FAQs

General
What is the ELCA Youth Gathering?
When is the next Gathering?
Who can attend the Gathering?
What is MYLE?
What is DAYLE?
How do we register?
How much does it cost?
Is Detroit safe?
Transportation
    Arriving/Departing
Will there be an airport shuttle? At what cost?
Will there be an Amtrak Shuttle?
If we have parents drive us to Detroit or use a one-way bus service and get dropped off at our hotel on Wednesday, will there be a shuttle to downtown for the Wednesday events and for Sunday events, so parents/and one-way buses pick us up downtown on Sunday afternoon?
If we drive to Detroit, can we still get rides on the buses in and out of Detroit to and from our hotels?
Will there be bus parking near Ford Field so we can leave directly from there following worship on Sunday?
Will there be bus parking where registration will take place?
    Downtown
Will parking be available downtown? At what cost?
Can we leave our van/bus parked downtown overnight?
    Daily Travel
How will we get back and forth between our hotel and downtown each day?
What are the anticipated travel times between downtown and our hotel?
Can we use our own transportation each day instead of what is provided by the Gathering? Also, will this make our travel time quicker?
Do we need to bring all our stuff with us every day or is there a place to keep it downtown?
How long will the wait be for the bus transportation the Gathering is providing to and from hotels and downtown?
Will transportation be offered between Wayne State University and downtown?
Who do we contact if we have a participant who needs assistance getting around?
    Sub-contracting
If we are chartering a bus, can we sub-contract that bus to the Gathering?
How much does the Gathering pay to subcontract a bus? Will our congregation owe less because we’re subcontracting?
When will bus companies be contacted for subcontracting?
Does subcontracting the busses include using the busses to provide the transportation from the hotel in the morning to the Gathering venues, and returning to the hotels in the evening?
When you subcontract our busses, do you (ELCA) pay the driver's housing during that time as well?
Housing
Will parking be available at our hotel? At what cost?
If we do not have our own transportation, will we be housed closer to the convention center and Ford Field?
At what hotel should our bus driver stay?
Will there be parking available at Wayne State University for MYLE and the Gathering?
For more information:

General

What is the ELCA Youth Gathering? 

The ELCA Youth Gathering is a ministry of the churchwide organization of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to, with and for high school-aged youth and their adult leaders.  The Gathering, as it is known, is a triennial event that takes place over five days – Wednesday to Sunday – and includes opportunities for worship, service, fellowship, study and holy play.

What sets the Gathering apart from what some call “arena ministry” is its multi-month, pre-event curriculum designed to plunge teens deep into the Scripture texts around which the ministry is built, and prepare them socially and emotionally for what, for many, is a pivotal moment in their life of faith, and understanding of vocation.  After-care is also an exemplar of this ministry. We know that young people will return to their congregations and synods with a renewed witness to God’s action in the world, and we try to help congregational leaders receive the witness of young people and incorporate them into the ongoing ministry of the congregation and synod as vital members of the body of Christ. 

When is the next Gathering? 

The next ELCA Youth Gathering is July 15-19, 2015, in Detroit, Mich. The Multicultural Youth Leadership Event (MYLE) and the Definitely-abled Youth Leadership Event (DAYLE) are also in Detroit, from July 12-15, 2015.

Who can attend the Gathering? 

The Gathering welcomes youth entering the 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grades in the fall of 2015, and 2015 high school graduates.

What is MYLE? 

MYLE is the Multicultural Youth Leadership Event designed to empower young leaders of color for the ELCA’s mission in the world. It takes place just before the Gathering and there is an additional registration fee to attend, which covers housing and some meals.  MYLE is specifically for high school youth and adults from communities of color and/or communities whose primary language is other than English. Congregations who have 20 percent or more of young people of color and/or those whose primary language is other than English are also invited to attend. 

What is DAYLE? 

DAYLE is the Definitely-abled Youth Leadership Event, held just before the Gathering opens.  There is an additional registration fee to attend, which covers housing and some meals.  DAYLE is a leadership development event designed to bless and empower young people who live with a wide range of physical, cognitive and emotional disabilities so that they might grow as faithful, wise and courageous witnesses in God’s church and the world. The event also offers time for participants and their caregivers to acclimate and orient themselves to the city of Detroit before the Gathering begins.

How do we register? 

Congregations register and attend the ELCA Youth Gathering as a group. Every ELCA congregation has a unique five-digit number that is necessary for registration. If you don’t know your number, you can find it in the ELCA Year Book in your church office, or you can contact the Gathering staff at the ELCA churchwide office.

Online registration – the only way to register for the ELCA Youth Gathering – opens on Oct. 15, 2014. Congregational groups can prepare for registration by downloading the registration worksheets and completing them prior to registration opening. The worksheets are available here. There are two worksheets: one for the Primary Adult Leader/Adult Leaders, and one for Youth Participants. These worksheets will allow you to collect all of your information and have it in one place before it’s time to register. 

There will be a “soft opening” on Sept. 15, 2014. This means that you will be able to set up your congregational account by entering your congregation’s information into the Gathering database.  Beginning Oct. 15, 2014, you may go back into your congregational account and click the submit button to register!

Congregations attending MYLE, or with individuals going to DAYLE, can register for these events when Gathering registration opens.  The additional fees will be added into the total balance due.

How much does it cost? 

If you register before Jan. 15, 2015, the early-bird, discounted registration rate is $325 per person. Beginning Jan. 15, 2015, the Gathering registration fee is $375 per person.

Congregations are assigned to hotels and should budget for housing costs of $150 per night per room.  Not every room can accommodate four people, so budget for a mix of double and single rooms. The Gathering will provide one round-trip bus shuttle from hotels to the downtown venues each day.

Food is also on your own, so depending on your group, this could be an additional $40 per person per day expense. 

The ELCA Youth Gathering is self-supported and self-funded. All of the revenue from registration fees is put back into the ELCA Youth Gathering program. We strive to keep costs down for participants while still providing a safe and transformational experience for all registrants.

Is Detroit safe? 

While it's population has declined dramatically over the last few years, Detroit is still considered a major city, not unlike Chicago, Philadelphia or Los Angeles. Visitors to any large city need to make wise choices. The ELCA Youth Gathering’s Safety and Security planning team will help participants make wise choices by providing safe walking routes and by arranging for private and public security personnel at all venues utilized by Gathering participants.

The Safety and Security planning team is already working with local, state and federal officials to prepare for our visit. Every precaution will be taken to ensure your safety in the city and surrounding suburbs. Gathering participants will again receive T-shirts that will make them easily identifiable to local law enforcement officials, especially when participating in a visible service experience.

Transportation

Will there be an airport shuttle? At what cost? 

The city of Detroit has gifted the Gathering participants with free airport shuttle service for those flying in on Tuesday and Wednesday and departing on Sunday. There will be no cost if traveling during the hours of their operation. Details about this service and how to make reservations will be made available on the website soon.

Will there be an Amtrak Shuttle? 

No, we suggest using a cab. If you have a large group and need assistance in locating a bus company, please contact the transportation team.

If we have parents drive us (because they are close enough to do this and it would save money on rentals) to Detroit or use a one-way bus service and get dropped off at our hotel on Wednesday, will there be a shuttle to downtown for the Wednesday events and for Sunday events, so parents/and one-way buses pick us up downtown on Sunday afternoon? 

Yes.

If we drive to Detroit, can we still get rides on the buses in and out of Detroit to and from our hotels? 

Yes, you can. Please indicate your intentions in the registration process.

Will there be bus parking near Ford Field so we can leave directly from there following worship on Sunday? 

Yes.

Will there be bus parking where registration will take place? 

Gathering Check-In will take place at your hotel – that’s where you will get your wristband and guidebook.

Will parking be available downtown? At what cost? 

Yes, parking will be available downtown. We are working on securing contracts and looking at registration data that gives us the numbers of people driving or looking for parking spaces, etc. Though still in negotiations, at this point, our thought process is that there will be a free lot.

Can we leave our van/bus parked downtown overnight? 

We encourage you to keep you van/bus with you/your driver.

How will we get back and forth between our hotel and downtown each day? 

The city of Detroit has accompanied our transportation team in coordinating transportation. Participants will be transported on buses each day.

What are the anticipated travel times between downtown and our hotel? 

Most travel times will be 20-45 min. In rush hour, the potential is for up to 70-90 minutes.

Can we use our own transportation each day instead of what is provided by the Gathering? Also, will this make our travel time quicker? 

You can certainly use your own transportation. We encourage this option for groups that are thinking they will need more flexibility. We are not sure how it will impact your travel time – it will depend on your route and traffic – but you will have complete control of your schedule.

When you register, please indicate if you will be using your own transportation; this helps us allocate the appropriate amount of equipment and allows us to be good financial stewards. It is very important that you continue with the plan that you indicate.

Do we need to bring all our stuff with us every day or is there a place to keep it downtown? 

The community life team will have lockers/spaces available for use at the Cobo Center.

How long will the wait be for the bus transportation the Gathering is providing to and from hotels and downtown? 

Groups will be assigned a departure time from their property – so there should be very little if any wait time leaving the property each morning. We are working hard at minimizing wait time in the evening. Buses will leave as soon as they are full. So, keep your group moving and together (and encourage others to do the same). The faster you all get to the buses the faster they can move!

Will transportation be offered between Wayne State University and downtown? 

Yes, transportation will be available.

Who do we contact if we have a participant who needs assistance getting around? 

The transportation team will assist you! In April, the Gathering will release an email address for the transportation team so that you can start sharing those needs.

If we are chartering a bus, can we sub-contract that bus to the Gathering? I think that's the word...the question is whether that bus can be used by the Gathering throughout the week. 

Yes, we are looking to sub-contract about 200 buses.

How much does the Gathering pay to subcontract a bus? Will our congregation owe less because we’re subcontracting? 

It varies….If your bus company subcontracts, you can certainly discuss with them if they would give you a cost reduction.

When will bus companies be contacted for subcontracting? 

This process is just beginning, if you know that your bus company is interested in subcontracting, please send us an email and your information will be forwarded to the transportation team.

Does subcontracting the busses include using the busses to provide the transportation from the hotel in the morning to the Gathering venues, and returning to the hotels in the evening? 

No, subcontracting is done only for service learning. Buses will only be subcontracted Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from approximately 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

When you subcontract our busses, do you (ELCA) pay the driver's housing during that time as well?  

No, we do not.

Housing

Will parking be available at our hotel? At what cost? 

All hotels have parking, but not all hotels have bus parking. The cost of parking varies at each property. Outlying properties often have free parking. Parking at downtown properties is approximately $15-20 a day for self-park, $30-50 overnight. Check with your housing property for firm pricing.

If we do not have our own transportation, will we be housed closer to the convention center and Ford Field? 

No, the Gathering will provide your transportation from your housing to the downtown venues.

At what hotel should our bus driver stay? 

That’s up to you and your bus company. Make sure that the hotel you reserve allows overnight bus parking. Most of the outlying properties (non-downtown properties) have decent surface lots and good entry/exit points for buses.

Will there be parking available at Wayne State University for MYLE and the Gathering? 

Yes, parking will be available at Wayne State.

For more information: 

Contact us!
Phone: 888-411-3522
Email: Gathering
Mail: ELCA Youth Gathering, 8765 W. Higgins Road, Chicago, IL 60631