On July 15th, almost 70 high school students from 11 different churches in our presbytery piled into two buses and headed for Purdue University in Indiana for the 2019 Presbyterian Youth Triennium. During their week there, they heard inspiring plenary speakers, made new friends in small groups, and shared fun times with other students from around the country. It was a transformative experience for many of the students who attended.
The grandmother of one of the students who attended shared that her granddaughter had been reluctant to go. Two days into the conference, her granddaughter texted her and said, “Thank you for making me go to Triennium! I’m having a great time!” Another student shared how much she enjoyed the tradition of exchanging pins. Each student who attends gets several pins that represent their part of the country to share with other students attending. The student who shared with me said the pin exchange made it easier to start conversations in a natural way with people she did not already know.
Of course the students did not attend alone. A team of ten committed adult leaders gave a week of their summer to accompany the students on this adventure. They were responsible for organizing the schedules of two buses departing from two separate locations and the even greater challenge of getting the right students (and their luggage!) onto the right buses at the end of the week. They arranged for meals on the road, activities during free time and walked miles getting students from dormitories to events around the campus.
The volunteer team was capably led by pastors Joel Strom (Towson) and Amy Carlson (Second). And although she did not attend Triennium, Virginia Callegary (First of Howard County) put in countless hours behind the scenes as registrar and administrator for the team. Thanks go out to other volunteers, Elizabeth Baril (Woods), Anne Howard (Westminster), Sally-Kella Mbah (Mt. Paran), Anita Bishop-Johnson (Mt. Paran), Debbie Reese (First of Howard County), Kate Powell (First of Howard County), Amy Booe (First of Annapolis), and Bruce Chance (First of Annapolis).
Several of the adult leaders had also attended Triennium as youth and shared how formative the experience had been for them. Our prayer is that the students who have attended Triennium 2019 will look back on this experience as a touchstone in their own spiritual journeys, a time when they deepened their commitment to honor and serve God.