Episcopal Diocese of Western New York

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.

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 and Western New York Day at Darien Lake.

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.

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


Sleepaway Camp
August 12-15
Lake Chautauqua Lutheran Center
Bemus Point, NY

New and exciting things are happening this summer at Camp.  Sleep Away is expanding to include all youth exiting 2nd through 8th grade this June.  The camp will be running two different tracks to accommodate the needs of the different age groups.  The first track will be those exiting 2nd through 5th grades and the second track will be for those exiting 6th through 8th grades.  Each track will have their own schedule to follow but will have some overlapping activities.

Sleep Away Camp will take place Sunday August 12th to Wednesday August 15th at Lake Chautauqua Lutheran Canter in Bemus Point, NY. To register campers, please download the Camp Application and Health Form and send in with $50 deposit to the Ministry Center by July 15th.

Camp Staff Needed

Sleep Away Camp is looking for individuals that are willing to serve on staff this year.  We are looking for Jr. Counselors, persons between age 16 and 20, and Sr. Counselors, persons over the age of 21.  All staff members are subject to a background check. Your time commitment would be one or two meetings prior to camp and for the whole duration of camp, 2 pm on Sunday August 12th to 12:30 pm on Wednesday August 15th.  Please contact Wendy Schumacher if interested at wschumacher@episcopalwny.org.

Sue Stanislawski’s Annual Sleep Away Camp Scholarship

Sue Stanislawski is a member of St. Patrick’s, Cheektowaga and has fond memories of her camp experience when she was a youth.  She is looking to sponsor two youth with full-registration camp scholarships to Sleep Away Camp this year. Sue would like a short essay from the child requesting the scholarship telling why the child wants to attend camp and what the child hopes to get out of camp.  She also requests that only those with a financial need apply. Download the Sue S Scholarship Form, it can either be sent to the ministry center or emailed to wschumacher@episcopalwny.org.  Scholarship applications are due by June 15th.  Please use this email for questions.

September 8
Episcopal Day at Darien Lake
Darien Lake Theme Park Resort

The First Thirty Ministries is hosting Episcopal Day at Darien Lake on Saturday September 8th.  The park is open from 11 am to 7 pm.  Come spend the day in fellowship with people from around our diocese riding rides and sharing a meal.  The Bishop is always looking for Episcopalians to go on rides with, especially the bumper cars.  Dinner will be served between 3 and 5.  The cost is $25 for both admission and dinner, and $10 for those that have a season pass and just need dinner.

To order tickets, please download the Darien Lake Flyer and send to the address on it.  For questions, contact Wendy Schumacher, First Thirty Event Coordinator, at wschumacher@episcopalwny.org.