2022 Youth Leadership Summit

The ELCA Youth Leadership Summit is an annual gathering for high school youth identified as leaders and an adult representative from each synod.

Announcing the 2022 Youth Leadership Summit!

Gathering under the theme of “Beloved! No Matter What”, Nov 3-6 at Carol Joy Holling Camp in Ashland, Nebraska. Together we will learn peer ministry skills deepening our ability to share God’s love and grace through daily connections and living out the Samaritan story.

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 youth leaders to participate.

All lodging, most meals, and programming are provided by a gracious grant from the ELCA. Your synod’s responsibility is to provide the flights for the two youth and one adult attending from your synod, one meal while youth and their adults explore the city, and any incidentals they might incur during their travels.

The Youth Leadership Summit is a ministry of the ELCA and partners with the Christian Community and Leadership Home Area, the SYMBOL network, the ELCA Youth Gathering, 65 Synods across the United States, ELCA Disability Ministries and ELCA Ethnic Specific Ministries.

2022 YLS Beloved Welcome Packet

Important! Attendees must complete and bring the following two forms to the event and present them at registration.

2022 YLS Housing & Liability Agreement 2022 YLS Medical Form

The following is a PDF for participants to submit to their school as a request for an excused absence:

2022 ELCA Summit Absence Excuse Letter – Participant

Your Leaders for the Summit

Josh Carlson (Peer Ministry Leader)

Hello! My name is Josh Carlson. I have been doing Youth Ministry for about 8 years, first at St. Andrew’s in Mahtomedi, MN and now in Resurrection Lutheran Church in Oro Valley, Arizona. I already miss the Minnesota winter! My first experience with Peer Ministry was in 2009 when I was trained as a High Schooler. Fun fact, that is the same year that Fireflies by Owl City came out! Peer Ministry was transformational for my life! Other important things to know about me; I am married and my wife Nicole  and we have an awesome dog named Raleigh, I am currently a Seminary Student at Wartburg Theological Seminary, I am a nerd, I love being outdoors, and road trips. Also, I am so excited to be with everyone at the Summit this November!

Chaplains at the Summit Include:
Christina Montgomery, Libby Denton and Joe Davis

Rev. Christina Marthield Montgomery is a self-described Black Disabled Fat Femme Lesbian Woman who is an End-of-Life Doula and the pastor of First Lutheran Church of the Trinity in the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago. She received her MDiv in May 2021 from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC). She lives in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago overlooking Lake Michigan with her wife Danielle and Danielle’s son, Ezekiel.

Other Special Guests

Anthony Eder (Panelist, Workshop Leader for Adults, DJ Cheddar and Director of Joy!)

After spending several years in Southern California, Anthony is back in the Midwest. He is living life with intention, hope, and curiosity. He is passionate about mental health care, advocating for our purpose, and creating a dance party anywhere we go. Anthony finds joy in knitting, music, laughing, road trips, and connecting with people on a deep level. He is always searching for new music, so send him ALL your suggestions!

2022 Youth Core Leadership Team Bios

My name is Conner Stephen McGaughey. I am going into my Junior year of high school, also known as the 11th grade. I live in a small town in Minnesota called East Grand Forks. A couple of things that I do with my youth group at my church are going on mission trips, cook meals, and helping out in events that are taking place at the church. I just recently got back from a mission trip in New Mexico where we built ramps for the elderly who were not able to get out of their homes. We painted landing zones for the hot air balloons to land during the big festival that is held every year. And we helped out at a homeless shelter feeding meals to the homeless. Being part of the YCLT group is important to me because it allows me to show my version of god and it allows me to give my version of god to others that may have a different perspective. God is an important part of my life because god is always there for me. Whether I am at the highest point of my life or my lowest point of my life. No matter what, God is always there. And that makes me feel safe.
God Bless,

Conner McGaughey, East Grand Fork MN

Morley Schroeder, Madison WI
Hello I am Morley Schroeder, I will be a junior in high school this year and I am from Middleton, Wisconsin. My church is called St. Luke’s and the youth group at my church is a very tight knit community. This has allowed me to experience doing service work in many other communities! YCLT is important because it gives me the opportunity to spread the feeling of my youth group to other youth. God is important to me because he is always there for me no matter what.
My name is Katherine Stockstill. I am 17 years old and a junior in high school. I live in Moore, OK and attend University Lutheran Church and Student Center in Norman, OK. We have about 10 high school youth and we gather together several times a year to do service projects, explore our community, and just be together. I am also on the executive board for the Arkansas-Oklahoma Synod’s Lutheran Youth Organization and we plan about four to five events a year for middle school and high school youth to attend where we do bible studies, service projects, and other fun activities. Being a part of the YCLT is important to me because it gives me the opportunity to connect with other youth from across the country which allows me to hear different perspectives and explore my faith through different lenses. God is important to me because he provides me with a sense of peace and community.
Katherine Stockstill, Moore OK

Teaghan Brostrom, Sacramento CA
Hi! I’m Teaghan Brostrom, a senior from St. John’s Lutheran Church in Sacramento, CA. Fun fact = Sacramento is the capital of CA (we’re NOT near the beach and I unfortunately do not surf). I enjoy being an Assisting Minister and am involved with my youth group’s Peer Ministry. We spend every other Monday evening strengthening our faith and leadership skills. I am proud to be a member of the YCLT! I love being able to connect with youth all over the country and plan the Summit to inspire youth, just as the summit inspired me last year. God and my faith are huge parts of my life. I look for and find God in nature and the people around me – I strongly believe faith is strengthened through community.
Hi, my name is Sianna! I am from Eden Prairie, Minnesota and I am in 9th grade! I am a part of the Minneapolis Area Synod and attend Swahili Service Church in Minneapolis. Our youth group love to show our love for God through singing and dancing, and our similar cultural origin makes us an even tighter knit community. I think it is important to be a part of ELCA because the program helps me navigate my relationship with God and through that I can not only become closer to Him and also teach others to become closer to Him. God is important in my life because he is my safety net and he embraced me for who I am.
Sianna Obel, Eden Prairie MN

Vivine Langdon, Bel Aire KS
My name is Vivine Langdon, and I am in 12th grade. I live in Wichita, Kansas and attend Christ Lutheran Church. I have been with my youth group for as long as I can remember. All of the youth at my church have learned and grown together. Learning and discussing the faith with others has been of great value for my faith and life. Being a part of YCLT is important to me because it allows me to be a voice in the Church outside of my parents. It lets me be a leader for the youth who are often not heard. God has always been a part of my life and will always be. God has made it known to me that God is beside me whenever and wherever. I would consider God to be my best friend.
I am Piper Swanson, I live in a small town in Minnesota. I have two sisters and a brother. We enjoy playing games. During the summer we try to spend as much time as we can at the lake!
I am a junior in high school and play volleyball, softball, manage girls basketball.I am the junior class representative for student council and I am part of bpa (Business Professionals of America).
My favorite animal in the world is a cow but elephant is close second. Things that I love are, the show Friends, when it rains, driving around blasting music, sunsets, being at the lake, flowers, taking pictures, and watching Netflix. My favorite place is Duluth, Minnesota but I really want to visit Colorado. I would love to go back to Australia. I can’t wait to grow my faith well helping others grow and understand their faith and grow closer to God.

Piper Swanson, Morris MN

Anika Smuts, Palo Alto CA
Hi, I’m Anika Smuts and I am a senior in high school in Palo Alto, California. I attend Grace Lutheran church in Palo Alto, where my dad is the senior pastor. I meet with my youth group every week to talk, be together, and of course, eat food and ice cream. This summer we went to camp for a week Flathead Lutheran Bible Camp in Montana. This trip was especially meaningful to my youth group since the national youth gathering was canceled this year, and the last trip we went on together was also to camp. Being part fo YCLT is important to me, because of the impact that we are able to make. I serve on my Synod’s youth leadership team called SPSYC (Sierra Pacific Synod Youth Committee) and have really enjoyed being part of the team. After being invited to participate in the Youth Summit in November of 2021, I saw how great the connection between the youth leaders was, and also how much of an impact they made on me. After experiencing that, I knew I wanted to do that. God is definately important in my life because god has always been there for me, through everything that I have gone through so far. I realize that even though it may not feel like God is there, if I just keep faith, God will always be there for me when I need God most.
Hi, my name is Lydia Mencer. I am a senior in high school. I live in New Jersey, near the beach. I am a member of Holy Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Manasquan, NJ. Since the Fall of 2020, my church has started to grow our youth group. We meet monthly for Fellowship and to plan and host church and community wide events. I am honored to be a part of the ELCA Youth Core Leadership Team. This role is important to me because it gives me the opportunity to see and experience God’s love with new friends and in a new setting that is different from my home church. I have always felt God’s love and His presence in my life. I know God is someone that I count on for strength in times of need. I hope by being a part of the ELCA Youth Core Leadership Team I able to help my peers feel God’s presence and love in everything around us.
Lydia Mencer, Howell NJ

Lulu Semakula, Lino Lakes MN
Caroline Davis (left), Lexington SC

Adult Leaders

Kris Bjorke, Brooklyn Park MN
Drew Tucker, Columbus OH

Camille Trott, Bermuda
Jay Kiel, Madison WI

Tyra Dennis, Los Angeles CA

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, twelve youth are invited to this team. A youth who has served for one year may apply to serve for another year on the team.


The YCLT exists to provide leadership development opportunities for ELCA high school youth, that are equipped in skills like speaking, worship planning, small group training and peer ministry as they plan and lead the ELCA Youth Leadership Summit. They also serve as a focus group for ELCA Churchwide Ministries and are often interviewed and asked to serve on other committees and teams as the church strives to do ministry with youth more effectively.

Who Should Apply

Youth who apply should 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 race and ethnicity, abilities, 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 trainings 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.

All expenses for these meetings are covered by the ELCA. Youth will likely fly alone to these meetings. Youth will also meet monthly on Zoom for leadership training and summit planning.

How to Apply

To apply, please visit https://elcayouthministry.com and complete the online application. All paperwork and references should be returned to Kris Bjorke, 6737 99th Ave N., Brooklyn Park MN 55445 by January 15, 2023 if you are not using the online documents. Those elected will be notified by February 1st, 2023.


Contact Kris Bjorke at Kris.Bjorke@elca.org or 773-380-2451

Online Application for Youth Core Leadership Team

Online Application YCLT Reference Form

Download PDF of the YCLT Position Info

Download PDF of the YCLT Application

Download PDF of the YCLT Applicant Reference