That’s just about the only word that can describe my heart right now. The last week at NYWC left me completely spent both physically and mentally– but I sit here now with my spirit soaring.
Feet aching, eyes leaky, and thankful.
Back in December I had this silly belief that YS’s best days were still ahead.
It came out of my mouth all the time. It came out of my mouth because it was what my heart was telling me.
Obviously, the people at YouthWorks who had just hired me to stay with Youth Specialties loved it when I said that… But for those who have been around YS for a while– that thought was almost offensive. People just politely smiled when I said it. You see, our history and the things in the past have been so great, that to even set the expectation that things could be better than the past seemed like I wasn’t honoring our past.
That’s just not true. My feeling was that the best way to honor what we’d done over the past 40 years was try to work hard to resonate with what we’ve always done well while taking everything else to a whole new level. I felt like it would be dishonoring to play it safe in 2010 and it would honor the past best if we looked at every tiny detail as an opportunity to innovate.
Fortunately for me, Tic and everyone else felt the same way. And we set off on this crazy idea of not just getting through our first year with new ownership, but using this as a reset point.
Even though in 2009 we had laid our heart out and finished feeling trampled, damaged, and hurt… we would learn what we could from that and lay our heart down again. Maybe we were masochistic? But we just had this crazy desire to keep trying.
9 months later– all that was left was to see if all of that crazy idealism could become a reality. Walking into last week I kept telling people, “I’ve got this feeling God has an amazing story to tell and I can’t wait to see what it is.”
All weekend long people asked me how the weekend was going. Then they proceeded to tell me all sorts of nice things about the weekend. All I could do was smile. Everything just felt right. The venue, the set-up, the affirmations flowing from the pours of the staff, the way the stage looked… everything.
You won’t get this grin off of my face for a few more days.
Over and over again Tic told us he wanted everything to be done in such a way where people who program for a living could just relax and know our team had everything handled. Hearing nice things tells us that people were shutting off their programming minds and just enjoying themselves. Phew.
For us, the evaluation process is just beginning. But based on what we heard and saw on site– I feel really good about San Diego. (We are all perfectionist, so of course we’ll tear it all apart and fix all sorts of minutia before Nashville.)
I was never more proud to work for YS than I was over the last 7 days.
The level of difficulty was exceptionally high. We had to navigate a new relationship with YouthWorks while at the same time trying to create an amazing Youth Specialties event at a time when youth workers desperately needed it. And some how it all came together. I know it’s not good to talk about pride in the Christian world… but I’m very proud of what we did this weekend together.
I’m not trying to say this was the best NYWC ever. Nor am I saying that this was YS’s shining moment in history. But I am saying that this weekend was a step towards better days to come.
Call me crazy. Call me stupid. Call me whatever name you want. But each day I have to wake up and believe that our best days are in front of us.