First Presbyterian Church has an active youth program, with local missions and church projects galore.  We usually have representatives at SPYCE and Montreat, NC, and welcome newcomers to our youth activites.  If you have a project for our youth or want to learn more about our upcoming programs please contact our church office or our youth coordinator, Sam Clem.  (Please see our note below for comments on previous years' programs and for contact information.)

I had the pleasure of accompanying the FPC Youth to Montreat, NC in July and I have to say it was an uplifting, spiritual experience I hope I never forget.  I’d heard it was a wonderful experience, but I had no idea.

First and foremost, we have a great bunch of young folks in our group.  Only 5 went, but they blew me away with their attitudI es, maturity, and spiritual commitment.  We partnered with Covenant and all stayed together so we had 8 kids and 5 adults in total.  There were 1,000 high school Presbyterians at the conference that week.

The day was laid out such that we had a “whole group” (1000+) seminar every morning to introduce the day’s theme and get us started.  Then we went to small group (~30 kids), then to lunch.  After lunch we had another small group session, some organized outdoor rec, dinner, and an evening “whole group” worship service.  The sermon easily lasted an hour every single night and the 1000 or so kids in the auditorium loved it!  There was clapping and cheering, but the sermons were serious business.  

Oh, and there’s always a ton of music.  Both the morning and the evening service started with a bunch of praise music where we all stood up and sang along – the words were displayed on a couple big screens.  The evening service ended with the same sort of music.  They threw in a couple oldies (Down to the River to Pray) and even some pop (Lean on Me), but mostly it was recent popular praise music.  

We ended the week by parading out of the auditorium after the Friday night service, singing and making our way to the nearby lake.  We lit candles and sang some more, had a couple prayers, then laid hands on our new/near adults heading off to college this fall.  It was a moving experience.  

Somehow, there was time for hiking, running, singing on the front porch, daily reflection time, and games with the other groups.  Seems like the only thing we went short on was sleep, but nobody slept in the next morning.  We were up at 6:00 AM fixing breakfast and everyone was at the morning service before they opened the doors to let us in.  Wow, what an inspiring week!

Please contact me if you would like more information on the youth program. - Sam Clem

SPYCE is the Shenandoah Presbytery Youth Council Extraordinaire, a group of 15 high schoolers from the local presbytery whose mission it is to “bring youth and adults together to build and strengthen the faith, fellowship, and mission of youth in our Presbyterian community.”  Several FPC Youth Group members have been active in SPYCE.