items.
  • Shaving Cream: The use of shaving cream, except for its intended purpose, is prohibited. It washes into Lake Susan, killing plant and animal life; removes paint from cars and buildings; and is a hazard to eyes and those who have sensitive skin.
  • Hiking: Stay on the trails to prevent excessive erosion. (See Covenant & Free Afternoon sections for more information.) For safety reasons, we ask that you do not hike at night.

Cell Phones

We recognize that the use of isolating technology often prevents youth and adults from being fully engaged in conference activities. Therefore, we request that youth and adults alike use a way that helps build community, and we will be modeling some of those ways during the conference. Responsible & respectful social media use is now a part of our conference covenant. We will rely on Back-home leaders to help young people fully engage in conference activities and share these expectations. Conference staff does monitor a variety of social media sites.

Smoking Policy

All buildings in Montreat owned by the Conference Center as well as Montreat College are now smoke-free! This includes incense and candles. There are designated smoking areas with urns on Conference Center property. Montreat College is a tobacco-free campus. Tobacco use is not permitted on property owned or leased by the college. This includes inside vehicles and in parking lots. Thank you refraining from using tobacco products while on the Montreat College campus. Your cooperation in adhering to this policy for the health of all is appreciated.

Insurance

Due to dramatically increased rates for conferee accident insurance, Montreat is no longer able to provide this coverage. Liability insurance is carried to cover accidents or negligence where the conference center is deemed responsible. Health insurance is not provided. Trips to the doctor/ER should be prepared for with health insurance information on each member of the Back-home group.

Conference Evaluations

After you arrive back-home, you’ll receive an email with a link to fluidsurvey. We welcome your feedback and look forward to hearing about your experiences while at a Montreat Youth Conference.

Sale of Items & Use of Montreat Identity

The sale of items by individuals or by youth groups is prohibited without approval prior to the conference. Any groups wishing to use the trademark/copyrighted name “Montreat” or the Montreat logo on any t-shirts or clothing items must request approval from the Conference Center. Direct those requests to Tanner Pickett, Vice President, Sales, Marketing & Communications, 828-669-2911, ext. 305, at tannerp@montreat.org and a usage license will be granted to you free of charge.

Packing List and Dress Code Handout

As we build a Christian community based on mutual trust and respect, Montreat Conference Center seeks to respect the choices of individuals in expressing themselves while setting norms to establish an atmosphere conducive to faith development and personal growth. Download the packing list and dress code handout and give to each participant to help them prepare for their trip.

Covenant and Medical Insurance Form

Download the covenant and medical insurance form (available after March 1st)

Covenant: Make enough copies for each registered participant in your group. Have each person (including adults, college students and children who will be purchasing wristbands for keynote and/or recreation only) complete the covenant statement form.

  • Make sure each youth and work crew’s Covenant has a parent/ guardian signature.
  • In order to receive a wristband, each group member must have a signed covenant on file.
  • Please bring two sets of covenants with you to the on-site registration: One set will be submitted to conference leadership, and the other should be kept for your records.

Medical Insurance Information: See the instructions for the covenant above.

  • A medical form must be on file for each participant with a wristband.
  • To help us with our records, please try to keep the medical form on the back of the covenant, or otherwise attach the two so that they do not become separated.
  • Please bring a set to on-site registration and a set to keep for your records.

When you receive your back home packet 60 days before your conference, you will be given further instructions about these forms.

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