Youth Gathering Team

Emily Hemminger is the Youth & Family Life Director at St. Mark Lutheran Church in Toledo, OH. Starting in 2008, Emily led contemporary worship services at several NWOS churches with her youth worship band “Rew!nd.” She has been working with NWOS youth since her graduation from Capital University in 2015. Emily was the Synod Day Director in 2018 and is thrilled to take on this role again in 2021 in Minneapolis. In addition to her ministry, Emily is married to her husband Justin, a firefighter for the city of Toledo. Together, they have two wonderful children, Jude (3 years) and Jolene (3 months).

Why is the Gathering important? “The Gathering is monumental because it shows youth that they are not alone – they are loved by God, they are valued by their church, and they are a part of something that is bigger than themselves. Seeing 30,000 youth who believe what they do come together to worship, learn, & chase after Jesus is a faith-affirming moment that impacts their faith journeys forever.”

My name is Heather Hawn and I serve as the Youth & Children’s Minister at Grace Lutheran Church in Fremont. My husband, Rob and I live in Pemberville. We have 3 daughters, Madison, Libby, and Riley. I love animals. playing games, crafts, and listening to music. Minneapolis will be my second gathering and I’m excited to serve alongside the very talented Emily Hemminger as a Synod Day coordinator! I love the gathering because it serves as a great opportunity for youth to see that they are part of a bigger church beyond the walls of their own congregation

Hi, I’m Kristy Helberg, one of your Synod Coordinators for the 2021 Youth Gathering. I am a life long member at Bethlehem Lutheran Church near Okolona, and have served as Youth Director there since 2007. My first career was in radio with WNDH in Napoleon. I served as Program Director, news writer, on air personality and remote broadcaster. My very first on-air shift, was a stint spinning records during the “Polka-thon” weekend. While I do love music, connecting with the community was always a highlight to working in small town radio. Currently, I am the Program Specialist at 4-H Camp Palmer in Fayette. My love for camp began as a High School counselor with Napoleon’s 6th grade Outdoor Education program, and has blossomed into a full time, year round job at one of my favorite places on Earth.

I am looking forward to connecting our churches in the synod to the Youth Gathering. My first experience was a participant at the 1997 event in New Orleans. Then, I became an adult leader with our congregation for San Antonio in 2006, New Orleans in 2009 and 2012, Detroit in 2015 and Houston in 2018. The Gathering is one of my favorite ministries because of all the opportunities it creates. It allows our youth from Northwest Ohio to be connected to the larger church, by seeing and worshiping with 30,000 teenagers. It also allows them to grow closer together while experiencing another city through travel, service learning and sight-seeing. Another opportunity the Gathering provides, is connecting your congregation to your youth program. Your faith community can be a part of the process from the planning to prayers; from the fundraising to the final wrap-up. The opportunities are endless, which makes sense when you think of the 2021 Youth Gathering theme: Boundless. God beyond measure.

Hey! I am Cassie Yeager and I am your Synod Coordinator for 2020, along with Kristy Helberg! I am so excited to be in this role for the third time! You may recognize my name from all sorts of things around the Synod! I am currently the Youth Discipleship Network Coach and I work at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Bowling Green as the NextGen Director. I thoroughly enjoy working with young people all around Northwest Ohio! I am recently engaged to Troy, who is a police officer for the City of Toledo and I reside in Perrysburg, OH. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time outdoors (especially with my dog), travelling, learning about Crohn’s disease, and crafting.

Why the Gathering? So funny story – I have never actually engaged in the gathering as a participant or adult leader. However, I truly believe that the Gathering is an impactful experience that many people, young and old, include on their Faith journey years after they have experienced it. The Gathering opens up opportunities for young people to learn about God, about themselves, and about others. I firmly believe there is no other experience like the Gathering!