All “Big Events” are ultimately about drawing youth closer to one another and to God.
Each year, our youth group goes on a weekend winter retreat. Past years have included trips to Winterplace, WV and Beech Mountain Ski Resort in North Carolina. In between hours of adventures on the slopes, we also gather for youth-led small group discussions about faith. The winter retreat is open to both middle and high school students.
Frozen Chosen Cup
Every year our youth group hosts the annual Frozen Chosen Cup, a friendly competition between local Presbyterian youth groups: Covenant, First, Madison and Oconee. Events include tests of Bible knowledge, teamwork, singing ability, agility and overall sportsmanship.
- 2014 – 2015 was inspired by the Disney movie Frozen. Check out more pictures from our exciting inaugural event.
- 2015- 2016 saw an even larger crowd of youth as we competed in Minute To Win It themed games!
- 2016 – 2017 the Presbyterian Waddel Fellows organized a great event at Oconee Presbyterian Church. Check out more pictures from this fast-paced event.
- 2017 – 2018 was hosted again by OPC and was the (un)frozen chosen with a cold water theme.
- 2018 – 2019 was the Frozen Chosen Cup on Wheels, held at the Athens Skate inn.
Youth Sunday is a wonderful opportunity for our youth to share with the congregation their faith journeys. On this inspiring day, middle and high school students plan and lead both the 8:45 and 11:00am worship services. Worship roles include leading corporate prayer, reading or acting out Bible verses, ushering, greeting, praying, leading the children’s message, speaking from the pulpit and offering musical talents. The Celebration Singers also lead the congregation as the choir for both services.
Montreat Youth Conference
What year would be complete without a week in the “thin place”?! Montreat is located in Black Mountain, NC, just outside of Asheville. The Montreat Youth Conference is a truly unique experience for our youth to worship God and study the Bible surrounded by youth from across the region that will support you in your journey. Each day, there is a Keynote address, small group time, recreation and worship. During free time, youth can explore the beautiful campus, go rock hopping, sit by Lake Susan, and hang out with new and old friends. Montreat is open to rising 9th grader through recent graduates.
College students may attend and serve on Work Crew if space allows. For more information about the Montreat Youth Conference, click here.
Middle School Conference
The middle school youth group will alternate years between Massanetta youth conference and mission trip. 2018 was our first time attending Massanetta Springs in Harrisonburg, VA. This shortened week challenged youth in their Christian formation by providing hands-on experiences through conference-wide recreation, unique workshops, theme presentations, and worship. Hundreds of youth come together every summer for this special middle school conference, that many liken to Montreat.
Summer Mission Trips
During the Summer our church takes a break from Sunday School and combines into one 10:00 a.m. worship service. Youth group and Celebration Singers do not meet as families enjoy beach vacations and summer camps. Instead, we have opportunities for our youth to gather for mission trips and youth conferences; these retreats create strong memories to carry us into the new year.
Our youth group rotates where it serves each summer: local – regional – national – international, recognizing that there are needs both in our backyard and across the ocean.
2020: International/ Regional
This year our Church is sending an intergenerational team to Puerto Rico. Current high school youth and adult church members will serve with TAINO Volunteers in Utuado, Puerto Rico. Later in the summer, we will send a middle and high school to Charlotte, NC to serve with CROSS Missions.
This summer, we visited the Heifer Ranch in Perryville, AR. It was a different type of mission trip that incorporated experiential activities including team building, working on the farm and with livestock an spending a night in a village experience, all designed to raise awareness about global hunger and poverty. It was an eye-opening experience for all.
We had an amazing time in Honduras last year for our first intergenerational, international mission trip! HOI is a Christ-centered missions organization that has been working alongside people of developing countries for over 25 years to implement sustainable development partnerships. From digging ditches to building chimneys to teaching Bible school – the work was be hard, but also incredibly meaningful.
Our middle school youth (rising 6th through completed 8th) served in Athens. During the morning, youth were leaders with Vacation Bible School, they had lunch together in the PIT, then went out into the community for more service opportunities
based on the Call in Matthew 25. From the food bank to community gardening to BINGO with seniors, we had a full week, capped off with a Lock-In on Friday night.
The high schooler participated in an intergenerational mission trip to DOOR Atlanta! While many of us have been to Atlanta for Braves games or shopping, have you stopped to think about the neighbors who are standing on the side of the road asking for money? What is their story? How can we help? During this weekend, we’ll served the homeless community of Atlanta, visited the King Center and explored how we might take some of the lessons back to Athens to impact that same community here.
Our mission trip in July, 2016 tool us to Philadelphia, PA and the amazing outreach of Broad Street Ministry. The Youth Initiative provides opportunities for youth to engage their faith in educational, motivating, and provocative service experiences related to prevalent social justice issues. Alongside youth from other states, identified and confronted stereotypes of the city, of urban poverty, and of marginalized communities. Then, we identified where we are called to make our impact. Click this link to see and hear the youth’s Reflections from the 2016 Mission Trip.
In 2015, we partnered with Group Mission for a weeklong mission trip to Southern Pines, NC. Working alongside hundreds of other youth from around the country, we painted houses, built wheelchair ramps, completed home repair projects, and spent time in fellowship with our homeowners. God-sightings abounded as we grew in our personal faith and expanded our faith community.
In 2014, we stayed close to home, responding to needs in our own backyard. The Summer of Service included hours spent under the hot sun at the Salvation Army community garden; corralling children through the magical Weird Animals of Vacation Bible School; and, cleaning/weeding at Children’s First. In addition, we collected school supplies for a local Tutoring program and compiled hygiene bags for the Athens Nurses Clinic.