YOUTH 2023's Partners in Accessibility: Kulture City | UMC YoungPeople
Connecting young people and their adult leaders to God, the church, and the world
August 2022

YOUTH 2023's Partners in Accessibility: Kulture City

By Chris Wilterdink

Sensory needs are a common medical condition in which the brain has trouble receiving and responding to information that comes through in the senses. The Design Team for YOUTH 2023 is serious about creating a safe and welcoming environment for all youth who attend. We are excited to announce a partnership with Kulture City, the nation’s leading nonprofit on sensory accessibility to create intentional spaces and activities for young people with sensory needs. The partnership is made possible with funding from Discipleship Ministries and a grant from the Disability Ministries Committee of the United Methodist Church.

Youth with sensory needs can be guaranteed opportunities to participate fully in worship and other aspects of YOUTH 2023. We are looking forward to:

  • A sensory inclusive area for sensory decompression
  • An additional worship space designed with reduced volume and light levels, comfortable seating, and live feeds from the worship arena
  • Sensory bags available for pick up onsite
  • Sensory inclusive training and certification for volunteers and staff onsite at YOUTH 2023
  • Workshops to inform, equip, and empower adult leaders and chaperones to consider sensory inclusivity and accessibility in their local church contexts

In addition to those efforts for those with sensory needs, other accessibility initiatives will be in place throughout YOUTH 2023 including the use of American Sign Language (ASL) and closed captioning during worship services. The Ocean Center (worship and workshops) and all event hotels are also ADA compliant and have accessible bathrooms, ramps, and elevators.

Chris serves as Director of Young People’s Ministries for Discipleship Ministries of the United Methodist Church. Chris has a BA in English Education, and an MS in Project Management, and over 15 years of local-church youth ministry experience. He is passionate about leadership and faith development in young people and helping ministry leaders understand their value in the lives of young people. A Stephen Minister, Chris is a native of Colorado living in Franklin, TN with his wife Emily, 2 children, and sausage-shaped beagle.