Youth Conference Back Home Leaders Info
If you have found yourself here, then you are someone who has agreed to take part in creating transformative experiences for many youth. Back Home leaders are the people who get the youth here, ensure that they are taken care of, and serve as connection to their local church. 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! For all of that, we thank you!
The goal of this page is to provide you with resources and the necessary information to help your youth conference experience be a success. Information might change from time to time, so it's important that you read this entire page regardless of your experience as a back home leader.
Before You Arrive
It is important to start working with your group about this experience. They will likely be challenged in many ways.
- Help participants become better acquainted with others in the group
- Establish a group covenant
- Acquaint participants with the goals of the conference
- Finalize any details about the trip
Commissioning Service Liturgy
In response to requests, we've developed brief liturgy for a short commissioning service for young people and adult leaders who are headed to Montreat Youth Conferences.
Make sure that you have completed a registration form. Wondering who you should register? Include the following:
- Youth (rising high school freshman through graduated high school seniors)
- College students (participating in work crew)
- Adult leader(s) over 21 years of age (AT LEAST ONE ADULT PER GROUP IS REQUIRED TO REGISTER)
- Any additional adults who will be participating in small groups (You may have additional adult chaperones who will NOT participate in small groups, but we’ll get to that later…)
Secure Your Housing
Housing is an important part of your experience. All housing and meal costs are in addition to your conference fee. Housing is limited, so register early!
The term “Conference Housing” refers to any of the housing options owned by Montreat Conference Center or Montreat College. You will reserve ALL conference housing through the youth conference registrar. The youth conference registrar will assign rooms to best fit your groups needs, as well as arrange for all of your meals while you are here. The term “Private Housing” refers to any other housing. If you decide to stay in private housing, you will need to make your own arrangements, as well as plan for your meals.
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 three different wristbands available. You may purchase wristbands in advance by using the Additions/Cancellations form or you may purchase at on-site registration when you arrive for 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.
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 days before your conference.
Fill out MyMontreat
The MyMontreat program is an online system that allows you to enter demographic and contact information about each registrant of the conference. The MyMontreat program will then produce the following documents which you MUST BRING TO CHECK-IN. When you receive your back-home packet 60 days before your conference, you will be given further instructions about this process.
- Group Covenants
- The group covenant form is a document that explains our expectations for participant’s behavior while they are at a Montreat youth experience. It is important that you talk to your group and their parents about the covenant and that each participant and their parent sign it.
- The group leader will be able to send a MyMontreat link to their youth allowing them and their parents to complete and sign their covenant/participant information online.
- Once completed, the group leader can print out the conference covenant signature page to be turned in at Check-In. You may choose to print the covenants or a copy of the signature page for your records. Montreat does not collect individual covenants.
- Participant Locator Form
- Bring a printed copy of the locator forms for your reference while you are at Montreat
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”, the Montreat logo, or the Montreat Gate 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, at email@example.com, or call 828.419.9808, 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.
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 plenty of rest in the evenings.
- Help us to discourage walking on, standing on, or climbing over the pews in Anderson Auditorium. They are quite old and can't take the abuse. 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 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.
Once You're Here
- When: Sunday, 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm
- Where: Upper Anderson Auditorium (Montreat Map)
- 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 Signature Page
- Participant Locator Forms
- Money: Bring money for any outstanding balance & 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 will address specific questions regarding the conference
Small Group Placement
Participants are assigned to small groups so that there are ordinarily no two individuals from each Back Home Group in the same small group. We ask that you trust the process of small group placement - it works! Year after year, strangers on Monday morning have become life-long friends by week’s end.
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.
Why is it important that adults attend Small Group during Montreat Youth Conferences?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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 to firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as you’re aware. Staff and directors will be sensitive to all such requests.
- The Jeremiah Project: For rising juniors and seniors who have participated in a Montreat Youth Conference before and have an interest in worship leadership as well as a hunger to explore God’s call on their lives. Apply to be part of a special small group that prepares for worship leadership, participates in keynote and discusses vocation. Apply Online!
- 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. 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. Please turn in lyrics along with your covenants at sign up! Click here to download the Variety Show Requirements.
- 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 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! A link for the Mission Experience registration is in your Youth Conference registration confirmation email.
- Communion: Montreat Youth Conference invites youth elders and deacons to help serve communion. We follow W-3.0414 from The Book of Order: “Ordinarily ruling elders, deacons, and ministers of the Word and Sacrament† serve the bread and cup; the session may authorize other church members to do so.” We also follow W-3.0409: “ The opportunity to eat and drink with Christ is not a right bestowed upon the worthy, but a privilege given to the undeserving who come in faith, repentance, and love. All who come to the table are offered the bread and cup, regardless of their age or understanding.”
Wednesday afternoon is a free afternoon. No conference activities are planned from noon to 7:30 pm. 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.
We urge you to use this afternoon to make your trips and not other afternoons when conference activities are planned.
- Hiking in Montreat: 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. Download a trail map before you get here!
- Exploring Downtown Black Mountain: Many groups spend their time in Black Mountain to do some shopping and enjoy the local cuisine. Head to our Business Patrons page to check out restaurants and retail that support us and our mission!
- Some local outdoor activites:
- Zip Lining
- Nantahala Outdoor Center
- Tuchaseegee Outfitters
- Rock Climbing
- Art & Culture
- Hood Hugger Tours
- The Biltmore
- Asheville Youth Mission
Juvenile Protection and Harassment Policies
Insurance & Medical Information
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.
We also no longer collect medical or insurance information for Montreat Youth Conference participants. It is the responsibility of the back home leader and church to have medical and insurance information on file for each MYC participant. Should the need arise in a medical emergency, you might be asked to make this information available.
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 a Montreat Youth Conference.
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.
All buildings in Montreat owned by the Conference Center as well as Montreat College are now smoke-free! This includes incense, candles, and vaping. 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.
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 at Black Mountain Presbyterian Church. 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.
12 Step Program
Black Mountain Methodist Church, 101 Church Street, Black Mountain, NC hosts two AA meetings each week in their Fellowship Hall: Mondays at 7 pm and Thursdays at 7 pm.
Just For You
We are grateful to you for the work that you do with the youth. Please stop by the Leader Lounge on Monday, Wednesday, and/or Friday mornings just before Energizers and Keynote for a hot cup of coffee or tea, snacks, and some good fellowship. This is for Back Home Leaders only - no youth allowed.
Place: Just below the Montreat Store—follow the signs for "Leader Lounge"!
Times: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday | 8:30a-9:15a