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2009 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Young Life

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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

288 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

2

Client Served

Rating: 1

I was a victim of the branch at Towson University. They preyed on me as a lost, vulnerable freshman. They draw you in, invite you to EVERYTHING “pressure-free,” but then continue to harass you to keep coming back, pressure you to lead (even when you aren’t ready) ship you off to camp, make you PAY $100 for camp (and retreat weekends), and waste your time. Very unprofessional, and might I add, BRAINWASHED. No one has grown up past the age of 16 and have no idea how to function in the real world. I’m sorry, but if your “sister in Christ” tells you that she’s depressed and wants to kill herself, that’s when you need to get her help (call her parents, take her to a counselor, etc) not simply tell her that you’ll pray for her and this is all part of His plan. Also, they told me that my Heavenly Father wants to marry and have sex with me???? Btw they hate Catholics, so they’re not as welcoming as they claim to be. I’d be lying if I said they weren’t a big part of the reason why I transferred colleges. I can’t believe I breathe the same air as these SOBs and Bs.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I lead younglife for the special needs, capernaum and did younglife in high school growing up and it is such a great organization that leads so many people to the Lord and should be recognized.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am so sorry to read some of the comments posted here that bash this organization. So many angry comments made without one lick of support, many outright wrong. I've been around this outreach to teens for decades and can offer some corrections. For these and many more reasons, YoungLife has become one of the largest teen outreaches on the planet - active all throughout the U.S. and in over 110 foreign countries. It seems that many, many folks are thrilled with the organization and how they do business.

1. Many school districts welcome YoungLife leaders into their schools because of the incredibly positive influence those caring individuals have for teens. I have seen a letter from a local school principal lauding the presence of YL leaders in his lunchroom. The Area Director of the local outreach ALWAYS meets with the principal, gets the rules they are to follow (which always include no proselytizing on campus) and goes over those rules with all the leaders. They are a rule-following bunch. Believe me, those leaders are watched closely by administrators. But by far the majority of school districts do NOT allow YoungLife leaders or any other outside group into the schools. If leaders are seeing kids in the parking lot before or after school it is because the district has said that it is OK. They don't spend time trying to figure out ways around the rules.
2. YL is not trying to seduce teens into participating. There is never pressure to hang out with YL leaders or pressure to attend any YL event. In fact, most teens world-wide make their way to YoungLife events because they are invited by their friends who are loving their involvement in YL.
3. Every YL area has a staff person who is easily contacted and is ready and willing to meet and explain exactly what YL is about. Sadly some parents never take the time to check them out, especially those who write angrily about them
4. YL leaders don't specialize in telling teens how awful they are, rather they spend their time in the weekly meeting having tons of safe fun (no drugs, alcohol, or peer pressure to do those kinds of things) and do talk about the person of Jesus. It is their aim to make sure that every teen can make his/her own decision about Jesus based on good knowledge of what the Bible says about him. there is NEVER pressure for a kids to believe anything.
5. As a charity, YoungLife enjoys one of the highest ratings possible for their financial dealing (see Charity Navigator on the web).
6. Participation in YL has no bounds except that teens show respect for the leaders and other teens involved. That doesn't mean that they have to agree with the subject of Jesus, just that they respect others as valuable people.
7. For any camp attendance, the parents of every teen who attends is provided with a very complete form that asks permission to use their child's image in public advertising for YL only. The parents can say yes or no. As all organizations for teens, YL pays tremendous attention to every safety for the kids involved and always communicates with the parents.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This organization has been a positive life experience for my son. While some may have experienced the organization years ago (bday), I have not seen anything negative about the organization, the kids active with the organization or the leaders of the organization. In fact, my son's group has leaders consisting of a Dad, a Mom (another family) and a helper who are present at all activities. This is a great way for kids with good values (or are looking to have a positive influence in their life) find that group. It's a mix of all types of kids who wouldn't have had a chance to get to know each other due to the cliques in high school. This organization helped my son grow into the fine young man he is today. He heads off for college in the Fall and I can only hope there is a Young Life chapter on campus.

6

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

This cult creeped it's way into my High School almost two decades. It offers an artificial environment for lonely kids. They manipulate social groups, send very young University students to act as leaders and counsellors. It was a negative, abusive system, luring kids with fun organized activities - to camp. Then the religious brainwashing starts. Keep your kids away from this group, I hope it is banned for all schools. I went to a public school, and this garbage should have been kept far away, like all cults and creeps.

5

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

I don't understand the bad views? really I have never even heard of Young Life until college. At my LUTHERAN school, there is a Young Life for college kids and I sa a flyer and decided to go with my friend. No one was manipulative or tried to diobolically persuade us to join. We chose on our own. When we got there, everone was really nice and kind. None of them tried to tell us to "hate gays" or whatever some of these people are claiming... Most of the leaders were my age or a couple years older. The student were very involved and sometimes got to do there own service and talked about their own personal experiences with God. Every word said to me has encouraged love and positivity. The community is a kinf group of individuals who just want to get together, sing songs, and appreciate their religion. I don't know who these people are claiming it's "radical" and "hateful". Maybe their Young Life group just sucks. I have noticed though, that most people making the complaints are parents, not the actual teens/children/college students that experience it for themselves. I don't know. However, I can tell you for a fact that not all of the Young LIfe groups are as evil as some of the angry parents claim them to be. Please don't be too quick too judge a whole organization on a few negative perspectives. If, however, your religious group is encouraging hateful ideals and such, I would not blame you to remove yourself and your child from the environment- in fact I would encourage it. If you have read the Bible, Jesus said that the most important thing was to love your neighbors and he said that you should even love your enemy. Hate is the opposite of what Christians are supposed to represent. I am giving my experience with Young LIfe four stars, because it was a little awkward in the beginning trying to make new friends because both me and my friend are shy. Also, I think it would've been more fun if we played more games like my youth group in high school. I don't care if I'm a "legal adult" I want to play freeze tag and make friends. Overall though, I really felt a greater appreciation for the universe and a better connection to my religion, and whenever I am having a bad day, everyone is always so happy there, and it makes me happy to.

7

Client Served

Rating: 5

I can honestly say that my decision to go to young life was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I had never been insanely religious or anything and it's helped me to grow as a person. I have learned more about God and all He does for us and it's just been an amazing experience. However, the main reason I am so happy with my decision to start going to young life is that I have met some of the most amazing people. The leaders are so caring and so dedicated to helping us whenever we need anything, whether we need to talk or whether we just want to hang out. They are the most caring group of people I have ever met and I thank them so much for everything they have done. I can't even explain how amazing the leaders are. I am blown away by their caring personalities and their true kindness towards everyone. They are so great and I am so thankful for the opportunity I was presented with and so happy with my decision to try it out.

6

Client Served

Rating: 5

Young Life is a life changing organization. It provides kids with meaningful relationships and the opportunity to ask questions/ learn more about their faith. The leaders do nothing but love on the kids. The camps provide a glimpse of heaven and help the kids dive deeper and deeper into their faith. It provides kids with the perfect "getaway" from the real world and is GUARANTEED to change their life - I know it changed mine back in the day!! I can honestly say that I would not be the person that I am today without the love and support of my Young Life leaders and my experiences at camp and campaigners. Thank you, Young Life!!

13

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I DO NOT LIKE WYLDLIFE FOR MY CHILDREN. As a mother I tell you why I do not like Wyldlife or Young Life. First, the leaders are very MANIPULATIVE with teenagers. They act COOL and Young even though some of them are in their late forties. Second, parents are not encourage to attend any event or group. For example, my daughter attended some meetings about Wyldlife in my neighborhood but of course I was not invited to stay. My daughter at that time she did not say much about it, so I stay out of it since she appreciated the time she shared with her friends form her school. However, after some time my daughter mention me how cool it was to have a counselor and a mentor that she could trust and have fun with. As a mother I did not like that idea and I told my daughter that she could not have any counselor unless I give her permission to have one. Another aspect about WYLDLIFE I DO NOT LIKE is that they get them to excited about camp....once my daughter told me "that's going to be the best time of my life!"(Camp). CRAZY!!!! The leaders are not honest with parents because they do not tell about their religious influence on children. I think we need MOTHERHOOD for our children not random counselors playing to be cool with our kids to get them to like Christianity using their own theology without parents consent. THINK ABOUT IT. I DID. THANK YOU.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Young Life is an amazing group. Many people writing negative reviews do not understand the dynamics of the organization. Young Life is an amazing place to send your teenager. It keeps yhem level-headed and builds a strong relationship with God. The friendships created in YL last a lifetime. Young Life Club allpws teens to gather and rejoice with people who share a common interest with them. Young Life leaders are kind and create a no pressure environment. YL has many trips and leadera are great about assisting people who cannot afford the trips. Young Life is the best thing ever

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Young Life has changed my life! Having a caring adult come alongside me during my adolescent years made all the difference for me. Young Life volunteers care genuinely about the lives of students and are role models of positive choices, good communication and living life for more than just the daily grind. I would highly suggest getting involved with your local Young Life club!

Review from Guidestar

18

Client Served

Rating: 1

Avoid this Organization at all costs! This is the true definition of a cult! These people should not be in Public Schools recruiting children without their parents present. They lure kids in with fun and games and sports, and then they take them to a basement or other building and then preach hatred of Gays and others. This is not the religion we want our children learning. If you don't either,Stay away ! The positive messages on here are written by members to make this org look good, Trust me if you love your kids , KEEP THEM AWAY!

27

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

This organization finds it way into middle and high school and seeks out kids. School boards should forbid them from contact with minors. Please don't support this organization. Keep your kids away from this organization.

12

Donor

Rating: 5

I cannot think of a better non-profit to give your money to that truly makes a lasting and even eternal difference in your community. As a donor for many years now I have always felt privileged to partner with such a great organization with equally as great people. Never mind the nay-sayers out there. The same way one may misinterpret the intentions of a person, the folks who dislike YL have merely misinterpreted the intentions of the organization. The entire organization strives everyday to emulate Jesus in what they do by being friends and mentors to teenagers and experiencing life along side of them, the same way Jesus did with his friends. All in all, I have loved giving both money and time to Young Life and will continue to do so.

Review from Guidestar

23

Donor

Rating: 1

be warned of this organization. My wife and I are now dealing with a son who has spent all of his college money volunteering for YL, is making horrible grades, is showing cult like behavior, has turned his back on all of his friends, roommates and us. It is a disaster. We have lost our son to this cult disguising as a Christian organization when I now see that it is just a cult where those at the top are making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year and the organization is worth millions. Young Life is the devil hiding in Jesus clothing. Read this thread: http://forum.rickross.com/read.php?14,15330,page=1

Review from CharityNavigator

9 Mary151

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Young Life is THE main reason I became a Christian in High School. Young Life is not always fully understood unless you have been personally involved or impacted by it. That is why I highly suggest na-sayers to learn more about YL or talk to those of us who have been involved with it before making up their mind. If it were not for Young Life it would have taken me many many years before I was obedient to God and his plans for my life. YL has taught me that you can be you and have flaws but still be striving to do God's will. Please give Young Life a chance and research it!

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

To potential donors, I love YL because we really make a difference in kids' lives. As leaders, we provide a substance-free party called "Club" for them every week, at the end of which we talk a little about Jesus. If kids want to know more, they can come to a Bible study called "Campaigners", in which they learn more. We also have camps in the winter and summer, which include a series of Clubs, lessons, really fun activities, and heart-to-heart talks. We also act as friends and mentors to teens. Leaders are people they can trust and rely on. All leaders have passed criminal background checks and live by a pretty strict moral code outlined by YL to ensure that we model good behavior. All that being said, I feel like I should write to dispel a lot untrue information being spread on this page. (If it is true for your local chapter, I would say that's a shame because YL does not work like that on the whole!) I became involved in Young Life as a leader last year. I am not evangelical by any stretch of imagination, but I do love working with kids. One of the best things about YL is that we don't cram Christianity down the kids' throats. Yes, coming to Club means that they hear a five-minute talk about Christ, usually a personal story about how my relationship with God has worked this specific way in my life or something similar. We don't tell kids they're horrible, going to hell, or anything else of that nature, and we certainly don't judge their lifestyles! Those are the things that usually turn us all off to Christianity, right? Kids can either listen or not listen, but they get to keep coming back to have fun and hang out even if they never buy into it. Another awesome part of being a leader is just being there for kids who are going through life struggles. Even if they're from the best homes imaginable, they still carry burdens they won't talk about with their families. We are good role models who listen and help them make good decisions. I've seen our care and kindness influence kids to stop partying, drinking, and doing drugs. YL leaders also engage with the parents of kids, keeping them in the communication loop and being very open and honest about Club, Campaigners, Camp, etc. We don't sneak attack your kids with Bibles, and the intention is never to turn a teen against his/her parents. I have yet to meet a parent who has had an issue with the organization, and most parents have gone out of their way to say what a difference we have made to their sons and daughters. We occasionally hang out with kids we know at school--meet them for lunch or attend a sporting event, and other kids will come sit down for a chat and wonder who we are. Of course we don't turn them away. And Club is clean, rowdy, substance-free fun, and those kid who regularly come to Club go tell more kids, and they start coming and tell more kids. Sometimes parents want their kids to go, and sometimes they don't, and we are respectful of the decision either way. We also get to know kids and what's important to them, often attending plays or football games just to show that we care, because we do! We want them to do well and know that we're not just out to convert, but that we actually care about them. I'm not a leader because I'm "creepy", racist, misguided, homophobic, or brainwashed. It's not some underhanded plot to indoctrinate anyone. It's just simply to be there for teens as the navigate this rocky age, and to share our own stories with them. Many of them choose to come to Christ, not because we pressured them, but because they see the way we live, care, and interact, and they see this promise of a God who is forgiving and full of love, who holds every child precious in His eyes and bears their burdens, and who gives them strength and guidance for every stage of life.

13

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

Young Life is a self-serving non-profit whose main goal at the end of the day is to peddle co-ed summer camp registrations and recruit new donors to perpetuate the Young Life camping network. They offer no physical charitable benefits to the community. They use college-aged kids to infiltrate the network of cliques at local high schools and use their seniority to recruit new members (in blatant disregard for separation of church and state).

4

Donor

Rating: 5

Young life is a remarkable organization that reaches out to middle and high school teens and builds relationships . These friendships are characterized by adults(usually mature high schoolers working with the middle schoolers and post college volunteers working with high schoolers) who encourage, accept unconditionally and "walk the walk" of integrity and love for God. I've watched the impact of this organization for 33 years and seen not only teens but their families as well impacted for good.

Previous Stories
5

Board Member

Rating: 5

My husband and I have been associated with Young Life for 35 years or more as donors,parents of club and campaigner kids and committee. We've seen direct evidence of the "fruits" of this ministry in our own children"s lives as well as the lives of hundreds of other teens and their families. I've often heard it said that the one requirement for a Young Life person is laughter. Jesus Christ is always glorified... in the laughter, the lives changed, the relationships built between leaders and kids, relationships transformed between kids and parents, kids and families, kids and their friends. The more you know of Young Life, the more you'll want to be involved.

4

Donor

Rating: 5

I am writing to communicate my delight with this organization. Young Life is a non-denominational outreach to Jr and High School students with the message hope through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As a mother of children who have been involved since Middle School, and continue now in High School I am grateful to the organization. It is wonderful to have volunteer leaders who spend time in my child's world engaging with them and their friends in a positive and encouraging way when my daughter or son have a victory or a challenge in their life, the Young Life leader is one of the first people they encounter to share with. As a Christian mom, it is wonderful to know there is another caring christian adult who would take time to love my children. Our Young Life community is supported by local businesses, Catholic and Protestant Churches, and individuals like myself. We enjoy going to fund raising events where parents can hear from students, volunteers and staff about Young Life and the impact it is having in my community. It is particularly special that many children have the opportunity to experience a spiritual journey in an environment that is not judgemental and does not emphasize what sacrament, or doctrine or theology separates the body of Christ. Rather, it emphasizes the child's ability to think, reason and conclude for himself or herself what her thoughts are about God. I would recommend to any parent the Young Life experience.

16

Client Served

Rating: 1

I was involved in YL during High School. I was part of the "in-group" of campaigners. I started questioning the virtues of evangelical proselytizing and the leaders stopped contacting me. I was dangerous I guess. I knew theology and the Bible all-too-well. I realized that I was only a pawn on the board. They needed me for they could convert kids. The organization is also blatantly homophobic and has tinges of racism. This organization finds its way into schools and seeks out kids. They try to draw them in by offering fun game, music, and food. I am a Christian, but I'm an open and critical-thinking one. Their theology is trash. They are out to tell your kids that they suck. They spent all of their theological lectures telling the kids how much they suck. Eventually they create enough theological depression to convert them by telling them that the only way to be whole is through belief in Jesus. They don't even emphasize Christian virtues, i.e. peace, love, justice, kindness. To all Christian and non-Christians out there - Don't support this organization.

11

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

As a a parent and teacher, it is disturbing that this group has access to my children and are so coy about their intentions. School Boards should forbid them from having contact with minors at school. If I were to have a similar group of atheists trying to convert the Christians, I'd be railed out of the school. Guarantee.

7

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 1

Was a volunteer and then moved on to staff. I served for many years. YoungLife is a great organization but with some extreme holes for leadership. Also, coming from a donor perspective , many questions about honesty and stewardship came into play. Unfortunately, the negatives out weighed the positives when it came to this ministry. There are many shady men with in the ministry and YL does nothing to protect your children. Example: posting pictures of minors on facebook and for younglives, posting pictures of minors and their babies. They do nothing to protect their identities .

6

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am a parent and a participant. I attend a women's retreat at a Young Life facility once a year. I am impressed by the compassion and servant attitude that comes from these kids. This organization is trying to reach our youth for Christ. There is nothing wrong with that. Their passion for their faith is what drives them. Praise God that there is an organization promoting something positive and that teaches our youth values.

5

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I went to Wyld Life camp the summer after my 6th grade year and it forever changed my life. For the first time it sunk in that I could have a personal relationship with God. I had an amazing week, and SO much fun that I will never forget. I will also never forget the love,joy, and concern that the leaders had for each and every camper. I stayed involved with YoungLife all through High School as well. YoungLife presents the gospel in a nonthreatening and non-forceful way in which every kid can understand. They just put the gospel out there in a clear way, and it's up to the kids to choose what they want to do with it. I am so thankful to God that he made YoungLife something that I had the opportunity to be a part of.

23

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

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.

13

Client Served

Rating: 1

Young Life is an evangelical fundamentalist Christian organization that seeks out children when they are out of their parent's view. They send college aged kids to your child's school, lure them with donuts before school in the parking lot, or lurk around after school while they are at sports practice. They tell the kids they are going to be in the gutter soon: drinking, druggin;, wanton sex OR they are going to find Jesus (via emotional manipulation and group dynamics). No other choice. YL realizes they are in violation of many Supreme Court rulings prohibiting religious proselytizing on public school grounds, so they clandestinely pull the parking lot/sports practice deal. Creepers. YL caused the biggest rift in our relationship with our teen we had ever experienced before or since.

Previous Stories
14

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

My daughter got involved with Young Life because a friend was into it, as was her high school assistant soccer coach. It was promoted as a fun thing for kids to do, and it is. However, it is also, and it states so clearly on their website, an evangelical Protestant organization. Their Articles of Faith sound quite fundamentalist to me. Eventually my child got sucked in because she is a teenager (15) and teens love to hang out with peers, party, go to fun camps, etc. Oh yeah, and they are indoctrinated and encouraged to accept Christ, whatever exactly that means, read the Bible every day, etc. Nothing has caused such a rift in our family as this Young Life experience. My daughter will not talk to me about what all goes on at the camp and the meetings, because she knows her parents are not Christians. I find it weird that adults and young adults will do things like go to my kid's sports games, theater performances, etc, pick them up after school to take them to their house to 'talk' and study the Bible. Obviously, Young Life knows that kids of this age are very impressionable and easily influenced by their peers, and especially by peers slightly older than they. This is an evangelical organization, it is not quite upfront about its intentions, and it is manipulative in targeting middle school/high school, and thereby very easily influenced, children.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My life is better for having been a part of Young Life, and I've seen it transform the lives of dozens of teenagers. Being a part of a teenager's life is has a lasting effect on communities as well as the individual kids, and society needs it more than we recognize (http://t.co/hihwxS4). Young Life trains leaders well to enter into the lives of kids and show them what life is really about.

2 Alli L.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Young Life is personal. Everything is done with excellence. It's fun to be apart of a high school friend's life. Know what is going on in their lives and care for them no matter what they do. Earning the right to be heard.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

We have close, and first-hand experience with Young Life as former YL "kids," adult committee volunteers, parents of YL kids and as donors.



I have known Young Life personally for more than 34 years and in all that time, in so many encounters, Young Life never ceases to amaze me.



I am thoroughly impressed by the caliber of their people, the winsome ways of their relationship building, their professionalism in all business matters, the hospitality they extend to kids and adults alike, their investment in first-rate resort facilities to give kids the best week of their lives and the honest, relevant, and respectful way that they share the truth of God's love with words kids can understand and with actions that demonstrate what his love looks like.



I am convinced that my encounter with Young Life changed the trajectory and purpose of my life, my husband's life, and now, our children's lives. I remain ever grateful for the gift of Young Life and whole-heartedly endorse and commend its work in the U.S. and around the world.



Every teenager should hear the words that they are precious, and priceless to God with a purpose that only God can imagine. I love that YL takes seriously the charge to make certain that EVERY kid hears that message and brings the rest of us along to partner in that work.

13

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!

12

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

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a part of Young Life for about four years. In high school,I attended Club and Campaigners, and went on Fall Weekend Trips up to Young Life's Saranac Village. Now, in college, I am volunteering with Young Life Capernaum, which is Young Life for the mentally and physically disabled. This organization has helped me to see who I am in Christ, and helped me to be a better person! Thank you so much for giving me and all of the other students that have participated w/ YL, an amazing opportunity to be blessed and to bless others!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

God used several men & women in Young Life to transform my life. I am so thankful for their obedience to God's call on their lives.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I recently voluntered at Timber Wolf Lake in Michigan. I was so blessed by the staff that worked there. I am looking forward to coming back and helping some more.

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.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with young lives for one year working with teen moms to see them mature and care for their babies and continue their education as well as accept Jesus Christ in their life and develop the relationship with God has been a Joy. I was not able to attend camp but the girls who have told me about it had many positive experiences.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Young Life is a nonprofit that produces the most change in teens life than any group I have ever had experience with. I have been involved with Young Life as a high school student, going to clubs & 3 camps. Then throughout college & grad school I was a leader & student staff. Being involved in young life has had a life changing effect on my life, and the lives of countless others. Camps are awesome and are 5 star resorts. Anyone involved in Young Life has an honest love for teens and for Jesus.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started Young LIfe in the 6th grade and went to every club and every camp I could until I graduated. I was eager to become a leader once I got to college. I went through QUEST and became a middle school leader at the middle school I attended as a kid. I love YoungLife. I love meeting new kids and seeing them at our club meeting every Tuesday night! YoungLife camps are five-star! They are so strategic from their speakers and messages to the games and music played! It is truly LIFE CHANGING! Life is meant to be lived through valuable relationships; With God and with people.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been fortunate to be involved with Young Life as a high school student, a leader, a staff member, and now a member of my local committee. Not only was I impacted signific?t it has greatly impacted my personal and spiritual growth throughout my years of leadership. I am so blessed to be a part of this organization and I don't think I could ever stop being involved. I am employed now with another non-profit, but I remain completely passionate about Young Life and the way God uses it to change lives!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Young Life is such a life changing experiance! ive seen lifes change right in front of my eyes! through YL ive been given opertunities i would NEVER have any where else. i have meet the best people, i am sure, in the world, who are certinaly life long friends. YL is a piller when you need to lean on somthing, its the asurance that your life will be okay. YL has pulled me out of dark times all through amazing experiances! i have no clue where i would be without such an organization, i do know i would not be as strong and far as i am today!

1

Former staff

Rating: 5

I was first a part of Young Life as a high school student, and have gone through being a volunteer leader in middle schools and high schools. I had opportunities to be a summer staff volunteer and a camp property intern at two camps. I have seen my family changed, as well as the lives of numerous other students. I have also had the chance to see Young Life staff reach out to kids in other parts of the world, especially through serving in Central America for three months. As I am now in the process of going on full-time staff in Latin America, I am constantly reminded of how a heart for teenagers and desire to walk through life with them, sharing the love of Christ in a mentoring relationship, crosses cultural borders. While the day-to-day ministry may look different depending on the country and particular community, the core elements of Young Life ministry still exist, as staff and leaders are seeking to shine light in the lives of youth who are so consistently bombarded by darkness in the world around them. One of the ways I could see the scope of this organization's impact growing, not only here in the United States but around the world, would be through continued partnerships with other like-minded organizations and churches. The more those who have a desire to invest in the lives of teenagers can join together in reaching out to them, the stronger the foundation will be to share the hope and joy we have will be.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a senior in high school and have been a part of Young Life for two years, the BEST two years of my life might I add. I grew up in a Christian home, though my family wasn't very active, but Young Life helped me to take my relationship with Christ into my own hands. I now am a student leader, or "campaigner," in the group and attend weekly bible studies. My favorite part of Young Life isn't the fun games, great messages, or dedicated leaders. Although all these are fantastic, my favorite part of Young Life is watching high school students meet Christ and change their lives around. There are countless numbers of kids that have passed through my school who have gone from spending their Friday nights drinking and getting into trouble, to using their free time for volunteering, studying, and fun less-destructive activities. Another favorite part of Young Life is the acceptance of all people. The kids involved in YL are willing to cross social boundaries that most aren't willing to. It AMAZES me how loving and accepting the kids involved in Young Life are! My favorite story is of a girl whose parents are divorced, and whose mother has cancer. Her first years of high school were spent searching for some sort of comfort in her life. Young Life helped her to find Christ and comfort. Her life is now free of destructive activities and full of love and peace. What a gift this organization has been for students!

1

Former staff

Rating: 5

I went to YL in high school and later in college was a volunteer leader in North Carolina. I then went on to help start YL in Greenwood, S.C. and volunteered there as well. I later moved to Nth Carolina and went on staff for YL. I have personally seen YL save lives. I have seen kids lost in the craziness of their own lives learn to make better choices because a YL leader served as a positive role model for them. My one incredible story that stands out is when a kid at a pretty rough school was going to be arrested for starting a fight. The kid was suposed to go to a YL camp for the weekend. I personally went and asked if we could just have the kid for one weekend....to show him life....good clean fun....that kid came with us to a YL camp and was a different kid by Monday. He truly turned his life around! Young Life is about building relationships! Young Life is about good clean fun! Young Life is about people volunteering to give their lives away so that our youth might have a chance. Young Life does an incredible job in helping teenagers!

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was first introduced to Christ through Young Life nearly 20 years ago, and obviously - it ROCKED MY WORLD and CHANGED MY LIFE. Through the years I have done what I have been able to do to continue to give back and serve such a beautiful ministry that is so close to my heart for obvious reasons. Young Life reaches out to the farthest unreachable kid and let's them know they are loved by people here, and most importantly by a God who is just dying to spend time with them. Kids today -- SOOO need to hear that and feel that and KNOW that. The great thing about YL is that it speaks to kids in 'their language' so they can hear it too and if they don't get the whole 'Jesus thing' or choose not to listen, that's OK too - they are still loved and welcomed with the open arms of their leaders and Jesus who died on the cross for them. As a Young Life student - a camper at Woodleaf and Malibu - a work crew worker - a leader while in college and now a leader as I begin to watch my own family grow - I am filled with joy and I continue to grow spiritually each day by being a part of it all. God Bless the ministry and the volunteers and workers who have dedicated their hearts, homes, lives and prayers to reaching the unreachable teens out there!!!

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The first time I did anything with Young Life was when I went to Summer Camp at Rockbridge. It was the greatest week of my life. I'm really glad that I went. It helped me realize that someone out there cared about me, and I was never going to be alone in the world. I was always going to have God in my life. And he would always love me for who I was even if no one else did. Young Life is a great organization for high school. I'm really glad I became a part of it. Now, I'm a leader in training to help kids discover what I did.

5

Client Served

Rating: 5

When I was 13 my family moved from Australia to the U.S. It was the biggest culture shock of my life! But since I was near a military base I got involved with MCYM and then in high school I got involved with YoungLife. After going to two camps, countless clubs, and campaigners I can strongly say that with out Younglife and it's amazing leaders I wouldn't be the adult I am today. They showed me a God that loved and forgave, no matter what. I learnt that Christianity doesnt just mean going to church every sunday and then maybe attending the odd youth group or bible study, I was able to create a relationship with Christ and now share it with others. Younglife is the best outreach organization out there!

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have grown up in Young Life an watched as it has transformed not only my family but our community with the gospel. I love that Young Life is so relational! It is one thing to have 100 kids show up every week for campaigners but it is anouther thing to know that all of those kids are meeting one on one with a leader. And that person is helping them to grown in their faith. It is crazy, Exciting, fun and chalenging all in one! I am so blessed to have Young Life as a part of my life!!!

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Young Life changed my life. It has been some of the most wonderfully captivating motivating inspiring and tiring times of my life. I dont know where I would be without it and some of the relationships I have built because of it...

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Young Life has been the second greatest thing in my life, and the greatest thing in my life happened at Young Life camp, and that's coming into a relationship with Jesus Christ. Because of Young Life I have become a better person. I am now more involved in my community and giving back to those who are a lot less fortunate than I am. Young Life's motto says it all, "you were made for this."

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Young Life helped me realized that Christianity was about a relationship with a living God, not something to do on Sunday

9

Client Served

Rating: 5

Young Life was one of the best experiences of my life. The people I met there have had a huge impact on my life, and I can thank Young Life for many of my best friends and closest mentors. Our group leaders are some of the best people on earth. They actually cared about us, and even now, 10 years after high school, they still keep in contact to make sure that we are living the kind of lives that will make us and our communities proud. I feel as though Young Life gave me a more fundamental understanding of the world, and a deeper understanding of myself at a time when many people feel lost. The YL camps and retreats that are offered are the best experience one could ever hope for. The bonding, and the self explorations that happen there could not be replaced for the world. I can only hope that YL will continue to grow as an organization and more youth will have the opportunity that we did to grow into wonderful, happy, successful, spiritual people. THANK YOU, YOUNG LIFE!!

9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Young Life has been changing my life since the moment I was first involved. I first went to Young Life as a broken high school student looking to have fun with friends and wound up changing my life forever! My Young Life leaders presented the gospel of Jesus Christ to me in a way I had never heard before, and I wanted to hear more. I ended up going to camp that summer and dedicated my life to better things than drinking and partying with people I thought were my friends. Young Life taught me that I can live a respectable life and have the time of my life doing it! Now, 5 years later, I am a leader showing kids just like me that there is more to life than chasing temporary highs; It's about self-respect and Jesus.

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In high school Young Life provided me with a community of trust and non judgement which was so hard to find other places. I learned about Christ and started a relationship with him in a setting that was not comprised of pressure or fear. I now am a leader myself, and it is the best thing that has happened to me. I would not be the happy, christ filled person I am today without Young Life, the support it has given me, and the rekindled trust in others.

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.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

New to young life, I am loving the experience of being a leader. I have been blessed to get to know the high schoolers at club. It is truly an amazing ministry that reaches a lot of kids every year by their outreach.

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.

12

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been with YL since 1975 and I am honored to be involved with this organization. I have seen how the Lord has worked in the lives of kids all over the world and also in my life as well.

9

Former Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a leader, a committee member, and a financial supporter for 25 years. YL is unsurpassed in its commitment to spending time with young people in their own environments, cultivating friendships between God-seeking volunteers and staff and teenagers who are looking for answers to the big questions in life. Seeing "Jesus with skin on" walking around the high schools and having high-energy, creative fun along with times of introspection and Biblical teaching leads many kids to a deeper walk with God and more intentional citizenship in the Kingdom of God and among their families, friends, and communities.

12

Volunteer

Rating: 5

younglife isn't a nonprofit targeted toward one group of people. This ministry is one that gives to anyone in every stage of life. It doesn't help people find a better earthly life but helps them find an eternal life in Christ Jesus. A gift that can never be matched.

13

Donor

Rating: 5

Young Life has been a part of my life for over 35 years. I have seen my children's lives changed through their involvement, my husband's life challenged to growth, and my own... just learning who I was and how I was gifted! They continue to have a huge impact on kids' lives through every stage of their lives. Now, at 76, my main involvement is financial and I will continue to support it until the day I die!!

12

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Young Life since my freshman year of high school. I had older girls come alongside me and take me under their wing, making me their little sister and mentoring me even after they had graduated. They showed me Christ's love in a very real way, and continue to be a big part of my life. I am now graduating from college and have spent the past two years volunteering as a leader at a high school. I now have my own "little sister" and have been so blessed by the relationships Young Life has helped foster and the spiritual growth and development it encourages. I have grown in my faith both by the opportunity to be mentored and by being stretched in mentoring to others. Young Life is an incredible organization carrying out Biblical truths and commands to love Christ and love others.

10

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Young Life is a world class organization that makes a difference in the lives of adolescents. I was a high school kid weary of anything religious, and I found a personal love for God through Young Life.