Did COVID-19 Kill Leesville YoungLife?

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    Caption: Leesville YoungLife has decreased dramatically in size and style since COVID-19. Former members and current members watched the club change these past four years. (Photo courtesy of public domain)

    COVID-19 disrupted the normality of many social outings, but for Leesville YoungLife, it appears to not have adapted back to its normality after COVID-19 outbreaks decreased.

    In 2019, Leesville YoungLife hosted a club meeting every Thursday and a campaigners meeting every Tuesday. Up to 60 people would attend club meetings each week. 

    Each year, Leesville YoungLife went to Windy Gap for a travel camp in the fall. From 2019 till 2021, 5 to 20 Leesville students would go from each grade level.

    Kelsey Schlegal, a senior who was an active member of YoungLife before her senior year, watched interest in Leesville YoungLife decrease throughout her years of high school. 

    Schlegel is very close with Lawson Brown, the former Leesville class of 2023 YoungLife leader. “Lawson felt like she was putting in so much effort and nothing was coming out of it… she was stressed from planning YoungLife events and then no one coming,” said Schlegal. 

    Schlegel explained the importance of personal connections when growing YoungLife throughout the years. “Because of my sister, I knew what YoungLife was.. I think that’s the problem with freshmen this year, they were exposed to the club by upperclassmen,” said Schlegal. 

    Ansley Booth, sophomore, is an active YoungLife member. “Since there are very few upperclassmen in the club, we don’t have houses to host clubs at, so we have to do it at the church(Vision Church),” said Booth.

    Though club attendance typically doesn’t exceed 15, the small number of active members are close and have interactive meetings.

    Alexandra Buenaventura, a senior, went to WIndy Gap this year with a sophomore and two juniors. As the only senior from Leesville, Buenaventura still had fun, but it wasn’t what it normally is like for her.

    “I definitely had the most fun freshman year, but after COVID, the numbers at Leesville, and just Lesville, not other schools, decreased drastically,” said Buenaventura. 

    Leesville YoungLife members are still connected through their loving community, but after COVID-19 and changes in leadership, the style and size of gatherings is not what it used to be. The future of Leesville YoungLife is very dependent upon the few current members, because as of now, there are no freshmen to eventually become leaders and advocates for the club in the coming years.

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