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All attending members of the YAVA Leadership Council: Joe Tobiason, David Wigger (YAV Intern), Stephen Speakman, Luke Rembold, Emily Miller (YAV Staff), Jason Woods, Sarah Leer, Richard Williams (YAV Staff)

This March 5-7 saw your YAVA Leadership Council meeting at Ferncliff Camp and Conference Center, outside Little Rock, AR. As always, it served as a great opportunity to gather face to face and build community, brainstorm ideas for YAVA gatherings, and develop concrete plans moving forward. Here are a few of the things we worked on:


Ferncliff Camp at night

1. How do we best support the growth and change occurring in the YAV program?
YAV Program Director Richard Williams asked us, “Knowing where you are now, 5 or more years out of the YAV program, what went right? What skills did you learn? How did this change the direction of your life?” As YAVA, the more feedback we can consistently provide the YAV office on these questions, the better.

2014-2015 YAVA LC Moderator Sarah Leer and YAV Staff Emily Miller

2. Evaluation of YAVA regional gatherings and Partner program
 This is the crux of what the YAVA LC is working on currently. The idea of this program is two-fold: first, to create established YAVA communities in areas of high YAVA populations committed to continued conversations surrounding YAV values (simple living, justice work, etc). Second, to use the Partner program to introduce new YAVA fresh from their YAV years into these existing communities of support and reflection. We still need help from YAVA in multiple locations across the country to make this goal a reality, but we are feeling optimistic about it moving forward.
We will be celebrating YAVA Day on October 24th! Look for a YAVA gathering near you!

2015-2016 LC Moderator Luke Rembold Smiles during a tour of Ferncliff.

3. Bolstering our online presence through Social Media
Thanks to a great campaign through “mini-interviews” this last February, we saw incredible potential to build the online presence of the YAVA facebook, twitter, and blog. We’re looking for ways to spread out the workload, in addition to recruiting more writers/photographers for guest posts and pictures!
 Specifically, we will be doing our first YAVA twitterchat at 7 pm EDT on April 15, and one the 15th of every month at the same time moving forward!

Jason Woods gets on solar bus at Ferncliff

4. YAV Office/YAVA LC Workshop at Big Tent, July 30-August 1, 2015
At Big Tent this summer, the YAVA LC is working with the YAV office to help facilitate a workshop focusing on racial justice. Stay tuned for details on this exciting opportunity as they emerge!

Leave-less trees of Ferncliff at Sunset

The beard is strong with the LC.

The beard is strong with the LC.

5. Toured the Ferncliff Camp grounds and visited the current YAVs that live on site
Ferncliff Camp and Conference center currently houses 3 YAVs.  The LC got to spend the weekend with 2 of them, including rides in a solar car, goat petting, walked through greenhouses and viewing the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance center.

Current YAV Alex Haney drives solar bus around the Ferncliff campus


Current YAV Molly DeWitt poses with goats on Ferncliff campus

Photos by JTobiason Photography