NYWC 2012 Wrap Up: Let the Evals Speak!
By Mark Matlock on December 20 2012
This year like many others the post evaluations for NYWC were filled with praise and great stories. But that’s what I expect to read, that’s what we intended to accomplish. All in all it’s been a great year for the conventions and we have much more to learn. It is always a pleasure to read how the gatherings we’ve produced have ministered to youth workers and enhanced the work you do. Here are some significant trends:
It is interesting that a few people thought family room was created to save money. Nothing could be further from the truth, in fact, it required more resources to do them than a Big Room.
Overall, there is an appreciation for the risk that we took to bring youth workers together to make the conference smaller and to give participants the ability to connect with others like them.
Some were absolutely angry that we kind of “forced” them on them by not offering other options so they could escape the awkwardness of meeting new people. Many thanked us for forcing them into this environment,saying that on their own, they wouldn’t have participated but Family Room turned out to be the best part of their weekend. But for the smaller numbers who didn’t like this new experience, they really didn’t like it.
We believe in the incredible things that can happen when we come together to learn and share. We aren’t going to give up on Family Room, there are too many positive experiences, but we are listening and learning to what everyone had to say as we move forward. We want to keep investing in and improving this experience.
For sure, a Family Room experience will be shorter. Even those that loved the Family Room felt we could condense the amount of time. We also will not have them meet Sunday, as too many people’s schedules make committing to a third gathering difficult.
This will also allow us to add back the Saturday morning general session (and we have a great line up of speakers taking shape for 2013!).
We were excited to see attendance double over last year. Youth Ministry is taking a theological turn and YS will continue to be a convener and participant in the theological discussion around youth ministry.
We realize the Theological Forums are growing up and may need some format tweaks. We’ve been experimenting with this track and will be working this year to create an improved experience with all the feedback we’ve received.
We also want to ensure we are providing a balance across the theological spectrum. The Theological Forums are not intended to be “debates” but a discussion about how various theological positions inform and influence the direction of our practice in youth ministry.
We always offer a wide variety of seminars from the diverse spectrum of youth workers reflected in our family. As one professor of a very conservative seminary told me, “the tension in Christian higher Ed is between whether we are educating or indoctrinating.” He comes to NYWC for the breadth of backgrounds people have to be stretched and exposed too.
That said, we are always looking for new seminars and leaders. If you or someone you know would like to offer a seminar for NYWC 2013, you can submit a proposal HERE. As you can appreciate we have hundreds of seminar proposals, we’d like to give everyone the opportunity, but we’d love to consider any ideas or experiences you have.
There are many other ideas we’ll be implementing and considering off the evals that I don’t have room to mention here, but we are looking to serve you in 2013 with the largest, most diverse youth ministry gathering in the nation. Please make plans to join us in San Diego or Nashville next fall. We’ll get more information to you as it becomes available.
Have a Merry Christmas and we will see you in the New Year!