Over 1.8 million nonprofits and charities for donors, volunteers and funders

2009 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Young Life

Claim This Nonprofit

More Info

Add to Favorites

Share this Nonprofit

Donate

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

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.

2

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.

3

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.

22

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.

11

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).

10

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.

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.

21

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.

11

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
12

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.

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.