I am so pleased that many congregational leaders in MidAmerica have stepped up to be fully engaged in youth ministry for our entire region. In my regional work, I am so proud to be working with youth and adult leaders who are actively planning to provide a wide array of youth ministry events in 2013-2014 program year. In the Heartland area, we now have a Heartland Area Youth Council, with 9 youth and adult leaders that are organizing youth cons and trainings. In the Central Midwest area, there are a group of committed leaders who are in the process of organizing a Northern Area Youth Council and Southern Area Youth Council, who will be the point people for working with congregations who wish to host a fall or spring con. Thanks to the inspiring leaders of the new MidAmerica Youth Advisor Network (MAYAN), there are advisors who will be serving on these youth area councils to make sure that all of the youth ministry events are of excellent quality and following the highest standards for safety. MAYAN is the new professional association for adult congregational leaders in youth ministry, and will primarily serve to provide support and trainings for youth advisors, youth coordinators, and religious educators (MAYAN will not be the group who actually plan and/or provides youth conferences). Two talented leaders from the Prairie Star area, Ben Wallace, from 1st UU in Omaha, NE, and Sara Karbeling, from 1st UU in Des Moines are also serving on the new MAYAN board. Sara, and the Des Moines youth group, will be hosting their annual youth conference, DEF CON, on Nov. 22-24. Also, in the Prairie Star area, Jill Schwendeman, and the youth from White Bear congregation in Minnesota, are in the process of planning a youth conference in May. For the Central Midwest area there will be a northern Fall Con, Cobalt Nitrate Youth Con, in Rockford, IL, Nov. 15-17, and a southern Fall Con, Space Time CONtinUUm, in Peoria, IL, Nov. 8-10. There are two youth training events on the horizon, a Chaplaincy Training Con, on Oct. 11-13, in W. Lafayette, IN, and a Spirituality Development Conference, on Nov. 15-17 in Dayton, OH. Also, thanks to the leaders in our Michigan congregations there will be a Middle School retreat in southeastern Michigan, Mystic Lake Retreat, Oct. 11-13. Just in case you wanted to find out about more transformative youth events, there will also be the annual Fall conference in the Heartland area, CONtagious, in Indianapolis, on Nov. 1-3!
So, you can see that there is a rich array of wonderful youth ministry events on the calendar for MidAmerica, and I hope to report back soon on the emergence of our MidAmerica Youth Ministry Advisory Group, who will have leaders from the respective area youth councils reporting on youth ministry in their areas. If you are interested in finding out more, please contact me: [email protected]
August 2-3, 2013 marked an historic moment for Unitarian Universalist youth ministry leaders in the MidAmerica region. After many months of hard work and dedication, the Mid America Youth Advisor Network, (MAYAN) was officially launched.
MAYAN is intended to provide youth advisors with a place to go for information, to ask questions and collectively share our ideas, wisdom and resources. As youth advisors, we are here because we share a passion for youth ministry, and while the work we do with youth is vital, it is also important to make time to honor ourselves and to grow spiritually. MAYAN creates a space for us to connect in meaningful ways and to nurture and support each other.
You can currently connect with MAYAN on Facebook and a MAYAN website is in process. You can also email the group moderator at [email protected] .
MAYAN is here for all of us because of the hard work and perseverance of several veteran youth leaders. A debt of gratitude is owed to Heather Godbout, Kim Tilford and Bill Huber. Thank you for believing in MAYAN and thank you for caring enough about us as leaders and about the future of our youth to hold on to your vision, even in the dark.
"...we're the generation we can't afford to wait...The future started yesterday we're already late..." -- John Legend
What an honor to take part in this historic event, the creation of MAYAN at Advisor Con 2013. I was especially thrilled to be asked to serve as the MidAmerica Regional staff liaison for MAYAN.
In this context, I will endeavor to link our respective MidAmerica youth ministry leaders, and to go the next step in providing transformative trainings and resources for our congregational leaders who are endeavoring to create spirit filled, congregationally-focused, multigenerational, and multicultural youth ministry. I will also be a committed advocate for alignment and partnership with our national Youth and Young Adult Office.
I am convinced that this is the start of a significant partnership! As John Legend has expressed...the future started yesterday and tomorrow is already here! [email protected]