—Written by Meaghan O’Connor, Young Life staff for YL College, Grand Rapids

This October, Young Life College of Grand Rapids took our first-ever group of students to the college outreach weekend at Timber Wolf Lake.

We were so honored to be a part of our region’s biggest-ever college outreach weekend. We got to spend time with over 150 students and leaders from GVSU, Michigan, Oakland, Ball State, Western Michigan, Central Illinois, Notre Dame, and Quincy Illinois.


College students and leaders at YL College Weekend

Young Life College of Grand Rapids had students from Calvin College and Aquinas College attend. It was a weekend full of great conversation, fun, rest, adventure, and lots of Jesus.


Meaghan (second from left) with YL College friends.

After one or two small group discussion times, it became very clear that the Lord had hand-selected our group of students to be there that weekend. He even used a few personal stories and testimonies to break down barriers and help mend broken hearts.

One of the coolest parts about college ministry is watching students hear a message, process that message, and dig in during small group time with thoughtful, insightful and challenging questions. They are not scared to question, doubt, and lean into difficult conversation…which is a beautiful thing!


During the weekend, our speaker talked about what it means to be all in with Jesus, which really resonated with the girls in our cabin.

One college sophomore commented, “I learned at Fall Weekend that in order to be all in with Jesus, we have to be willing to address the root problem and not just the symptoms. I wish we had more YLC weekends!”


One of the best moments of the weekend happened on top of the giant swing.

Two students and I sat suspended 80+ feet in the air for five or six minutes, while one of the girls in our cabin had a hard time at the top. She was the one tasked with “cutting the cord” that kept us “safe” and suspended, and seemed really paralyzed by fear.

After a few encouraging words, she opened her eyes, cut the cord, and screamed and giggled all the way down. That moment proved that even with college students, we get the opportunity as leaders to walk with them through deep and lasting fear and to model what a life full of joy, adventure and trusting Jesus looks like!


We are so excited about the momentum of college ministry in Grand Rapids after fall weekend and are looking forward to starting a girl’s breakfast small group sometime in the next few months.

>> Did you know there are 34,000 college students and 7 colleges in the city of Grand Rapids: Calvin, Aquinas, Cornerstone, Davenport, GRCC, Kuyper & Grace Bible Colleges.

>> For more information on Young Life College ministry in Grand Rapids you can find them on Facebook and Instagram or contact Meaghan O’Connor at meaghan.t.oconnor at gmail dot com.

>> Young Life College is active and growing on other campuses around the Western Great Lakes Region including Notre Dame, Western Michigan University, and Grand Valley State University.