What is Young Life?

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Young Life is an organization aimed at serving youth and has been around since 1941. Young Life extends beyond Libertyville-Vernon Hills, present in communities all over the world. Check out the organization's website: https://www.younglife.org/Pages/default.aspx

What is Young Life? Young Life doesn’t start with a program. It starts with adults who are concerned enough about kids to go to them, on their turf and in their culture, building bridges of authentic friendship. These relationships don’t happen overnight they take time, patience, trust and consistency.

So Young Life leaders log many hours with kids — where they are, as they are. We listen to their stories and learn what’s important to them because we genuinely care about their joys, triumphs, heartaches and setbacks.

We believe in the power of presence. Kids’ lives are dramatically impacted when caring adults come alongside them, sharing God’s love with them. Because their Young Life leader believes in them, they begin to see that their lives have great worth, meaning and purpose.

This is the first step of a lifelong journey; the choices they make today, based upon God’s love for them, will impact future decisions … careers chosen, marriages formed and families raised. All ripples from the time when a Young Life leader took time to reach out and enter their world.

Our Method

Young Life began with a few simple ideas about sharing the truth of God’s love with teenagers. Seven decades later, those simple ideas have become time-tested methods for reaching out to high school students in friendship and hope.

Caring for Kids — Contact Work

Because kids don’t care how much you know till they know how much you care, Young Life leaders show they care by going where kids are, meeting them as they are, believing in who they can be. Within Young Life we call the persistent going out into the world of kids “contact work.” But kids just call it friendship.  Contact work forms the backbone of successful Young Life clubs because Young Life is driven by relationships, not programs.

A Party with a Purpose — Club

What is it about Young Life club that makes it the best night of the week for thousands of kids every week? We like to think of it as a party with a purpose. It’s controlled chaos that’s almost impossible to describe, but kids know it when they see it. And before the party ends, we share a simple message about God’s love for them. After all, that’s what the celebration is all about.

The Best Week of Their Life — Camp

Kids consistently tell us that Young Life camp is the best week of their life. That’s a rousing (and unsolicited) endorsement! But how else would you describe a week where deep relationships are forged in the midst of unbelievable fun and where you experience and listen to what we believe is the greatest love story ever told?

A Time to Question, Learn and Grow — Campaigners

Campaigners (a name that points back to the early days when Young Life was referred to as “The Young Life Campaign”) is a weekly meeting for kids who wish to learn more or grow in their faith through Bible study, service and leadership. Young Life leaders also encourage these kids to celebrate their faith through participation in a local congregation.

Adults Who Care — Committee

Young Life is making a difference in the lives of kids around the world because we are supported by adults who care about kids in their community. For every talented Young Life staff person, there is a team of dedicated volunteer leaders who work directly with kids. In each community, the local “committee” — comprised of parents, Young Life alumni and civic leaders — provides a foundation of financial, administrative and moral support for the local Young Life team.

Our Mission and Vision

Our Vision
Every adolescent will have the opportunity to meet Jesus Christ and follow Him.

Our Mission
Introducing adolescents to Jesus Christ and helping them grow in their faith. We accomplish our mission by …
  • Praying for young people.
  • Going where kids are.
  • Building personal relationships with them.
  • Winning the right to be heard.
  • Providing experiences that are fun, adventurous and life-changing.
  • Sharing our lives and the Good News of Jesus Christ with adolescents.
  • Inviting them to personally respond to this Good News.
  • Loving them regardless of their response.
  • Nurturing kids so they might grow in their love for Christ and the knowledge of God’s Word and become people who can share their faith with others.
  • Helping young people develop the skills, assets and attitudes to reach their full God-given potential.
  • Encouraging kids to live connected to the Body of Christ by being an active member of a local congregation.
  • Working with a team of like-minded individuals — volunteer leaders, committee members, donors and staff.
  • Living according to and communicating the whole Gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • Carrying out our mission under the authority of Scripture and relying on the Holy Spirit to empower our ministry.
  • Encouraging the welfare and spiritual health of those who do this ministry, that they may minister out of a consistent and growing relationship with Christ and His followers.
  • Researching and developing innovative approaches to reaching uncommitted, disinterested kids around the world.
  • Reaching adolescents of all social, cultural, economic and ethnic backgrounds throughout the world.
  • Working with followers of Christ from a variety of traditions and local churches around the world.
  • Welcoming all those whom God calls to our mission — men and women of all races, staff and volunteers — who are linked to a common purpose of introducing adolescents to Jesus Christ.
  • Observing the highest standards of stewardship of all the resources placed in our trust.


Our Values
  • Living according to and communicating the whole Gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • Carrying out our mission under the authority of Scripture and relying on the Holy Spirit to empower our ministry.
  • Encouraging the welfare and spiritual health of those who do this ministry, that they may minister out of a consistent and growing relationship with Christ and His followers.
  • Researching and developing innovative approaches to reaching uncommitted, disinterested kids around the world.
  • Reaching adolescents of all social, cultural, economic and ethnic backgrounds throughout the world.
  • Working with followers of Christ from a variety of traditions and local churches around the world.
  • Welcoming all those whom God calls to our mission — men and women of all races, staff and volunteers — who are linked to a common purpose of introducing adolescents to Jesus Christ.
  • Observing the highest standards of stewardship of all the resources placed in our trust.

Our History

In 1938, Jim Rayburn, a young Presbyterian youth leader and seminary student in Gainesville, Texas, was given a challenge. A local minister invited him to consider the neighborhood high school as his parish and develop ways of contacting kids who had no interest in church.

Rayburn started a weekly club for kids. There was singing, a skit or two and a simple message about Jesus Christ. Club attendance increased dramatically when they started meeting in the homes of the young people.

After graduating from seminary, Rayburn and four other seminarians collaborated, and Young Life was officially born on Oct. 16, 1941, with its own Board of Trustees. They developed the club idea throughout Texas, with an emphasis on showing kids that faith in God can be not only fun, but exhilarating and life changing.

By 1946, Young Life had moved to a new headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo., and the staff had grown to 20 men and women across several states. Volunteer leadership began at Wheaton College in Illinois in the late 1940s, and today Young Life clubs depend heavily on the mission’s 19,000 volunteer leaders.

Prior to the 1960s, Young Life had directed its ministry almost completely to suburban high school students. By 1972 it had begun ministries in approximately 25 multi-ethnic and urban areas. Today, Young Life has more than 700 multicultural ministries reaching more than 18,000 inner-city, racially underrepresented and poor young people. In the 1980s the mission developed two new cutting-edge ministries — WyldLife for middle school students and the Capernaum Project for kids with disabilities. Young Life has also developed the Small Town Initiative, which aims to bring Young Life to rural areas around the country. The most recent new outreach ministries to be formed are YoungLives, which focuses on pregnant teens and young mothers, and Young Life College, which targets students on college campuses.

Young Life’s outreach to kids outside of the United States began in 1953 with the work of Rod and Fran Johnston in France. That ministry, under the name of Jeunesse Ardente, continues to this day. Within 10 years of that first overseas outreach, Young Life had extended its reach to British Columbia, home to a camp called Malibu; to Germany, where MCYM began reaching out to kids on military bases; and to Brazil. In the decades since, Young Life’s international outreach expanded both in scope and types of ministries. A mix of American and national staff and volunteers are reaching kids with the Gospel through more than 700 ministries in more then 70 countries.

Young Life’s mission remains the same — to introduce adolescents to Jesus Christ and to help them grow in their faith. This happens when caring adults build genuine friendships and earn the right to be heard with their young friends. For more than six decades, God has blessed the Young Life staff, increasing its numbers from five to more than 3,300 — from one club in Texas to clubs in nearly every corner of the world.


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Address

Young Life Libertyville-Vernon Hills | PO Box 6927 Libertyville, IL 60048-6927

Phone: 2243585371

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