There are ebbs and flows of a workplace that can be predictable, even feel normal, but saying good bye to amazing staff members never gets easy. After a combined 15 years at Youth Farm is some capacity or another, we bid Tyler Berres farewell this week. This transition is bitter sweet for me personally, as I met Tyler in 1999 when he was 12, and a 7th grader at Humboldt Jr. High. As a part of his science class, he helped design and build our West Side Farmsite in my first year at Youth Farm. He has been a participant, a Project LEAD, a youth Board Member, a summer staff, an assistant Program Director and a Program Director – he actually has done it all at Youth Farm. Beyond my memories and experiences with Tyler at Youth Farm, I feel lucky that many other experiences stick out to me – following his High School Soccer teams run to the State Championship game, his High School Graduation, his wedding, and many more – he is a true friend. As sad as I and other are that he is moving on, this building of leaders and leadership is exactly what we strive for at Youth Farm. Tyler could not have summed this up better than in his letter to partners and families that he sent earlier this week:
“Over the past 4 years I’ve been lucky enough to have worked in one of my dream jobs as West Side Program Director, and like the natural changes of the season it is time for a natural personal change as well. Today is my last day at Youth Farm as the West Side Program Director.
(Here’s a fun look back at my last 4 years)
Starting this Thursday I will be starting a new position with St. Paul Public Schools as a Program Assistant within the department of Community Education. A position with lots of promise and opportunity for continued growth.
This was a very difficult decision to make for so many reason but mostly because I grew up at Youth Farm. Youth Farm has played a major role in my personal and professional development. I’m very proud of the person I am today and I credit a large portion of that to the people, values, and community that make up Youth Farm, St. Paul’s West Side, and the Twin Cities network of mission driven people and organizations.”
What more could we ask for as an organization than to have this sort or role in young peoples lives and to see them take on new and exciting challenges with “opportunity for continued growth.”
Tyler has gone from youth participant at Youth Farm in its early years to a close personal friend of mine – what he has brought to Youth Farm and the youth farmers is amazing, I am just glad he has brought me something immeasurable – lifelong friendship.
Thank you Tyler!