Empowering youth to connect with Christ and each other


Youth Week is the summer event for KEY Conferences (Kanuga Empowered Youth). As one of the longest-running events for youth ministry in the United States, Youth Week brings together youth and adults who work with youth from around the country for a week of fun, friendship and prayer. This Kanuga tradition embodies the vibrancy of the national Episcopal Church and encourages participants to seek authentic connections with Christ and one another. Those who attend are empowered to build community through small group discussions, conference-wide gatherings, music, prayer and play.

KEY Conferences Winterlight Youth Week



June 18, 2017 – June 23, 2017


Three Tracks

Three different, simultaneous tracks offer youth and adults the chance to spend time with similar-aged participants, discussing ideas to lead and inspire their faith communities back home.

JYP: Junior Young People
For students rising in grades 7–9.

Exploring the theme of Holy Baptism and the Baptismal Covenant is the theme for JYP. The Episcopal Church states, “In the waters of baptism we are lovingly adopted by God into God’s family, which we call the Church, and given God’s own life to share and be reminded that nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ.” Throughout the week, we will reflect on how we, as young Christians in God’s family, are called to live out our faith by sharing our unique gifts and talents with the Church and with others.

We are excited to announce Landon Pate as our JYP musician this year. Landon is a very talented musician from Memphis, TN who currently lives in Nashville as a student at Belmont University. Landon has experience serving as a musician at several youth events in the Diocese of Tennessee and is looking forward to his first experience at Kanuga during Youth Week.

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SYP: Senior Young People
For students rising in grades 10–12 and recent high school graduates.

This year’s SYP theme is “Enter Through the Narrow Gate”

Matthew 7:13-14: “Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

Entering through the narrow gate is not about choosing the “right” or “wrong” path, but is rather Christ’s invitation to a life of intentionality and purpose. At SYP 2017, participants will have the opportunity to actively design who they are in the world, and to discover a new sense of their own identity and mission.

We are thrilled to have returning to SYP this year Charles Milling and the Live Hymnal Band! Charles is a longtime Kanuga participant who was mentored by our beloved Fran McKendree here at Kanuga. Today, Charles has an active music ministry as Director of Music and Worship at St. Joseph’s Church in Delray Beach, FL, and he focuses on engaging youth in praising God and exploring their own gifts by learning instruments, and dancing and singing along. Charles leads the Live Hymnal band, a full band of creative and experienced Florida musicians who love working with youth and being at Kanuga. More info is available at: http://livehymnal.com/pages/about-us

Mirais Holden, SYP Coordinator

Mirais first experienced Kanuga as a 13-year-old participant of the JYP conference during Kanuga’s summer Youth Week. Just like all Kanuga youth, Mirais was invited into a lifelong, nationwide fellowship of friends, who support one another in exploring their relationships with God and with themselves. Mirais has continued to attend Kanuga’s youth conferences for the past 16 years, serving as a staff member and now as a coordinator of SYP, for the purpose of welcoming today’s youth into that same community. Mirais’ hope is to create a space for youth to experience the sense of belonging, unconditional love, and radical self-acceptance that only Kanuga can offer. When she is not volunteering as a coordinator for KEY Conferences, Mirais works as an attorney in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Kate McDonald, SYP Coordinator

Kate first attended SYP in 2005 on a whim and has returned to KEY Conferences every year since. The inclusive and creative community has been a key player in her growth as a person of faith, and Kate is honored to help create that experience for others. Kate’s experiences at Kanuga have also significantly shaped her professional life as well. She worked in New Orleans, Louisiana to establish food access programming through the Cooking Matters program and now resides in Lexington, Kentucky, where she works for Habitat for Humanity to create community partnerships through volunteerism. Youth Week is her favorite week each year.


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AWWWY: Adults Who Work with Youth
For anyone who is connected with teenagers in the church, including youth ministers, Sunday school teachers, confirmation mentors, clergy or laity. Enjoy a week of continuing education on leadership roles, recreation and networking with volunteer and professional youth leaders from across the country.

Rector: The Reverend Suz Cate of Greenville, SC.
“I am first and foremost that child of God’s who wanders through Creation amazed that I get to live this wonderful, messy, poetic, heartbreaking, joyful life of following Jesus. On my good days, I flow through the hours humming Canticles under my breath and dancing a bit as I go. Other days, I have flat feet and awkward, fumbling attempts at being human.

I live with my amazingly patient husband, our dog, Sophie, and our cat, Derek. We more or less share space on the couch in the Tiger Listening Room, listening to the Record Collection and binge-watching an eclectic, curated selection of television series when I’m not otherwise engaged with being the Rector of Holy Trinity Episcopal Parish.

I’ve been rather loosely associated with AWWWY for about three years, and I’m looking forward to being part of the team that will work to make the week of June 18, 2017, a time of learning, fun, fellowship, and spiritual refreshment. See y’all at Kanuga!”

Presenter: Jen Manning
AWWWY is happy to welcome back the amazing Jen Manning, who presented on Sex and Sexuality in 2016. She will present two workshops this year: one revolves around gender identity and sexuality, and in the second, she will discuss the revolutionary sex education program she helped create for the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama. Learn more about Jen on her website, jenmanning.net

Presenter: Emily Jefferis
Emily will teach a two-part course on church history as viewed through the lens of art and reprising her immensely popular “Paint Party” from AWWWY 2016.

“I have been a member of Christ Church in Pensacola, Florida for almost six years. Most of that time I’ve worked closely with the Christian Education Department as a Sunday School teacher, program assistant, Vacation Bible School Director, artist, and anything else I’m asked to do! Outside of church I teach middle school art and am a freelance artist. While I like to focus on my creative side, my passion is with the youth—I enjoy teaching, facilitating, and most of all watching that little light turn on in their eyes. In a similar way, my eyes were also lit up four years ago as a participant in AWWWY. Through fellowship, the workshops, and the quiet time, I gained the experiences I needed to return to my church and my school with a fresh heart and renewed energy to keep up with the youth I value so much.Three years ago, I began my journey as an AWWWY presenter where I am able to share my experiences, my talents, and my passion with those who will leave Kanuga with a renewed focus and energy just as I had. I look forward to continuing my position with the AWWWY staff as one who brings light to your eyes through the study of art in Christianity.”

Details & Registration

All rates include lodging, meals and programming.

Register before April 9, 2017 and get a $75 discount!

$495 per person ($420 through April 9)
$495 per person ($420 through April 9)
AWWWY Double Occupancy
$519 per person ($444 through April 9)
AWWWY Single Occupancy
$685 per person ($610 through April 9)
Child (age 3–11)
$340 per person ($265 through April 9)

Transportation Request Form

For more information, please contact Youth Conferences Director Katherine Parnell at 828-692-9136, ext. 2836, or katherine.parnell@kanuga.org.