FOCUS North America invites you to join us for a conference celebrating:



November 8th through 10th


Austin, Texas


Adults of all ages from the YES and FOCUS communities, and from Orthodox parishes across the country.


Overcoming the Obstacles to Service

Topics and Speakers

How to Share the Burdens of Others Without Being Overwhelmed

How to Serve When Perspectives Differ

How to Make an Impact When the Problem Feels too Big

Father Michael Nasser

Grand Rapids, MI

Fr. Michael Nasser is enjoying his ministry assignment as the Pastor of St. Nicholas Orthodox Church since 2015. He served previously as a mission priest in both Bowling Green, KY and Tijuana, Mexico, as well as was blessed with a decade of ministry as both a camp director and in the field of campus ministry. He has been married to Vicky since 1994 and they are blessed with three wonderful children: Maria, Joshua and Elena. Fr. Michael studied at St. Vladimir’s Seminary in Crestwood, NY before finishing his M.Div. at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, in Brookline, MA. He also received his Th.M. following studies at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Beverly, MA, in the fields of Missions and Youth Ministry. Fr. Michael enjoys kayaking and backpacking, following politics and current events, and spending time with his faithful beagle-mix, Buddy.

Elissa Bjeletich Davis

Austin, TX

Elissa Bjeletich Davis is an author and podcaster who loves Orthodox ministry for all ages. She writes for children and adults, works on curriculum projects, teaches Sunday school, and speaks at women’s and family retreats. Elissa has been involved in YES for more than a decade, first by bringing YES trips to her Austin, Texas, parish, and then by serving on the Advisory Board. To Elissa, “YES is absolutely the best youth ministry program in the Orthodox Church, because it immerses young people in the Kingdom of God, empowering them to bring the joy of the Kingdom and their love of Christ into every human relationship. It’s a course in practical Christian love, and it transforms everyone it touches.” She and her husband, Chris, live in a house full of kids near Austin, Texas.

Jason Catanese

Phoenix, AZ

Jason Catanese teaches seventh and eighth grade math, algebra, and geometry at Pueblo Del Sol Elementary School in the Isaac School District in Phoenix, is a member of the Arizona State Board of Education, and co-founder and CEO of Camp Catanese. Jason holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northwestern University and a Master of Education degree from Arizona State University. After college, he began teaching first-generation students in Maryvale, a neighborhood in Phoenix, through Teach For America and has taught there for the last 13 years. Jason believes in equity and access for all students. To that end, he created a comprehensive year-round college access program, Camp Catanese, with many of his friends from Antiochian Village and other church camps around the country, which has helped hundreds of first-generation students go to college. Jason loves creating opportunities full of hope, love, teamwork, and determination!

Registration Information

The registration fee is $125.
To register, please click the button below! 

If you would like to be a sponsor for the conference, you can make a donation on the registration form and fill out your information there! Thank you for your support.
If you are a YES leader and need financial assistance, please reach out to Katrina Bitar, Director of YES and Local Initiatives,

For the chance to win FREE conference registration, enter our t-shirt design contest! Designs can be submitted at the button below.

Conference Highlights

  • Outreach in the City
  • Walking Prayer Tour at the State Capitol 
  • Interactive Workshops
  • Celebration Banquet
  • Social Gatherings in Hotel Lounge

Hotel Information

Hotel: Element Austin Downtown                               Address: 109 E 7th St, Austin, TX, 78701

20-minutes from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport

Get our excellent group rate when you book by October 11th!

Room Options:

  1. Guest Room, 1 King Room
  2. Studio, 1 King and 1 Sofa Bed
  3. Studio, 2 Queen(s), Sofa Bed
  4. Bedroom Suite, 1 King and 1 Sofa Bed

Conference Sponsorships

Thank you for considering this opportunity to support Youth Equipped to Serve and our 20 Years of YES Conference. We look forward to the possibility of partnering with you and making a meaningful impact together.  Your support would not only enhance the conference experience but also provide the YES Program with the resources to grow our current ministries and create new ones. We offer various sponsorship levels. Please see below to learn more about our sponsorship packages.

As a sponsor for the conference, you will be supporting YES by:

  • Providing for young adults who need financial assistance to attend
  • Contributing to the conference outreach efforts in Austin
  • Making current YES Programs possible and creating new ones

Individual or Family

Company or Business

If you have any questions about the conference, please email:

Katrina Bitar

Director of YES and Local Initiatives