Category Archives: Youth

Spring News from Pyoca

Grief, Camp, & Remembrance

Written by Acting Executive Director, Mike Davis.

Last weekend, in the midst of a very busy retreat weekend at camp, volunteers young and old from near and far descended on the Pyoca grounds. They carried with them garden implements of every type, plants purchased and plucked from their own yards, and heavy hearts.

Days of service and volunteer projects are a common occurrence at Pyoca, but Saturday was different. As always, we worked to give back to the place where our lives have been changed, but we also worked to honor the saints who have gone before us. They helped to create this place, encouraged us to go Pyoca as retreat guests and campers, and mentored us every step of the way…  Read the rest.

Beyond Belief: The Universe of God

A word from our new Program Director, Molly DeWitt, on this summer’s curriculum and program highlights.

This summer campers will be exploring the enormity of their faith, which inevitably comes with many questions. The daily themes explore: our intimate connection to God, the ability to believe in God’s mysterious and expansive nature, how we define truth, the need for hope, the abundance God has already given us, the call to speak out through our faith, and the ability of every camper to go out and change the world.

Week One Challenge & Transform campers will get to know this summer’s theme via our chapel keynote speaker, Tom Markey, a graduate of Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis and current youth director at John Knox Presbyterian Church. Tom will explore this summer’s themes each night in chapel and help campers uncover how they are connected in community.

Week Two campers will participate in all of the traditional aspects of camp, including a Talent Show, the Great Pyoca Relay, and much more!

Week Three campers will get to experience our annual Fourth of July celebration, including a spectacular fireworks show put on by our Acting Executive Director, Mike Davis. Be sure to get those camp registrations in soon to secure your spot! Register Now!

Pyoca Youth Conference

October 5th – 7th, 2018 This fall’s theme is: “Why Church?” Youth will explore why the church is relevant in their lives today and will hear the testimonies of young adults who continue to serve actively in the church in a variety of ways. This is a critical question many churches face as they seek to engage youth and young adults in their church communities. We hope to show all youth that the definition of church is much broader than they may imagine and the community that church offers is a vital part of a life of faith.Pyoca’s annual fall youth conference is open to all 7th-12th graders. More information to come at

Reconnecting with Millennials – A CFC workshop

When — 9:00 am – 4:00 pm (Central Time) Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Where — Blue Grass United Methodist Church, Evansville

While Americans remain deeply spiritual, they’re leaving congregational life behind. This is especially true of Millennials – about 1 in 10 regularly attend a congregational worship service.

Surveys report that young people feel more isolated and lonely today than at any other point in modern history. Your congregation can offer valuable connection to these young adults, but only if you are willing to adapt to meet the needs of those you want to welcome. Writer, speaker and podcaster Mike McHargue leads this one-day workshop. He will explore the sociological, psychological and neurological underpinnings of a generation leaving the church behind, and offer insights on how to invite them back.

The cost is $30 per person. When congregational teams of three or more register together, the cost is discounted to $25 per person. This fee includes continental breakfast, lunch and workshop materials. Workshop registration is limited to Indiana congregations

By the end of this workshop, you will:

  • have a working knowledge of the science behind the anti-institutional sentiment of Millennials.
  • know some of the differences in value systems and motivations between Millennials, Generation X and Baby Boomers.
  • have a working knowledge of the sociological research behind the advantages of congregation attendance.
  • begin to develop practical strategies to invite Millennials into congregational fellowship.

Click on the following link for more information and to register for the Evansville workshop.

2017 Pyoca Summer Camp

– The following is the text of the Pyoca Summer newsletter.

Friends of Pyoca,
We are in the midst of transitioning from an unforgettable, very successful summer camp season to a very busy and exciting fall retreat season. While there’s much to look forward to this fall as we have a full conference and retreat schedule, I’d like to say a few words looking back at Pyoca’s 2017 summer camp season.

2017 Summer Camp
We’ve had a fantastic 2017 camp season, ministering to 619 campers since the beginning of June!  That’s almost 100 more campers than last year!  With the theme ‘Branching Out,’ campers learned to reach out to others to deepen their relationships with God, friends, and family. Through bible study, small groups, worship, and activities, they deepened their faith and learned the importance of serving others in need.

We also introduced hunger relief as our service opportunity for our campers this summer. Over 200 hundred campers participated in packing almost 20,000 meals for those in need through the non-profit, Rise Against Hunger. Not only did campers pack meals for the hungry, but they learned about hunger awareness and how to continue to help our local communities and those around the world.

I would like to extend deep thanks to our wonderful staff and volunteers for their great leadership, making Pyoca a transformative and safe experience for our campers and families.

Pyoca High School Conference, Oct. 6-8, 2017
Join us for our third annual HS conference themed ‘Building Bridges’ featuring Rev. TC Anderson as the keynote speaker and worship leader!  Last year we had over 70 high schoolers from Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky attend. Help us make it even bigger this year. More information can be found at:

On behalf of the Pyoca Advisory Council, staff, guests, volunteers, donors, and the whole Pyoca family, I want to thank you for your support of this life-changing ministry.

Grace and peace,
Rev. Dr. R. Jacob Hofmeister

Building Bridges image

Above: Inside the new yurts!
Below: A view of the entire finished project. Campers loved them this summer!


Building Bridges, Pyoca HS Conference

Building Bridges imageThis October 6-8, 2017, Pyoca Camp and Retreat Center in Brownstown, IN is hosting the third annual High School Conference, and we want you to join us!
Pyoca High School Conference is open to all high school youth grades 9 – 12 and their youth leaders/parents. Taking place October 6 – 8 this weekend ensures fellowship, fun, and growth.
Rev. TC Anderson will serve as our leadership for the weekend. TC will be delivering keynotes on the Theme: Building Bridges, and also leading us in worship and music.

CfC: Engaging Young Adults Initiative

You’re invited to take a look at the Engaging Young Adults (EYA) learning community program and grant opportunity, presented by the Center for Congregations.

Applications open on May 1, 2017 and are due on August 1, 2017. This program will help select Indiana congregations to engage young adults in their own community and context. This initiative is open to Indiana congregations outside of the Indianapolis metro area.

You can learn more about this opportunity by checking out the EYA page on the website, attending an information session or watching the video information session, which will be available Monday on the website.

Information sessions about this opportunity are being held around the state May 4-17. An informational on-demand video, together with the program application and other materials, are available now.

Information sessions are:

  • 11 a.m.-1 p.m. (Eastern time) Thursday, May 4, 2017 at First Presbyterian Church in Elkhart
  • 11 a.m.-1 p.m. (Eastern time) is Friday, May 5, 2017 at The Sol Center in Indianapolis
  • 11 a.m.-1 p.m. (Eastern time) Tuesday, May 9, 2017 at  Ogilville Christian Church in Columbus
  • 11 a.m.-1 p.m. (Central time) Wednesday, May 17, 2017 at Methodist Temple in Evansville

The sessions are free, but registration is required. Registration is limited to two people per congregation. Sessions include lunch and materials.

Online registration is available on the EYA page of the website.

For more information, contact Wendy McCormick at or contact your regional Center for Congregations office.

Lux Summer Theological Institute

Two Weeks That Could Change A Young Person’s Life:

Lux Summer Theological Institute

You are invited to nominate theologically curious and socially engaged high school students (rising sophomores to graduated seniors) to apply for the inaugural Lux Summer Theological Institute for Youth. It will be held July 16-30 at Presbyterian-related Monmouth College. Funded by the Lilly Endowment, the Institute invites students from across the country to address one of the world’s most challenging issues: hunger. Students will participate in worship; intellectually challenging study of scripture and Christian theology; interfaith conversations; and service in the community, field trips and recreational events.

Visit the Lux Summer Theological Institute for Youth home page, here.

The deadline to apply for this summer’s institute is May 1.

Pyoca Middle School Conference “Impact”

PYOCA Middle School ConferenceThis March, Pyoca is hosting its first annual Pyoca Middle School Conference, and we want you to join us!

Pyoca Middle School Conference is open to all middle school youth grades 5 -8 and their youth leaders/parents. Taking place March 18 – 19 this weekend ensures fellowship, fun, and Growth.

Amy Kim Kyremes-Parks and Phillip Morgan will serve as our leadership for the weekend. Amy Kim will be delivering keynotes on the Theme: Impact – Colliding with the boundless force of God’s love. She describes it below.

“Get ready for impact!  How do we recognize God in the midst of a broken world, school, family, friends and the mundane minutes of life?  Is God even there?  Let’s uncover what we can learn from wandering Israelite’s, imperfect people and a fisherman that impacts us even today.”

Phillip will be leading us in powerful music and worship and of course there are bound to be energizers!

For registration, schedule, and other information, go to the conference website.