Introduction - Working for YTI

On Working for YTI

At YTI, we believe that young people need theology — the study of God and God’s relationship with the world — as one of the resources to draw upon as they exploreBeth Corrie their place in the world.  And we believe that the world needs young people to contribute their theological perspectives and their energy in order to promote social justice and the common good.  We gather approximately forty rising high school juniors and seniors (whom we call “scholars” to signal our commitment to valuing young persons’ insights and ideas) from across the country for the Academy, a three-week ecumenical experience in justice-seeking Christian theological education.  Our goal is to help them explore their questions about God and the world, and discover new questions and perspectives in a supportive, mentoring community where their views, talents, and insights are respected and encouraged.

In the process of helping young people engage in theological reflection for the benefit of the church and the world, we do the same.  The YTI Summer Academy is a learning community, by which we mean that all members of the community — scholars and staff — learn from and teach one another.  Some of that learning and teaching happens in formal classroom settings, like the exploratory courses that focus on a theological issue or topic (for instance, “Why do Bad Things Happen to Good People: The Problem of Theodicy”), ethics (“Nonviolence, Christianity, and Social Justice”), the Bible (“The Liberating Word: Reading the Bible around the World”) or world religions (“Faith and Dialogue: Exploration of World Religions”).  Some of the learning takes place outside the classroom, in the contexts of the city of Atlanta and the YTI community itself.  All scholars and staff engage in service activities with a justice-oriented organization in Atlanta, which might include working with homeless people, refugees from countries torn apart by violence, or those who are mentally or physically disabled.  Because we bring together youth and staff members from diverse racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and denominational or religio us backgrounds, we all learn together about other people, and learn how to engage honestly and respectfully with people whose experiences, commitments, and perspectives are different from our own.  We also teach and learn in worship settings, both within the YTI community and with other faith communities around Atlanta.  There’s also time for relaxation and play. Past staff members are sure to tell you that the YTI Summer Academy is a busy, challenging place to work.  They are also likely to recall that working at YTI fundamentally shaped them.  For some, it’s the Summer Academy that embodies the best of what “the people of God” can be and do. 

For others, it was their work at the Academy that led them to vocational clarity, while still others report that it was at the Academy that they learned how to integrate their theological perspectives and commitments into their lived realities.  We all talk about the impact of YTI upon us in distinctive ways, but there’s a common denominator: few who join the staff of YTI are unchanged by the experience. 

All of this is simply to say that as you think about applying for a position at YTI, we hope you will recognize this as something more than a summer job.  When people bring all of themselves to the program, lives are changed, and we participate in tikkun olam, God’s work of healing the world.

Blessings upon you as you discern your role in that important work!

"We come to care about the [scholars] before they even get here. YTI becomes a different world for us when we are here. We grow to cherish each and every one of [our scholars]. We are committed to justice, living mercy and walking humbly with each other. It is an embodied program. It becomes who we are."
-Rachelle Green, Assistant Director