These days YL has grown and is so many of the things we hoped for.
It's a place where God is glorified.
It's a place where people are welcome no matter where they are in their faith journey.
It's a place where leaders and kids connect.
It's place where not just cool kids, but all kids are welcome.
It's a place where multiple schools and all grades are represented.
It's a place where kids with special needs are part of the family, welcomed and celebrated.
It's a place where we say "We've missed you!" instead of "Where have you been?" when people come back.
It's a place where we learn about prayer, the bible and worship together.
It's a place where we represent multiple churches and encourage kids to get plugged into a church.
It's a place where we have not only YL staff, but a small army of volunteer leaders that love God and love kids.
It's a place where we have a generous, prayerful, dedicated committee that serves as a foundation to make sure YL continues in HSE.
It's a place of forgiveness and acceptance.
It's a place where we have a whole heck of a lot of fun.
It's a place where we believe that contact work, going where kids are and living life with them, is the most important work that we do.
These Seniors have been part of helping us to create that culture. They will still be part of this story even as they go off next year in a dozen different directions. Tonight we celebrated in a whole lot of ways.
We sang together. We facetimed Lindsey, a YL Senior, who is growing strong at rehab up in Chicago and prayed with her.
We did the "Touch Someone Who" activity that is a CILT tradition.
Touch someone who has been there for you
Touch someone who inspires your faith
Touch someone that you've gone to YL camp with
Touch someone who has made your day
Touch someone who has prayed with you
Touch someone you trust
Touch someone who has been a role model
Touch someone who makes you want to dance
The Seniors circled around everyone else and answered some questions.
20 years from now, what will you still remember about YL?
As HS students, how can you grow in your faith?
What would you like to say to your YL leader?
How can we be praying for you as you start your next chapter?
I will miss this class.
Rachel-- I'm so glad I could finally convince you to be part of this Young Life family. You make us better. You have made a world of difference in the lives of Wyld Life kids, your leaders and your peers. I love the way you go after your dreams with fervor and tenacity. You are someone that lives a life of such integrity, love, compassion and creativity and other people take notice. I'm so proud to be your friend.
Chloe-- I'm still angry that you're graduating early. It's just unfair that we got one less year of having you here with us. You are known for living this life of transformation, a story of how God dramatically and beautifully changed your life. That's all true. But some of the greatest parts of you have always been there-- your empathy, your spunk, your boldness, your enthusiasm. You make my life better.