Youth Ministry

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About Youth Ministry…

Our Mission Statement: “To partner with youth to develop a vibrant, maturing, and enduring faith in Jesus Christ.”

Our youth ministry seeks to create expSurf City group in circleeriences for youth that are fun, safe, social and Christ-centered. The intimate size of our group allows our ministry to be very relational and intentional, with no student falling through the cracks. Above all, we make efforts to guide our students along in their faith journey. We pray that the students we serve develop vibrant, maturing, and enduring faith in Jesus Christ. We welcome all youth from the La Crosse community to our programs and events, regardless of church membership or religious affiliation. We love having friends and visitors join us, even if just for a night!

Our Youth Director is Alex Jerve, who has been with us since June 2014. Information on our programs is at the bottom of this page.




Encouraging Youth Leaders

“Oh Captain, my Captain!”

Our youth groups have seen the beginnings of student leadership! After months of sensing a need for more leadership among our growing group of youth group attenders, as well as witnessing evidence of natural leadership potential in several of our core students, we decided that it was time to create official leadership roles for students in our younger two youth groups (students in grades 6-9).


Abie Sprain, Eden Winga, Kaleb Lycke, Abigail Womack, Quincy Smith, and Taryn Winga were all selected to make up the first team of Youth Group “Captains”. We were intentional to have both genders and all four grades represented in this team. As part of their responsibilities, these six students are asked to arrive 30 minutes early so that they can meet with the adult leaders to go through the plan of the upcoming meeting and pray together. Each captain is given one or two specific tasks to accomplish for each meeting. These tasks include praying for dinner, leading the gathering game, and cleaning up after dinner. We have also engaged the captains in our outreach efforts, having them write personal notes to 5th grade students to encourage them to check out our youth group in the fall.


Even though the captains have only been carrying out their roles for a little more than two months, we have seen great promise in this new element of youth groups. The meetings have a much smoother flow, students do not talk over each other as much, and visitors instantly feel like part of the group. The youth group leaders and I are proud to partner with these six students and their parents to help them grow in their leadership skills and strengthen their identity as young Christian men and women.



Escape Room – Outreach Project

Youth Ministry Partners with Big Brothers Big Sisters

Absence of a father or mother, a tense home environment, and troubles in school are all situations that motivate families to reach out to Big Brothers Big Sisters for help. Big Brothers Big Sisters of the 7 Rivers Region is a local branch of the national non-profit organization dedicated to providing children with an adult mentor (a “Big”) in order to build a friendship that changes the child’s life for the better. Youth Ministry at First Presbyterian Church is proud to partner with BBBS in organizing a bonding event for “Bigs” and their “Littles” this spring.


“Escape Rooms” are a recent cultural phenomenon that has been popping up all over the country. Participants are locked in a room filled with puzzles, padlocks, and other surprise features, and they try to solve everything to escape the room before time runs out. Escape Rooms are becoming increasingly popular, with commercial Escape Rooms charging $20-30 per participant. In March, we dedicated a major portion of each youth group meeting to developing amateur Escape Rooms. The students were assigned a room in the church and worked together to come up with a creative theme for their room, as well as 8-10 puzzles that participants have to solve. Aside from the benefits of any team-building activity, our goal for these rooms is to offer them as a free activity to “Bigs” and “Littles” on the afternoon of Saturday, May 6. Please join us in praying that this community outreach event serves to deepen the oh-so important bond between these children and their “Big”.

Last Week of Youth Groups is May 17!

Come check out our youth groups before the year is over! We offer 3 youth groups on Wednesdays for students in grades 6-12 . INFO ON EACH GROUP, INCLUDING MEETING TIMES & LOCATIONS is on our Youth Groups page


2017 Summer Trip Dates:

Surf City – August 6-12, 2017

For students currently in grades 5-8

See below for photos and the video of our 2016 trip to Surf City!






NYC Mission Trip – July 21-29, 2017

For students currently in grades 9-12

See below for a summary and photos of our 2016 mission trip to West Virginia!



2016 Summer Trips Group Photo with Logan in background

West Virginia Mission Trip (High School)

From July 23-30, a team of 12 high school students and adult leaders traveled out to the small Appalachian town of Logan, West Virginia to serve in its small and impoverished community. Team members were involved in a variety of mission projects including:

  • Deep-cleaning an elementary school in a nearby town
  • Hanging out and playing games with local youth
  • Repainting the interior of a woman’s home (the end result of which brought her to tears)
  • Visiting patients in a nursing home
  • Assisting with various other local ministries

Paige looking out at LoganSara painting


The team wishes to thank the congregation for its continued support through praying for our mission trips, attending the Spaghetti

Dinner, and faithfully giving to First Presbyterian Church and our youth scholarship fund.



Surf City (Middle School)

From August 7-13, a group of 22 middle school students and adults went back to Michigan for a week of camp at “Surf City”. With their high-energy games, packed schedule, goofy staff, and wide variety of free-time options, Surf City proves year after year to be the highlight of the summer for middle school students.









Our Programs

We provide Sunday School, Wednesday night youth group, and special events & outings. Almost all of our programs are either middle school or high school-specific.

Sunday School: Both the middle school and high school classes meet in the Coach House on Sunday mornings at 9:30 (between the two services).

Youth Groups: We have separate youth group programs for middle school and high school students, each with a different meeting location and time.
To read more about youth groups, visit our Youth Groups page.

Special Events & Outings: We provide special events and outings for our students, their friends, and youth in the community. We try to do these on a monthly basis.

Summer Trips: We take a group of students entering grades 6-9 to Surf City camp each summer. High school students entering grades 10-12 go on a mission trip every summer.



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Contact Us

First Presbyterian Church
233 West Ave South
La Crosse WI 54601

Phone: 608.784.4248
Fax: 608.784.1091

Email us:

Office Hours

Monday - Friday
8:00am - 4:00pm

Sunday Service

8:30am Worship
9:30am Sunday School
10:30am Worship