Maps and Mapping

ag344-mapAnyone who knows me well, knows that I love maps.  When I was in college, we had hung a map of the Buffalo area on the wall of our apartment, with pins stuck in various schools where we had Young Life ministry and also where we were praying for it to start.  I even took a class at the University of Buffalo called  “Maps and Mapping.”  I learned the hard way that Cartography is a complicated topic.  Even though I didn’t get good grades in Cartography, I have always thought in terms of maps.  I love drawing maps on napkins when I meet someone for breakfast, or on an easel pad during a group discussion.

As much as I love maps, I know not everyone sees the world in the same way.  That’s why I wanted to share the above map with you, so you can see what I look at and think about all of the time.  I’ll let you take a look at it and figure out what all of the colors mean by looking at the key.  I could write for pages and pages about this map, but I won’t right now.  I want to make a few observations and notes for you, and then at the end, I have listed each area on the map with the staff person, or a prayer request if it is an un-staffed area.


  1. As I work on area development, areas will typically start out “red” as they are in the development stage, or run by volunteers.  Areas in this stage need the most from me in terms of time and attention.  As we are able to hire staff to take over responsibility in an area I have been supervising, that area enters a different phase. Areas classified “yellow” represent areas where we have hired a staff person that is in the training phase.  I’m currently training three staff members in two different areas.  Areas that are green are places where that ministry is being led and run by a fully-trained staff member–typically an Area Director.  My role at that point is supervision and encouragement.
  2. A large part of my role is to develop a rhythm of visiting each of these areas and the key people in them.  Video conference technology helps me meet with team members even while I’m not on the road, but there is no substitute for being with people.  Jesus taught us that.  I have written before about these trips to various areas before.  It is one of my favorite parts about this role I am in.  It is also the most taxing on my family over time.  I’m working to find the right balance for this stage of my life.

    Beautiful Lake Champlain Ferry Crossing

    One of my favorite ways to get around

  3. As much as I like thinking strategically with a map in front of me, what I do is ultimately about people.  I decided early on in this role that one of my main objectives is to develop and disciple leaders.  The map above is just a way for me to organize and visualize the people I know and care about in each place.


Listing of people in each area to pray for:   If you would like to pray for the work that I’m doing, please pray for these people and places.

  • Areas with fully-trained staff:
    • Adirondack–Brad Varner
    • Addison County–Todd Goodyear
    • Southern Adirondack–Kyle Esposito
    • Tri-States–Kristina Dorrough
  • Areas with staff-in-training:
    • Capital District–Aaron Batkay
    • Chittenden County–Katie Tallman and Kristen Narum
  • Areas in development or volunteer-led:
    • Southern Dutchess–Volunteer team leader Craig Burgiere
    • North Country–Committee is built.  Praying for our first volunteer leader.
    • Upper Valley–In the process of recruiting committee and leaders.
    • Hudson Prison–NY State is planning on converting this facility to house all of its 16 and 17 year-old inmates.  We would like to establish ministry to that population.

Thank you for your prayers and support!


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2 thoughts on “Maps and Mapping

  1. Hi Glenn! I’m curious about your reference to Hudson Prison. Nathan is doing youth prison work in Syracuse as I’m sure you know. Your comment implies that all 16 and 17 year old inmates in the entire state will be moved to Hudson. How do they plan to keep a relationship between these young people and their families with this centralized facility? I’ve read previously that it’s important to keep family involved as one works on rehabing these young people. If they are so far from their families, that seems close to impossible. Young Life will serve an even more important role in showing that ‘someone’ cares if the families are so far removed. This worries me as we need to help these young men and women turn their lives around.

    • Here is a link to the news article that alerted us to the change: I’m not sure of the reasons behind it. Obviously our concern is to see what role YL could play in helping kids who end up there. I don’t know the status of the transition–it was supposed to begin in August, but I haven’t heard or seen anything more. Its also far enough from current YL areas, where our role would mainly be connecting the opportunity with people, and connecting people with training. Not sure what shape this will all take . . .