The Committee Chair/Area Director Regional Summit

Here is what we knew:

  1. We knew the WORKING RELATIONSHIP between the committee chair and the area director was important.

  2. I am not sure we ever appreciated how key THE FRIENDSHIP between those two individuals would be.

The conversation about an Area Director and Committee Chair (AD/CC) Summit really started way back in September 2018 for us. We both were in the planning stages of our largest regional times of the year; the Annual Committee/Leader Weekend was imperative to provide some solid, intentional training for all of of our local committee and volunteers. The training was always good and appreciated, but we wanted committee care to be an emphasis, and how to demonstrate that care was the challenge.

We decided that in addition to training the hundreds of committee members annually, we would FOCUS on the dozens of committee chairs with an entirely separate summit. Elevating the key role of our committee chairs across our regions became the linchpin to our vision for the Summit. The missionwide committee office shared a global vision to build relational ownership between the local area director and committee chair. Concentrating on that relationship with energy and focus tapped the much-needed expertise in the mission. When we announced our goal of an inaugural AD/CC Summit, the excitement was immediate. The themes of the relationship between committee and staff were obvious:

  • Transformation rather than transaction.

  • Partners more than fans.

  • Joint ownership and vested interest and partnership.

  • Aligning the needs of the area with the gifts of the committee.

  • Shared responsibility.

We had undervalued and underappreciated the role and significance of the committee, and specifically the committee chair. That was going to change!

From that moment the prep work began for the Summit.

We benefited from some of the work the larger Young Life mission had done regarding committees, but the real game-changer was our “lead team” that involved local and regional board members. They planned, designed and led our time. It was nothing short of amazing. Step by step we had advice and direction to how the day would flow and how to really prioritize the AD/CC relationship. They were all instrumental in making the day come together.

The agenda was simple. Sample Schedule

  • All areas were asked to come (committee chair and AD).

  • The whole summit was six hours total (four to five discussions/trainings/conversations).

  • Each person filled out an area assessment before the day (provided by YL).

  • Interaction and specific training toward the CC/AD relationship.

  • The time was nationally facilitated and regionally owned and taught by staff and committee.

  • We highlighted healthy committee chair/AD relationships that were attainable and transparent.

While fun and engaging, it was groundbreaking to not only rally the key decision makers and our staff at the same time, but also for us as regional directors to see vision come to clarity. Even though we are in different phases in the process, we both see the landscape shifting toward more community-centric thinking and relational equity building in the local area. This is KEY.

A few stand-out highlights:

  • Everyone heard from two co-committee chairs from Akron, Ohio, — Chad Crawford and Josh Stephan. They provided an honest look into how the deep-rooted community within the Akron committee had sustained them through some challenging times in the area.

  • We took a different perspective of strategic planning via committee member, Dave Chalmers.

  • The committee chair is the most important volunteer in the local area. We now do all we can to foster that relationship. The AD/CC Summit was the catalyst to propel us in this relational endeavor long-term.

  • We heard from many that one of the main highlights was the time together traveling to the summit, conversations around a meal, knowing that there are other committee chairs “out there.”

It’s amazing to see what happens when the Young Life area “decision makers” get in a room together. Committee Chair/Area Director Summits are being scheduled (by U.S. regions) for next year. Next year there are ONLY eight total dates available! If you are interested, email the national committee office here and contact your regional office.

Have questions about what we did in Ohio? Email us!

Rich Dargenio, Regional Director — The Buckeye Region (

Chris Kessick, Regional Director — The North Coast Region (

Dave Chalmers, Regional Board (

Todd Long, Regional Board (

Written by: Rich Dargenio & Chris Kessick