A Letter to Every Young Life Leader
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A Letter to Every Young Life Leader

A Letter to Every Young Life Leader

To some, Young Life defines the place they experienced a real, raw joy for the first time. For others, Young Life is the face of people who invested in them, showing them their worth and value. And for many, Young Life was simply an invitation--an invitation to begin a journey that would change their life forever.

For those of you who don’t know what in the world YL is, or what it entails, let me put it this way: it’s college students and adults who remember what it was like to be a high school kid. People who remember the one desire they had as a teen: to simply be valued. And that’s really what Young Life is: investing in high school kids’ lives, and making sure they remember one, simple, yet monumental thing, that they’re loved.

Going into my freshman year of college, I never dreamed I’d be a Young Life leader myself. Yes, I was the typical YL kid in high school, but I never had the slightest idea I too would someday be a Young Life leader. I thought leading was too time consuming, and not in my college career agenda. And somehow, in September of my freshman year at Wake, I found myself with a flyer in hand, ready for YL leader training. Isn’t it funny? How so often we have set plans for ourselves, and these plans are crushed, only to craft a greater purpose.

After leading in Forsyth County at Reagan High School (GO RAIDERS!) it’s given me such a bigger perspective on what it truly means to lead. And not only that, but it has given me a deeper appreciation for Young Life leaders and all they do. So, this article is simply a letter to YL leaders everywhere with one thing to say: thank you.

Dear Young Life Leaders,

Let me first start off with the two, simple words I want you to take away from this letter: thank you.

Thank you for constantly putting yourselves second.

Thank you for sacrificing precious hours of sleep to meet kids at 7 a.m. at Chick-Fil-A breakfast, even if you do have a 9 a.m. final that day.

Thank you that despite the fact that you may have a family of your own, with kids of your own, you treat each high school kid as if they were yours.

Thank you for spending more time with high schoolers than adults and college kids your own age. I mean hey, they keep you young, right?

Thank you for the time and endless effort to get kids to camp. I know for me, if it weren’t for the constant pursuit of my own YL leader getting me to camp, I never would have experienced the essence of pure, real joy.

Thank you for taking kids seriously, and that no matter how small a problem or idea may seem, to them, it means the world.

Thank you for being examples, and humble ones at that, and for showing kids that no matter the pedestal we may “seem” to stand on, no one is perfect.

Thank you for earning the right to be heard, and for first becoming their friend before you became their mentor.

Thank you for always being a phone call away, and for constantly thinking of the kids you love so well.

Thank you for giving up time in order to be there, for missing sorority functions, weekend hangouts, and many things to show a high school kid that time with you is worth so much more than these things.

Thank you for simply showing up, for coming to cafeteria lunches (no matter how scary it really is), and for showing interest in the mundane.

Thank you for being intentional, for remembering names so well (a Young Life specialty), for paying attention to detail, asking how kids are doing, and praying for them every day.

Thank you for being an outreach, for letting any kid join, no matter their past or background.

Thank you for showing that a life with Christ isn’t where the fun stops, but where it truly begins.

Thank you for bringing that “Big Boring Book” called the Bible to life and showing high school kids it’s the furthest thing from boring, but in actuality, showing that this “Book” is filled with adventure, truth, and never-ending wisdom.

And finally…

Thank you for simply saying yes. Yes to a journey of becoming second. Yes to a journey of you becoming less, and Him more. Yes to a journey that will not only change your life, but the life of someone else.

Sometimes, all someone needs is a simple thank you to realize the work they're putting into something is worth it. You may not be involved in Young Life, and that’s okay. But here’s my final advice for this letter.

Today, take the time to say thank you. Thank you to someone who changed your life for the better. Because trust me, from my own personal experience, a real thank you can go a long way.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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