SUMMER Youth Ministry Options

In the wake of the cancellation of the 2022 ELCA Youth Gathering in Minneapolis, MN, our synod Office for Faith Formation and Youth Ministry partnered with our Lutheran Camping Corporation of Central Pennsylvania (outdoor ministry sites), and LutheranHANDS, to offer three ‘optional’ events that youth, young adults and their advisors can participate in this summer. Thanks to a generous commitment by our Office of the Bishop and our Synod Council, our office will be able to help subsidize these events with grant dollars, lowering the cost of participation, and we have scholarships available for congregations and families in need of support.

PLEASE do not skip these events for financial reasons. Contact synod Director of Faith Formation and Youth Ministry, Charlie Roberts at, if financial support will be helpful. To learn more about the 2024 ELCA Youth Gathering for which planning is now underway, watch our synod website Youth Gathering page for updates about the announcement of the next Gathering city,

DIACONOS at Camp Kirchenwald

Dates: Sunday, July 24 – Saturday, July 30 (other weeks available upon request)
Group Size: 18 people, including advisors
Event Price: $395/participant with two adult advisors at no charge + $150/any additional adult advisors

DIACONOS is a service-learning style retreat that affords groups the chance to travel and serve together while enjoying the fun and fellowship of one of our camps. Groups reside at Camp Kirchenwald and travel daily to local venues to serve. When you return to camp each evening, you can access to all the recreation and adventure opportunities that camp provides, including pool time, campfires and a whole lot more. To learn more about the ministry or to secure registration materials, visit:

This ministry has existed for a number of years at Kirchenwald under the direction of Director Zach Weiss. If this week does not fit your summer plans, contact Zach to see what other weeks are available, or consider scheduling a week for the summer of 2023. Zach will help you design the week to fit your groups needs.  Please reach out to Zach Weiss directly to reserve your group’s spot this summer:

LutheranHANDS Mission Trip to Minnesota: TRIP FILLED 3/27/2022

Dates: Saturday, July 23 – Friday, July 29. 2022
Group Size: Congregational group sizes vary, but overall trip limited to 100 (register soon)
Event Price: $450, plus travel to and from Minneapolis, Minnesota
Deadline: March 20, or when it fills

LutheranHANDS have been offering mission trips to areas impacted by natural disasters and affected by poverty since 2006, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina along the U.S. Golf Coast. Trips include meals, lodging and transportation to and from daily job sites, plus fellowship and service learning every evening, focused on scripture and with a Lutheran Christian lens.

Typically their trips also include travel to and from the city. however, in this instance since some groups are holding transportation options to Minneapolis, negotiated initially for the Youth Gathering, they are asking groups to provide their own transportation to and from Minnesota. There are a few limited flights available. Please contact LutheranHANDS founder and director Jesses Woodrow directly if your group could use these pre-negotiated flights or if you are interested in participating in this year’s trip:

To learn more about the trip, visit LutheranHANDS on the web at:

The ‘Boundless’ Celebration and Retreat at Camp Nawakwa

Dates: Sunday, July 24 – Wednesday, July 27. 2022
Group Size: Congregational group sizes vary.
Celebration limited to 200. Retreat limited to 100 (register soon)

Event Price: Celebration = $25
Retreat = $175 (includes the Boundless Celebration on Sunday)

Deadline: June 30 or when it fills (all registrants received on a first-come, first-served basis)
Register at:

The ELCA Youth Gathering has recently structured it’s event with three unique days of activities, known as the Synod Day, Service Day & Learning Day. Our ‘Boundless’ Celebration and Retreat, focuses on the ‘Boundless’ theme and incorporates the three unique days youth and young adults would experience at a typical Youth Gathering. Sunday, July 24, is the day that most closely resembles our Synod Day, with a catered meal, camp games and activities, live music, a visit from Bishop James Dunlop, and outdoor worship, all in the Upper Camp field and pavilion at Nawakwa.  The ‘Boundless’ Celebration is scheduled for 2:00 PM – 7:30 PM, on Sunday. Groups may opt to attend the Celebration ONLY, or come for the ‘Boundless’ Celebration and stay for the ‘Boundless’ Retreat.

Groups that opt to stay for the retreat will receive all lodging and meals for Sunday and all remaining days of the retreat in Upper Camp at Camp Nawakwa. Retreat groups will participate in active learning on Monday morning, followed by camp activities in the afternoon, and an all-camp activity with the campers and camp staff Monday evening. Tuesday will serve as our Service Learning Day, with off-site service activities for all participants. We’ll pack a lunch and head out to service venues in the morning, returning to camp for swimming, dinner, and an evening campfire. Wednesday morning, groups will worship with the entire camp community, led by Pastors Jennifer & David Hope-Tringali, who are serving as camp Chaplains for the week. Jennifer and David shepherd Tree 4 Hope, a missionary ministry in Guatemala.

We are asking congregational groups to register together with an advisor or two, and for groups to use their own transportation to travel to and from their service venue on Tuesday, whenever possible. Please do not hesitate to register for the retreat even if transportation to the service venues is an issue. We will assist those who cannot arrange their own transportation.

Our digital registration portal opens Tuesday, March 8, for the ‘Boundless’ Celebration and Retreat, and can be found at:
Again, we encourage participants to register with their congregational groups whenever possible. Participants can pay electronically when they register using a PayPal account or a credit card, or they may opt to have an invoice sent to them. Participants opting for the Boundless Celebration ONLY, will be asked to pay the $20 registration fee in full, while participants opting for the Boundless Retreat may pay the $50 deposit fee for now and pay the retreat balance after June 1, 2022. Participants are not considered fully registered until we have received their payment or a deposit.

Those opting to be billed may send their invoices with a check to our synod office at:
Lower Susquehanna Synod
Office for faith Formation and Youth Ministry
Boundless Retreat
1959 Market St
Camp Hill, PA 17011
Please note: If you register individually, and opt for an invoice payment, it will be sent to you directly. You will either need to pay the invoice, or pass it along to your pastor, youth director or treasurer if the congregation is assisting you with the payment. Your congregation will not automatically receive a copy of your invoice.