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Good morning YAV/A community! I pray that this past night has been restful and renewing for you. Here in the Northeast, the sun is rising into a clear sky, and I hope for all y’all this means a joyful day!

Yesterday, we asked members of the YAV Alumni Leadership Council to talk about the best skills/lessons they learned during their time of service. Today’s theme for our social media blitz is similar: How are you a better leader now because of the YAV program? Here’s what they had to say…

Monisha Smith (co-vice-moderator): I learned how to follow, to listen, and to wait (some even call that patience).

Maggie Leonard (moderator): I learned about the importance of ministering/teaching in partnership, where the voices of those “being ministered to” are heard, valued, and responded to.

Emily Miller (recruitment): I am a better leader because of my Young Adult Volunteer experience in many ways, but mostly because I learned how to be in conversation and community with people even in the midst of disagreements. Not everyone who becomes a YAV is seeking to be a ministry professional, but that happens to be what I have done. Two years into my ordination I have sat in group meetings where people argue first, dialogue second (if ever). As a Young Adult Volunteer I was encouraged to have conversations with people who were not like me, who thought differently about faith and politics, who came from different backgrounds and cultures. The part that has transitioned into being a better leader is learning to first see the human experience behind each person, to ask them to tell me their story because their story will somehow intertwine with mine, even if only because we both have a story that needs to be told.

Sarah Leer (event planning/reunion): I find that I am a more calm leader because of the experience I gained with the YAV program. I am a much better at communication and conflict resolution because of my year of service.

Jason Cashing (social media): I learned the ministry of presence over programming. Programs are flashy and attractive, but ministry – regardless of how it is lived out – is about building relationships to promote the good news.

So there you have it – these are some of the skills from our times of service that we bring to the YAV program and YAV Alum as we seek to promote the program, our community, and the church at large. How has the YAV program made you a better leader, wherever you are now? Who in your churches or communities might be interested to know that such gifts are out there and available as they seek to live into the leaders God is calling them to be? We always love to know, so feel free to leave a comment here on the blog, on Twitter (#YAVrocks), and/or on FaceBook – and be sure to share your stories with those who are immediately around you in your communities!

What are you waiting for? Go out and tell them!