Young Life enigma takes over

Young Life enigma takes over

Photo Credit: Corinne Oppy

Students sing attentively with their friends at a Young Life club meeting run by Tom Rockwood (pictured left)

November 4, 2010 • Daria Winsky, Features Editor  
Filed under Feature

Erroneous beliefs about Young Life

Young Life. The name has been floating through the hallways, overwhelming Facebook, and coming up in conversation since the end of last year. To many, Young Life is an enigma that has spread like an epidemic throughout Loudoun County public schools.

As some people do not know exactly what Young Life is, they choose to invent their own notion of Young Life.

“I’ve never been to Young Life and I don’t plan to,” one junior said. “It seems like a religious cult.”

Other people believe that they are not welcome at Young Life because of their current personal beliefs. They believe that Young Life is an exclusive place for devout Christians to worship.

“I’m not a Christian and I don’t believe in God so I’m not allowed to go to Young Life,” one sophomore said.

What is Young Life?

To clear up any ambiguous rumors, Young Life is not a cult, nor is it a Christian youth group. By definition, Young Life is a place where adolescents may be introduced to Jesus Christ and also a place to help their faith grow. It is a non-denominational organization that does not deny anybody.

“Young Life is not a cult,” junior Jordan Parker, a regular Young Life attendee, said. “If some don’t want to go, then don’t. That’s totally cool. All I know is that I get a great feeling from hanging out with a bunch of my friends on a Wednesday night as a break from stress and schoolwork.”

“I like to think of Young Life as a place where students can come for one night out of the week, have fun with their friends, and learn about this guy Jesus,” Young Life Club leader for the Sterling sect, Tom Rockwood said. “It is not a youth group.”

Every Wednesday night, a group of almost 200 students from Stone Bridge, Briar Woods, and Broad Run meet for Young Life Club at somebody’s house. They sing, dance, participate in skits and games, and talk about Jesus.

“I think Young Life is so successful because it makes religion relatable to teens instead of something boring and old,” Rockwood said. “It’s a great place to come to strengthen your faith but also just to learn about Jesus.”

Also, people are not forced to speak. The Young Life leader does all of the talking during Club so there is no pressure on kids to relate their beliefs. However, students are encouraged to talk to leaders one-on-one or in groups if they have questions or simply want to discuss their faith further.

“I don’t like to say that we meet to talk about religion,” Rockwood said. “I always say that we talk about the relationship with Jesus and read about him in this book, the Bible.”

Student Support

Among this large group of people, several students have embraced Young Life and consider it a life-changing experience.

“Young Life was where I just seemed to fit,” Parker said. “I started going because I went to WyldLife in middle school and I wanted to check out what it would be like in high school. I kept going back because I felt comfortable there as it is a great way to relieve stress and have a good time.”

Another frequent and dedicated member, junior Matt Vincent agrees that Young Life provides a unique experience that relieves stress and establishes lasting friendships.

“I go because it’s a place to relax and be around friends,” Vincent said. “It’s a great environment and a fantastic group of people.”

Every since its establishment on October 16, 1941, Young Life has expanded to a club with over one million members. Today, Young Life reaches youth in over 18,000 inner-city, underprivileged areas throughout the country and has also created WyldLife, a ‘Young Life for kids in middle school”.

The Young Life Club sect for Stone Bridge began as a small group of people, around 20 or 25, almost a decade ago. It now has a weekly attendance of almost 200 people.

“Young Life is the place where I can share my faith and have fun with my friends,” junior Casey Dajani said. “It’s the place I feel most comfortable.”

It has proven its legitimacy in the community and if it follows the path it is currently on, it will continue to grow in the coming years.

 “I’ve met some of my best friends through Young Life and I have learned so much about myself and my faith,” Parker said. “I don’t know what my life would be without it.”

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