About 80 people came out to learn about Young Life (YL) and it’s possible future on the Coast May 4 at the Sunshine Coast Botanical Garden’s Sparling Pavilion in West Sechelt.
Attendees seemed evenly split between knowing about the YL organization and having little idea what the organization was about.
“Our mission statement is that we’re a Christian mission, loving teenagers in their world, encouraging them to know Jesus Christ,” said Eric Keillor, regional director of YL for the greater Vancouver area. “And that first part, loving teenagers in their world, is an essential part of who we are. We don’t wait for young people to come to us, but we’re intentional to say ‘let’s go wherever they are, love them on their terms, be in their world, earn their trust and friendship.’ That’s one of the first things that Young Life is about.”
He went on to explain the five C’s of YL, which involve leaders doing contact work in schools, having teens attend YL Clubs and YL Camps, engaging youth in a bible study called Campaigners and ultimately connecting young believers to a church of their choosing.
Carolyn Mortensen, one of the YL Sunshine Coast committee members looking to start a group locally, gave participants a glimpse of what might happen at a YL club night when she asked teams of two to come forward for a game.
Soon participants were laughing while trying to wrap their partner in toilet paper the fastest to win a small trophy and bragging rights.
Following the silly game were two poignant testimonies from young men who came to Christ through YL in New Westminster.
They spoke of fun outings and good times noting, “camp is amazing.”
But beyond the fun both spoke of specific moments when they made the commitment to Christ.
One young man said watching God work through his friend solidified his faith, while the other spoke of a moment when he asked the question, “why,” which lead him to accept the Lord.
Both credited YL with helping them come to know Christ.
Many audience members wanted to know how to start YL on the Coast when committee member Chris Mortensen explained what’s needed.
“Our goal is to have a full time staff person on the Sunshine Coast who is dedicated to working with high school students in their world, so we need to work on fundraising,” he said.
The local committee expects it will cost about $70,000 annually to run the program on the Coast.
Aside from the fundraising committee members noted they would need to recruit and train six adult volunteer leaders for the program and identify three more adult committee members to round out their group.
The May 4 evening generated a positive response and organizers have put together two more informal meetings to tell people about YL on May 25 in Sechelt and June 1 in Pender Harbour.