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Youth and Outdoor Ministry

The Southwest Conference is committed to the development of programs for children and youth to get away, live together, and explore God‘s presence in their lives. Our Youth and Outdoor Ministry provides many opportunities for youth to be involved including camps during the summer, retreats during the school year and leadership opportunities.

2014 Thanksgiving Alive
2014 Thanksgiving AliveNov. 28-30, 2014
The Good Shepherd UCC in Sahuarita, AZ

"Giving Hospitality to Strangers"
Romans 12:13

Thanksgiving Alive! is back! This service focused retreat for Junior and Senior High youth will be held in Southern Arizona with a focus on welcoming the stranger. There will be education, service projects, food, fun, worship, and fellowship.

Program Staff & Adult Advisors are needed! If your church is sending kids, please help us by sending an adult advisor.

The cost for everyone is $50. Scholarship funds can be requested. WE DO NOT WANT ANYONE TO MISS THIS RETREAT DUE TO LACK OF FUNDS! Please call the office with any concerns. We will do all we can on a case by case basis.

Transportation will be provided from Phoenix at a round trip cost of $40. Some travel assistance is also available for those from New Mexico or El Paso. Please call the office.


Cardboard City 2014
Link to Cardboard City photos

Cardboard City 2014Cardboard City 2014

Cardboard City was a Regional Southwest Conference youth event and my fourth year taking part in this event. Four Southwest Conference UCC churches sent youth to Cardboard City 2014 - Church of the Beatitudes UCC, First Congregational UCC, Shadow Rock UCC and Scottsdale Congregational UCC.

Besides signing up to sleep over in a cardboard box on an open baseball field, the youth donated slightly used or new baseball caps and around 250 working flashlights. During the night, a spokesperson for Family Promise Greater Phoenix explained that the red toiletry kits were very popular on the streets. Our youth helped to fil the caps and flashlights were added to the 2000 red toiletry kitsl.

Curiously, there were more young people in attendance this year. Besides the church groups that have attended before, I saw girl scout troops, high school groups, and college groups, to name a few.

As I lay in my box watching the clouds and stars, I wondered if this made any difference to anyone. Then I thought about all the families our youth group has encountered at our church and I knew it made a difference to them.

In the morning, after we had recycled our cardboard homes and packed up our belongings we were all given a couple of the red toiletry kits. We were instructed to hand them out to anyone we encountered that would enjoy one. I have already given out the two kits that I was given. It was a joyful thing to do and the recipients were grateful!

Here's hoping all young people will be able to have their horizons broadened at least once by participating in Cardboard City or helping to host families for Family Promise.

See more photos from this year's Cardboard City