A message from Deacon Tammy Jones West, 2024 ELCA Youth Gathering Program Director—
First, there is no curtain but for a peek into the behind-the-scenes happenings of the ELCA Youth Gathering, let me start with my first few months on staff.
Let me introduce you to the people who are called to serve this ministry at the Churchwide office of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. I am Deacon Tammy Jones West and I serve as the Program Director for the 2024 ELCA Youth Gathering. Alongside me is Justin Wilson who was originally hired as communications / social media person but has wowed us all with his ability to step up into so much more. That’s it friends. Justin and I aren’t singing – just the two of us but it’s true – sort of. (Plus, Justin is way too young to even know the line to that song.)
That’s just those of us at the Churchwide office. We plan to hire another staff member to help with registration / housing in the coming months, and soon the Churchwide organization will be searching for the person God is calling to be the next program director to begin planning for 2027 and beyond.
Now, there’s another group of people who you need to know, and we’ll be announcing these individuals shortly, but the group formerly known as Team Leaders, now Directors, are the backbone of this event. Nine people who will build teams, supervise managers, and make the magic happen. What are those roles?
- Community Life
- Interactive Learning
- Mass Gathering
- Multicultural Youth Leadership Event (MYLE)
- Gathering Synod Champions
- the tAble
Serving alongside the directors and forming what we call their core team will be managers of…
Safety and Security, Medical, Transportation, Operations, IT, Justice / Advocacy, Service Learning, Cultural Immersion, Bible studies, Tech and Talent, Champion’s Square, Partners, Administration, and more.
That’s not all friends. Once the Gathering lands in New Orleans, implementation teams join the family. That’s 99 additional people who will help make these teams work and thrive.
One more important group to remember— our volunteers. 415 volunteers give up a week of vacation to serve this ministry and be with our young people as they explore God’s grace and love.
And finally, adult leaders. Those who really make this ministry happen. The planning, praying, fundraising, details, love, and care that adults who bring our young people provide is invaluable. So, it’s just the two of us and thousands more.
Let’s do this friends— we’ll see you in New Orleans!