Young Life creates atmosphere of fun, growth

Ivy Marcus / Washburn Review

Students walking around campus recently may have noticed the chalk on the pavement advertising the Young Life organization.

While it is certainly eye catching, some might wonder what Young Life is or what it’s all about.

To begin, Young Life is a Christian ministry that began officially in October 1941 in Texas with the aim of reaching high school students. An idea was developed within the ministry that they wanted to show people faith in God could be fun, challenging and life changing.

Currently, Young Life is working with more than just high school students—WyldLife works with middle school students, the Capernaum Project is aimed at helping children with disabilities and Young Life College is for university students.

There are roughly 19,000 volunteers working with the Young Life organization in several states across the country, including a big presence in Topeka.

“Young Life started up in Topeka about seven years ago,” said Andy Vogel, director for Young Life Topeka.”With just a bunch of parents, really, who wanted to reach their kids and the community.”

Vogel has been working with Young Life for five years now and said that part of the focus of Young Life meetings were for kids without much experience with church and kids who had perhaps grown up there to be able to go to the same place and have the same amount of fun and to take the same thing away from the experience.

As for Young Life at Washburn University, the presence on the campus is fairly new. According to Tracy Wagner, professor of biology and faculty advisor for Young Life at Washburn, the organization originally came to campus looking for a meeting place for the high school ministry. It wasn’t long, though, before a college group was started up.

“The atmosphere is supposed to be a place where students can come and learn about Christ without so much of a dogmatic or stiff or rule-bound atmosphere,” said Wagner, “which I think can be kind of off-putting for some people.”

Young Life at Washburn meets every Tuesday evening around 7 at the McGivern Room in the Pavilion.

“Meetings start off with an ice breaker, a skit or a game to help everyone get acquainted,” said Wagner. “This is followed by a short message, usually 15 or 20 minutes, and afterwards, students migrate elsewhere to hang out together,”