2022-23 Youth Service Fund and Grants for Ministries with Young People Project Reports
Every year, Young People’s Ministries receives many applications for our two grant programs. A review team from the Division on Ministries with Young People evaluates these applications and awards all available funding to the applications selected. In return, the funded projects submit two reports over the course of their funding year: a midyear report and a final report. Here are some brief stories of impact from projects that applied in 2022, received funding in 2023, and learned much through leading the projects this year. These projects take place around the world. Youth Service Fund projects are “led by young people for young people” and Grants for Ministries with Young People projects can be led by people of any age who focus on innovative, sustainable, and positive impacts for young people.
CAMEROON – YOUNG WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT
The heart of this project was to train and empower girls and young women to lead at many levels of the church and to develop entrepreneurial opportunities through health and hygiene initiatives for women to connect with the community in new ways across rural areas in Cameroon. This project was coordinated by leaders of the United Methodist Youth Association of Cameroon, which is part of the Ivory Coast Episcopal Area. More than 150 women attended leadership trainings across three rural communities, including the villages of Lebamzip and Monatélé. Many thanks to the leaders who made this project possible.
UNITED STATES – UMC LEAD: YOUNG ADULT COHORT
Information about UMC LEAD can be found at umclead.net. This organization began in 2011 and was founded by young adults to help the United Methodist Church discover new and creative ways of ministry with young adults. An annual gathering has taken place every year since 2011, with the exception of interruptions caused by COVID-19. As happens, the folks who started UMC LEAD as young adults realized that they were aging and were no longer young adults themselves. To help pass the baton to an upcoming generation of leaders, a cohort model was developed for young adults interested in stepping into leadership roles to train, learn, and discern together.
UNITED STATE - STRUGGLE BUS
Information about the Struggle Bus can be found at strugglebushburg.com. This project began at a time when mental health issues became critical at James Madison University in Virginia. In early 2022, three university students died from suicide within three months. Campus and church leaders developed a novel idea of a vehicle that could be outfitted for portable mental health care. The project developed and was refined throughout 2022 into 2023, and it has become a tangible and portable source of fun, social activity, and a connection point for mental health support on the James Madison Campus and in the surrounding community. A well-loved and used minivan has become a source of joy!
UNITED STATES - SYNERGY WESLEY
Information about Synergy Wesley can be found at synergywesley.org. This organization serves a diverse collection of students across several college campuses in Texas. This project began as an opportunity to develop a micro-grant program on campus but morphed to meet local needs as a multigenerational discipleship group emerged that provided mentoring and connection opportunities for local high school youth and college students. This included a spiritual development retreat, opportunities for discernment, and ecumenical connections.
NEPAL - TRACK PEACEBUILDING TRAINING
Information about Track-Nepal can be found at tracknepal.org.np. Track Nepal provides opportunities for many groups. A recent project involved training on peace-building behaviors and training for young people of faith. Nepal has many different faith groups, and like other parts of the world, tensions among faith groups can arise. This project funded a five-day long training event for fifty youth from across Nepal, and the training event was followed by a series of two-day workshops and monthly meetings to equip young people to put their learnings into practice in their home communities.