Some call it a cult
, others call it the new wave
way to reach high schoolers for Christ
, some believe it's a waste of time
. I am writing this node to set the record straight
YL's goal is to give every high schooler a chance to meet Christ. They do this by going to where the kids are. College students and some adults will sacrifice their time to go to high schools and hang outs to meet kids. By doing this, they are building relationships with high schoolers. The goal of YL is not to beat kids over the head with a Bible, but to put it out there for them to take it or leave it. YL is not a church group. YL is focused on building relationships with kids and instead of pressuring them into becoming Christians, the leaders simply let the kids see how God is in their lives and let the kids make their own decisions.
YL has a program once a week called "club". Club is a place where kids can come together to have a good time. The meeting usually starts off with some high intensity songs. These songs can are usually secular, but at the same time relay a positive message. After the songs, there is a skit, where a leader usually does something wacky or funny and is then followed by two more lower key songs. Another skit may follow those songs, and then two praise and worship songs are sung. All of these things are slowly pointing towards the ten minute talk. This is the ultimate goal of the night. One of the leaders, usually a college student, will get up and talk about a story in the Bible and how it pertains to their life. All the things that happen at club are designed to bring the kids closer to the leaders. Whether its the kids singing along, watching the leaders making themselves fools for Christ, or learning more about the leader and their beliefs during the ten minute talk. All of these things serve a purpose.
Another big YL event is camp. This usually takes place for a week during the summer. YL camps are everywhere, but they originated in Colorado. During camp, the kids are given the perfect arena to either begin or further their relationship with Christ. YL camps have ropes courses, rock climbing towers, zip lines, mountian biking, [horseback riding[, lots of wilderness, and of course swimming pools, a lake, and hot tubs. The kids are encouraged to do these things with leaders. By spending time together, the kids are learning to trust the leaders. During the day, there are also three meetings for club. An assigned staff of YL employees are assigned to do skits, talks, or music. The food at YL camps is also very good, and the boarding is awesome.
YL is able to keep the cost of camp down because the people who work there are volunteers. Some YL kids decide that they want to go work at a YL camp for a month. This is called "work crew" . The work crew work by cooking food, washing dishes, or serving food to the kids, like waitresses and waitors. Other jobs the work crew does is Out Door Crew (ODC) where they keep the camp grounds clean and trimmed or as a Tawashie, which is cleaning the linens and washing bathrooms. Although work crew gets some of the hardest jobs on camp, without them, YL camps wouldn't be able to run. The chemistry that forms between a work crew is amazing. When the kids return home, they are ready to go back for more. Once one has been on work crew, they will never be the same because they have seen God in such an intense way.
Many college students are also needed to run a YL camp. These kids are called "Summer Staff" The summer staff is used to run the ropes course, climbing towers, zip lines, be life guards, and work in the snack shop. Like the work crew, they work hard and once they've done summer staff, they will never be the same.
The most important aspect of camp, in many ways, is the summer staff and work crew. The kids see how these people give up their time to work for them. The campers also see how much the work crew and summer staff love eachother. By giving up their summers to work, the kids see Gods love through these workers.
YL is an incredable ministry for young people. No other ministry gets to kids like YL does. No wonder YL has been called a cult. YL is such an affective ministry, that once someone is hooked into YL, they believe in it so strongly that they want to be a part of leading others to Christ as well. YL has formed a huge network of people all linked together for a common goal: to love kids.
for more information, go to http://younglife.org