First 30 Ministries

bishop-youth-conventionThe First Thirty Years of life is how the Diocese of WNY frames our support of children’s, youth and young adult ministry. Most churches will tell you that they struggle with holding onto “their kids” after confirmation. In the Diocese we consider the First Thirty focus to counter-act what seems like an inevitable slide. Although still in it’s early stages of development, the First Thirty office offers a variety of support to parishes, regions and the diocese as a whole.

Our First Thirty office has links to a wide range of Sunday School curricula and other programming supports for children from toddlers through elementary school. Whether a big church or a small rural congregation with only one child the First Thirty office can help your parish provide programming that fits your needs and your capabilities. As you gain more young families we can link you with other parishes in your region with whom you can connect for family friendly activities such as Vacation Bible School for the whole family, camping options and partial day and day long outings. We are especially proud of our annual Family Camp which will again be held of over Labor Day weekend (September 2-4, 2016) at Camp Asbury in Silver Lake.

For the youth of the diocese, the First Thirty office strives to connect the youth in churches with very few youth, with other parishes in their region, to create a critical mass. We are blessed to have parishes in our southern, northern and eastern regions with active and vibrant youth groups with whom we can link the youth in your church. We actively encourage mission trip opportunities for youth and are happy to offer a local mission trip option every year through the Jim Eaton Summer Reading Day Camp, held in Western New York. Additionally, we  offer annual overnights, a “How to Get Ready for College” workshop, an evening with the Bishop at the Food Truck Rodeo (this year on June 14th at Larkinville) and Western New York Day at Darien Lake (a Sunday in September TBA).

Our young adult programming is much more organic, with the Bishop socializing, worshiping with and studying with young adults in a variety of venues, including Shakespeare in the Park, Canalside, the Elmwood Village and the Buffalo Zoo. This summer the Bishop will inaugurate a monthly worship service followed by dinner designed exclusively for those in their 20’s and 30’s.

The First Thirty Office is ready to serve you. For more information please contact Canon Dempesy-Sims at 881-0660 ext 14 or


August 13-17
Sleepaway Camp

Sleep Away Camp Returns!!!

Sleep Away camp will be returning this August for children between the ages of 8 and 12.  The camp will be held Sunday August 13 to Wednesday August 16 at Lake Chautauqua Lutheran Camp in Bemus Point.  Campers will have the opportunities to canoe, swim, do an adventure rope course, play gaga ball, sing, do arts and crafts, worship, and learn more about God!  The cost per camper is $160.  To register, please print and send in the Sleep Away Camp Application with a $50 deposit.

We are also looking for high school aged youth and young adults that would like to serve as Junior Counselors for the camp, and for men over the age of 21 that would like to serve as Senior Counselors for the camp.  Please contact Wendy Schumacher at or (716) 830-5443 if you are interested.


Sleep Away Camp Scholarships Available

The Sue Stanislawski Camp Scholarship will become an annual scholarship for 2 individuals each summer.  Sue is a member of St. Patrick’s in Cheektowaga and is very passionate that all children can have the opportunity of camp.  Sue is requesting that campers, that have a financial need, write an essay about why he/she wants to attend camp and what he/she hopes to learn from the experience.  The essay should contain 2 paragraphs, that each have at least 5 sentences.  Please download and print the Scholarship Essay Form.

In addition there are two other full-tuition scholarships available.  All scholarship requests should be made to Wendy Schumacher, the First Thirty Program Coordinator, by July 1st at or (716) 830-5443, or Episcopal Diocese of Western New York, 1064 Brighton Road. Tonawanda, NY 14150.  Scholarship recipients will be notified by July 15th.