Youth CONferences

What are Mountain CONs?

A Youth CONference is a weekend gathering of Unitarian Universalist youth, Peer Advocate Leaders (PALs), and advisors from congregations all over the southeast (and sometimes beyond!). We build community together. Small groups and CONwide activities provide opportunities for fun, connection, reflection, and spiritual growth. Activities include workshops, a dance, and a Coffee House where youth can showcase their talents. Participants stay in our cozy cabins and eat together in our Dining Hall, which prepares delicious meals suited to each individuals’ dietary needs. CONs are planned by youth for youth, providing opportunities for youth leadership and empowerment.

Youth participating in Mountain CONs attend as a part of a congregational sponsored group. Volunteering adult advisors, volunteering Peer Advocate Leaders (PALs), and Mountain Staff work together to supervise the youth.

What is the job of a Peer Advocate Leader (PAL)?

Peer Advocate Leaders (PALs) are leaders at Youth CONs. The position includes co-leading a focus group of 8-10 participants throughout the weekend, co-leading a workshop on Saturday, and assisting with other CON events, such as Orientation, Morning Circle, Field Time, Coffee House, and the Dance.

There are mentorship opportunities for returning PALs, as well as leadership roles within each CON available. PALs must be at least 16 years of age at the time of the CON, and are expected to attend the PAL Training/CON Planning weekend.

2024 Youth CONs

Fall PAL Planning Weekend

September 20-22, 2024
Ages: 3rd - 5th Graders

Fall Elementary CON

October 18-20, 2024
Ages: 6th - 8th Graders

Fall Intermediate CON

November 1-3, 2024
Ages: 9th - 12th Graders

Fall Senior High CON

November 15-17, 2024

What Should I Know Before Coming?

Packing List

Packing List

Authorization Forms

Authorization Forms

Community Values

Community Values

Cancellation Policy

Cancellation Policy

Becoming a Youth CON Advisor & Pertinent Information

Advisors are present throughout CONs to assist in providing supervision for youth. PALs and PAL Mentors lead and facilitate all activities, such as workshops. There is a mandatory advisor orientation on the first night. Advisors have two blocks of free time on Saturday, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. You may participate in an optional advisor workshop during either of these breaks or relax and enjoy The Mountain. Your participation in all other CON activities– Morning Circle, meals, the dance, etc.–  is an essential part of your duties as an advisor.

Please remember that your behaviors may influence the youth significantly in a positive or negative way. Strive to be an engaged, enthusiastic member of the community and let kindness guide your interactions with others. There must be one advisor for every four youth attending the CON. Generally, advisors must be 25 years of age. (To request an exception be made, contact the Youth Program Manager by any of the means listed at the bottom of this page.)

Behavioral expectations for advisors and youth include:

Rule of Three

Any group must include at least three people– for example, two youth and an advisor. At no time should one adult and one youth be alone together out of sight of other adults unless the adult is a parent or legal guardian of the youth. Elementary and Intermediate youth must be accompanied by an advisor, PAL, PAL Mentor, or Mountain Staff member at all times as a part of their Group of Three. Senior High youth may travel in Groups of Three or more around the top of The Mountain without an adult present. An advisor, PAL, PAL Mentor, or Mountain Staff member must be aware of where the Group of Three Senior High youth is going.

Big Four

Hugs not drugs: no illegal possession, distribution, or use of nicotine, alcohol, marijuana or other drugs

Silence the violence: no violence or threats of violence of any kind

No schleppin’ a weapon: no possession or use of weapons (this includes pocket knives and any object that is being used as a weapon)

Ex to the sex: this is not an appropriate place to engage in sexual activity, defined as any touching within a bathing suit area or touching with sexual intent

Abiding by our covenant

This year’s covenant will be posted after the Fall PAL weekend.

What if these expectations are not met? Or if I have a concern regarding a youth’s safety?

A verbal reminder or discussion can satisfactorily address most of the common behavioral issues that arise at CONs. As facilitators, PALs and PAL Mentors will initiate dialogue regarding concerning behavior when they are present. As an advisor, it is your responsibility to supervise any youth in your vicinity, and that may include discussing behavioral issues with them in the moment.

Any significant behavioral issue (violation of the Big Four or Rule of Three, significant breach of our covenant or safety protocols, pattern of behavior that does not align with our values, etc.) should be brought to the attention of the Youth Program Manager. A Behavioral Incident Report will be used to document the situation and facilitate a discussion to resolve the issue at hand. A Trespass Council, comprised of 3 PALS, 3 PAL Mentors, and an advisor from the youth’s congregation, may be convened. Any CON participant who violates the Big Four may be asked to leave The Mountain immediately or housed with an advisor from their congregation and a PAL Mentor in a cabin separate from the CON for the remainder of the weekend (allowing the rest of their group to participate fully in the rest of the CON).

If there is any concern that a youth may be experiencing physical or sexual abuse, the matter should be brought to the attention of the Youth Program Manager immediately and reported to the appropriate authorities. Similarly, if any youth threatens or attempts suicide or is suspected to be engaging in other self-destructive behavior (cutting, drug abuse, eating disorder, etc.), the Youth Program Manager must be immediately informed so that the appropriate steps may be taken.



It is the responsibility of your congregation to transport your youth to and from The Mountain. In accordance with our safety policy, no adult is to be alone with a youth off-site while traveling to or from The Mountain unless the adult is a parent or legal guardian of the youth.

Directions to The Mountain can be found here.


Check-in is from 7 pm – 8 pm on Friday, the first day of the CON. Please arrive promptly. If you can’t avoid arriving after 9pm, please contact The Mountain at 828-526-5838 before 5 pm on check-in day to let us know. The CON concludes at 11:30 am on Sunday.

Details, such as which workshops are offered, are planned by PALs for each CON.

To view a template of the full schedule of an average CON, please click here.


The Dining Hall provides delicious meals suited to each individuals’ dietary needs. In addition to the main meal options, there is a bagel and sandwich station with fresh fruit available at all times and a salad bar at lunch and dinner. Advisors are welcome to help themselves to hot tea or coffee at any time.

On Saturday, we serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. On Sunday, we serve breakfast. Please ensure that your group eats before arriving on the first evening, as we do not serve Friday dinner.


Our cabins hold 8 youth and 2 advisors. Youth bunk in the same cabin as the advisor accompanying them. In order to fill each cabin, groups from multiple congregations may be housed together. Housing is gender neutral. (To request a gender specific cabin, contact the Youth Program Manager by any of the means listed at the bottom of this page.) There must be one advisor for every four youth– gender is not a factor when considering advisor to youth ratios. At Intermediate and Senior High CONs, there is a lock-in on Saturday night. Youth have the option of sleeping in the Treehouse or returning to their cabins to sleep that evening.


Please ensure that you are aware of any mental or physical health conditions the youth in your care have– these are also included in the registration forms. Bring any medications that your youth need with you to the CON. An incident report for any injury requiring medical care during the CON should be completed with the assistance of the Youth Program Manager.

A negative covid test result taken on site at check-in is required for entry for all CON participants (youth, PALs, advisors). All CON participants will be tested again on Saturday morning before breakfast. Please bring your own tests– we will have some available for purchase if you forget. Masks are optional. Keeping up to date with the latest covid vaccination is strongly encouraged. Any CON participant who tests positive for covid will be expected to return home immediately.


Before the CON:
Register each Advisor and Youth who will be attending the CON no later than two weeks prior to the CON

Submit an Advisor Participation Form signed by a congregational staff member verifying that all advisors have had background checks no later than two weeks prior to the CON
Consult the Youth CON Packing List 

Due at the CON:
Authorization for Medical Care and Travel Form for each youth you are accompanying to the CON

A copy front and back of the insurance card of each youth who has health insurance

How to Submit Forms

Have questions?
Need accessibility accommodations? Please contact Catherine Zenaida (she/her) at or 828-526-5838 ext 236

Youth Protection Policy

The Mountain recognizes the importance of fostering and creating communities where everyone, especially children and youth, are protected. We are currently reviewing and revising our youth protection policy. Read The Mountain’s Youth Protection Policy from 2015

Advisor Participation Form – Required

In compliance with our Youth Protection Policy, a congregational staff member must complete an advisor participation form for the advisors to attend our Youth CONs.

  • Download the Advisor Participation Form (PDF)
  • Print the form
  • Complete all the information
  • Submit to The Mountain via the email address before joining us at the Youth CONs.



MountainCamp Parent Info

MountainCamp Parent Info

Lee Knight Campership Fund

Lee Knight Campership Fund



Youth CONferences

Youth CONferences

Apply to be a PAL

Apply to be a PAL