I was born just before the 1976 Lutheran Youth Gathering in New Orleans and in the midst of the Montreal Olympics. I was going to reflect back on life in increments of three or four years. I was a high school athlete and do enjoy the Olympics and stories about the Olympics, but for many years my parents were part of planning Lutheran Youth Gatherings and then I became involved in the Gatherings myself.
1976 The All-Lutheran (American Lutheran Church (ALC), Lutheran Church in America (LCA), Lutheran Church Missouri Synod) Youth Gathering in New Orleans. My parents were working for the Youth Division of the ALC and some staff wanted me to be baptized in the dome. My parents said “No. She will be baptized in a congregation.”
1979 ALC Youth Gathering in Kansas City. My mom’s friend Mable died before she was able to introduce one of the keynote speakers, so my mom stepped in to introduce author and translator Edna Hong. I was there, all of age three, in the back with family friend Laura holding me.
1982 ALC Youth Gathering in San Antonio. No one seems to remember if I attended this one.
1985 ALC Youth Gathering in Denver. Most people remember the Gatherings by the big theme. I remember them by the Interaction Center themes because for many years my parents led the team that coordinated the Center. The Habitat, the same name my parents gave our home in the Black Hills, was the 1985 theme.
1988 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Youth Gathering in San Antonio. The Interaction Center theme was Holy High. There were holstein cows (like, Holy Cows at Holy High) all over the Interaction Center. Two of them were in the rafters of our garage for about twelve years–a friendly reminder of San Antonio. Here is a link to the history of Lutheran Youth Gatherings.