How We Do PYT?

How do you build your delegation (recruit, invite, and select your participants)?

When I have served in each presbytery – Tropical Florida and Trinity – I made sure to get on the agenda of the late summer/fall Presbytery meeting. I sent information about Triennium to each church in the Presbytery via snail mail and email – allowing the churches to make the decision.” – Andrea Paschal

We have a small Presbytery with mostly churches under 75 members, so we never need to “select” our participants. However, in recent years, I’ve put together a brief narrative questionnaire to help the youth think about *why* they want to go on Triennium.

“Generally, I start by putting the word out at Presbytery and follow up with pastors, educators, youth leaders etc. to get a sense of how many youth (and adults) they think might be interested in attending. Then, I make travel arrangements based on that estimate, and once I have a semi-solid cost estimate, I distribute registration information to all the churches through the Presbytery along with my contact information for questions and a commitment deadline. At this point, I also hold an optional information meeting for anyone who has questions.

In short, I put the information out there and let the individual churches determine who might be interested.Katey Schwind Williams

We share information with pastors, clerks of sessions, Christian educators, youth ministry people in mid-fall.” – Susan Sharp Campbell

How do you determine the size of your delegation?

I haven’t yet had to put a cap on registration.Katey Schwind Williams

“In the past we have based it on the previous PYT.” Susan Sharp Campbell

How do you determine your budget for Triennium and where does funding typically come from?

“The Presbytery is asked to delegate funds for the travel portion of the expenses. The suggestion for participants is the 1/3 process described in the Registrar Kit.” Andrea Paschal

Generally, I determine the estimated total cost per participant, subtract the amounts of grants from the Presbytery and PYT for travel (divided by the estimated number of participants), and pass the final number along to the congregations, suggesting that the congregation split the costs evenly with families.  

“Some churches have solid fundraising programs for youth while others don’t, so on Triennium years, I try to work with the larger churches to let PYT participants from other churches help with their fundraisers and benefit from the funds raised.Katey Schwind Williams

“We ask youth participants to pay $425 for the event.  We take a minimum of three adults, including the presbytery staff person for youth ministry (me), paying their expenses, and we guess at how many interested youth we may have.  In the last month or so, I have sent a “Youth Ministry Survey” to pastors and educators in our churches, asking how many children and youth they have active in their congregations, and if they think they might have youth interested in PYT 2022.   Then we calculate the cost of the adults, balance of costs for youth, transportation cost, and submit it as part for of the presbytery’s Nurture Committee.  We are fortunate to have restrictive funds set aside for leadership development for youth, and consider PYT, with its opportunity for growing in faith, as such an opportunity.” – Susan Sharp Campbell

Do you have a “Go Team” (volunteers who help you with registrar responsibilities)? If so, how do they help you?

Have not been successful with this before. Hoping our Presbytery will definitely help with this as the committee overseeing Youth is redeveloped. – Andrea Paschal

As stated above, I leave it to each congregation to recruit participants. Once we have our delegation, I have 3-5 other people help with planning duties: most recently, I’ve had a person responsible for making travel arrangements and the adult advisors responsible for planning pre-triennium gatherings—including t-shirt design and order. I’ve found it difficult to delegate much else.”Katey Schwind Williams

No, it falls on me, and is part of my responsibility as Associate for Educational Ministry. – Susan Sharp Campbell

What qualities do you look for in Adult Advisors?

“Participation in a church setting and involved with youth. Are they part of the Presbytery youth council? Sometimes just need to take new and interested volunteers – Andrea Paschal

Willingness to participate in activities with the group, approachability (I want the youth to be able to go to them with problems), flexibility, and the perspective that this event is primarily for the youth, NOT a vacation for them (this can be tricky, since many of them need to take vacation time in order to participate).” Katey Schwind Williams

With the first few PYT I was registrar for, we asked for volunteers.  Now, I look for those who relate well to youth, who are focused on the youth more than themselves, who follow the rules, who I trust. Susan Sharp Campbell

What do you put into the hands of your Adult Advisors headed to Triennium?

Make sure they have contact forms for all participants, confirmation and contact numbers for everyone needed. – Andrea Paschal

“I put together a binder with copies of everyone’s Participant Release forms (including insurance information), travel information (including shuttles, etc.), and info about any other reservations made. I also sent them with a PEX card (pre-paid debit card) and a small amount of cash. We instruct the kids to bring snacks to share and money for meals, but the leaders are authorized to use the money given to them if anyone forgets.”Katey Schwind Williams

Depending on the size of the group, I have, in the past, divided our delegation of youth among the adults, asking the adults to touch base with the youth in their small group once a day.  I give them the forms for the youth for whom they are responsible.” Susan Sharp Campbell

Do you do a delegation t-shirt or bring trading pins or anything else to “represent” your delegation?

This depends on the group and the budget available.” – Andrea Paschal

“In the past I’ve designed the shirt, but in 2019, we split the participants into teams during a pre-trip meeting and had them create designs to vote on. On a different trip, I had the group discuss elements they wanted included together, and I designed an amalgam of their suggestions. Both seemed to work fairly well. We’ve had great experiences with Custom Ink (online printing and novelty item company); their customer service is wonderful.  

For pins, we encourage the kids to go to the Idaho potato commission to pick up pins for free (they give out 50 per resident per year; we recommend that kids enlist their family members to help them get more).Katey Schwind Williams

We do a delegation t-shirt, that I usually design using the PYT logo.  Our trading pins have our presbytery’s logo on them; I try to have enough for each participant (youth and adults) to have 25.– Susan Sharp Campbell

Are there any special activities you do to build community?

Try to do an information meeting for the delegation with parents in the spring before the trip (and school gets out) to share all the information and do some team building activities.– Andrea Paschal

“It’s often helpful to allow space for previous attendees (in particular, youth who are attending for their second time) to share their experiences. It conveys excitement far better than the videos (wonderful as they are) are able to, and the youth tend to be really excited to pass along the wisdom that they’ve gained.”Katey Schwind Williams

“With the exception of PYT 2019, we have gathered as a presbytery delegation on the night before PYT began.  We use that opportunity for group building, and so that we were ready to get on the bus at 6 am.  Part of that was because of the distance between places our youth live.  In 2019, we had one youth who chose not to come because she didn’t know anyone else.  That has made me rethink our community building for 2022.  I anticipate that we will meet as a group in early-mid May so that folks can get to know one another in advance.  We will, however, still spend the night before Triennium at a church so that we have everyone together and we can get on the bus 5-6 am.” – Susan Sharp Campbell