ELCA Youth Gathering Scholarships
Exciting news! The Metro D.C. and Delaware-Maryland Synods are involved in a pilot project from the ELCA Youth Gathering to be able to offer financial assistance directly to congregations and individuals within our synods.
You probably have a few questions about what this means, so we’ve answered some of the most common here:
What is the benefit of this pilot project?
When applying for financial assistance from the ELCA Youth Gathering, participants are only able to use funds toward registration fees ($350 if you register during the Early Bird registration period). While this offers significant financial relief for many participants, we know that the full cost to attend a Gathering can come to $1,300-1,600 per person – that’s $950-1,250 more than the registration fee alone! In this pilot project, congregations and individuals are able to apply for funds that can be applied to any aspect of attending the Gathering: registration, transportation, hotel, meals, and more.
Who can apply for a Gathering scholarship?
Both congregations and individual youth can apply for scholarships. We know that, in some places, there may be a few youth participants who need a little extra help beyond family contribution and fundraising efforts, so they can apply for a scholarship to help offset their individual costs. We also know that, in some congregational contexts, there is not the ability to sustain significant fundraising efforts, which might prevent an entire congregational group from attending the Gathering. Our primary goal is to help as many young people as possible attend the ELCA Youth Gathering, and we’re exploring this new way of pursuing that goal.
So if I’m an adult leader from a congregation, can I benefit from this financial assistance?
Yes, as long as you are applying as a congregational group. The only applicants who are eligible for individual scholarships are youth who are currently in grades 8-12. If your congregational group applies for a scholarship, you may use those funds however you would like. We do request a detailed accounting of how you plan to use the funds on the application, and we ask that those funds are used as closely to the original intended purpose as possible.
How will award decisions be made?
The Gathering Synod Coordinators from each synod will work with Deacon Julie Stecker to award all financial assistance. They will consult with the synod Bishops (and other staff as necessary) to ensure meaningful distribution. Priority will be given to those requesting scholarships who fall into the following categories:
Individuals or congregations attending MYLE or the tAble;
Congregations that have not attended an ELCA Youth Gathering in recent history; and
Congregations or individuals demonstrating significant financial need.
After scholarships have been awarded in these priority categories, funds will be distributed to others as available. As previously stated, our primary goal is to help as many young people as possible experience the ELCA Youth Gathering, so if requests exceed available funds, we may award lower amounts than initially requested to spread the funds out as widely as possible.
What is the timeline for the application process?
We are now accepting and considering applications on a rolling basis. Please remember that registering early helps the Gathering plan for a great event! And, we understand that decision-making about the Gathering may look a little different this cycle. The scholarship application opportunity will end on January 14, 2022.
My congregation doesn’t need any scholarship money. Can I help support another congregation?
Yes! If you would be interested in providing additional funds that we may distribute as a part of this scholarship program, please contact Deacon Julie Stecker. This offer is also open to individuals who wish to financially support young people in attending the Gathering.
Okay, I’m ready to apply! What do I do now?
Download the scholarship worksheet by clicking the button below. You may fill this out as an individual or on behalf of a group. In either instance, the primary leader of the group must be the person to submit the online form, so make sure they receive the completed worksheet. If there are multiple youth applying for individual scholarships from one group, the primary leader must fill out a separate form for each. Once the form is complete and the primary leader clicks “submit,” they will see a confirmation message and receive a confirmation email with a copy of the submission. To submit multiple forms, click "Submit another response" after your first form has been submitted. If you have any difficulties with submitting the form, please contact Deacon Julie Stecker.