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.
I met Jesus when I was invited to attend a Young Life camp as a Sophomore in H.S. I had no idea they would be talking about Jesus...I am glad that's not the first thing my friend sold me on...it was hot girls and parasailing! The girls were there...the parasailing was there...but so was Jesus...waiting for me. What a great ministry as my leader came along side of me and loved me well. What a picture of the Gospel. Young Life does outreach the very best!
I have been involved with Young Life for over 25 years as both a volunteer and a donor. It is our favorite ministry because of its impact on reaching teenagers. They have the best and most systematic approach to presenting Jesus Christ to unchurched teens that I know of. And their ability to recruit and retain dozens of young volunteers is a testament to the effectiveness of this ministry. Young Life will continue to be our #1 recipient.
God uses the language of Young Life to speak to high school kids, and, boy, do they listen. I've seen so many lives changed through this organization: kids turned from the roads they were heading down, redirected from bad decisions, loved through hard times.
I have a 20-yr old woman living with me and my family because of the brokenness in her own biological family. Divorce, drugs and materialism brought her nothing but disappointment and abandonment for most of her life. Now, after years of adults pouring into her life through Young Life, she has hope and a future. Young Life not only taught her about Jesus, but showed her about His love. She is forever changed, I have seen the transformation myself over the last 6 years.
I was a YL kid in the 1980's, volunteer leader, donor and staff. My husband and I will ALWAYS donate to YoungLife because it works! It is the best youth organization out there because YoungLife leaders care about kids more than numbers or programs.
YoungLife leaders seek out kids who don't have positive role models in their lives. I have seen kids lives totally changed by their leaders taking time to get to know them and pour into their lives. At camp this summer, I saw many kids, but two specifically, who's lives were so changed by the experience that they have come home and made serious life changes. Their respective leaders continue to walk along side of them!
I've been involved with Young Life in some capacity for about 13 years and can not say enough good things. Every time I am at an event or program I grow and am inspired to do more.
The organazation as a whole has to me one of the most efficient ministries in the world stretching every dollor for greater impact.
Thank you YL for all you do, all you've done, and all you have yet to do...each and every time with a smile, in love, and with everything you have.