DioMass Youth Ministry

Youth Leadership Academy (YLA)

The Youth Leadership Academy is a program for rising 9th and 10th graders in the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts. The program begins with a week at the Barbara C. Harris Camp and Conference Center during the summer, where part of the curriculum is based around team building, working in small groups and empowering the youth with the public narrative tool, which they can use as a way to articulate their faith as it relates to the world around them.

All who participate in the week at the Camp, as well as youth who may have had a conflict during that week, but are interested in being a part of the YLA have the option to apply to be a part of the program during the academic year. Throughout the year, each participant creates and leads a self-chosen project in their home parish community by creating a leadership team and empowering other members of their community to take on roles to make their project a success.  Successful parish projects begin with the inspired young leader, but proliferate out as they draw in more members of the parish and leads to change in the community.

As the culmination of the experience, each participant fundraises to participate as a group in a mission-focused pilgrimage.  This trip is focused around faith formation and developing a richer understanding of God in a new context.  We will dedicate our time to buidling relationships with other youth and adults, coming together as one community to learn about how we  can work together to better the world.

Participation in YLA begins with registration on the camp website (www.bchcenter.org) for the YLA week at Camp, and though we view each piece of the program as building on the previous parts, you do not have to do the week at Camp or the Mission Trip to be a part of the yearlong program.  Instead, we believe each part of the program has merit and helps develop leadership skills of the youth participants, so we do not limit the YLA program to only those who can commit to all three components of the program.  You do, however, have to be a part of the yearlong program in order to participate in the mission trip.

 For more information, please be in touch with H. Mark Smith, hmsmith@diomass.org.

Diocesan Youth Council (DYC)

The Diocesan Youth Council is a group of young people who represent the youth of the Diocese at Diocesan Convention. They plan and run Diocesan youth events and work ultimately to make the church a nurturing environment for the spiritual growth of young people in the Christian community. They seek to accomplish this through extending fellowship and hospitality with their fellow youth.

The DYC is comprised of over 50 members who are in high school grades 10 through 12 (as of September 2015).  These youth representatives are from each of the 12 deaneries (with at least one Convention representative, in grades 11 or 12, elected from each deanery). The DYC generally has an event and/or meeting once a month. During that time they plan and run four specific diocesan youth events, discuss relevant topics that concern the youth of the diocese and explore their own journeys of faith.

Membership in the DYC is by application. The on-line application is available now and are due August 16, 2017.  Membership runs through the academic year.  Deanery representatives with voting privileges at Diocsesan Convention are selected by their deanery assembly  from among the DYC members.

At the 1998 Diocesan Convention, an amendment to the Constitution passed that gave seat and voice at diocesan conventions to up to twenty members of the Diocesan Youth Council and vote to those members age 16 or older. The diocese is proud of this important step that reflects how seriously youth are held in this diocese.

The goal of the DYC is to extend the missional purposes of the Episcopal Church in Massachusetts through radical welcome to all youth, open faith inquiry and journeying, investment in their local parishes, deaneries and geographic locations and living into the life of the Spirit through leadership and fellowship.  

For more information, please be in touch with H. Mark Smith, hmsmith@diomass.org.


Held at the Barbara C. Harris Camp & Conference Center and elsewhere, these gatherings--led by the Diocesan Youth Council members--give young people and their allies an opportunity to get away with each other, meet others from around the diocese, and listen together for God's outrageous plans for them through games and activities, reflections, food, fun, and lively worship.

Typically we host a weekend retreat for middle schoolers in Nov. and high schoolers in Feb each year, along with several overnight preconfirmation retreats during Lent.  Check the Year at a Glance for the most current schedule and information.

Regional Youth Events

The Diocesan Office of Youth Ministry supports the developing faith life of young people in local parishes by uplifting the particular needs and interests of the churches. We carry out this ministry of support and partnership with parishes in order to provide young people with the most life-giving ministries and faith-building experiences possible.

The Office serves the mission of youth formation by providing layers of administrative, planning, and on-the-ground presence at diocesan youth programs around the diocese. These partnerships have included the Good Friday overnight at Trinity Church, Boston; a diocesan-wide Acolyte Festival; the Advent Quiet Day with members of the Manna Community; and a Youth Mental Health First Aid training at Grace Church, Medford.

These events are often tied to holy times, holidays, weekends, and school vacations. If your church or youth group has an idea for an event, a passion you'd like to share with others, or you just want help making friends-in-faith with others from around the diocese, run it by hmsmith@diomass.org

Talking Shop:  Networking and Professional Development

These occassional offerings are designed to help adults who work with young people connect with colleagues from across the diocese, learn new skills, and share their experience and wisdom with others.  If you work with youth full-time or part-time, if you are paid staff or volunteer, if you are clergy or lay, if you are short or tall, these offerings are for you.

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Barbara C. Harris Camp

Opened in June 2003, THE CAMP at the Barbara C. Harris Camp & Conference Center has grown to serve over 1000 campers from throughout New England. THE CAMP has become one of the area's premiere Christian camps, offering great new facilities, an incredible staff, and a strong Christian community. 

THE CAMP offers many opportunities for fun and adventure, whether that means swimming, soccer, crafts, archery, hiking, kayaking or rock climbing. Based on a unique small group approach, it is also a place where all campers feel accepted, cared for, and develop great friendships.  But most importantly, it is a place with a special and higher purpose. . . helping kids grow in their faith. Our program builds on the opportunities presented by the wonder of God's creation found in nature and the camper's distance from the distractions of day to day life. Opportunities abound for campers to grow closer to God -- from powerful, high energy worship to quiet reflective prayer.  Campers learn important life lessons and gain new perspectives as they live, work, and play in a supportive and loving Christian community.

Come join us at THE CAMP this summer! We offer both a traditional, week-long overnight camp for children entering grades 4 through 12, as well as a family camp, where no matter your age you are welcome to come enjoy all of the fun things that BCH has to offer. Whichever program suits you best, our strong commitment to excellence means you'll experience summer camp at its very best. For more information, please be in touch with Alessia Doss, Summer Camp Director, alessia@bchcenter.org.

Website:  http://www.bchcenter.org/

Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts

Upcoming Events

Wednesday, Sep 6 at 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Tuesday, Sep 26 at 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Thursday, Oct 12 at 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Friday, Nov 17 at 7:00 PM - Sunday, Nov 19 12:30 PM