Hello friends and family of the Youth Empowerment and Spirituality Conference! I realize this post is late; my apologies for that. Anyways, here’s to our first blog post 2018!
We had a very successful Reunion back in January. We had over 35 YES conferees in attendance, and raised over $1000 for the conference. Many thanks are in order to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Reading, for lending us their space for the weekend.
Now that Reunion has come and passed, we are looking ahead to the on-island conference in August. Our Fundraising Coordinator, Annie Hanley-Miller, has been hard at work planning and organizing a number of fundraising initiatives. We are re-launching our YES Raffle, featuring some superb art pieces created by our own conferees! Check out the above flyer for more information. Link to the gmail form can be found here.
We also will be launching our Teespring Fundraiser and IndieGoGo campaigns in the coming months, so keep an eye out for those, as well as other great fundraising opportunities.
We’ll be commencing our next staff meeting this Saturday, March 17th, where we will be chaplain training our staff members, as well as nailing down our theme for the 2018 Conference. Stay tuned for more updates!
YES 2017 is so close! We are so excited to see you on the dock in Portsmouth. Below, find our Conference Flyer, which includes a packing list, instructions for Getting to the Boat, our super exciting Theme Dinners, and information on Paying your Bill. As always, you can contact your chairs (ChairOfTheYES@gmail.com) with any questions.
Time has flown by- YES is a mere 15 days away! We are beyond stoked for everyone to get out to Island, and we have a lot of exciting things that have been happening behind the scenes that we would love to fill you all in on!
First and foremost we have officially launched our 2017 Annual YES Scholarship Fund! This year we need your help to meet our goal of $750 so that we can continue to make YES a reality for the 70% of conferees that receive financial assistance each summer. With the continued growth of our conference, this awesome and personalized campaign fund is more important than ever! In exchange for your generosity, staff and conferees create individualized "thank you's" to show our deep appreciation for your continued support of YES. Please follow this link to find more information, donate, or simply pass it along to someone who may be interested in supporting a great conference in exchange for a lot of love.
In other news, we have an official date and time for our YES Alumni & Friends Cookout! The cookout will happen at the First Unitarian Society in Newton who have graciously offered their space on Saturday, July 29th, 2pm-5pm! Come by to reminisce about Gullbots, Moxie, impromptu Brookfield dance parties, and so much more! We'll have music, lots of fun games, and of course awesome food on the grill. Come by to have a good time and see everyone's beautiful faces and spirits! Oh, and bring your friends!
We are also thrilled to reveal our incredible conference T-shirt designed by our very own magical fairy godmother, Kieran Tom! These beautiful shirts feature our conference theme, Guiding Lights, through constellations and the buildings of Star Island we have all come to know and love so completely (or will come to know and love!) We'll have the shirts available on Island, so be on the look out!
Finally, if you have not yet had the chance to register or you know someone who is still interested in the conference, do not fear! We are extending our registration deadline until August 1st so please don't hesitate to follow this link to register today, we'd love to hear from you!
With just a few months left until YES 2017, we wanted to take the time to tell you more about this year's activities so far, to share our excitement as we sprint towards this year’s conference.
At the very start of the year, we held our annual REUNION at the First Parish in Canton! We had a blast: even though a snowstorm kept us inside, the flame of community kept us warm and toasty J we shared amazing meals courtesy of Bryar and family: Island-style Mac ‘n’ Cheese for lunch, and a wonderful Shepherd’s Pie for dinner! In the mid-afternoon, we joined forces with the young adults from the Sharon UU Young Adult Conference for a combined Social Action Workshop that focused on taking action in the wake of the 2016 elections: we shared stories of past social justice activities and discussed different organizations we could join up with. Later that evening, we swapped our clothes at the YES Thrift Shop/Clothing Swap in preparation for our Evening with the Stars fashion show to be held On-Island! Our Saturday evening coffeehouse featured both new and old faces performing favorites like Grok Me Mama and Say It Ain’t So. In the morning, before closing circle, we tag-teamed a shovel-line to make sure the church driveway was all cleared out. We said our good-byes, but we knew we would be seeing each-other soon!
A few months later, Jordan Paul and I helped to coordinate a YES COFFEEHOUSE at Jordan’s congregation, First Church of Rockland. We thought it would be great to give ourselves an excuse to get together, and to give our musically-inclined conferees the chance to prepare for our on-island coffeehouse. We got to hear great music from a number of conferees, including some impromptu combinations! Jordan’s family brought snacks – and they were amazing! Multi-layered brownies, fruit-tart treats… mmm.
Finally, as an appeal to springtime, I decided to shave my beard. I asked the audience for their style advice (and their donation – higher donations would fetch more “groundbreaking” designs). The winning recommendation was to shave “YES” onto my jawline, and I was only too happy to oblige! The whole event helped us raise over $300 for the scholarship fund – not bad for a first-time event!
The staff has also been working to raise money in other ways. We ran a TeeSpring event with a great design from Kieran Teare-Thomas! A big thank-you to everyone who purchased a shirt. If you missed it, you’ll be able to find a few shirts at the Star Island Gift Shop this summer. We’re also gearing up for our big annual IndieGoGo FUNDRAISER! We expect to be launching our fundraiser in the next couple weeks – stay tuned for more updates!
Now, all this blogging has gotten me really excited – I can’t wait to spend a week on the island with all of my YES family. Do you feel the same? Then, if you’re one of our esteemed alumni, stay tuned for our upcoming ALUMNI COOKOUT! And if you’re one of our YES Youth, if you haven’t done it already, REGISTER!
YES 2017 GUIDING LIGHTS
Thanks to Lillian Santo for the wonderful pictures of Star Island in this and the previous updates. And thank you for reading -- we hope to see you soon!
In light and love,
YES 2017 Co-Chair
The Staff of YES 2017 are now 8 months into our planning year, with just 4 more months to go until our Conference! We are excited to fill you all in on what’s been happening behind the scenes since Taylor and Bianca handed over the torch. Staff has been working tirelessly (we’ve already had 3 Staff meetings this year!) to brainstorm for the conference, fundraisers, outreach, and more!
We’ve been brainstorming the best ways to carry on conference traditions, provide opportunities to connect with Star Gathering 2 (whom we will be sharing the Island with again- woohoo!), and fundraise/outreach in new and exciting ways. They have been responsible for helping plan some awesome events like an alumni mixer, a raging band concert, reunion and coffee house. We also owe a lot of thanks to YES Alumni: for example, Emily F. and Tracy H. hosted the alumni mixer back in October and gave everyone a space to come together in the spirit of one of the most important traditions true to YES- staying connected. Not to mention all those delicious snacks!
Craig, Noah, Michael, and Burak gave us the show of a lifetime at Out of the Blue Art Gallery in Cambridge MA this January. They played an awesome set list that got everyone who came (and a good crowd did!) really pumped. They also found a really unique venue for the show, I mean who can forget all that cool art or that big white fluffy doggy?! Not to mention that the band concert raised money that will go directly to scholarships for conferees this year!
Before I turn it over to Michael to fill you in on the second half of the year, I have the privileged opportunity to announce the conference name for 2017, voted and handpicked through multiple rounds of surveys by none other than your truly (staff), may I get a drum roll please?!
YOUTH EMPOWERMENT AND SPIRITUALITY 2017: