Changing Lives Through Young Life

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Young Life is an organization that focuses on leading students from middle school, high school and college to Jesus Christ. Founded in 1941, Young Life’s website states their mission as, “Introducing adolescents to Jesus Christ and helping them grow in their faith.”

Young Life Area Director Allen Dixon oversees all Young Life and Wydlife (the middle school version) chapters in the Greater Johns Creek Community. Dixon said, “Young Life Club is a party with a purpose. Our hope at Young Life Club is that we would put abundant life on full display. We call it controlled chaos. We like for it to be a little rowdy, very silly and extremely fun. We want it to be welcoming for anyone no matter what you believe about God, and we really hope everyone leaves with a better picture of who Jesus is, and why He is relevant to us in today’s world.”

Dixon has been on the Young Life staff for 15 years and has been a volunteer for almost 20 years. Regarding his role, he said, “It comes with a wide variety of responsibilities that span from fundraising, strategic planning, building and working with a board, training our staff and leaders and making sure that the overall quality of what we do stays at a high level.”

Johns Creek High School junior Sydney Straughan interns for her area’s Young Life Club. Straughan said Young Life is “a non-profit organization that comes together as a community to share the gospel to high schoolers in a personal way.” Young Life provides the opportunity for students who want to become further involved to become interns for their area. When asked what inspired Straughan to be an intern, she said, “I spent so much time at Young Life already, that my area leader asked me to be an intern. I was inspired to say ‘yes’ because of how much Young Life has made an impact on my life.”

Young Life holds “Club” each Monday of the week. Club is an opportunity for newcomers and leaders to get involved and comfortable around one another. Dixon said, “The purpose of Young Life is to let teenagers know that following Jesus is worth it. It is fun and although life can be hard sometimes and can often feel hopeless, our mission is to share that Jesus brings hope, joy and peace.”

Wesleyan Creative Director Brooke Dant is the junior girl’s Young Life leader and team leader for Wesleyan School. When describing what she typically does as a leader, she said, “I help plan Club and hangout with junior girls. I also attend camps and retreats every year.” Dant was inspired to become a leader because she participated in Young Life when she was a student and had Allen Dixon as her area director at the time. She said, “I had so much fun that I wanted to continue.”

Many Wesleyan students participate in Young Life. Junior Bennett Rudder is extremely involved with Young Life. As a devoted attender, he said that when Club is held each week he attends “every time.” When he attends Club, Rudder said, “I like participating in games and learning more about Christ.”

Young Life is based out of Colorado Springs but provides numerous locations where retreats, conferences and camps are often held. Some common locations are Carolina Point, NC; Windy Gap, NC; and SharpTop Cove, GA. Young Life intern Straughan was able to experience one of these locations herself. When asked what her favorite memory has been with Young Life, she said, “My favorite memory through Young Life has definitely been work crew. I lived in Colorado for a month with Young Life. I served high schoolers meals, while also forming a closer relationship with the Lord. This month brought me a family and a community that will last my whole life.”

Rudder and Dant share their own favorite memories with Young Life. Dant said, “My favorite memory was probably when the current juniors were freshman, and we went to SharpTop Cove together. It was the first time meeting each other, and it was super fun!” Rudder agrees. He said, “When I was a freshman, my grade went to SharpTop Cove, and I enjoyed spending time with my friends.” Dixon said, “I’ve had so many great memories in Young Life. I’ve had the privilege of being a Young Life leader at Wesleyan for 11 years. Because of that, I’ve had the chance to watch a lot of students go on to be Young Life leaders at their colleges, and some have even come back to be leaders here in Johns Creek. I’ve traveled all over the world with Young Life, served at a lot of amazing camps, and… oh yeah! also met my wife.”

Young Life impacts the lives of so many Wesleyan students and families. It has grown to become a part of the Wesleyan community more and more every year. Rudder said, “I love going to Young Life because it’s fun and a great bonding experience.”

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