Young Life is anything but formal. We meet in barns and garages for Club. Campaigners happens in a circle on a cement floors in basements or in guest rooms upstairs. We wear clothes from sports practices, pull on sweatshirts after work, and sit around leaving our shoes at the door. On a regular basis we hurl things like paint, chocolate pudding, and jello at each other. Young Life is not fancy.
But tonight, tonight was quite the event. We invited Carmel parents and adults to come to our Banquet and they arrived with the men in coat and tie and the women with their jewels and heels. There were chandeliers, three courses served on glass plates rather than red plastic plates, and there was no food thrown.
Tonight we got to share what Young Life is all about to the people who help make it happen. High School kids told groups of parents about when they first experienced Young Life, a YL memory they'll never forget, and what this means for their lives on a weekly basis.
I heard the mission of YL shared over and over again through different people during the night.
The Millers told us about how this is for every kid. No matter what. All kids have to do is show up at Campaigners or Club and walk through the door. They all belong.
Marlin, Jake, and Jenna spoke about how we get the honor of telling kids about how much God loves them and not only does he love them and know them but he wants to have a relationship with them.
We shared stories of how we get to live life with kids as they figure out how Christ impacts every part of their life. We get the privilege of going to soccer games, to get coffee, plays, HS lunches, out to dinner, cross-country meets. As leaders we get to build relationships with kids as we show them how Christ has transformed our own lives.
Young Life is a place where kids belong, where they are accepted for being themselves and not having to measure up to any standard, where we live life to the full, where we learn how to live out our faith in real and tangible ways.
Tonight I am so thankful that I am lucky enough to be a part of Carmel Young Life. Thankful to sing "Heaven Song" together, write on the white board during leadership, hug the Senior girls when they arrive at YL events, text with girls during the week, look forward to the service weekend, sit with YL friends at church, be friends with all of the people I lead with, know I'm never in this alone, have phone calls with YL girls that are now in college, ski in MI and stay at Timberwolf, dance like crazy at Club, meet girls at Orange Leaf, be inspired at the Leader Summit, and pray for my girls.