It's Monday morning. Amy and I are home from our 2016 National Youth Workers Convention (NYWC) experience. NYWC is our annual pilgrimage to join with thousands of youth workers for training, encouragement, resourcing, connecting, and rest! This being my 14th NYWC, I can honestly say, it's still my most favorite ministry week of the year!
This morning I wanted to simply share the 2 highlight videos from the weekend. My hope is to give you just a little snapshot of the weekend, and how important it is that youth workers attend NYWC! I'm sure I'll share more about the convention later in the weeks to come, but for now, enjoy the 2 videos.
Thursday & Friday Recap
It really was an amazing weekend, and I am so honored to be able to be a part of the YS/NYWC staff.
One of the great things about NYWC is the Exhibit Hall! Packed with over 150 vendors, it really is one of the best place to find great resources and tools! But the weekend is already flying by. I mean, it's already Saturday. So with time running out, here are three of my favorite exhibitors!
1. Youth Ministry 360 (YM360)
Youth Ministry 360 (YM360)...
Les and Andy, co-founders of YM360, have created an incredible line of resources for youth workers. What started as bible studies and curriculum has grown to include camps, conferences, missions, trainings, and much, much more. YM360 provides biblically solid materials that are easy to use and easy to teach. I've used their materials multiple times in different settings and found great success. Be sure to stop by their booth and check out the incredible selection of tools and resources.
2. Download Youth Ministry (DYM)
Download Youth Ministry...
At this point, I'm sure you've heard about Download Youth Ministry (DYM). Started but Doug Fields and Josh Griffin, DYM provides affordable resources that have been created by youth workers. Whether you need a game or a study or a series, DYM offers High Quality, Easy to Use, Inexpensive, Trench-tested. I've been using the DYM resources for about a year now, and I love that they are quick to access, download and use. I don't have to really worry about content, typos or formatting uses.
3. Youth Specialties Events Booth
The Youth Specialties Event Booth...
Did you know that NYWC is only one small part of the YS family of events? In fact, YS is part of a much large family. Real Resources, "a Christ-centered, multi-denominational 501(c)3 nonprofit. Founded upon the belief that teens are a vital part of the Church today, and God has uniquely equipped them to live out His love in the world" (as per the Real Resources website). Along with NYWC, YS sponsors Planet Wisdom, a student event designed to "empower students to become thinking, growing, authentic followers of Jesus Christ in today’s world." (as per the Planet Wisdom website). But there is also YS Team Training, the YS Coaching, YS Search, and the YS Job Bank. Stop by the YS Booth and discover just how big, and how helpful the YS tent is.
There you are, three of my favorites. Not the only three, but the three I have time to share. Hopefully after the convention I will be able to share a few more great resources with you. Till then, have a great convention!
Whether you are a rookie or a veteran, every visit to NYWC comes with questions. From finding a cheap, but delicious place to eat, to I've just had a really tough year where can I find some help, we're going to do our best to help you out!
In todays post, I want to take a quick minute to share 3 places where you can find help while at NYWC this weekend.
1. The HUB
Stop number one brings us to the HUB. Here is where you can ask just about any question. Mind you, the answer you get might not resemble the question, but at least it's an answer. Just kidding! My friends serving at the HUB are well versed in all things NYWC. Questions about seminars, Big Rooms, places to eat, and even logistical questions, the HUB can point you in the right direction!
The HUB is located on the first floor of the Duke Energy Convention Center at the main entrance. You almost can't miss them as they are almost the first thing you see when entering.
2. The Queen City Host Team
New to NYWC, the Queen City Host Team! This is a team of volunteers made up by local youth workers on the ground right here in Cincinnati! And these guys know there stuff! If you have questions about Cincinnati like, awesome local eateries, or I have about 5 hours to kill, what's something awesome I can do here in the city, they can definitely help you out! In fact, prior to the convention, these guys got together and made a short video with a list of great things to do while in Cincinnati this weekend! Check it out here just below.
You'll find the Queen City Host Team on the second floor of the Duke Energy Convention Center right above the HUB!
3. Get Some Coaching
Lastly we come to the YS Coaching area. What is coaching? Think of it as a sit down conversation with a good friend and a cup of coffee, but your friend is an experienced and training student ministry coach and they want to help you be awesome! Has it been a tough year? Are you feeling like you're not get anywhere? Is there a change in your future? Are you wondering if youth ministry is for you? I'm about to make a major programmatic change, what's the best way to do it? Hey, I'm not sure if the brown shoes goes with this black belt, what do you think?
The YS Coaches are here and are ready to meet with you! You can schedule a FREE, 40 minute session with them by going to their table and singing up for an opening. But be warned, coaching sessions fill up quick, so if you're thinking you might want to talk with someone, sign up sooner than later!
You'll find the YS Coaches next to the HUB on the first floor of the Duke Energy Convention Center.
Okay, there you have it, 3 places to find some quick help where here in Cincinnati!
And of course, when you're in a pinch, you can also ask anyone of the NYWC staff. You'll know us because we all wear the same color shirts that have STAFF printed on the back! We would love to help you in anyway we can!
Have a great day, here at NYWC, Cincinnati!!!
After a year of waiting, it’s finally here, the National Youth Workers Convention 2016 (NYWC)! It’s like Christmas, only without the wrapping paper, candy canes, Santa, reindeer, pine trees, and garland. Okay, so maybe it’s not like Christmas, but it’s still AWESOME!!
Tonight we kicked off the weekend with our first Big Room session and the grand opening party for the Exhibit Hall!! Here are just a few pictures from tonights party!
DJ Bobbito the Chef providing the musical backdrop!
Our friends from YS events, already getting a jump on next years convention!
The exhibit hall is loaded with over 150 different vendors. You can find just about anything, and everything ministry related. be sure to spend some time visiting with the exhibitors!
There's a lot to see. Don't make just one trip. Multiple trips through the exhibit hall will prove super helpful. They will allow you to take your time, talk with the various exhibitors, and feel less overwhelmed by the sheer numbers and size.
I know that we are only a few hours into the weekend, but it's already off to a great start.
I want to invite you to follow along with me this weekend as I highlight some of my favorite parts of the convention. From books and resources to seminars and exhibitors, I'll share what I love, who is helpful, and where you can make the most of your time at NYWC.
Follow me on social media as I share the convention as both a behind-the-scenes volunteer and a long-time attendee!
In my first countdown to NYWC post, I shared a video created by the NYWC staff and the host team, which shared a few fun things to do while in Cincinnati! [ CLICK HERE ] But today I'm here on site, in Cincinnati, as we get ready for this years national Youth Workers Convention!!
We arrived late in the afternoon of Tuesday, found our hotel, got settled, and then rushed off to join the rest of the volunteer team to begin our orientation. Since then, it has been a flurry of excitement as the team works to get the convention center ready to welcome and host the thousands of youth workers who will flood Cincinnati in just a matter of hours.
This is my 8th year returning as a volunteer to help the YS staff; 4th year as a member of the main stage team. All total, this year will be my 16th convention. I've been attending since 1999, and have been apart of the convention through it's many, recent transitions. I always get a little anxious when I hear about transition, simply because of how important YS and NWYC have become.
NYWC has been a significant staple throughout my ministry career. It has shaped how I think, practice and pass along youth ministry. The convention has served as a place for training, mixing practical tips with solid educational materials. NYWC has been the igniter switcher, keeping me fired up and excited about my ministry. It's a constant in my ministry.
And now here I am again.
I am very proud to say, we have a great weekend ahead. From the seminars to the Big Room general sessions, the exhibit hall to the book store, the HUB, sanctuary, prayer room, and the Idea Lab, we are ready! Ready to welcome, serve, care for, and celebrate YOU, the youth worker!
So please know that...
We are praying for you.
We are excited to meet you.
And we can't wait to see you!
NYWC 2016. Cincinnati. Arise!
Jay Higham is a veteran youth worker of over 30 years; having worked with students in the local church and Christian camping settings. Jay is currently serving as the director of family ministry at a church, located in West Virginia. Jay has been married to Amy for over 25 years. Together, they are raising 5 kids, (4 boys and 1 girl). Jay is an aspiring author, blogger, speaker, vlogger, and social media junkie. He is passionate about student ministry, family ministry, and training youth workers to love and serve their students with passion and excellence.