Youth Leadership Camp

Youth Leadership Camp is about equipping youth with leadership skills to live out their faith in their church, school, communities, and everywhere they go.

If you are a congregation that has a vision to connect youth with meaningful relationships, deeply root them in faith, and equip them to lead in your church and beyond, Youth Leadership Camp is for you!

Participants are steeped in Peer Ministry skills, equipped to lead large group activities and small group discussions, grounded in Lutheran theology and scripture, and connected in deep relationships with others who share a love of Jesus. Congregational Teams and Individuals leave Youth Leadership Camp with a plan for how they want to use their skills when they return home. And of course, there are plenty of fun activities, free time, mystery events, and campfire worships!

While congregations of all sizes are welcome at Youth Leadership Camp, ​it is especially designed with smaller congregations in mind who may not have a staffed Youth Director. Congregational Teams do not need a large team – most churches bring 1-2 youth with an Adult Leader. If your church is not able to send an Adult Leader with your youth, one of our college interns will accompany any youth who apply as an individual.

Camp is June 9-12, 2024. Check-in begins at 1:00pm on Sunday, June 9th. Programmed activities begin at 2:00pm. Camp ends at 4:30pm on Wednesday, June 12th.


  • Congregational Team (5 youth, 1 adult leader)
  • Individual Youth (if no adult can attend)


  • $200 for Individual Youth
  • $600 for Congregational Teams of up to 6 people (this includes 1 Adult Leader)
  • Payment is due within two weeks of acceptance.
  • Scholarships are available for individuals or congregations for whom the registration fee would be a hardship. Please contact Pastor Taryn Montgomery at to request a scholarship.
  • Congregations can bring more than 6 people, but would need to register as two Congregational Teams

Youth must be in Grades 9-11 at the time of application.
Adult Leaders must be at least 21 years old.

Camp Onomia – 14202 Shakopee Lake Rd, Onamia, MN 56359

Who can come?
The NEMN Youth Leadership Camp is open to participants from congregations within the Northeastern Minnesota Synod. Youth must be in grades 9-11 at the time of application, and Adult Leaders must be at least 21 years old by June 11, 2023. Youth can register in one of two ways: as part of a Congregational Team (up to 6 people, including 1 Adult Leader) or as an Individual if no one else from their congregation plans to attend.

Who should come?
Remember this is all about growing leaders! The youth who will have the best experience are those who are already leading in some way and excited about going deeper in their faith and leadership skills. While we believe all youth have gifts to share, it is important to consider which youth are ready to grow through this deeper leadership and faith experience. Youth Leadership Camp should not be used as a confirmation or other requirement. We have wonderful outdoor ministry partners who can help you with that!

As you consider which youth to invite, you might consider:

  • Which youth show up on a regular basis and follow through when asked to be part of something?
  • Which youth ask questions and lean into learning and growing in their faith?
  • Which youth are excited to lead and find ways to serve? (And remember, leading doesn’t mean you have to be up front! Those who listen to others, notice people who need a friend, and serve others are all leaders!)
  • Which youth have leadership gifts that might be hidden to them, that you see, and they might discover when they are gathered with other faith-filled leaders?
  • Which youth come to mind as you are praying about this opportunity?

How many should we bring in our Congregational Team?
Congregational Teams can be whatever size you make them! The only requirement for a Congregational Team is that you have at least 1 adult for 5 youth – but you are welcome to bring more adults! You will not be alone if you are a team of two (one youth and one adult). Other churches use this model also.

We do encourage congregations to limit their teams to 6 people to encourage participants to mix in with other Congregational Teams and Individuals. But we also know on occasion there is an exceptional group of leaders that come through a program, so if you have more than 6 people you can register as two Congregational Teams.

What are the expectations for Adult Leaders?
Come and learn/grow/play with your youth! One of the gifts of attending a training with your youth, instead of doing it for your youth, is that someone different is up front saying things you normally would! You will also have the opportunity to connect with other Adult Leaders from across the synod, learning from each other and your different ministry settings. You will be housed with your young people, and responsible for their supervision. At the end of the camp experience, you will be equipped to work with your team to develop a plan for how you will use the skills when you return home.

Can we register as a Congregational Team with another congregation?
Yes! If you plan to partner with another congregation this coming year, sharing Adult Leader responsibilities and working together to make a plan for how youth will use their skills when you return home – then you are welcome to apply together! Please choose one adult to be your Primary Leader and contact.

How can youth or adults plan and lead synod youth events?
Those who attend the NEMN Youth Leadership Camp are considered active members of the LYO Team. They will be invited to plan synod events like the All Youth Gathering and future events. More information will be shared during Youth Leadership Camp. There is no expectation or requirement that Youth Leadership Camp participants take an active role on the LYO Team, but it is one way to use your leadership skills after camp!