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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Philanthropy, Voluntarism Promotion, Youth Development - Religious Leadership

Mission: The vision was born in 1938 when Jim Rayburn, a young youth leader in Texas, was challenged by his senior minister to focus on the local high school and pioneer a path to connect with non-churched kids. After exploring several possibilities, Rayburn decided that the best setting for the proclamation of the Gospel was at a Young Life club, held in the home of one of the kids. Club involved lively singing, a skit and a short talk about Jesus Christ. He believed every kid had a right to hear the message of Jesus Christ and decide how to respond to the Gospel. Young Life leaders provide kids with factual information for making good decisions. Leaders work hard to provide teenagers with the basic facts concerning Jesus Christ. The information is presented in a non-threatening manner in terms that kids can understand.Young Life leaders have the highest regards and respect for a young person's right to choose where matters of faith are concerned.

Target demographics: middle school and high school kids and college students.

Geographic areas served: all 50 states of the U.S. and in over 100 countries internationally.

Programs: Young Life's efforts to reach out to every kid, everywhere have resulted in a number of specific ministries. Each of these apply the basics of Young Life to meet kids just as they are through friendship and faith. In alphabetical order our specific ministries are: Capernaum: Young Life's ministry to kids with disabilities, named after the town where Jesus performed many miracles. College: Young Life's outreach to college students both in the U.S. and internationally. International: Young Life's outreach to high school and middle school kids in more than 100 countries around the world. Small Town/Rural: Young Life's ministry to kids in one-high-school towns of fewer than 25,000 people. Urban: Young Life's minsistry to racial and ethnic minorities, focused on kids who live in high-density communities and who are historically, socially and/or economically disadvantaged. WyldLife: Young Life's ministry to middle school kids. YoungLives: Young Life's ministry to teenage moms. Young Life provides healthy, creative fun. From weekly clubs to seasonal camping experiences to daily outings with leaders, Young Life is known around the world as an organization that knows how to have fun. Club meets once a week and has been described as "controlled chaos." Leaders combine songs, humor, and group interaction to create an hour of energetic fun where kids can express that teenage tendency to push the limits-but within the controlled context of a safe environment. Campaigners is the name for Young Life's Bible study program. Kids often meet in small groups with a Young Life leader during the week to discuss their ideas and question about faith and begin exploring the Bible. These groups were named from a term we've kept around since Young Life was called "The Young Life Campaign" in the early '40s. Camping is one of Young Life's specialties. Kids can discover adventure and prove their prowess by climbing through a ropes course in the tops of trees, barreling down a water slide from hundreds of feet up the side of a mountain, riding horseback along scenic trails, water skiing, parasailing, racing go-carts around muddy tracks and enjoying what Young Life leaders promise to be one of the best weeks of their lives.

Community Stories

16 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

I went to Young Life camp two years ago an angry, bitter kid. I came from an abusive home, and all I knew was anger. When I got to camp, for the first time I saw people who were genuinely happy. Halfway through the week, a guy stood up and shared a story that was a lot like mine. I wanted to know what the difference was between us. Why he was so happy and loving and free. I wanted that. So I talked to him, and he helped me realize that God is the difference. He is the one that takes anger and turns it into forgiveness. When we got back, my leader supported me in reporting the abuse, and got me out of that dangerous situation. It gave me room to grow and change. So, without YL, I'd still be that angry kid, stuck in an abusive house. I couldn't say I genuinely love both my parents, like I can now. I am free, and it's because Young Life offered me the chance to see the peace that was there all along.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

I joined Young Life last year, my senior year of high school. And i absolutely loved it. Young Life helped me to become more outgoing and not be so afraid to talk to people. We'd play silly games where you had to get in front of everyone and do stupid things. But it really helped me loosen up in front of everyone. It was embarrasing but everyone there had done it. It also helped me get a lot closer to God and make the right kind of friends. Now my friends actually listened to what I had to say, and they treated me the right way. They also wanted me to work on my relationship with God. I got to experience Fall Weekend. It was the best weekend of my life. That was the closest I have ever been to God, and I wish I could do it again. I got to go to club every night. We got to sing and dance around and just act stupid. I remember one of my friends let me jump on his back so i could see everything. It was so much fun. I will definitly never forget Young Life or the people I met there. It was just an amazing experience.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

YoungLife goes out of their way to include students who may otherwise never have any personal connections. The leaders really reach out, and everyone has a lot of fun when they participate.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

i love younglife! all the counselors are amazing, and so fun. i get so excited every time i get ready to go. its a place you can have fun and be carefree, and everybody needs some of that. in one word, its perfect.

7

Client Served

Rating: 5

Young Life has had an unbelievable impact in my life, and the lives of my friends. At Young Life i saw that life in Christ meant life to the full. Following Jesus is an adventure and Young Life showed me that, i'll forever be thankful.

6

Client Served

Rating: 5

A big part of my beautiful teenage memories are of young life and friends in young life. I look back and realize there are so many things that I wouldn't have experienced without young life. As an adult I'm glad that young life is still here and helping other under privalged experience life when sometimes you need to get away from your reality.