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Young Life
September 24, 2009

Young Life was the catalyst for many changes in my life, which have resulted in a richer, more passionate, more loving, more fulfilling life through a personal relationship with my Lord and Savior. I had no idea who my leaders were the first time I met them- I only knew that they were some cool college kids to hang out with at the coffee shop in town. Little did I know they would be a consistent presence in my life. During an especially hard period for my family, I could always count on my leaders for encouragement, a hug, and a listening ear. We began doing Bible studies on a weekly basis. "Campaigners," as it is called, took this nice church girl's ideas about Christianity and turned them upside down. My leaders both taught and lived out some tough lessons found in the Bible, but they did so in community and with a faith that motivated their every move. They asked the questions that make me consider whether I really believed in what I had learned in church. When I went to camp for the first time, I was not disappointed: it truly was the best week of my life up until that point. At camp, I prayed for Jesus to come into my heart in a real way- the speakers and my leader helped me understand my need for Christ's salvation. I realized that I was not really a Christian up until that point. The next year challenged me to live out my faith within my high school, my job, and my relationships. Our town's Young Life started "club" that year, which meant reaching out to both Christians and non-Christians for a time of fun games, great songs, silly skits, and non-threatening Biblical messages. Around December, my leader suggested that I sign up to do work crew the following summer. Work crew is an opportunity for high school students to serve, unpaid, at a Young Life camp for one month. I started attending the work crew training courses and again was amazed by the people who came: they genuinely had a heart for the Lord, and taught me so much about service to others in order to bring glory to God. I didn't get assigned to the camp that I had wanted, and I was very apprehensive about my job in the dining hall at a camp so far away from home. However, my three-week assignment on work crew was without a doubt the single most profound, life-changing experience I've ever had. It was the best three weeks of my life. The days were incredibly long. We did the work- for free- that few others would want to do. We had to learn how to put others' needs before our own. But most importantly, I learned to rely on God for strength. He was my rock, my motivation, and my vision for the time I was serving on work crew. Second most importantly, I made relationships with 40 people from across the country that I now love dearly and call my "work crew family." Between service, engaging worship and devotions, intense prayer, and confessions of our hearts and our hurts, and loving people that passionately loved the Lord (and came to love me!), I became a new person. During Young Life work crew, I went from knowing and needing the Lord to loving God with all of my heart. Leaving my work crew session early was so hard, but I went right to college from camp, which was a blessing that I didn't recognize at the time. I came into a secular college with my focus fully on God. My time with Young Life both at home, at camp, and during work crew shaped me into a person who was living no longer for the ways of the world but for the creator of the world. Because of the ways God changed my heart through Young Life, I have been (with a few stumbles along the way) striving to lead a pure, loving, and purposeful life and to be a witness on campus. I am now a leader within a campus Christian organization, where I plan large group gatherings and lead a small group. There have been other influences on my spiritual life along the way, but I give no other group more credit for changing me and investing in me. Young Life is one of the main reasons I am passing along the light of Christ to the others in my life. For myself and thousands of others, Young Life is the non-profit organization that has had the most meaningful and eternal impact on our lives.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my faith life, personal relationships, and the way I look at myself.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the chance to feel God's love through the love of other passionate Christians who lead very real lives, complete with every struggle in this world and the assurance that God will get them through.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

loving, empathetic, selfless, faithful, real, funny, generous, busy, supportive, young, visionary, hardworking, focused, and responsive to God's call in their lives.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

create another beautiful camp, reimburse leaders for all of the gas money they spend, equip Young Life groups with equipment to run club, get more publicity, and give scholarships to send kids to camp.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

MY ROLE:
Client Served & I attended Young Life "club," Bible study, and camp as a high school student, then worked as a volunteer at a camp after graduation.