We are all about youth

... and we are all about keeping our youth (and their families) safe and healthy.

We now have in-person events and meetings as of April 2021! We will mostly meet outdoors and have procedures in place to make sure we don't put anyone at extra risk from covid. We're doing our best to keep everyone safe, happy, and healthy. 

(Only you and your loved ones can decide what's right for your family.)

St. Paul’s has a large and varied program of youth ministries overseen by a Council on Youth Ministries (CYM) and directed by our full-time Youth Pastor, Mr. Micah Smartt. 

SCROLL DOWN to find upcoming events, registration forms, and youth news.

sign-up forms and Interest Forms

For your convenience, we've moved sign-ups and payments online! Below you will find registration or sign up forms, information for events which require payments, surveys, and permission slips for events.

Wilderness Trail Registration Form

St. Paul's Educational Award

St. Paul’s, through its Council on Youth Ministries, provides an Educational Award annually to one or more graduating High School Seniors to help cover expenses for their next stage of life, whatever that may look like! 

Award amounts vary and are dependent on several factors, including available Educational Award funds and student responses to the application, which include academic and extracurricular achievement, need, and service to and engagement with the St. Paul's community. Only those who apply can be considered!

The 2021 application deadline was Sunday, May 2, 2021. Awards will be distributed during the 10:30 Worship Service on Sunday, May 16. 

Congratulations to this year's award recipients!

Emma Cooper

Katie Orndorff

Meghan Simpson

Cliff Weaver

Jonah Webb

Since 1989, over $80,000 has been distributed to 100 college-bound students who have attended over 55 different college campuses in 18 states and the District of Columbia. 

Questions about the Educational Award? Contact Micah Smartt, Minister of Youth and Design, at msmartt @ stpaulsk.org. This award is made possible by our donors. You can contribute to this fund by check made out to St. Paul's UMC with "Ed Award" in the memo line, or by going to the Giving page and scrolling down to Additional Contribution Options.

Wilderness Trail

We were all disappointed after Wilderness Trail had to cancel last year, but they've come up with a plan to make sure we can all safely hike together this coming Summer! Much has changed to make sure everyone can stay as healthy and safe as possible, but the core of the program remains!

For more information, click on each tab for information, PDF files, or our Registration link!

  • Dates: July 25-30
  • Participants: 14 youth spots, 3 adult chaperone spots. Anyone currently in 6th - 12th grade, plus last year's seniors may attend.
  • Cost: $305 per participant. We ask for a $75 deposit for the trip. Scholarships/Camperships are available. Please contact Micah to discuss options privately.

SPY News

Updates and news-to-know can be found right here. Be sure to sign up for the email newsletter, too!

  • Weekly SPY meetings - In Person!!

    In-Person Meeting

    Middle High and Senior High ALTERNATING weeks

    4:00-5:30 pm

    We'll be in the yard outside the Fellowship Hall! Bring a blanket or a chair. (If it rains, we'll move inside Fellowship Hall.) Also bring your mask and water bottle. All of our activities will be socially distanced but for our final meeting, we'll have extra fun games and popsicles. 

    Special Summer Send-Off end-of year celebrations in June!

    June 6: Middle High

    June 13: Senior High

    These are the last youth events of the 2020-2021 programming year. 

    The Youth Pastor and chaperone team will take the summer to rest and plan activities for 2021-2022 - and hike on the Appalachian Trail with Wilderness Trail! Scroll up for more info if you'd like to join us!

    All the details are in the SPY emails, so check it out! Sign up to get these messages by entering your email in the form above, or contact Micah at msmartt@stpaulsk.org.

  • Campership Financial Aid

    Did you know...

    We do a lot of great things here at St. Paul's Youth, and many are free or fairly inexpensive. However, we do have some events and trips that can cost quite a bit.

    We never want a youth to be left out because of money. St. Paul's has a scholarship/campership fund available to help individuals and families cover part or all of the costs associated with youth fellowship, retreat, camp, or service activities. 

    These events we attend can be life changing experiences and we don't want anyone to miss out! Don't let an activity's price tag hold you back. Contact Micah Smartt (msmartt@stpaulsk.org or 301-933-7933 ext. 111) to discuss scholarship/campership financial aid needs confidentially, one-on-one.

  • wilderness trail

    We have dates! July 25 - 30

    Wilderness Trail is currently planning to take groups out on the Appalachian Trail in 2021! After coordinating with our friends at Wilderness Trail, they were able to offer us the ability to take two groups this year, on their very last event, July 25 - 30!

    This trip allows youth to spend time in God's creation by backpacking for 4 days along sections of the AT in Virginia and/or Tennessee. Read more in the section above!

    As always, camperships are available as needed - simply reach out to Micah for a completely confidential conversation about financial aid. If you'd like more information, please contact Micah at msmartt@stpaulsk.org

  • Signal Boost: BWC Summer Camps

    The Baltimore-Washington Conference of the UMC runs many popular summer camps and retreats! After missing last year, they are re-opening for 2021 with new covid-related precautions in place. Camps run mid-June through the first week of August in these camp locations:

    • Manidokan, in the mountains near Harper's Ferry WV, offers canoe and river adventures, horse camp, rustic camp, leadership and adventure camp, ASL and deaf camp, and more.
    • West River, along the river near Annapolis MD, offers sailing, basketball, discovery camp, "Grandparents & Me," LeadHER camp, and more.

    Flyers are available in the church office and info, forms, and camp details can be found online:


  • Shenandoah Youth Theology Institute

    This two-week credit-bearing program at Shenandoah University is also a great place to have fun, make friends, enjoy service-oriented field trips, and experience what being a strong Christian leader can mean. This year's institute runs July 18-31. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. The cost is $200 - scholarships available, contact Micah at msmartt@stpaulsk.org for a confidential one-on-one financial aid discussion. Go to www.su.edu/youththeology to learn more about the program and check out photos of previous years.

  • you've got (less) mail

    In an effort to cut down on some costs, streamline our flow of information, and to be a little more environmentally friendly, we've made the decision to stop production of the printed SPY Briefing newsletter.

    From now on, we'll be putting all of our SPY information into the pages of the monthly newsletter: The Epistle from St. Paul's. If you were on our SPY Briefing mailing list, you'll be receiving a hard copy of the Epistle instead through the rest of the school year. Contact Micah (msmartt@stpaulsk.org) if you did not receive the January edition of the Epistle and would like to be added to the list, or if you would like to be removed from the list.

    We'll also be revising and updating this website (and with greater frequency) so it's even more up to date with info than before.

    That doesn't mean that you'll stop receiving mail from our youth ministry however! For special events and retreats, we plan to send out flyers and postcards with all the information you'll need! While those mailings will be less frequent than a monthly newsletter mailing, this will still give you a taste of what we've got going on!

Confirmation Class 2021

Each year, youth in Grade 7 or above who have not been confirmed are invited to join Confirmation Class.



Confirmation is a serious commitment requiring regular attendance, study, service, and participation in certain worship services. Classes introduce important concepts about our faith, church history, and our membership vows. Each confirmand will also be assigned a member of the congregation to serve as a mentor.


Participants who completed confirmation classes and chose to become full church members will be received into membership during the 10:30 a.m. worship service on Sunday, May 23, 2021.


Classes will meet 7:00-8:30 p.m. on Tuesdays from February 2 through May 18 (with some breaks in between). We will initially meet using Zoom and then, if public health conditions and the Confirmation families' comfort levels allow, we may move to in-person sessions when it is safe to do so.


Contact Micah Smartt at msmartt@stpaulsk.org no later than Wednesday, January 27. 

PLANS FOR THE FUTURE: Confirmation '22

We realize some families may wish to delay confirmation this Spring and consider participating in Confirmation '22. "Confirmation '22" will have a different format. Classes will likely run from September 2021 through May 2022, with either twice-a-month 90-minute sessions or shorter classes weekly. We hope and pray that conditions will allow for more of our "normal" Confirmation events, like a lock-in or retreat. 

Please contact Micah Smartt, Youth Pastor, at msmartt@stpaulsk.org if you have any questions.



Congratulations to these graduating high school seniors from the St. Paul's community for reaching this milestone. We wish you all the best as you move boldly into the next chapter of your lives!


Alexander Bartleman

Deirde Jane Bartleman

Emma Rachelle Cooper*

Alec Cornwell

William James Crittenden IV

Kiera Green

Boyd E. Hammond

Lucas Jack Hartmann

Rudy Kaufman

Sarah S. (Sadie) McMullen

Kathryn Grace Orndorff*

Meghan Ainsley Simpson*

Ellie Tan

Clifford Thomas Weaver*

Jonah Webb*

(* recipients of the St. Paul's 2021 Educational Award)

Previous Events & long-Term activities

Here's a look at some SPY activities that take place in non-covid-times.

  • Weekly SPY Meetings

    Our regularly-scheduled SPY groups will NOT meet for now.  When we can arrange physically-distanced activities that are fun and can be done safely with masks on, we will add them to our line-up!

    Under normal circumstances, all friends are welcome at our weekly meetings, regularly held on Sunday afternoons: 

    • Middle High SPY at 4:30 pm
    • followed by Youth Choir/Pick-up/Drop-off Break 6:00-6:45pm, 
    • then Senior High SPY 6:45-8:30pm.

    Details about the 2020-2021 year and schedule changes will be shared in newsletters, bulletins, right here, and in emails. (Sign up to get our emails!)

    Want updates? Have questions? Problems? Compliments? Contact Mr. Micah Smartt - email him at msmartt@stpaulsk.org.

  • Schedule Change!

    To minimize risk and keep friends healthy during the corona virus outbreak, St. Paul's is temporarily suspending, revamping, or rescheduling all activities, including our traditional St. Paul's Youth gatherings. Please contact Micah if you have questions!

  • Acolyte & Crucifer Team

    When we worship in-person, our youth carry the light of Christ into worship or carry the cross at the opening and closing of the service.  Laura Simpson coordinates the Acolyte & Crucifer crew. In a normal year, we offer training each Spring to welcome new acolytes and crucifers, and we will reboot this ministry as soon as it is safe to worship in the Sanctuary. Questions? Please email Laura Simpson: LPSimpson44 [at] gmail. com.

  • REtreats: 

    SAve the adventures for another day!

    West River, and all other BWC camping & retreat sites, closed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Our scheduled Spring Retreats had to be canceled and families should have received a refund or had a chance to redirect their payments to support other church ministries. 

    Canceling and shuttering retreat sites are smart, safe things to do while we try to isolate and avoid transmitting the virus. But we also know how much our Youth look forward to retreat, and we're sorry to be missing our annual spring getaway!  West River & Manidokan aren't projected to re-open for some time. We will look at our options for safe gatherings and events later.

    Under normal circumstances, we spend retreat weekend with games, meals, devotionals, and tons of outdoor fun designed to boost faith and friendship. Micah had planned a great set of Spring Retreats sharing a common theme! "Into the Wilderness" was inspired by the numerous times that faithful people in our biblical stories venture into the wilderness, with different retreat experiences in store for each group. Micah will shelve these plans - for now! 

  • sT. pAUL'S Youth CHoir

    CANCELED (for now)

    Rehearsals most Sundays, MPR, 6:00-6:45 pm

    When things are "normal," all youth are welcome at Youth Choir Rehearsals, usually held between Middle High SPY & Senior High SPY during the school year. You don't have to participate in SPY to be in choir, or vice versa (but lots of folks do, and we're always happy to see your faces!). Youth Choir is led by James Woods and Tom Pedersen. Read more about choir and other musical stuff on the MUSIC page.

  • St. Paul's Camperships

    Did you know... 

    We do a lot of great things here at St. Paul's Youth, and many are free or fairly inexpensive. However, we do have some events and trips that can cost quite a bit. 

    We never want a youth to be left out because of money. St. Paul's has a scholarship/campership fund available to help individuals and families cover part or all of the costs associated with youth fellowship, retreat, camp, or service activities. These events we attend can be life changing experiences and we don't want anyone to miss out! Don't let an activity's price tag hold you back. 

    Contact Micah Smartt (msmartt [at] stpaulsk.org or 301-933-7933 ext. 111) to discuss scholarship/campership needs confidentially, one-on-one.

  • Previous SPY events

    • Celebration Days - 2019 end-of-year youth celebrations included a Middle High trip to SkyZone Trampoline Park and a Senior High Color Wars battle and cookout on the grounds of St. Paul's. In previous years we've also arranged longer trips to Six Flags and Ocean City MD.
    • Wilderness Trail - youth and adult hikers of all ages spent a week of unplugged hiking on sections of the Appalachian Trail while considering faith, community, and the natural world God created.
    • Borderlands: A Southwest Cultural Immersion Experience - high school youth visited El Paso TX to see the natural wonders of the Rio Grand, Carlsbad Caverns, and White Sands, and to take a deep dive into how we as Christians can respond to issues of particular urgency in desert southwest including conservation, firearms, and immigration.
    • Group Work Camp - St. Paul's met with other youth groups to build, paint, dig, and manage home improvement and community projects in areas of great need including the Lakota Sioux reservation (2017) in South Dakota and low income neighborhoods in Virginia Beach (2018).
    • Christmas Party - Each December, we get together for Christmas fun. Dress in holiday gear and bring an ornament ($5 value) to exchange.
    • Trunk or Treat - Youth had a big hand in the success of this kid-and-family focused night around Halloween in the St. Paul's parking lot in 2019.