“Our mission is to introduce adolescents to Jesus Christ and help them grow in their faith. You were made for this!” Young Life as a whole is a club w
“Our mission is to introduce adolescents to Jesus Christ and help them grow in their faith. You were made for this!” Young Life as a whole is a club where students of high school and college levels can come together to have fun and learn about God. The Winchester area is home to a Young Life club consisting of many students from district schools, a large amount from Millbrook High School. Some of the students who attend this club are sophomore Dalton Robinson, junior Desiree Blowe, and senior Olivia Escalante. The club meets at 7:47 on Monday nights, the more fun-and-game focused day where a safe place is provided to sing and have fun, while learning about the impact of God in their lives. Campaigners is the more religious aspect where a smaller group of students meet to study the bible, have discussions, and learn how to pray. This occurs at 8:00 on Thursday nights. Less often events that also are a part of Young Life are the camps throughout the summer and school year, and contact work, which revolves around the deeper issues in lives of the students.
I personally have always held interest in Young Life ever since Blowe talked to me about coming my sophomore year, but never really had the time to start attending. This year, I am still going to be busy with college courses, internships, the National Honor Society, DECA, and Key Club, but I really started seeing the benefits of joining, even if I have to miss a lot of the club meets. I actually went to my first Young Life meeting lately, a Movie Night day, and had a really good time with my close friend, junior Cassidy Kuhns. I gave her information and she was really interested and had already heard of it, so she decided to come with me.
When we first got there and were waiting at the door, we were really nervous, but we realized once we went in that it was a very welcoming environment, even as a girls only and boys only night our first time. We went downstairs to their basement into the movie room while meeting a few people along the way. As people started to come in, like Sherando High School junior Maggie Heishman; Millbrook’s Escalante and Nicole Valyear, leaders started searching on Netflix for a movie we could watch. We decided on To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, a 2018 teen romance film, thus leading to a lot of girly screams and scenes of “cute boys” throughout the night. We were given Korean yogurts, which coincidentally were featured in the film, some popcorn, candy, and Chick-Fil-A nuggets.
Events like Movie Night are just a time for the girls and boys to separate and have fun with each other. For my first experience of Young Life, I had a really good time and got to know people. I definitely plan on attending more regularly, hoping to take more friends along with me in the process. It’s something good for both the social and religious aspects in my life, and I can’t wait to see where it leads my friends and me in the future.
There have been some incredible moments for students because of Young Life. Whether it is the summer camps, tailgates at sports events, activities at club meets themselves, or just the bonds of friendship created throughout it all, Young Life has played positive roles on many of the students.
The Young Life summer camps are places of many adventures, a lot of food, and many well-known guest speakers who understand and respect high school and middle school aged kids. Camps in North America are known as “resort-quality” facilities and provide students with a safe and comfortable place to stay while making memories they will never forget. Young Life is reaching out more internationally, and the camping registrations are ending sooner every year as more kids want to join in the fun. The overall purpose of these camps are to get kids away from the pressures and struggles of daily life for a little while, while giving them a safe space to make and have a great time with friends and leaders, while also hearing about the love and messages of God in a way that is age appropriate to understand. Blowe of Millbrook went to camp in 2018 and always brings up that, “You should go! I know you would have a really good time with friends, and people you would be meeting. It really is a life-changing experience.”
Young Life tailgates aren’t as well-known as the camps and clubs, but many of the students that are a part of Young Life are in the “loud crowd” during games. The “loud crowd” is the crowd that you see (a majority of the time at boys’ varsity football and basketball games) throwing powder in the air after a touchdown, screaming at the top of their lungs at introductions, chanting throughout the game, and simply showing top-notch school spirit! The tailgates, however, are a pregame time where games are set up and “spirit” stations to get hype for the game. Millbrook tailgates at football games often consist of cornhole games, painting stations, sometimes food areas, and more. Many of these tailgates occur before the bigger games, like Apple-Cup clinching games, the first game of the season, or homecoming games. Before a particular game in the 2017 fall varsity football season at Millbrook, the first 100 or so students received free Millbrook neon (the theme of that particular game) tee shirts if they arrived early enough to the pregame tailgate at 5:00 p.m., two hours prior to the start of the game at 7:00 p.m.
Students at Millbrook have personally experienced the impacts of Young Life, whether at a tailgate, camp event, or club meet. A friend of mine at Sherando High School, junior Kenna Williams, always posts on social media about how much she loves God, and how he is with her and everyone everywhere every single day. Her uplifting messages and instagram stories are what Young Life is all about, and you can truly see it working through her. She always talks about “how happy I am, and how I truly understand God’s word more and more each day,” and seems to want to spread that mindset and positivity to all of those around her on a daily basis. She, along with many other students who attend Young Life, want to get others to attend and have a good time not just learning about Jesus Christ, but being with other people and getting to know new people.