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.