As we move forward into 2024, the Rocky Mountain Conference youth department is reflecting on where we have been, where we are, and gearing up for where we will be in the coming year.  

2023 brought several changes to our department personnel. Dan and Julia Hansen, who served faithfully at Glacier View Ranch for 10 years, moved on to new employment elsewhere. Sam and Kirstin Hasty also transitioned out of our department to start their own business. We are thankful for their ministry contributions through the years and pray the Lord’s richest blessings on them.

With the losses of these quality people, we prayed fervently for the Lord to provide other people who would be able to contribute their talents and influence in service to God. The Lord did not disappoint! 

We were pleased to welcome Adam Smith into the role of assistant director of camp ministries at GVR in October. Adam has already been a great asset at GVR in winterizing the camp, assessing the property and its many structures, and performing routine maintenance. 

Our most recent addition is Jonathan Carlson, who began serving as director of camp ministries at GVR on November 15. Jonathan, his wife Kelli, and their three children Grace, Jase and Larke are getting settled in and acclimated to the 8,760 feet elevation at GVR. 

Prior to joining us, Jonathan was running a successful foundation business in southern Colorado, but felt compelled to work more directly in the service of the Lord. We are thankful that the Lord made it clear to him that ministry in the RMC would satisfy that calling in his heart. He and his family are eager to serve.

2024 brings a lot of new opportunities for our department and the conference at large. The first major youth event on the calendar was our teen prayer retreat and winter activities weekend called Greater Summit at GVR in January. This was a great weekend for teens to make new friends and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate after snow tubing. 

If that made you chilly, it may warm you up to know that our 2024 summer camp registration is now open! If you are planning to go or send a camper to camp this year, I would recommend signing up now to secure your spot. New at the GVR camp this year is a whole week set aside for our blind and visually impaired campers. And for our horse lovers, there is a specialty horse camp week. 

Our Adventurer and Pathfinder groups have been busy this year and will be even more involved in 2024. The national level of the Pathfinder Bible Experience, which was held in Tampa, Florida, in 2023, will be held in Greeley, Colorado, in 2024. Our Pathfinders are already gearing up for PBE and we hope to see many of our RMC Pathfinders showcasing their Bible knowledge on the national stage in Greeley on April 19-20.

It is a tremendous thing to host an event at the national level. But what is even bigger is hosting at an international event! In August 2024, there will be 55,000 Pathfinders coming to Gillette, Wyoming. The International Pathfinder Camporee “Believe the Promise” will highlight the life of Moses, and it promises to be an amazing event. There will be so many points of engagement and countless opportunities for our young people to minister to others and to receive a blessing from this experience. 

Throughout the entire year, our youth department team strives to engage and equip local churches to foster the talents of our young people and to make it easy for kids to know God. We lead out in weeks of prayer, present worship talks, present sermons in local churches, and so much more. It takes a village to raise our children, and your RMC youth department appreciates the opportunity to be part of the village for your child in offering many events. We are grateful for your faithful giving this past year and your continued generosity in 2024.

Brandon Westgate is the RMC youth department director.