What’s really cool about the money that is donated to Friends of YALSA (FOY), like through our Give $20 in 2020 campaign, are the programs the donations support. One program especially close to my heart is YALSA’s Board Fellow program! In 2019, I was honored and thrilled to be named YALSA’s Board Fellow.
I first heard about this opportunity a few years prior at the 2016 ALA Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida. I sat next to a YALSA member on a bus to a publisher event that evening. I was so happy being a part of the Great Graphic Novels for Teens selection committee, but I was also thinking of going outside my comfort zone in terms of getting more involved in YALSA. I really had no idea how to do that until I started talking to the YALSA member next to me. All these years later, I wish I knew who I spoke to because that person changed my YALSA life I explained to them about feeling like I wanted to do more, but I wasn’t sure how to do that exactly. I felt like applying to be on the YALSA Board proper was too big of a step for me, and it was then that they told me about the Board Fellow program. It seemed like the perfect step in the direction I knew I wanted to go. I could meet Board members, see how the process worked, be active and engaged, and grow my leadership skills in ways that I could use in my YALSA volunteer work, as well as at my own organization. I would be a non-voting member, but I was totally fine with that! I wanted to see how it worked before I threw in my “ayes” or “nays”. It took me another couple of years to muster up the courage to apply, and I am so glad that I did.
I feel the Board Fellow program really opened my eyes to the work of the Board and introduced me to so many friends I have made in the process. My experience as the Board Fellow showed me the bigger picture of YALSA work and how it affects all of us who work for and with teens in our libraries. I was incredibly thankful to receive the stipend that the Board Fellow receives from monies donated to FOY to help defray conference attendance costs over my one year appointment term.
The application for YALSA’s 2021 Board Fellow is due by December 1! I hope everyone who wants to take that next step in YALSA leadership will consider applying. And, thank you to everyone who has donated to FOY. Your contributions have helped members like me and from around the world. As I mentioned in my post last month, we know that everything is challenging right now. If you’d like to and are able to contribute, please consider becoming a Friend of YALSA (any denominations welcome) or donate $20 as part of this year’s Friend of YALSA fundraising campaign Give $20 in 2020. Thank you for your work supporting teens in our community and supporting your colleagues near and far.
-Traci Glass, Financial Advancement Committee Chair