Keepin’ the Faith: YoungLife beacon of light for Truckee teens
November 4, 2010
TRUCKEE, Calif. – They might not interact in school halls, but the living room of YoungLife’s Area Director Ryan Hunter knows no cliques when 50-60 middle and high school youths gather for skits, games, mixers or to sing top 40 songs. “The best way to describe it is an hour of controlled chaos,” said Hunter.
Hunter is a 16-year adult leader with YoungLife, including four in Truckee. He emphasizes YoungLife, although faith-based, does not replace church groups. It’s an organization for adolescents, with a staff of adult volunteers who build relationships and share their love unconditionally with the children and focus on what matters to them: Fun, adventure, friendship and a sense of significance.
YoungLife focuses on the value of each child, and earns the privilege of talking to them about God and his love. “We talk about the personality, the character of Jesus, who he hung out with,” said Hunter, noting that in his day, Jesus hung with people who might today be considered “D” students.
Everyone is welcome to attend. The high school group meets weekly, Monday nights, 7:07-8:15 p.m. with middle school on a bi-weekly schedule, Friday nights from 7-8 p.m. Locations change: Call Hunter at 530-414-1290 for details.
The adult leaders don’t preach: They allow youths to figure out who and what God is. The true impetus is a message that the students themselves are valued and important. At each meeting’s end, five to seven minutes are spent sharing something from life’s experience, with a correlating scripture passage.
For “off the chart fun stuff,” YoungLife offers weekend school-year camps and week-long summer camp opportunities, the closest of the 25 nationwide camps is at Woodleaf, in Challenge, Calif. Last year, Truckee YoungLife took 53 middle school and senior high youths to have high adventure with zip lines, ropes courses, go carts and mud wars.
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Truckee YoungLife depends on donations from individuals and foundations, small fundraisers and dinners, the annual golf tournament hosted by Martis Camp and recently, the annual banquet held at the Truckee Community Recreation Center, which raised $11,700. The $150,000 budget for staff salary and benefits, program expenses, office expenses, travel expenses and camp costs and scholarships was whittled down to $135,000 to address tough economic times. Another $36,000 is needed: Checks can be sent to YoungLife, PO Box 103, Truckee CA, 96160. For questions about electronic and credit card giving, contact Hunter at Ryan Hunter, YoungLife Truckee Area Director at 530-414-1290.