Today was great. YS is in full swing. Intensives are finished. Labs 1 & 2 are done. And now Big Rooms 1 & 2 are wrapped up. I love serving on the seminar team, but it is a little tricky trying to get to the Big Rooms, but the time spent with team mates and staff is very good.
The convention is feeling more like the convention. Most of the attendees have arrived and now fill the streets, hallways, elevators, and restaurants. The store and exhibit hall are both open and bustling with youth workers checking out the latest resources, missions groups, summer camps, and media upgrades. Laughter, music, frisbees, and finger rockets fill the air. And the YS staff is doing everything they can to make this the best convention possible.
Yeah, it’s different. But what’s the same is Youth Specialties desire to train and resource todays youth worker. You see that in the intensity of the staff. You hear it in their hearts as they talk to youth workers. You feel it when they talk about the hope for the future. Youth Specialties wants youth workers to succeed. They want them to love their students better, teach their students more effectively, and change the world one student at a time!
Tomorrow we will host what YS calls, Open Space. The idea is to bring the attendees together to talk and attempt to answer a question. Instead of listening to the “experts” talk about how it should be done, youth workers will have the opportunity to voice what they are doing, how it works for them, and the reality of ministry one the ground. Think your local youth leader networks. We gather weekly or monthly to connect, share, encourage, and lift up. It’s where iron sharpens iron. It’s fun, fruitful, and challenging. It’s intimate, honest, and emotional. No walls, no pretending, no pretenses. Real ministry from real workers.
Now blow it up to accommodate 1500 youth workers! Welcome to Open Space. At least, that’s the explanation as I understand it. I am anxious to see the whole thing in person. If it is what it sounds like, bringing the local to the national could be a fantastic thing.
YS is YS. I hope and pray it always stays YS.