Here is our amazing team who have been hard at work to make this a kick-butt, awesome day:
Jake has been working in youth ministry for fourteen years and is a Licensed Minister. He is the author of the THINK Curriculum as well as the book Teaching Teenager in a Post-Christian World. Currently, he is the Next Generation Pastor at Grace Community Church in New Canaan, CT. He also serves with REACH Youth New England doing Regional Training, Communications and Website Management and serves as the CT state coordinator for the National Network of Youth Ministries.
He is a graduate of Gordon College and has a B.A. in Youth Ministry and a minor in Biblical and Theological Studies. Jake has a huge passion for reaching youth with the Gospel of Christ and specifically has a heart to reach youth and their families in New England. Growing up in Thompson, CT and Worcester, MA he understands the complexity and unique culture of New England and wants to see God and this upcoming generation make a difference in the world for Christ. Jake and his wife Melissa have two kids: one boy and one girl, and currently live in Norwalk, CT.
Mark has served in youth ministry for more than 30 years and has experience in both church and parachurch settings. From 1984 through 2005, he served as the Associate Pastor for Youth and Young Adult Ministries on the staff of Noroton Presbyterian Church in Darien, Connecticut. Mark received his BS in Management Science and Organizational Behavior from Penn State University and his seminary training through Fuller and Pittsburgh Seminaries, earning his Master of Divinity degree in 1984.
Prior to attending seminary, Mark served as an Area Director for Young Life in Beaver Co. Pennsylvania and also worked as a Drug and Alcohol Prevention Specialist in several school districts. He has completed his course work in preparation for the Doctor of Ministry Degree at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Boston. Mark now serves as the Executive Director of REACH Youth New England, Inc. and also as the New England Regional Coordinator for the National Network of Youth Ministries. Mark and his wife, DJ, have two adult children and reside in Norwalk, Connecticut.
Leneita recently celebrated her 20th year in ministry. She currently does Youth Ministry consulting and writing via Blue Sky, Green Sky. Her responsibilities have included Bible-based program direction for children ages 5-18, curriculum writing, staff training and recruiting, discipleship, and speaking to national audiences. Her passion is multiplying ALL youth workers (full time, paid, unpaid, volunteer, or bivocational) by aiding them to become better trained and equipped.
She has also done training and conference planning for both for Urban Youth Workers Institute as well as Simply Youth Ministry. Her first book, No Teenager Left Behind, was published by Simply Youth Ministry earlier this year. She is honored to be a part of a family that ministers together, with her husband John, a niece, and three beautiful children.
Rev. Bob Whittet has three decades of youth ministry experience in his background, most of it focussed here in New England. A speaker at retreats and conferences around the country, he also serves as an advisor and board member for a number of national and regional ministries. Bob serves as Associate Professor of Christian Ministries and Director of Church Relations for Gordon College in Wenham, MA. He is the founder and president of the Center for Student Leadership in Rye, NH. CSL is committed to helping students discover their leadership potential.
Rachel Blom is a youth ministry veteran who has served in youth ministry in several countries. Originally from The Netherlands, she now resides in upstate New York with her family. Rachel is the author of Storify: Speaking to Teenagers in a Post-Christian World and Beyond Small Talk: Connecting with Teenagers through Conversations that Matter. Her goal is to equip and resource youth leaders worldwide to help them serve better in youth ministry through her website Youth Leaders Academy. She also serves as a committed volunteer in a local outreach program for middle schoolers and high schoolers. Rachel devours books, which has turned her into a walking encyclopedia of completely useless facts, and she loves hiking.
Colleen Forhan is a lifetime resident of Worcester, MA and over the past five years has been volunteering in Youth Ministries at Heritage Bible Chapel in Princeton, MA as a Youth Leader. In this role, God has used her gifts of organization and planning as a support to the Youth Pastor as well as in discipleship, encouragement, and relationship building. Colleen has a strong passion for coming alongside the younger generation to help draw them to and guide them in their walk with Jesus, and building into them the truths of God’s word to equip them to live boldly for Christ. Colleen has also served on several international missions’ trips to Dominican Republic, Guatemala, and most recently Haiti with Nehemiah Vision Ministries. She prays continuously for God’s will and what He has next for her so that she can be used mightily to bring glory to His Name.
Steve has served in student ministry for 17 years in various capacities. He graduated from Cairn University with a BA in Bible, as well as Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary with an MA in Youth Ministry. He currently serves as the Youth Director at the Christian Gospel Church in Worcester and is the Central MA Coordinator for NNYM. He is married and has two sons.
Adam McLane is a lifelong student of youth ministry, a veteran youth pastor, and mentor to an ever-expanding web of students and adults. Adam created and later sold Youth Ministry Exchange, an online community for youth workers, before joining the team at Youth Specialties in 2008. While at YS, Adam lead a wide array of initiatives to greatly expand the company’s use of email marketing, online marketing, social media, and mobile application development. In September 2011, Adam left Youth Specialties to join The Youth Cartel, a full-service consulting firm specializing in helping churches, businesses and ministries connect with teenagers, young adults, and youth workers. Adam and his wife Kristen live in San Diego, California, with their three young children.