In less than a month, I’ll be in Cincinnati for the 2009 National Youth Workers Convention. Below is a list of things I’m looking forward to.
Things I’m looking forward to at NYWC 2009: Cincinnati
1. Experiencing the new format
This year Youth Specialties is using a new format for the convention. Go here to find out more about the changes. One of the biggest changes is happening on Saturday in Open Space. After hearing about the experience from LA (the first convention of this year was in LA last week), I am excited to be a part of it in person.
As I have volunteered at more conventions than I have attended, some of the changes will mean little to change my overall experience. Since I have not been able to attend any of the workshops or seminars, I will not miss this change. The benefit of attending the NYWC, for me, comes from the interaction with other youth workers. And that interaction is only going to be more intentional this year.
2. Seeing old friends
I love seeing old friends and connecting with them. Some of these friends are from college, some are youth workers I only know through the convention and others are people I have been able to work with. But the group I’m really looking forward to seeing is the YS staff (volunteers included) – I love working with these people. Unfortunately, this year will also be the first year that I won’t be working with some old friends (you will all be missed).
There is something special about being able to spend time with people who understand.
In a place full of youth workers, you do not feel so alone.
In a place full of people who serve teenagers, you do not feel so odd.
In a place where there is always someone to talk to, you feel at home.
3. Meeting new friends
I already know of a few people I’m going to finally get to meet in person (which makes me pretty excited). Over the last few years I have been able to connect with several youth workers thanks to the internet. We have shared ideas, laughed together, prayed for each other, encouraged each other and become friends. But, since we do not live near each other, we have never met in person. Thanks to conventions like this, we get to be in the same place at the same time.
As much as I am looking forward to meeting these “online friends,” I’m just as excited to meet brand new friends. I do not know who I will get to interact with and get to know, but I know we’ll share a common bond. Maybe it’ll be you.
4. Serving youth workers
This would be #1 if I ordered by importance. Serving youth workers is the reason I volunteer every year I can. I love students and I love youth workers. I have been through some difficult seasons in ministry and I know there are many others who are going through something similar. Volunteering at the convention allows me an opportunity to serve a lot of youth workers and watch God refresh and recharge those who are serving others.
5. Getting the new Skit Guys DVD
I am pretty excited about getting the new Skit Guys DVD. I am thankful to Eddie (one of the Skit Guys) for his kindness, which is the only reason I get to get the new DVD. I mentioned on Twitter that I wish I could get the DVD for registering, using a promo code from YS and the NNYM. Since I am volunteering at the convention, I do not need to register to attend. Thus, no promotional code for me. Eddie responded to my tweet by saying they (the Skit Guys) would make sure I got one. I’m pretty excited about getting it and using it with the jr. high students I am currently working with.
6. Finding new resources
Speaking of new resources… youth workers are always looking for a resource that will help us serve students more effectively. At the convention, you will find a variety of companies and products in the exhibit hall, so many that you will probably feel overwhelmed. But if you know what you are looking for and use common sense, you can find a great new resource(s). I try to only get what I know I can use soon after I return home. Do not come home with a suitcase full of curriculum or books to read – you will not use them all. Purchase what you will use and write down information about the other resources, so you can get them later.
If you are planning on going to NYWC in Cincinnati, I would love to meet you. I’ll be at the YS Store most of the week, just stop by and say “hi” or maybe we can do lunch.