Alaska - Pilot Station Youth Camp Mission Team

“This was the best ever mission trip! Thank you for the fun, laughs and learning!” – Betty, ‘19 Alaska Team member

YUKON DEANERY, Alaska – Are you interested in working with Orthodox clergy and community leaders in Alaska to reach out to youth from the village of Pilot Station and the surrounding area?

The 2022 Alaska Mission Team will participate in the annual Deanery youth camp in the Yukon. Youth in these rural villages have a unique need for fellowship and community. The camp incorporates lessons on the Faith, living as Orthodox in this world, a Christian understanding of social media, as well as arts, crafts, music, and sports in a rustic setting. Additionally, local leaders will teach the youth about their Yup’ik traditions and way of life. Team members will also offer a retreat to the members of the Transfiguration of Our Lord Orthodox Church in Pilot Station.

The Church faces many challenges as she continues to maintain an Orthodox witness and proclaim Christ while equipping a new generation of future believers and leaders to know and live their faith. The Diocese of Alaska desires to see the spiritual needs of her youth met as they are empowered to grow and develop a relationship with Christ and His Church. OCMC Mission Teams work in partnership with the OCA Diocese of Alaska to provide catechism to the faithful and youth ministry to foster growth and involvement in the Church.

It has been over two hundred years since the Orthodox Christian Faith was proclaimed on the shores of Alaska, and it is often considered America’s Holy Land. The presence of Orthodoxy in these villages can be traced back to early Russian missionaries whose witness has contributed to the faith in these villages. Pilot Station, first called Ankachak, is part of the Lower Yukon region located on the bank of the Yukon River. It is a remote village accessible only by air, water, or snowmobile, and inhabited mostly by native Yup’ik people who practice a traditional subsistence lifestyle. A picturesque village with pine trees, rolling hills, and an astonishing view of the Yukon River and surrounding landscape, Pilot Station has a K-12 school with approximately 175 students who come from the surrounding areas. Over 500 people live in Pilot Station, and 95 percent are Native Yup’ik people. One of the oldest structures in the region is the Transfiguration of Our Lord Orthodox Church, built in the early 1900’s and is listed on the National Park Register of Historic Places.

Team will be hosted by Fr. Stephen Heckman. All members should be prepared to teach the faith to young people and be very flexible because the camp is very rustic. Family participation is welcome. Youth workers, church school teachers and camp counselors are encouraged to apply!

Dates:  July 22 – July 31, 2022 (exact dates to be determined)

Cost:  $1,165.00 (+airfares)

Travel – Members will fly (round-trip) to Pilot Station, Alaska by afternoon on Wednesday July 22 and return home on Friday July 31. Airfares are not included in participation cost.

Fund raising – Each Team Member is responsible for the participant cost and airfares associated with this Team. Team Members are encouraged to invite others to participate in this effort through prayer and tax-deductible donations. Participant cost includes room and board, local transportation, orientation costs, ministry expenses, excursion and materials.

Share in a journey of faith… Orthodox Mission Team members are challenged to view the world with God's eyes and seek how He wants to use them to fulfill His plans. This cross-cultural experience, combined with outreach, offers participants a life-changing learning experience. This experience is about people, culture and missions. It is also about prayer, for you and others; it is about God, those you serve, and about yourself, as you serve Him.