Youth Core Leadership Team Position


The Youth Core Leadership Team is composed of twelve high school youth from across the ELCA who have been identified as leaders in congregations and/or synods, and who desire the opportunity to dig more deeply into their own leadership and faith formation. Each year, six youth are added to this team as six participants are sent out from the team to discover new opportunities for leadership.


The YCLT exists to provide leadership development opportunities to high school youth, to plan and lead the ELCA Youth Leadership Summit, and to serve as a focus group for ELCA Churchwide Ministries as they strive to do ministry with youth more effectively.

Who Should Apply

Youth who apply are expected to be engaged in their faith life and actively involved in a local congregation.

We seek applications from youth currently in 9th, 10th and 11th grades. We value diversity across ethnicity, gender and geographic locale.

What to Expect

Youth can expect to be challenged to develop leadership skills and explore faith formation through a series of events and online activities each year.

Youth selected to serve on the team are expected to take the learnings from in-person events and online training back to their home congregations and synods to engage others with what they have learned and to encourage participation in leadership for this church in its three expressions.

Participation in a spring meeting,Thursday, February 28- Sunday, March 3, 2019 at the ELCA Lutheran Center in Chicago, an early fall weekend meeting Friday, August 30- Monday, September 2, 2019 at Lutheridge Camp and Conference Center in Asheville, NC and the Annual ELCA Youth Leadership Summit also at Lutheridge where the team will arrive on Wednesday, October 30 and the Summit will begin on October 31- November 3, 2019. All of these meetings are mandatory. All expenses for these meetings are covered by the ELCA. Youth will likely fly alone to these meetings. Attendance at monthly, two hour online meetings is also expected.

How to Apply

To apply, please complete the online application (see link below) and have your references fill out the References form (link below). You may want to download the application and reference documents to fill out before you fill out the online version. If you plan on sending in the paper versions, please be sure that they will arrive before the deadline. The deadline for all applications is January 15, 2019. Those selected for the YCLT will be notified by February 1st. Please email with questions about the application process.

Online Application for Youth Core Leadership Team has been closed and the new team of 6 has been selected for their two year term.

Download PDF of the YCLT Position Info

YCLT Reflections

The ELCA Youth Core Leadership Team (YCLT) reflect on their time together in September planning for this years Youth Leadership Summit

Mary Winsor 2017-2018

I had so much fun planning the Youth Summit this weekend! It was awesome getting to have lots of leadership training and spending time with amazing friends! When you come to the summit we’ll have great speakers on advocacy and you’ll get to meet youth from all across the country! If you feel called you should apply to be apart of the Youth Core Leadership Team (YCLT) for next year’s summit! I can’t wait to see you all in November!!!

Zackary Grover 2018-2019

The Youth Core Leadership Team isn’t just a team, it’s a family. We share common goals and passions. We are all combined to create a driven force of God’s love. This year at the Youth Leadership Summit, you will experience first hand what his board is really capable of.

Gabriella Mark 2018-2019

There are so many “holy moments” or “aha moments” this weekend, but when everyone was up late planning I really felt God’s presence because it was our passion that He gave us the drive to keep going, event at 11:15 at night. (even when the adults were telling us to go to bed) If you come to the 2018 Summit, you will grow in your faith and leadership skills and learn a lot about advocacy while being surrounded by other youth from all over the US and ELCA. The Youth Core Leadership Team is the most amazing opportunity of all time! On the YCLT we meet to plan the Youth Leadership Summit, grow in faith, learn communication skills, and become stronger leaders. This team offers a safe environment for us to grow as a team and have a strong sense of community. The YCLT is the opportunity of a lifetime, so apply now!

Maggie Nieberger 2017-2018

When you come to the Youth Leadership Summit, get excited to deepen your understanding of Advocacy and how it is carried out through programs across the ELCA. Also come with an open mind to meet new people from all over the US and to learn about their lives. The Youth Core Leadership Team is an amazing opportunity to become real friends with other like-minded faithful people from across the ELCA. I have changed so much as a person on this team and have learned things that I will use for the rest of my life like leadership skills and how to live out my faith in the world. It has been one of the most meaningful and impactful groups that I have ever had the chance to be apart of!

Luke Bjorklund 2018-2019

When you join the Youth Core Leadership Team you become very connected with others from around the country who are also looking to expand and build their leadership skills and grow in their faith with God. Being on the team opens up a world of possibilities that youth can do throughout the church. Being on this team includes learning how to plan big events like the Summit that the YCLT hosts. The Summit is an event for other youth leaders to come and build their relationship with God and broaden their horizons on how to be great leaders.

Nicole Krenz 2017-2018

Coming to the Summit is a great opportunity to get closer with God. It’s a phenomenal experience to meet people from all the synods and learn about them. But learning about and then being part of the Youth Core Leadership Team has been the best part. We get trained to be even better leaders than we already are. We also get close to God and the team too. The YCLT is just the best thing I’ve ever done in the church, and I have never regretted this decision.

Kyra Short 2017-2018

Being on the Youth Core Leadership Team gives you an amazing opportunities to build strong relationships with other young leaders in the ELCA while going through training that expands your leadership abilities. This weekend (YCLT Fall Retreat) allowed me to grow in my faith, strengthen friendships and build up my leadership skills.

Sophia Behrens 2018-2019

Youth should come to the Youth Leadership Summit because it’s an experience that creates lifelong friends while learning and being a part of a Churchwide event. At YLS, there’s people from across the country that you wouldn’t become friends with in any other situation, but through the core core value of Faith and being Gathered under God, you build relationships unlike any other. You learn a lot too! There are speakers through the weekend that share their passions and open up new possibilities for high shcoolers and youth getting ready to transition into college/young adulthood. This year, we learn about advocacy and will have simulations, games, and candle stations that you can also bring home to their congregations and synods. The Youth Leadership Summit brings about networking skills and learning opportunities that’s unlike any other and I can’t wait to see you all there!

Marshall Laidlaw 2018-2019

Being a part of the Youth Core Leadership Team, wow! It’s a group that is truly passionate about leadership and the church, and has been amazing to be part of! I’ve learned so much from the people on the team, and I have been rejuvenated with many new ideas I can take back to my home congregation. The Holy Spirit has moved through me greatly during my time on the team so far, and anyone who else wants an experience like this should apply to be part of the team.

Christian Marhenke 2017-2018

You should apply for the Youth Core Leadership Team! Your perspectives on the church and life will be changed. You will grow in your faith, learn new things already familiar but more in depth and you’ll discover yourself along the way.

Makenna Dawson 2018-2019

The Youth Core Leadership Team is such a great way to follow God’s call to leadership. You are able to grow through leadership training sessions that you can take back to your congregation and school or use to lead youth from across the United States like we will do at the 2018 Youth Leadership Summit. It is truly a life changing experience and will change you and your faith forever.

Sam Maston 2018-2019

The ELCA Youth Core Leadership Team is an opportunity to grow as a leader, nurture your faith, meet fantastic new people, visit the churchwide office, create memories you’ll keep forever and much more. Your fellow team members will become some of your closest friends, and the things you learn you can carry with you always; the experiences and time spent will be some of the best you’ll ever have.

2018 Youth Leadership Summit

ELCA Youth
Leadership Summit
Nov. 1-4, 2018 at
Camp Carol Joy Holling
in Ashland, Nebraska

The ELCA Youth Leadership Summit is an annual gathering for high school youth identified as leaders and adult representatives from each synod from across The ELCA. This summit focuses on leadership development through engaging speakers and thought leaders in key areas at the intersection of leadership and faith in daily life AND faith formation and building connections for high school youth in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Youth will be challenged to take home what they have learned to inspire action in their own synods and youth groups. The Youth Leadership Summit is a shared ministry between ELCA Youth Ministry and The SYMBOL Network.

Location: Camp Carol Joy Holling in Ashland, Nebraska
Who Attends?

Two youth in grades 9-12 and one adult per synod are invited to attend. Synods are asked to pay attention to gender, ethnic and ability diversity when selecting participants.

Photo Gallery from the 2018 Youth Leadership Summit
Theme: Through Christ We Can

The theme for the 2018 Summit is “Through Christ We Can” and will use Philippians 2:1-5 as it’s scriptural base. The event will focus on young people’s call to ministry for the sake of others and advocacy because of their faith. For our learning and networking times we will be joined by various ELCA ministries and staff including Advocacy, Young Adult Ministries, Justice for Women and Global Mission.

Event Chaplain:

Pastor Kevin Strickland

Guest Speakers:

Advocacy — Alaide Vilchis Ibarra
Welcoming of All — Aubrey Thonvold
Women’s Justice — Diane Brauer
Amparro — Alaide Vilchis Ibarra and Advocacy Intern
World Hunger — Jeanny Sharrick and Sophia Behrens
Young Adult — Savanna Sullivan
Environmental Advocacy — Dr. Laura M. Hartman
Racial Justice — Nicolette Faison

Musical Leadership:

Korey Breutzmann and Band

Sunday Offering:

Our Sunday offering will go to the Nebraska Synod’s “Micah 6:8” project. It combines efforts of people interested justice, world hunger and advocacy, and one of their efforts includes AMMPARO training. They also helped support our synod’s Racial Awareness, Reconciliation, and Engagement (R.A.R.E.) team members to attend the recent anti-racism training in Chicago.


We start with dinner on Thursday, November 1st at 6:00 pm Central and conclude on Sunday at 10:30am Central. A full schedule is available here.


Event Registration is covered by the ELCA via a special grant for youth leadership development

Synods are responsible for transportation to and from the Omaha Eppley Field Airport. (OMA). Transportation between OMA and the camp will be provided.

Liability Release & Medical Authorization:

In addition to the online registration (linked above) each participant also needs to turn in a signed medical authorization form and a liability release form on or before October 15, 2018. Forms can be scanned and emailed to Zara Tunstill at

Medical Form
Participant Housing Release Form

Excused Absence Request Letter:

Letter for Excused Absense

Participant Welcome Letter:

Welcome Letter, Covenant, YLS Schedule


OMA Omaha Eppley Airfield


Contact us via e-mail.