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Youth award winners and other youth ministry happenings

By: Doreen Gosmire, director of communication, Dakotas UMC

Krogerm Award

Michelle Kroger is the 2020 Darrel Leach Youth Worker of the Year. Photos by CCYM.

The Dakotas Conference Council on Youth Ministries or CCYM selects a youth leader each year who has made exemplary contributions to youth ministry in their local church and across the Conference for the Darrel Leach Youth Worker of the Year and the Youth Worker Hall of Fame Award. 

The 2020 recipient of the Darrel Leach Youth Worker of the Year Award is Michelle Kroger. Michelle has served as a youth ministry leader at all of the congregations that her husband, Rev. Karl Kroger, has served. She most recently led youth activities at Grace UMC in Piedmont, South Dakota. Michelle is also a strong advocate of Conference youth ministry activities.

CCYM also is proud to award Rev. Aryn Coalter the Youth Worker Hall of Fame Award. This award honors outstanding individuals who have committed a lifetime to serving Jesus Christ through youth ministry. Arlyn has spent many summers at camp leading youth of all ages to Christ. He also has been instrumental in creating active, vibrant youth ministries at the congregations he has served. 

Coalter Award

Rev. Arlyn Coalter received the Youth Worker Hall of Fame Award for 2020.

Rev. Jeff Lathrop, the chairperson for CCYM, says, “Congratulations to Michelle and Arlyn. Thank you for inspiring many young people in their faith.”

Lathrop also reports CCYM recently decided not to hold Winter Connection in January. “It was a difficult decision but the safest for all,” he says.

Watch for these CCYM activities in 2021: Youth Worker Academy, Leadership Training Camp, and DakYouth. Find out more about all of the Dakotas Youth happenings at

Youth leaders, are you looking for some useful resources? The Dakotas Conference and Stephanie Caro with Ministry Architects have created a Facebook group called Dakotas Children’s / Youth Ministry Connection. Be sure to check out the Facebook page here, join the group, for some great ideas!


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