Young Life Camp: Relationships Between Leaders and Kids Key to Ministry

( [email protected] ) Jul 09, 2004 08:37 PM EDT

Young Life, an outreach ministry to teens, is currently holding summer camps where youth leaders spend a week to not only develop the relationship they have with kids they have worked with but to also to aid developing the kids’ relationship with Christ.

Last year, 40,000 kids participated in Young Life’s week-long summer camps at one of the ministry’s 18 nationally-owned camping properties.

Young Life's Dave Carlson says they're expecting a 15-percent increase in attendance this year. The ministry has been making an intentional effort to promote the camps.

Carlson notes the importance of introducing the Gospel message to kids at a young age.

“A lot of us are aware that it's between 13 and 18 period that kids are forming ideas and values for their own life, but they're now at a point where they're starting to discern what will be the key guiding principles for their own life,” he said.

However, more importantly than the time period kids hear the Gospel is the presence of adults involved in their lives who will continuously encourage the kids with its message.

Studies show that one significant difference in teens who manage life successfully and those who don't is the presence of interested adults who consistently demonstrate the values that make life meaningful.

"Our camps have leaders traditionally called 'camp counselors' who know the kids before they come to camp, and they come with them from the community, they're with them for the week of camp, and then they go home with them,” explained Carlson.

“So these leaders are really the key to the relationship with the kids,” he said.

Young Life is active in all 50 states and more than 45 countries, reaching an estimated one million teenagers annually.