Montreat Conference Center

Middle School Conference Back-Home Information

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

Expectations for Back-home Leaders

The planning team 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 chairs in the Clayton Center. Please help us create a welcoming space for all by supervising youth as they enter the auditorium.
  • You should know where your youth are. Please supervise them at each conference activity.
  • We expect adults to attend small groups. The small group leader will appreciate your help.
  • 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.
  • Each evening following curfew, you will have time to gather together with the people who came to the conference 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 the conference to affect your coming year. The “Back-home Leader Devotional Guide,” will be posted on the Montreat website when it is produced. More copies will be available at Registration. It may be used during the evening time following curfew, or at other times that work for your group.

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. Seventh and eighth graders who have previously attended a Montreat Middle School Conference may apply to be part of a special small group that prepares for worship leadership, participates in keynote and discusses vocation. More information and application will be available at a later date.
  • Work Crew: High-school aged youth are invited to assist the planning team behind the scenes. Download the work crew application now!
  • Variety Show: 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.
  • Montreat Planning Team: Be part of the planning team for a future Montreat Middle School Conference!

Conference Registration/Check-In

  • What: Conference Registration
  • When: Wednesday, 3 p.m.-6:00 p.m.
  • Where: Bartlett Hall, Maryville College
  • 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 balance (if any).

Back-home Leader Meeting

  • When: Sunday (following the opening session)
  • 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.

Things to Bring

Download the Youth Info Handout (available at a later date) for a list of items to bring with you to Montreat.

Small Groups

Why is it important that adults attend Small Group during Montreat 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. When adults 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 adults in 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 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

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, participate in 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 Thursday 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, etc.), please indicate that need in writing via email (cherylp@montreat.org) as soon as you’re aware. Staff and directors will be sensitive to all such requests.

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 using appropriate bins is appreciated
  • Water Bottles: It can get hot in Maryville so we encourage lots of water-drinking. To cut down on waste, please bring a water bottle to use while you are here. We will have water stations available at outdoor events.

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 cell phones/electronics in a way that helps build community. 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.

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 a survey. We welcome your feedback and look forward to hearing about your experiences while at Montreat Middle School 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.

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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