Thanks to the support of the Archdiocesan Development Appeal and our many donors, the OYM has been able to serve youth and young adults in very positive and effective ways these past five years. Unfortunately, cuts in other funding and escalating increases in fees paid to both the Archdiocese and insurance programs have forced us to develop a plan to restructure the OYM. The re-structuring is designed to make the OYM as effective as possible with fewer staff and resources. A total of 5 full-time positions and 1 part-time position will be eliminated effective July 1, 2004. Staffing reductions will result in the elimination of some services to young people and other changes in the way the OYM operates.
The OYM still has some exciting plans for the future, such as our VITAL program where we will collaborate with Cultivation Ministries to provide coaching and consultation to parishes. We will still be collaborating with Catholic Camps of America to develop camping opportunities for Catholic Youth. In addition to these exciting new programs, you can expect to see some of the familiar OYM events and programs, like Steubenville St. Louis and REAP retreats that have impacted the lives of teens for the past five years.
Unfortunately, with cuts this deep, some good programs will be lost. Life Matters, our annual pro-life pilgrimage which brought 1,100 teens to Washington D.C. for the March for Life has been canceled. We will, however, explore the possibility of a "Life Matters" event in St. Louis prior to the March for Life. We welcome your feedback. The OYM Update, which brought information and resources to nearly 6,000 people in the St. Louis Catholic community, has also been ended. With our remaining resources spread thin, the OYM will not be able to provide the same level of support it has historically given to individual youth ministers and other youth ministry programs.
Despite this disappointing turn of events, the OYM remains blessed with resources and resolute in its commitment to serve the young people of the Archdiocese. The staff of the OYM is committed to minimizing the impact of these cuts on the teens of the Archdiocese. Click Here for a more complete explanation of the changes.
**Questions and Answers**
*What events, programs and services will be affected by the changes?*
The OYM has exciting plans for the future, such as our VITAL program where we will collaborate with Cultivation Ministries to provide coaching and consultation to parishes. We will still collaborate with Catholic Camps of America to develop camping opportunities for Catholic youth. We will continue to offer our Steubenville St. Louis Conference and our World Youth Day pilgrimage. Our recently expanded web site will continue to grow, providing great resources right at your fingertips. We will continue to provide E-man, our bi-weekly e-newsletter, with all the latest information for youth ministry.
Unfortunately, with cuts this deep, some good programs will be lost. Life Matters, our annual pro-life pilgrimage which brought 1,100 teens to Washington D.C. for the March for Life has been canceled. We will, however, explore the possibility of a "Life Matters" event in St. Louis prior to the March for Life. We welcome your feedback. The OYM Update, which brought information and resources to nearly 6,000 people in the St. Louis Catholic community, has also been ended. With our remaining resources spread thin, the OYM will not be able to provide the same level of support we have historically given to individual youth ministers and other youth ministry opportunities.
*How will the changes affect OYM personnel?*
The OYM has been blessed with a dedicated, creative and faithful staff. Each person is to be commended for his or her hard work. The only way to reduce costs significantly, however, was to cut staff. Therefore, the following positions will be cut from the OYM.
* Art Director - Elliott Krejci
* Receptionist and Staff Support - Mary Roach
* Event Coordinator - Rosanne Twellman (Rosanne will continue to coordinate Steubenville St. Louis)
* Youth Minister - Sr. M. Consolata Crews[b]You had some bad html here.
* Youth Minister - Greg Barker (Greg is running the new camp in Dutzow, Missouri)
* REAP Team part-time retreat staff - Stacey Chik.
The following positions and staff will be retained:
* Director of Youth Ministry - Fr. Bob Smoot
* Youth Minister - Keith Deisner
* Web Developer - Joel Stein
* Business Manager/Development Director - Brian Niebrugge
* Director of the Reap Team - Paul Masek
* Reap Team Chastity Educator - Heather Gallagher
* Reap Team part-time retreat staff - Brian Altenhoeffen
Brian Niebrugge's role will expand to include more pastoral duties and parish consultation services. Joel Stein will also take on some administrative duties, as well as audio/visual production at events.
*What brought about these changes?*
Many factors contributed to the need to cut staff and services. I share the bulk of these reasons below.
* The primary reason for these changes is the result of poor market conditions that forced the Archdiocese of St. Louis to cut two separate grants to the OYM a few years ago. The OYM was able to make some cuts and use its cash reserve to make up for the shortfall. We also received a very generous donation from a trust that helped us to continue our ministry. In 2003 Archbishop Rigali generously decided to restore part of one grant for two years from the principal of an endowment established for youth. Under the arrangement the OYM would no longer receive this grant by June 30, 2005. We had hoped that the financial picture of the Archdiocese would improve by then and that our own fund raising would have greatly improved as well, which would allow us to replace this lost revenue. Despite our best the OYM has not yet met its fund raising goals.
* The Archdiocese made several decisions to balance its overall budget. One of those decisions was to assess each agency a fee to cover the cost of our finance office, which takes care of our accounting and our audit. The OYM was assessed nearly $30,000. This was an entirely new cost never before part of our budget.
* Additionally, the OYM's rent increased by $4,000 for FY 2005 and would have increased at least an additional $4,000 in FY 2006.
* The fees paid for insurance and retirement for priests were raised $2,000 for FY 2005 and will increase $2,000 each of the next two fiscal years as well.
* The OYM's liability insurance tripled for FY 2005.
* The OYM's health coverage for lay employees increased almost 20% and is expected to continue to increase each year.
The Diocese's mandate to each agency to submit a balanced budget, escalating costs, our own lagging fund raising, the elimination of substantial grants two years ago, and the possibility of a reduced ADA grant, made it necessary to cut staff and programs.
*What principles guided the decisions about what to keep and what to cut?*
Our first priority was to retain programs that allow us to advocate for youth and young adults. Our role is to be a catalyst in the Archdiocese for youth and young adult ministry. The priority of supporting youth and young adult ministry in parishes goes hand-in-hand with this. Another important principle that guided our restructuring was to provide concrete services, which could serve a large and broad number of people in a way that is very definable and measurable. Another principle was to use technology more effectively and inexpensively in order to most effectively reach others and bring people together. In light of these principles, the OYM will be somewhat less event oriented so that we can focus more attention on gathering the wisdom and resources of our own Archdiocese and connecting parishes to this collective "gold-mine," as well as creating resources ourselves for use in parishes.
*When do all the changes take effect?*
Our fiscal year is from July 1 to June 30. So, July 1, 2004 will be the effective date for all of the changes. Some staff, however, may leave sooner that July 1 should they find employment elsewhere before July 1.
*Who should I contact with comments or questions?*
Hopefully this Q & A answered all your questions. However, should you wish more information or want to make a comment you may contact Fr. Bob Smoot at 314.633.2500 or via email at .