Learning to ‘Sow, Grow, Go’ at the 2024 Puget Sound Middle School Gathering

A total of 51 youth, adults and volunteers (representing 11 churches) from all over the Puget Sound region came together at Camp Arnold near Eatonville, Washington at the end of April for the 2024 Puget Sound Middle School Youth Gathering. It was a great weekend full of learning about God’s love and purpose for us as His connected children in God’s beautiful creation.

DCE Jeff Kranich led the weekend as our speaker, working through the theme, “Sow, Grow, Go!” based on John 15:1-5. We interacted with the theme on a personal level, looking at how God plants the seeds of faith in each of us and waters them with the Holy Spirit through baptism, the Word, and our churches in the first two sessions. During our last session, we explored how we are called to live out our faith as a connected church body in our communities and in our region, and came up with ideas to implement that calling back home after the weekend was over.

As this was the second Gathering after COVID paused the event, we had a great mix of returning and new youth and adults who got to know each other quickly as the weekend went on through worshipping together, playing gaga ball, basketball, and human foosball in the semi-permanent drizzle, as well as going on a hike to explore the camp. In the afternoon, we had a series of breakout sessions that included Zoom “Stump-the-Pastor” with Pastor Jason Swan, a look at what makes a leader with DCE Suzy Hennig, and a service project making 50 fleece tie pillows for care center residents in North Seattle with Deaconess Ruth Ann Shimoi. DCE Alanna Davis and DCE Intern Esther Langess led an adult session that gave the youth leaders and volunteers a chance to connect more intentionally with each other and to share resources.

On Saturday evening, we had a rambunctious gym session of fun games led by Esther and volunteer Molly Long before returning to the chapel for late-night snacks, then worship and devotion time led by DCE Jan Novak to calm our bodies and minds for rest. Sunday morning, we packed up our belongings, thanked the wonderful camp staff for the meals and hospitality, and had one last time of worship together led by Pastor Swan who reminded us that we are one body in Christ even when we are apart.

The Puget Sound Youth Board would like to thank all the leaders, volunteers, and our speaker for a wonderful weekend of pouring into these youth and for the work that you do with them year-round in your own congregations, encouraging and supporting them in the callings that God has placed in their lives.

We are actively planning for our Gathering next year, so save the date for March 7-9, 2025, at Camp Arnold for a combined middle and high school Puget Sound Youth Gathering! Keep an eye out for an email from DCE Alanna Davis, PSYB Registrar, soon with more information and ways to volunteer!

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