4 minutes reading time (733 words)
Open Call for New Leaders
An Open Letter From a Former Director of Women’s Interests, Former Vice President, Former President, Current Region Coordinator, Current Member At Large Board Member and Current Chair of the Nominating Committee for SDA Kinship International, Inc.
My very first experience with Kinship was in 1995 when I got the courage up to attend my first Kampmeeting, across the US from me in Oregon. I didn’t know a soul but was desperate to find other folks just like me and a place I could be myself and be accepted just as I was. I was picked up at the airport by Sherri Babcock and John Wieland. They were so welcoming that even feeling nervous and shy, I began to feel at ease. I remember walking into the main meeting space just before the meeting was being let out for lunch. As Kinship members filed out into the lobby to go into the dining hall, Sherri and John introduced me to a swarm of gay men and a few lesbians who hugged me and then escorted me into lunch. If I had had any feeling of not belonging, it disappeared at that moment! And so began my introduction to Kinship.
That first Kampmeeting had such a profound effect on my life that I haven’t missed a Kampmeeting since, even during this pandemic.
The next year, my second Kampmeeting, Kinship leaders invited me to share my time, energy and love for the community by becoming the coordinator for the region where I live. And I did. Soon after that, I also became the Women’s coordinator (Director of Women’s Interests). Within a few more years I served as Vice President, and, after that, President.
As the years have passed, I have come to love this organization and all the folks I’ve met along the way even more. I have a birth family and I also have this family of choice, and what I’ve gained through my time here leads me to give back so that others who might feel isolated and alone now can know a wonderful place where you can be loved and accepted and affirmed for who you are.
I hope this letter gives you a sense of what Kinship means to me. And I hope you can understand that each person on the board of directors and in positions of leadership feels similarly. Why else would they volunteer so much of their time and talents to continue Kinship’s important work?
This year, just as it did the year I joined, Kinship needs talented and generous folks, folks generous with talents and time and ideas, to join the board and leadership team. As Chair of the Nominating Committee, I am working with others to find candidates for positions up for election this July. But it has been hard to know what talents each of you has to offer. We want to work with you and talk with you about what the team needs. So please think carefully about what your talents are and where you might be able to keep Kinship growing and relevant to members and those new friends we encounter along the way.
Kinship is here to support YOU, and Kinship also needs your support.
This summer, there are five positions up for election, and all of them are needed for Kinship to work well: Vice President, Treasurer, Communications, Director of Development and Director of Youth Interests.
We are always also looking to train new region coordinators and demographic coordinators, such as coordinators for KinMen or KinSeniors.
If you want to support Kinship by running for an office this summer, or if you’d like to be appointed as a coordinator, please contact me today!
If you know of a Kinship member who would be a good fit for any of these roles, please pass their information along to me. My email is
In Kinship and with hugs,
- Yolanda Elliott, Region 2 Leader, Nominations Committee Chair, Former President
Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International, Inc.
When you subscribe to the blog, we will send you an e-mail when there are new updates on the site so you wouldn't miss them.