For youth who have completed 9th-12th grade
Youth Celebration is a conference for high school students that have completed 9th-12th grade that is a week filled with exploration of faith, worship, new friends and recreation. This conference begins on Sunday evening with the “big hello” and closes with the “big goodbye” on Friday morning. Conference activities include energizers, keynote presentations, worship and music, small groups, afternoon recreation and evening vespers. Click the schedule tab to learn more!
Small groups are a key feature of this conference providing youth with a chance to build community with people from other churches. In small groups, youth are guided by adult leaders who facilitate building community, Bible study and discussions on matters of faith and life. Are you interested in becoming a small group leader? Click here to learn more!
To create a safe, Christ-like environment for all participants to share their feelings and thoughts without fear of being persecuted or treated negatively.
- To worship God in all that we do at Youth Celebration; not losing sight that we are all at Mo-Ranch because of the grace of Jesus Christ.
- To help all participants fully understand the love of Christ and how to live a life of love as a Christian.
- To help all participants learn about their faith journey in connection with our theme through small groups, worship, keynote and home group time.
Keynote speaker: Mark Yaconelli
Mark Yaconelli is a writer, speaker, retreat leader, spiritual director, community activist, youth worker, storyteller, disco dancer, husband and father. He is the founder and executive director of The Hearth: Real Stories by Regular Folks, a registered nonprofit that assists cities and service-based agencies in producing personal storytelling events designed to help communities and individuals deepen relationships and cultivate compassion.
Mark is in demand as a speaker and retreat leader, and he speaks to a variety of audiences each year across North America and the United Kingdom. He has been a retreat leader and/or keynote speaker for agencies such as The Greenbelt Arts Festival, Compassion International, The National Youth Workers Convention (U.K., Canada, and U.S.), The Salvation Army, The Global Gathering for Spirituality and Justice, The National Presbyterian Youth Triennium and many other events and organizations. He spent 20 years working with young people and the people who serve them—parents, youth workers, social workers, pastors—in congregational, camp and conference settings.
Mark holds an MA in Christian spirituality from the Graduate Theological Union and a graduate diploma in the art of spiritual direction from San Francisco Theological Seminary. He lives in Southern Oregon with his wife, Jill, and their three children: Noah, Joseph and Grace.
Small group leader coordinator: Rev. Krystal Leedy
Rev. Krystal Leedy serves as an associate pastor at University Presbyterian Church where her primary responsibilities include caring for, and working alongside of, college students and young adults, and she passionately serves the church through the service and social witness committees.
Krystal serves on the UKirk National Board of campus ministers for the PC(USA) Texas Impact which is a local faith-based lobbying organization for the state of Texas and Mission Presbytery’s Mission, Outreach and Justice Committee. In her spare time, Krystal loves family time with her husband, John; daughter, Lorelai; and dog, Cricket. She can also be found sipping on chai tea with friends and playing the djembe.
Recreation leader: Rev. John Leedy
Rev. John Leedy was raised in Houston, Texas and has been a life long Presbyterian. His calling into ministry began when he was a high school student, and he has since dedicated his life and professional career to helping students understand their place in God’s world.
John graduated from Abilene Christian University with a Bachelor of Arts in Youth and Family Ministry. After marrying his wife, Krystal, in 2006, he moved to Austin; he then completed a Master of Divinity degree from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in 2011.
John currently serves as an associate pastor at University Presbyterian Church. John cares passionately about Christian formation, liturgy, the ancient spiritual disciplines of pilgrimage and the Labyrinth. When he is not at church hanging out with the youth congregation, he enjoys camping, playing the bagpipes, traveling the world, and spending time with his wife and daughter, Lorelai. Also, for the record, he does have the lyrics to the Boom Shakalaka energizer memorized.
Worship leader: Rev. Rose McCurdy
Rev. Rose McCurdy has been living in Wisconsin since 2013, and during her time there, she was ordained in Winnebago Presbytery to the validated Ministry of Hospice and Bereavement Care. On September 1, 2017, Rose became the designated pastor of First Presbyterian Winneconne. She serves on the commission on ministry and the nominating committee; she was also a commissioner to the 223 GA last June. Rose has received special ministry training in spiritual formation and the cultivation of life-giving spiritual practices. She is well versed in grief and loss support, and she has a love for the artistry and creativity in worship. Many describe her preaching as conversational and heartfelt.
Rose tries to be real, raw and honest as a leader. She knows that she needs a savior, too, and doesn’t claim to have all the answers for life’s questions. Rose is a mother, a pastor’s spouse, a dog owner and a watercolor artist. She seeks to show love and grace through her everyday encounters. She is delighted to be a part of Youth Celebration’s leadership panel this summer. She previously served as a program facilitator during her college years and served as the camp chaplain after seminary. Rose was even baptized at Mo-Ranch; she views Mo as her spiritual home, and she can’t wait to share God’s love with another generation of youth!
Music leader: Jorge Sayago-Gonzalez
Originally from Puerto Rico, Jorge Sayago-Gonzalez is a singer-songwriter with over 15 years of experience as a musician and worship leader in both Puerto Rico and the United States. He earned his undergraduate degree in music from the University of Puerto Rico and received his Master of Divinity from Louisville Seminary. Jorge finds great energy and joy in the power of liberation and unity through music. Pastor Jorge also completed a residency program with the Association of Clinical Pastoral Education at University of Louisville Hospital in Louisville, KY. For the past 7 years, he served as the associate pastor for youth and young adults at Second Presbyterian Church in Louisville. Jorge currently serves as the chaplain at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Day School in Coconut Grove, FL.
Registration for youth conferences is by group only on a first-come basis. You will be asked for your preference for group/dorm housing and we will do our best to honor that preference. In order to get best use of the housing facilities we have available, please note your group may be housed with other youth groups in dorm/group housing.
Dorm/group housing: $505
Questions? We are happy to help! Contact us at 1.800.460.4401 ext. 246 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Registration & Cancellation Policy
Registration for youth conferences is by group only on a first-come basis.
A deposit of $75 per person is accepted until 45 days prior to the conference. The balance of all fees will be due 45 days prior to the start of the event or upon registration if within 45 days.
A complete/revised list of participants must be provided 30 days prior to the start of the conference. Initial housing assignments will be conditional upon numbers/gender ratios remaining constant. Male for female or female for male substitutions are not guaranteed.
Full refund less $75 administrative fee per person will be made if cancellation is received more than 30 days prior to the conference. There are generally no refunds for cancellations received after 30 days prior to the start of the event nor any applying of the deposit toward other charges or future deposits.
Scholarships are available! Click here to learn more.
Arrival & Departure
Arrive and check-in between 4 and 6 p.m. on the day the conference begins. One sponsor per group should check-in their group. Youth will wait for their group leader in a designated area. Groups will be able to move into their housing facilities no earlier than 4 p.m. Conferences begin with dinner at 6 p.m. and end mid-morning on the day of departure.
You will need a ratio of 1:5; 1 adult sponsor per 5 youth. Adult sponsors must also register and pay for the conference. The number of adult sponsors must correspond to the gender numbers in the group they are bringing. 5 boys and 3 girls would mean at least 1 male and 1 female sponsor. Sponsors are not housed in the same room as youth participants.
While we recognize clothing is one way young people express themselves, we expect them to do so in ways that honor themselves as well as the kind of community we are building during our youth conferences. We ask participants (both youth and adult sponsors) to dress comfortably for the weather, but also modestly.
Please refrain from wearing clothing:
- that is too revealing like: short shorts, bikinis, strapless tops or dresses, shirts that allow for a bare midriff, pants worn below the waist line
- that advertises alcohol or tobacco products
- that contains language demeaning or ridiculing someone’s gender, sexuality or ethnic origin
For recreation events, all participants are expected to wear shirts. Participants out of line with dress standards will be asked to change clothes or put on an over-layer that provides adequate coverage.
Youth will be asked to take a swim check at the pool during the check-in period. For easy access, youth should remember to pack swimsuits on top. Swimmer and non-swimmer wristbands will be issued to all participants. All youth participants must take the swim check even if they are 18 years of age. Participants not wishing to take the swim check must go to the pool to be given a non-swimmer wristband. Wristbands provide guest identification to our staff and act as meal tickets in the dining hall, and must be worn by guests at all times. Please note Mo-Ranch’s appropriate dress standards when packing swim suits.
Stuff to Bring
Water bottles! Bible, casual clothes, closed-toe shoes for ropes course, swim suit (swim trunks for males, no bikinis for females. “Tankinis” are acceptable so long as no midriff is showing), swim towel, river shoes, sunscreen, insect repellent, flashlight, toiletries, notebook, spending money and a camera.
The use of personal electronic devices affect not only the person using the device but others around them. Using an electronic device for activities unrelated to the conference can be disruptive and disrespectful. Mo-Ranch encourages groups to leave personal electronics at home. We ask that any electronic devices brought to the conference be kept on silent or turned off during all scheduled events (keynote, small group, worship, vespers, etc.) Distracting personal electronics may be collected by conference staff and turned in to a sponsor. Mo-Ranch or its representatives will not assume responsibility for devices that are lost, stolen, damaged and/or confiscated.
Mo-Ranch is 90 miles one-way, or a 2-hour drive from the nearest airport (SAT), allow 3 hours travel/check-in time for departures. We recommend generally scheduling arriving flights before 3 p.m. and departing flights after 3 p.m. to be sure you do not miss any of your event.
If you are in need of shuttle service to Mo-Ranch, call Kars for Hire in Kerrville at (830) 890-8200 at least 15 days in advance to arrange transportation from San Antonio International Airport.