The Campference for Middle School Youth Workers

My #YMWomen friend @charlieconder and I at the #MSMIN  #Campference 

After only 4 days of living in the beautiful state of Michigan I rented a car, bribed my Mother in Law with a $400 plane ticket to Grand Rapids to travel here to watch the kids and then proceeded to drive myself to Indiana for the Middle School Campference.  Yeah...4 days after a cross country move and right after another conference the weekend before. It's was a little nuts. Guess what....it was well worth the time and craziness of two back to back youth ministry conferences.  In contrast to the whirlwind weekend before, what I loved most about the Campference, was how easy it was to talk and hang out and have helpful conversations with other men and women who like no other place on the planet..."get" the whole Middle School Ministry thing! I am a Middle School Pastor, so yeah it was well worth it.

"What's done here stays here" These guys were too much fun! 

So more about Campference... Without fancy hotels or frugal churches who make you commute to a conference because you are "close enough to drive" (gee you REALLY miss out on SOOOO much when you commute each day to a conference!) you get to "camp" with other youth ministry peeps. Like share a cabin with other youth workers who do what you do and whether they lead a ministry of 1,000's or 10...there you all are in shared space and proximity to each other's toothpaste (forgot to bring mine!) and shampoo (forgot that too!). And no one cares how big or small your ministry is or how many followers you have on twitter (although it was fun meeting twitter friends too).

We've all been to Winter Camp and Summer Camp with students and big fancy conferences for ourselves, but to go to the Middle School Ministry Campference is something entirely different. I got to share a cabin with Katie Edwards and Emma from Saddleback and speaker Amanda Drury...and there we were together talking about life and youth ministry. That never in a million years would have been possible at any other conference. I got to sit in my Star Wars PJ's on the floor without my makeup on and talk with other women in youth ministry.  Awesome is an understatement.

Even an introvert will have NO trouble feeling comfortable and engaging in some of the best conversations I've had all year. There were also these sort- of- like- Disneyland tram rides to get across camp which provided more space and time for getting to know other youth workers and talk about middle school ministry.  I rode a tram with Kenny and Elle from Stuff You Can Use and thanked them for their creativity and ideas.  My students are gonna love Laser Pointer Night and Scoop The Poop Week.  It was fun talking youth ministry with these two and getting to know them in person. Shared meals, shared cabins, tram rides, good sessions and break outs on Middle School Ministry....yup it's SOOOO worth it!

I even met some really sweet youth worker ladies from the Grand Rapids area. One of them lives a few blocks from me somewhere. So Cornerstone UMC peeps...let's get coffee soon!

My Road Trip Food for the Drive to Indiana! 


  1. Sarah Ho11/01/2013

    Hey Gina,
    Now that I am a Youth Pastor of a church plant I would love to be able to go to a Youth Ministry conference, do you know of any coming up? I know there is a huge one in the Spring. Also, I was asked to make a wish list of things I would like to have to help my efforts in running the youth ministry, do you have any suggestions? (I know you are a fan of picmonkey, evernote and cashboard). Please feel free to email me at notyetproverbs31@yahoo.com

  2. Hi Sarah!! I would recommend looking at the National Youth Workers Convention or check out the one by Group they put on or check out the Youth Cartel to see if they have something going on around you. And you know me well! Yup I love PicMonkey, Evernote and Cashboard. I would recommend $ for curriculum from xp3 students or Live Curriculum from Simply Youth.


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