Hello middle school conference friends.
There’s a lot of new information here for you. We know things could change and we will continue to monitor and adapt as necessary. Of course we’ll keep you updated as these plans continue to evolve. Some general notes before we get to into more detail:
- We will continue to follow the guidelines of our state and local health authorities and are working closely with Maryville College to ensure the safety of participants and staff.
- Program modifications will keep the spirit of the conference community while maintaining physical distance.
- We will consider back home groups as family units who are living together in a household.
- We encourage vaccination for everyone who is able, AND we will keep masking protocols in place because many of our participants are too young to receive the vaccine.
Montreat Youth Conference Details & Adaptation
Please note that our conference begins on a Tuesday and ends on a Saturday this year. This change is to allow for cleaning between groups at Maryville College. We will return to the normal Wednesday to Sunday format in 2022.
At this time, the basic schedule of events has not been changed but capacities are significantly lower in all indoor areas: dorms, dining hall, auditorium, and small group rooms. Additionally, we are planning for outdoor recreation events that focus on smaller groups and that reduce the amount of shared materials.
We will treat Back Home Groups like family units and seating for any plenary session will be with the family unit/back home group and be distanced from other groups. Seating will be assigned for the entire conference.
Small Group capacities will be determined by the classroom size as well as the number of small group leaders available. We are aiming for 15 per small group but the number could fluctuate based on the mentioned variables.
How can we anticipate the expectations of Back Home Leaders to be different this year?
Montreat is more-than-ever-grateful for the work of Back Home Leaders! Like most churches, we are making plans on other plans as we navigate the pandemic. Please know, Montreat is working to set up experiences to be as great as ever. We know we cannot do this without you.
Due to things out of our control (like weather or rising Covid numbers), it is possible that you will have more time with your Back Home Group. While we can provide some of the program pieces in these scenarios, it will be helpful to think about things you would bring to keep your group engaged if we have unexpected, unplanned time (ie – additional adults, snacks, games).
MSC@Home for 2021
Due to our late-July dates and the active nature of many middle schoolers, we have decided not to offer recordings of our keynotes and worship services.
Instead, we will offer the small group manual for purchase to assist with your plans at home. The manual will be finished by July 1. Price TBD.
Changes to Small Group Leader training
We are not anticipating any changes to SGL at this moment. If changes are made, we will notify SGL directly as well as update this page.
DIY Small Group for their own group
Some Back Home Leaders might be interested in keeping their group apart from standard small groups, where conferees are placed with youth from other churches. You can choose to keep your Back Home Group together for the Small Group with the Back Home Leader serving as the Small Group Leader. Here are some things you may want to know as you contemplate this idea:
- Yes, you’re taking on some additional work! You might want to bring along an extra adult if you are able. We will refund the conference fee of the adult who is acting as the Small Group Leader for your group.
- We will support you by inviting you to Small Group Leader training and providing you with the same Small Group manual in use by the rest of the conference.
- We’ll provide you with a bag of the appropriate supplies.
- You would be responsible for your group as usual, and we ask that you not release your participants for free time on campus while other conferees are in conference activities.
- We need you to let us know if you choose this option by June 1, and we need to count on you to remain in this category of participation once you’ve chosen it. Email email@example.com if this is the option you want to select.
New Process for the Variety Show
We know that the variety show is one of the strongest traditions at MSC, giving youth an opportunity to showcase their gifts and support their peers. To limit cross-contamination on the stage and ensure the safety of everyone, we will be asking for video submissions before the conference begins.
Videos are due on June 30, 2021.
Start now asking if your youth want to submit a video. Please refer to the variety show covenant in your Back Home Packet (it’s coming soon!) to ensure that the video meets the guidelines for wardrobe and content. Please look at every lyric in any songs to be sure they are appropriate for our youngest attendees. If you aren’t sure about a lyric or any other piece of the submission, please email Evelyn Coleman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When you submit your video, please make sure the video and sound are high quality. Please submit your videos to this Dropbox link.
We hope for a variety in the kinds of submissions we receive so be creative! Please submit no later than June 15 so we have time to ask you for edits if needed.