re-organization of youth specialties

This is a very tough day at Youth Specialties.

As is true for so many of you in churches, YS has not been immune from the economic challenges currently facing most ministries and companies. As such, we have been forced to take a close look at the structure of the organization to determine a more agile approach that allows YS to honor our mission to serve the needs of youth workers. We have spent a great deal of time exploring a number of options and ultimately creating a new organizational structure that will help us adapt and prepare for the future. The new structure also better positions YS to expand our platforms for both publishing and events through live, print and digital formats.

As a result of the realignment, three new positions have been created and will be filled in the near future and 14 positions are being eliminated across all levels of the organization. One of the most significant changes is that Tic Long, President of Events, will be leaving the organization in July after the completion of the DCLA student training conferences.

It is not an overstatement to say that YS would not be here today without Tic. Tic joined YS 32 years ago and has been absolutely instrumental in building YS, saving us from extinction a few times, serving as the public face of the organization and building and maintaining excellent relationships with key partners. Tic was closely involved in the discussions around this realignment and offered great insight as we were making difficult decisions. We greatly appreciate his grace, wisdom, understanding and most of all his passion to see YS well positioned to continue its important work. Tic’s contributions to YS have been immense and are greatly appreciated. He will be dearly missed.

In addition to Tic, 13 others are also affected by this change, seven of whom will be leaving this week, and an additional six who will be leaving in mid-July after the YS One Day and DCLA programs.

The new organization will be streamlined, and – hopefully – more nimble and responsive to what you need. YS events will be co-led by Michelle Fockler, as the VP of Event Administration, and Mark Matlock, as the VP of Event Content. Jay Howver will continue as VP and Publisher, and Dave Palmer as VP of Marketing.

While there’s a good amount of energy and vision for our future, with a bunch of new stuff to announce in the months to come, today just sucks. These 14 people are not only our co-workers, they’re our friends; and we seriously grieve their departure.

Please pray for these departing YS staff, and for those of us who are staying, for wisdom, insight, hope, and peace.

59 thoughts on “re-organization of youth specialties”

  1. I couldn’t contain the tears as I read this… it’s funny how despite the distance and the differences amongs us, this still feels like one big family. YS without Tic will never be the same, and yet we know we’ll keep on walking and things will be ok. But it is just shocking to even think about it… going to a convention and not seeing him there.

  2. Sorry man, perhaps I should of worded that like has the soul has been “stolen” or something. Seeing YS having to lay off Tic is a bit brutal as well, fo all of us I would guess.

    Of course you guys are in my prayers.

  3. I know a lot of this has been covered. I feel confident too that God can make some great things come out of this for someone as gifted as Tic as well as the others…its just that aside from the pastoral/friendliness “face” that Tic has become for me for YS, it is also the loss of continuity and longevity for YS. YS especially the NYWC represents the event for helping me re-“up” each year after I have been beat up. It was nice to have Wayne, Mike and Tic not only for their laughter but to watch them age and still be there. The news hits hard for those of us who wonder if there will be a place for us as we age in youth ministry, and need to see longtime familiar faces to keep us encouraged and going. Sorry for YS’s losses and ours.

  4. Man Matt you hit it on the head for those of us vets.

    I wonder if I will feel a bit too old at YS, and i use the convention to re-up every year too.

    Obviously YS has to move with the times,( I remember being upset when they took out the James Ward band).

    The good news is that there are many vets still running the seminars ( although I did notice the absence of Doug Fields this year). I would hope Tic would still be used by the convention for seminars. His seminar on Leadership was very good, and he has much to share.

  5. Marko,

    I just heard about this a couple of days ago. I have left Tic, and a couple of others that I know there, e-mails expressing my sorrow, support, and appreciation of their work. This seems so surreal to me, as I’m sure it does for you all. All of you continue to be in my prayers … I am so thankful for having the opportunity to work at the conventions and get to know many of you … sadly realizing there are many I may not see again. Know that there are others of us loosing sleep over this, as I’m sure you all have, as we pray for God’s loving arms to hold you and that you can find peace in the midst of this storm. Once again, I grieve with you deeply … knowing that what I’m feeling is mearly a fraction of what you guys are going through. I love you all!

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  7. I can’t help but feel very uncomfortable with Tic leaving AND with the changes at NYWC this year, and I can’t help but think that both issues are related. I feel like much of what I love about YS & NYWC is changing.

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