Insteadium 2.0
Event Location: Calvin Crest Camp, Conference and Retreat Center – Fremont, Nebraska

Insteadium 2.0
Calvin Crest Camp, Conference and Retreat Center
Fremont, Nebraska
Missouri River Valley Presbytery
August 19-20, 2023

In 2022, Presbyterian Youth Triennium was cancelled due to ongoing concerns for the health of participants involved in large group activities and gatherings. Nebraska was experiencing fewer cases of Covid-19, and Calvin Crest Camp, Conference and Retreat Center had negotiated the summer youth camp season with very few cases of the infection due to proactive screening and sanitation measures.

The concept of creating a Triennium-like experience for high school youth was floated by the Presbytery of Missouri River Valley Christian Education team and leaders at Calvin Crest. The idea of Insteadium—instead of Triennium—was born and successfully carried out August 20-21, 2022. The event received recognition on the Triennium Facebook page as well as in an article by Paul Seebeck for the Presbyterian Mission Agency Nebraska Insteadium 1.0

Based on the success of this first event, Insteadium 2.0 was initiated, drawing heavily on the resources provided through PYT Connect at Extensive planning by organizers provided participants with a chance to be challenged by speakers and through study, recreation, music and small groups.

The event more than doubled in size in its second year, with 72 young people taking part. When guest speakers were unable to attend, organizers quickly pivoted, adding longer small group discussion (which ended up in the great “ah-ha”: there is enough knowledge, wisdom and leadership within the group that keynotes/guest speakers are not needed. Young people enjoyed more opportunity to share and grow in their groups, and leaders accessed short video clips to enhance the lessons based on Matthew 25:31-46.

An unplanned highlight of the weekend came when leaders needed to fill a 45-minute hole in the schedule on Sunday morning. Using ‘swag bags’ that Triennium leaders had donated for the event, (“We aren’t sure what you might use them for, but here they are,” said the note in the box, a bag “Ebenezer” reminiscent of the balloon creation at the 2019 “I Give My Heart to Thee” Triennium was undertaken. Leaders asked for artistic types to quickly sketch out “Insteadium 2.0” on the white backs of the bags, then paricipants were directed to fill in the letter of a bag they took. Then, because no forethought had been given to marking the location of the bags, participants engaged in solving the 8×10 mosiac puzzle created from 80-bags, colorfully spell out the name of the event. The group photograph from the event is a true masterpiece.

Insteadium 3.0 is in the planning for August, 2024. Organizers hope for another successful weekend retreat just as most students are heading back to school, and everyone is anxiously awaiting the upcoming Presbyterian Youth Triennium in 2025.

The Insteadium planners gratefully acknowledge the value and importance of the support and resources provided through PYT Connect. Hopefully, Insteadium 4.0 will be held in August of 2025 as a way of reuniting Triennium participants as well as those not able to attend in another experience of study, singing, sharing and recreation.

Insteadium Leadership Team
Shelli Dart
Director of Youth Ministry, First Presbyterian Church, Bellevue, Nebraska
Jessica Scheopner
Director of Spiritual Formation and Family Ministries, Omaha, Nebraska West Hills Presbyterian Church
David Friedli
Elder, Murray, Nebraska Presbyterian Church and Calvin Crest Board Member