The 2016-2017 SUMYT Team worked together for a year to produce its annual retreat.

By Meaghan Vaden | Photos by Amy Keough | Logo design by SUMYT, Jesse N. Love

This year’s SUMYT retreat was held on March 17-19, 2017 and themed “Catching Fire”

Over 100 youth and adults from around the Pacific Northwest came to Camp Indianola for the annual Seattle United Methodist Youth Team retreat, or SUMYT (suh-mit). In the five years I’ve attended SUMYT, I’ve become part of a second family. I want every youth in our area to have the chance to know how great it feels to work with such a hard-working, silly group of youth and adults.

A lot goes in to making this retreat, possible. It takes a team of about 20 youth, with the assistance of adults, about a year to plan SUMYT. Planning starts in September and there are meetings every month to work out the details in choosing keynote speakers, small groups, faith talks and the organizing games. We have lock-ins where we concentrate on becoming small group leaders and meetings where we focus on how to build community with other youth.

This year’s SUMYT Retreat was held at Camp Indianola.

We work together – making dreams turn into reality. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing all your hard work pay off and the impact it has on the lives of 100+ youth. Being on the SUMYT team helps youth develop organization, leadership, and teamwork skills for the future, while allowing us to do something we love. The team is filled with the most loving, passionate and energetic people.

Some people just think of SUMYT as a fun youth retreat like Flagler or CONVO. Some might think it’s a big team of youth that put on the retreat. Others think of it as a big family that welcomes everyone, no matter where they are from or what’s going on in their lives. Some youth may be a little hesitant to be away from home and meet new people. But once they come this retreat, they meet people who are always so welcoming. No matter if you’ve been going to SUMYT for years or it’s your first year, you won’t leave without making new friends.

SUMYT is something really special. To me, SUMYT is a second home where strangers turn into friends. By my fifth and final year at SUMYT, I now have what feels like a whole new family. I have seen a great difference in my friends and I as we developed a deep connection with each other and with God. I have gained so many memories from SUMYT to carry with me, always. The memories and friends are just part of what SUMYT has given me. As team President, I learned project management and organization skills I’ll be using for the rest of my life.

Over 100 youth and adults from around the Pacific Northwest came to Camp Indianola for SUMYT.

The Seattle United Methodist Youth Team is an opportunity you do not want to miss out on. You learn so many skills like how to lead a team, to talk in front of 100+ people, to be organized, and to make important executive decisions. Youth that go to church in the Seattle District should definitely go to a SUMYT meeting and learn how they can become part of this funny and incredible family. SUMYT is a place where you can express yourself freely and receive support. I’ve grown closer with youth from across the Pacific Northwest, but most importantly grown in my faith with God.

Meaghan Vaden provides a Faith Talk at this year’s SUMYT retreat.

On behalf of the 2016-2017 SUMYT team, I want to thank Pastor Jim Clarke from Cedar Cross UMC for being our guest speaker and for helping us put on an incredible weekend! Camp Indianola served up some incredible food and the staff is always friendly and ready to help. Also, thanks to Sam Forck from Starlight Sound for a great dance. I also want to thank the youth and their chaperones for their support of SUMYT (boardwalk burgers, forever!).

Last but not least, I want to thank the 2016-2017 planning team for being a second family and some of the best friends I could have asked for. Thanks for being part of my life and helping me grow in my faith, and learn more about God.

Meaghan Vaden is a member of Marysville UMC.
Amy Keough is a member Fairwood Community UMC.
Special thanks to Laura Martin.


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