With fall firmly in place, it’s not too early to start looking ahead to holiday break. Nestled neatly between the rush of Christmas and the excitement of New Years is Kanuga’s annual Winterlight youth conference held December 27 through January 1.
Combining Faith and Fun
Open to high school students from ninth to twelfth grade, the annual event offers the opportunity to dive into relevant faith topics, build lifelong friendships, and make memories. “No matter where our youth find themselves on their faith journey, Winterlight is a home for them. We want to celebrate in community and have a lot of fun this year,” says Perry Jones, Winterlight 42 coordinator.
The daily routine begins with morning music and breakfast followed by small group sessions that encourage personal growth and development. After lunch, there’s a brief rest period, which often gets filled with quiet conversations on the rocking chair porch, music around the piano, or board games. The afternoon closes out with a variety of workshops that tap into a wide range of interests. Workshops range from the serious to the light-hearted.
“We like to have a diversity of options and go with the flow,” says Perry. “Our participants’ enthusiasm often dictate the week’s workshop offerings. Past workshop offerings have included LGBT Q&A sessions, Episcopal Faith 101, watercolor painting, and ultimate frisbee.”
Opening Hearts to a Legacy of Love
As a Winterlight alumni and now coordinator, Perry has experienced the joys of the conference for many years. “At Winterlight, youth learn to love themselves and love one another. I see a light in participants, and I know they bring that light back to their communities.”
Recent high-school graduate and Winterlight Torchbearer Jasmin Jimenez knows firsthand the impact the conference can have. She chose to return to Winterlight this year to serve on staff.
“I enjoyed the fun and camp-like experience, but also the moments of pure connection with God and each other,” says Jasmin. “It’s such a small and intimate community at Winterlight; it’s impossible to feel like you don’t fit in. Even if you’re not sure what you believe, it opens you up to God’s love and that’s perfect for anyone.”