A Changing YEA

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There was not always a Youth Education in the Arts.

Until 1990, the organization did not exist. Well, that might be an untruth. YEA! did exist, but in infancy, as a single program. A single drum corps. A corps with dreams, mind you; people with dreams; a board that encouraged the dreams, but alas, a single drum and bugle corps.

Indeed, Youth Education in the Arts began as an offshoot of the then Cadets of Bergen County Drum and Bugle Corps. George Hopkins was the Director, Michael Cesario was the source of the name (YEA! “YEAH!”) and a team of supporters that have moved on were at the base of what today is a growing non-profit service organization. Larry Ambrosio was key to the beginning of the band program. Greg Pych was a financial consultant. The board was led by Lee Cassady. And the offices were stuck in a tiny, tiny building in Hackensack, NJ.

Today, after 16 years of operation, Youth Education in the Arts supports the Cadets and Crossmen drum corps, the US Scholastic Band Association (USSBA) — which is now the center piece of the organization — and YEA! manages Leadership Camps for students, “Music is Cool” workshops with the Cadets and Crossmen, band director, staff and judges training, concert and jazz festivals and soon YEA! will be moving headlong into winter percussion and guard.

And then??? Well, what then is the question of the hour?

In numerous discussions, George Hopkins, the Executive Director and CEO, has discussed with board members, advisors, and staff, the next step in the evolution. Should the organization slow down? Should YEA! stick to marching activities? Should YEA! look to provide more service locally, regionally, or even nationally?

The conversation continues today, with some decisions having been made, and many more in debate.

– The USSBA is in the process of recreating itself as an event management operation. That is to say, the USSBA is about great events, great service, and great experiences for the participants.

A new director for the USSBA has been hired on an interim basis. Donna Batchelor, a past managing partner in a large commercial real estate company has been asked to head the efforts for six months as all involved look to upgrade the service component of (the service) USSBA operations. With experience as a board member for several non profits’ including “Re-Building Together” and with 19 years experience managing the needs of 250 commercial clients, and as a past marching member of corps and bands, Batchelor brings the corporate mind-set needed to move stabilize the USSBA infrastructure so that future growth can occur in unimpeded fashion.

– To fill the void in educational support YEA! has launched “Symposia”, an umbrella training organization that will support all current clinics and workshops, and perhaps many more.

Steve Frederick will be the local liaison on the east coast for now, while Estelle Gravois-Murr, who is relocating to Texas, will continue with the USSBA as a special projects manager for “Symposia”. Once the fall is under way, there is the possibility of expansion in this arena also.

– YEA! made a commitment to a grant writer, Pam Fricke, who will be spearheading a funding campaign to locate support and assistance to Lehigh Valley schools and the community at large. This decision will lead to new programs, new people, and over time, a new and different organization.

– Youth Education in the Arts will begin a new merchandise store to sell musical instruments and accessories to bands across the country, particularly those bands in the USSBA. The Cadets and Crossmen already have in place an active re-sale activity, and now with the addition of props, and with the advent of a clearinghouse for all band and guard equipment and costumes, there is indeed a new opportunity here within the organization.

The plan is to add the management of the store to the responsibilities of the merchandising department, therein opening yet another opportunity for the entrepreneur who looks to assist YEA! in generating $1.5-$2 million dollars in sales on the road, on line, and on site.

– With so many programs, and so many volunteers and adjunct staff, the management and coordination of Volunteer Councils for the Cadets, Crossmen and the USSBA continues to be crucial to our existence. Attempts and programs have been launched over the many years, but a lack of continuity has caused the efforts to be less effective than hoped for. New-found commitment to the cause, and the addition of personnel to the team, will allow for volunteers, adjunct staff, seasonal assistants, interns, and alumni, to receive the time and attention all so richly deserve.

– In April, Kevin Hanson joined the staff of Youth Education in the Arts as the Vice President of Administration and Finance. This change has allowed for a more effective separation of power, allowing for the Executive Director to concentrate on programmatic efforts, while Kevin has made great inroads into improving the policies, procedures, and reporting of the administration. Next, YEA! is hiring an accountant to assist Kevin as the band season comes ever so close.

– Information Technology is crucial to the YEA! organization! Of course there is the internal management and upkeep of phone systems, servers, 20 or 25 PC’s, laptops, and other devices, but most important to the organization is the website.

www.yea.org, www.cadets.org, www.crossmen.org and www.usbands.org will prove to be the backbone of the organization.

In order to meet this ongoing opportunity, we are looking to add to the team a full time IT specialist. A tough gig with YEA!, the ideal candidate will have a superior web background with perhaps adequate technology experience to assist the office in the day to day operations.

So, at the end of the day, where is YEA! in the world of personnel additions?

Would you like to send a resume? Would you like to look at a career change, or are you, quite possibly, the perfect candidate for all YEA! has and will have available over the coming months.

But before you apply, there’s a few things you might want to know.

YEA! is a great place to work. If you are passionate about what you do, whether its doing basic bookkeeping, communicating with people passionate about their hobbies, staying on top of the latest technology, or managing a retail business, YEA! gives you an opportunity to do what you love, while working in the fast-paced, always exhilarating world of traveling ensembles, big events and day-to-day growth of an entrepreneurial non-profit organization.

  • If you get charged up preparing for a big event with several thousand spectators, then YEA! is the place for you.
  • If you get excited about over-servicing customers and giving everyone an outstanding customer experience, then YEA! is the place for you.
  • If you take pride in a job, that’s not just well done, but is consistent with the tradition and heritage of excellence set forth over the past 70+ years of history on the field, then YEA! is the place for you.

YEA! is a place for great people to do great work with a sense of camaraderie, teamwork and commitment to excellence. The fact that you can work within an organization that works with young people and music is just the icing on the cake.

Here is a listing of the needs of the Youth Education in the Arts office.

In Administration:

Accountant … Position Available Immediately

Assistant to the CEO and COO …. Position Available Sept 1

IT and Web Site Manager … Position Available Sept 1

In Fund Raising, Development and Merchandising

Ass’t Fund Manager; Coordinator of Volunteer and Alumni Associations …. Position available immediately

Merchandising/Store manager … Position Available August 15th

In Performing Ensembles

Assistant Director of Performing Ensembles …. Available in late August

In addition, we have 2-3 seasonal positions beginning September and running through December. These positions will assist the USSBA, and YEA! Merchandising through the band season.

Please take a few minutes to review any positions that may of interest to you and contact Kevin Hanson, COO at kevin [at] yea [dot] org.

Posted by on Friday, July 21st, 2006. Filed under DCI World.