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stephife

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Young Life
December 4, 2011

It’s Sunday afternoon and my step-daughter just returned from a young life weekend camp trip, and I’m not happy. First of all, I just assumed this organization was part of the school, because she brought home the information from school---I thought. There was some kind of permission slip I signed weeks ago, but those things get signed so fast in the morning, I can’t say I paid attention. So the trip was reintroduced on Thursday and I checked the website [lakechampion.younglife.org] in advanced of the trip on Thursday night. But obviously not closely enough. I just kind of did a cursory review of the location, the facilities, but didn’t read about them in depth, because I’m still assuming this is a school sanctioned trip. Because of the cursory nature of my review, I HAD NO IDEA this organization had anything to do with religion!!!. Now I freely admit, that’s my fault and I take responsibility for not reading the website closely.

My first real clue that religion was involved came when my step daughter called me today before the return trip to say how much fun she had and that at one point there was a discussion about “how God can change your life”. Antennas immediately went up now --- WHAT? Back to the website ---this time the parent organization website, not the lakechampion local site--, and now I’m paying attention. So the website says:


Young Life brings the good news of Jesus Christ into the lives of adolescents with an approach that is respectful of who kids are and hopeful about who they can be.  

Also this excerpt, from http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/february/1.13.html:
Following a November statement outlining the “Non-negotiables of Young Life’s Gospel Proclamation,” YL's eight-page Non-Negotiables statement requires a sequence for gospel presentations that closely resembles Campus Crusade for Christ's Four Spiritual Laws. Talks must begin with the person of Jesus Christ, "the overarching theme of all our talks." From there, evangelists should explain the reality and consequences of sin before presenting the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his resurrection. Talks end with an invitation to believe, become a disciple of Jesus, and publicly proclaim one's faith.

Immediately I want to know, who are these YoungLife people and what is their history?? I notice they’re global and have been around since the 40s. That means there is some substantial money behind them. Where do they get their money? Who are the present and past characters on their board of directors and what are their individual histories? All these questions pop into my mind. So, now I’m aware I should have launched a research project behind this organization and I have neither the time or inclination to do this. My knowledge of the self-serving history of Christian proselytizing and it’s often damaging, global impact leaves me extremely uneasy. And if that weren’t enough, these contemporary Christian fundamentalists are a truly scary and dangerous bunch and I want no part of them.

I’m particularly outraged since this “batch” of students that attended the camp is mostly immigrant, mostly children of color and a significant percentage have Islamic background. Even though I didn’t complete my homework, I feel deceived. I probably would not feel so if there had been a direct one sentence, bold highlighted, large font declaration of younglife’s organizational intent on the form they sent home for signature. The young lady who was my step daughter’s contact for the organization said there was a brochure that accompanied the waiver, release, but I don’t remember it. In any case, this information was sent home some weeks in advance of the trip so there is that disconnect between the information delivery and the actual trip---enough time to forget. Bottom line, this entire experience leaves me extremely disturbed and wary. I’m especially distressed that they have manipulated the mentality of the young person so that now, when we parents have to come back with a sharp counter analysis, of course the adolescent only remembers how much fun she just had. This is insidious and underhanded. I will be following up with the school, as many of the other parents I can contact and if necessary we will launch an internet advisory warning other unsuspecting parents.

Finally, I notice all the reviews on this page are glowing with the exception of mine and another mother who submitted her evaluation a few days prior to mine. It’s obvious that you get all the kids to write in. We’ll see if we can get some more parents who have been equally blindsided to weigh in on the discussion.

More feedback

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

No

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A lot

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

MY ROLE:
General Member of the Public