Arts & Leisure

Folklife Center takes Young Traditions Vermont under its wing

Young Tradition Vermont will become a program of Middlebury’s Vermont Folklife Center effective July 1.

The Vermont Folklife Center has collaborated closely with Young Tradition Vermont (YTV) for many decades in our complimentary missions to amplify and sustain the living musical and dance traditions practiced by cultural communities across Vermont. YTV founder and director Mark Sustic and VFC founder Jane Beck began collaborating in the 1980s before either organization was founded.

“I am thrilled that YTV and the Folklife Center will formally join to pursue our shared mission and vision,” said Kate Haughey, the Center’s executive director. “This important step for both organizations will ensure that many future generations of young people from all backgrounds have meaningful opportunities to explore the connections between traditional cultural practices, identity, and community.

“YTV and VFC programs over the past 40 years have demonstrated the positive impact that engaging in community-based traditional arts has on social-emotional wellbeing. I look forward to expanding our efforts together,” Haughey added.

During the coming year, Sustic will join the VFC staff and remain at the helm of YTV’s many youth-oriented programs. Administration and promotion of YTV’s programs will transition to Folklife Center staff, allowing Sustic to focus on the programmatic efforts.

“Young Tradition Vermont, as a Vermont Folklife Center program, will continue to focus on ensuring that children and youth have opportunities to see, hear and interact with musicians, dancers, and instruments,” Sustic said. “This exciting step forward combines the strengths of both organizations to further the impact of both.”

YTV programs, including Trad Camp, Fiddleheads, Touring Group, and the Young Tradition Festival, among others, will join the VFC’s existing programmatic offerings, including its Vermont Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary.

This move is one of strength and growth for both organizations, allowing YTV’s programs to go forward with increased administrative support, and enhancing the Folklife Center’s reach among young Vermonters and their communities. There is always regret mixed with huge gratitude when a founder steps away, but in this case, the new partnership with VFC will assure long-term sustainability for the programs and values of YTV.

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