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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

24 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

11

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

My nieces are involved with Young Life and frankly, if they were my children i would forbid it. My problem with the group is that they sell themselves as non-denominational, yet they are brainwashing and converting those girls make no doubt about it. They are not a youth group - they are a Protestant bible study group. We are Catholic, we have a faith yet they like to go to YL because they have a very active youth group, they plan weekend trips, take them skiing and even to Disneyland (from Seattle!). Of course, the kids want to go! Example, I was asking my 16 yr old niece Hailey about YL, and at one point I said you are Catholic, and she snapped back, I'm a Christian! I said true, Catholics are Xtians. She shook her head and stormed off (she is a teenager after all). It upset me that these people are obviously telling her that Catholics are not Xtians, why such animosity against her own religion? Example2, They have YL on Weds night and a rotating movie night at various member homes on Saturday. Hailey's mom asked her to offer their home for movie night. Hailey said no, you cant. "Why?" You just can't you don't go to their church, they don't know you, they wont let you. Meanwhile, all her YL friends are always at the house after school, weekends, at non-YL times, when the parents don't mind. So why, if this is truly non-denominational, are non-Protestants parents not allowed to be involved in YL activities? I could site several examples that individually do not sound like such a big deal, but when viewed in totality, it paints a very clear picture. My Bro&Sis-in-law are complacent about it, figuring its better to associate with Protestants than thugs or stoners. Perhaps, but it is not harmless. They are pushing their Protestant agenda on impressionable kids. Overall, I think it is a great organization for Protestants. However, I do not approve of the way they market themselves as non-denominational when that is clearly not the case. if they want to evangelize they should be honest about it. But then, I am sure their membership would drop markedly as many religious families would not want their kids going to Protestant bible study. Be honest! What a great example of Xtianity, Charlatans in non-denominational clothing!

11

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

I first read about Young Life in my local newspaper. I was very surprised as they talk about having a constant presence at sporting events, school dances, and visiting the school cafeteria. Apparently they act friendly to you in order to eventually convert you to Christianity. Although a strictly Christian organization, there is nothing in their symbols, etc. that would lead a defenseless child to be on their guard against this indoctrination. I am appalled at this! If they're going to try to convert my children, they should have the integrity to come right out and say what they're trying to do instead of sneaking it in. I'm not a Christian and it's this sort of behavior that makes me proud of that. The best advice I can give this organization is to mind their own business, stay out of our schools and in my fondest hope, wither and die.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

In 1991 I lost my husband and faced raising two teenage boys alone. I felt so overwhelmed and turned to God for His help. He led my son to Young Life at Sumner High School and I could see He had answered my prayer. The raelly amazing part of this story is that He had even bigger plans. My son stayed involved and God called him to serve. You can now find my son in Rescue, California serving as ElDorado County Area Director for Young Life. I don't want to think how differently his life would have been if he hadn't had Young Life to help influence him. I thank God daily for leading my son to Young Life and for the leaders in Young Life that rach out to these kids.

8

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

It has helped to change my life for the better by finding christ, but having fun with my friends while doing it.

12

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My experience has been more seeing what Young Life has done for my sister and her family!! My brother in law works at the Timeberwolf campus in Lake City,MI. Since he has gotten the job there, it has done incredible things for him and my sister. Not only does he have a BEAUTIFUL place to work, he works with BEAUTIFUL people!!! He loves going to work with Christian people and praying before his work day/night begins!! How Awesome is that!I live in SC, so I am not there to hear all the great things he experiences, but I have visited the campus while visiting family in MI. The people there are great, and it is just AMAZING to see all of the kids and youth running around and swimming, and playing together with smiles on their faces!! I have been there in the middle of the business, and on Christmas break when there is absolutely nobody there!! The place is great!! I have researched other campus's as well, and they look just as great!! KEEP UP THE AMAZING THINGS YOU ARE DOING FOR CHILDREN AND PARENTS!!

9

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Young Life is such a great mentoring program! My kids have had such positive experiences with house-building trips to Mexico, working camps and hanging out with older people who genuinely care about them. My kids love YL so much that they talk about it all the time and now their friends are enjoying the relationships and mentoring experience. My oldest son is now a leader and is giving back to the community.

4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Young Life has had its hand in generational change in our society. Volunteers love kids unconditionally and without regard. Kids see Christ first hand and want the intangible something... Jesus. Kids are changed, families are changed and entire generations are loving Christ and it was all because of a Young Life Leader... God uses YL to be a light in a dark world!

4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My son attended a YL camp for the first time this summer. He had outgrown the typical sunday school program at our church and this has opened a new door for him and his friends. I really feel it is important for him to have a strong circle of support as he becomes a young man and starts to make important life decisons. The experience we have had with YL Organization and it's volunteers is nothing but positive!

4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Young Life was an experience I will never forget or let go of. I literally missed one Young Life club the entire time I was in high school. I found God and accepted Him into my life because of Young Life and the leader who stuck by my side all four years. She made such an impact in my life and I can't imagine not having her now! She's like a sister to me. Today I am a freshman in college and I am starting training to become a Young Life leader in Brazos Valley. I can only hope that I become what my leader was for me, for other girls. Young Life is an AMAZING program that incorporates a ton of fun into learning about and finding God. My life wouldn't be the same without it.

5

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Both of my children joined Younglife while in High School and absolutely love it. The leaders are awesome and helped my children understand how god can be a bigger part of their life. They went to summer camp and had 'The best week of their life". The next summer my daughter volunteered a week of her summer for "Work Week" and my son volunteered 4 weeks as part of a "work crew". They both plan to do it again. My kids have accepted God into their life and have plans to stay involved in Younglife during college to help other kids find god.