Young Life’s mission statement is “Introducing adolescents to Jesus Christ and helping them grow in their faith;” but there is more to it than meets the eye.
Young Life can be whatever you need it to be. It can be a time you hang out with your friends outside of school or it could be your escape from parents or siblings, whatever your reason for going, Young Life has something for you. Attending Young Life is one of my favorite things to do in life, and it could be yours too, but first, what is Young Life?
Young Life is a Christian group — led by North Carolina State students — that meets twice during the week, once for ‘Campaigners’ or bible study, and another for ‘Club’. Club is a meeting on Thursday where Leesville students sing songs, play games and trivia, learn more about God, and to cap it off, we go to Bojangle’s for food after. ‘Campaigners’, Young Life’s version of bible study, happens on Mondays, and ‘Club’ takes place on Thursdays.
Having an older brother and sister, I knew since middle school that I would eventually go to Young Life, too. I had really had no expectations for what was to come with Young Life. But, later I realized that YL is a fun time to spend time with peers and learn more about God.
Young Life is great, but it might not always seem that way: “All my friends in high school went to Young Life, but I thought it was weird and never gave it a chance,” said Chandler Rechenberg, who later became Young Life leader.
Rechenberg attended NCSU and graduated, but continues to lead Young Life, “It’s fun. We grow up too fast and Young Life is a place where we can slow down, have fun, and learn more about who we were made to be,” said Rechenberg. Chandler now leads Young Life at Leesville after leading Millbrook while at NC State.
Like Rechenberg, Leesville students had big expectations, too. “My expectations were that I was going to have a lot of fun and that it would be dope to start going [to Young Life],” said Spencer Scott, sophomore. “I had an older brother go [to Young Life], who told me a lot of good things about it and now my little brother goes with me.” Scott continues to have a great Young Life experience.
“You can meet a lot of great people while loving God,” said Scott.
Sydney Mudd, a sophomore, had different expectations than Spencer Scott. “My expectations were a small group of people gathering to sing Jesus songs and talk about God,” said Mudd.
Unlike Spencer, Sydney didn’t have a sibling who went through Young Life. “I don’t have any other siblings that went because I am the oldest that goes to Leesville, but a bunch of people on my cheer team told me to go [to Young Life].”
Now she wants others to go too. “I would recommend others to come to YL because it is a great organization that encourages people to become closer to the Lord and it will be the highlight of your week,” said Mudd.
Hampton Briley, another Leesville Young Life leader, did not know what to expect: “I really didn’t know what to think about Young Life…I heard it was fun, but was always hesitant,” said Briley.
Since joining Young Life, Briley has had some great experiences. “My favorite experience with Young Life was one summer when we went on a long backing trip through the backcountry of Colorado…it was one of the best weeks of my life,” said Briley.
Hampton has lead Young Life at Leesville for over a year now and wants to see more students. “I recommend Young Life to others because it’s a place where you can come, have fun, be yourself, and meet and grow with your peers,” Briley said.
This past month I went to Young Life fall camp at Windy Gap, in Weaverville, NC. I honestly didn’t know what to expect, I had never been to a Young Life camp before and couldn’t wait to experience what many of my friends had before. That weekend was one for the books. I grew closer with my friends while going down water slides and riding a horse for the first time. And if that wasn’t enough, I learned more about my faith and grew closer to god. Young Life is an awesome time with all your friends and is open to everyone.
It’s every week and is a good excuse to get away from your homework and go hang out with your friends.
Expectations and reality aren’t always the same, so give Young Life a chance.