HS DYG Theme
Welcome to the 2020 High School Pacific Southwest District Youth Gathering! – “Present to the End”
Each day, our teenagers face fears, anxieties, and stress like we’ve never seen in a generation before. Suicide rates are on the rise. Depression, anxiety, bullying, and online social media pressures plague our students and their spiritual growth. This year’s High School DYG for all of Central/Southern California, Arizona, and the Las Vegas regions will bring a new light to how Christ’s presence is with us until the end. He never leaves us. Our students may think they are alone, but the God who created, loves and daily redeems them through their baptism is with them, walking beside their daily struggles, celebrating their wins, and always by their side. Our students need to be reminded of this eternal truth from God’s Word!
Over the course of the weekend, students will have the opportunity to serve, grow in faith, make new friends and connect with old friends, have fun in a variety of ways and worship together.
Just like other district events, this event is being organized in cooperation with PSD Youth Ministry. Therefore, registration is done online. Please review the rest of the registration packet for instructions on how to register for HS DYG and all other necessary information.
Hope to see you in Palm Springs in January!
Peace in Christ, Your PSD HS DYG Planning Team:
Kayleigh Lopez, Bethany Lutheran Church, Long Beach, CA: Chair email@example.com
Annie Tiberg, Christ’s Greenfield, Gilbert AZ: Registration firstname.lastname@example.org
Kyle Salesky, Abiding Savior, Lake Forest, CA: Arrangements email@example.com
Jean Kempe, Immanuel Riverside, CA: Service Project firstname.lastname@example.org
Dave Rueter, Pacific Southwest District, email@example.com
Early Registration Deadline: December 9, 2019 - $220
Late Registration Deadline: January 6, 2020 - $270
Hotel Reservation Deadline: January 10, 2020 - $149/room plus tax & $10 daily resort fee
DoubleTree by Hilton Golf Resort Palm Springs
Address: 67967 Vista Chino Cathedral City, CA 92234
Main Phone Number: 760-322-7000
Cost: $149 per room per night
Fees: $10 daily resort fee (includes parking)
Deadline to Reserve Hotel Rooms: January 10, 2020
Your group’s hotel room costs are NOT INCLUDED in the registration fee.
Use the link below once ready to make your room reservations.
Registration Opens August 1, 2019
As a leader of a group considering attending the PSD High School DYG 2020, there are a few things that you should know that will help you navigate the registration process. First, there are two ways in which you can register. You can register online or you can register by mail. Below you will find instructions on how to do either for registration.
Online registration process:
Distribute forms to youth, make sure to include both the Participant Release and Covenant forms.
(Forms found under Promotional Tools)
Gather completed forms and payment from youth.
Email all scanned copies of paper forms to Registrar: Annie Tiberg,
Register your group online
Follow the link to the registration web-site.
Only use your own email as group leader for all participants.
Review the Group Registration Instructions.
Register your group.
Pay online or by check.
If paying by check, mail check to district office:
Pacific Southwest District
Attn: Dave Rueter – PSD High School DYG 2020
1540 Concordia E
Irvine, CA 92612
Please note that your registration is NOT considered complete until you have paid a 25% deposit for your group. Full payment is expected prior to the PSD High School DYG 2020.
Please note that while you register and pay online, we still need a copy of the release form from the camp AND the release form in this packet for the district for all participants.
Matt is a history teacher at Crean Lutheran High School in Irvine California. He graduated from Concordia University, Irvine in 2017 where he obtained his bachelor's in History & Political Thought as well as his California Teaching Credential. Although it appears on no transcripts, he also minored in frisbee/disc golf. Matt loves teaching high schoolers and could not see himself doing anything else. For him, teaching history is a means of discussing kingdom vocational living, mission and biblical justice, and the Gospel's invitation to the good life.
Matt met his wife and best friend, Abigail, at Concordia University Irvine; they have been married for one year. Abigail puts Christ's love on display at St. Joseph's Hospital in Orange County, where she brings literal healing and compassion to patients daily. Together they have two cats, Batman and Robin. Besides his wife and cats, Matt loves reading, running, craft coffee, and all things Star Wars.
Ken Graves is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a private practice in Newport Beach, Ca. He graduated in 2005 with a BA in Christian Education and Leadership. Ken was a Director of Christian Education at Christ Lutheran Church, Costa Mesa CA. Ken is a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist and specializes in working with depression, anxiety, and teenagers. Ken is a teenager at heart and has a heart for those in need. He lives in Orange, CA with his wife, two dogs, and a cat.
Timothy Schlensker is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Timothy has been married to Michelle for 16 years and they have three children. Family is his passion, and he loves to pass that on to those he works with, many of whom come from diverse ages and stages: elementary age children, teens, college students and adults. Timothy has spent 10 years in youth and family ministry and has enjoyed helping teens and their families discover effective ways of working through life’s challenges.
Timothy’s private practice is called Hope InSight Counseling, located in Fullerton, CA, and he also works with cancer patients at St Jude Oncology Center. God continues to show His love to us, and so Timothy’s mission is to try to show that to others in his ministry.
David Bellamy has worked at St. John’s Lutheran Ministries in Hemet, Ca for 22 years. For the last 17 years, he has served as the Director of Youth and Family Ministry, working with Middle School and High School students. David is married to his high school sweetheart, Nancy and their daughter Lexy attends college in New York.
David has lived in Southern California his whole life and enjoys spending time with his family. He is an avid Disney fan, making to time to visit Disneyland weekly. He operates a well-known Instagram account under the name @Disneyfornia. Dave uses this forum as a way to connect with other Disney fans in the park, but more importantly, to display who He is in real life as the same way online by setting the examples of what God’s love look like in action.
Wes & Maddie Gong both serve as DCEs at Christ Church Lutheran/Christ Lutheran School in
Phoenix, AZ. Maddie is in her third year serving as the Director of Youth Ministries for the
church and Wes is in his second year serving as a 4th Grade teacher in the school! Having met
at their alma mater Concordia University Irvine, Wes & Maddie have been married for two whole
When Wes is not teaching the children Arizona state history or how to add and subtract
fractions, he is usually exploring all the desert has to offer--be it hiking, camping, or (most often)
geocaching. He also likes to restore old Nintendo video games (which Maddie thinks is SUPER
cool). Maddie on the other hand spends her free time watching Bob Ross re-runs and painting
happy little trees, hanging out at the zoo with her best friend’s toddler, and talking about the
most recent podcast she listened to or wikipedia article she read. In the words of Maddie’s
instagram caption from July 12, 2019, Wes and Maddie are “still finding our identity in Christ
Alone and still worshiping our very Real. Present. God.”
Pastor Bart Loos grew up in the church as a Pastor’s kid and had a blast. He is currently finishing up his third year in ministry as an ordained pastor and is continuously humbled by Christ’s grace. Originally from Buffalo, NY, also nicknamed “the city of good neighbors,” Bart loves bringing Buffalo’s neighborly hospitality and warmth to sunny California. He loves being married to his wife, Christaline, and being a father to his two beautiful daughters, Hazel (2 yrs. old) and Callista (7 months old)! Upon graduating from the Cross-Cultural Ministry Center at Concordia Irvine and ordained in the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod as a Missionary Pastor, Bart immediately received his first Call to the be the Lutheran Campus Pastor at UCLA. Over the past three years, he has been privileged to lead and forge the way for the revisioning of campus ministry at UCLA, throughout Los Angeles, and throughout the Pacific Southwest District. The Pacific Southwest District has adopted this vision to make it the PSD Campus Mission Coalition and one of their Mission initiatives. Bart loves to learning peoples’ stories, growing in relationship with them and sharing Jesus along the way.
As students of CUI, we are training to become Directors of Christian Education. We are learning how to share God's Word through our lives and our ministries. Our group consists of students from their freshman year of college to their senior year. We are all excited to spend time at the District Youth Gathering and can't wait to get to know everyone.
The Pacific Southwest District Lutheran Youth Fellowship team is made up of high schoolers that have been selected by adult leaders of their church or youth group to be leaders to their fellow youth at a District level. Currently, the team consists of Megan Flohra, Katie Imes, and Isaiah Duport. These 3 have been working hard in representing highschoolers at a District level and are excited for this opportunity to lead a session for their fellow high schoolers.
Friday, January 24
5:00 pm Registration Opens
6:30pm: Prayer Walk Opens
8:00pm: Opening Worship
9:00pm: Prayer Walk Opens
9:45 pm: Prayer Walk Closes
11:00pm: Lights out in your rooms!
Saturday, January 25*
8:00am: Breakfast (provided)
10:00am: Real Talks #1
11:30am: Real Talks #2
12:15pm: Lunch (provided)
1:00pm: Real Talks #3
2:30pm: Small Group Debrief
3:00pm: Speaker Panel
5:00pm: Dinner on your own
8:30pm: Dance with DJ Mike!
11:00pm: Lights out in your rooms!
Sunday, January 26
8:00am: Breakfast (provided)
9:00am: Closing Worship
10:15am: Dismissal...Event Over! :(
11:00am: Check out of your hotel rooms, grab your box lunch and head home!
Please note that the Saturday schedule is under review pending the development of service projects in the Palm Springs area. The “Serve” time may more to the morning to accommodate local service options.