We all know how committee meetings can too often be associated with long meetings and not-so-thrilling agendas, focusing only on the task at hand. But that’s not the experience of Scott Addison, committee chairperson for Spring Lake Young Life. Scott gives us this glimpse into what makes their committee meetings different:
“Committee meetings can easily be all business. But there is something about sitting around a table and sharing a meal that slows things down and helps you focus on the people in front of you less than the tasks at hand. The tasks are still important, but relationships trump them.”
Relationships are at the heart of Young Life—whether it be the relationship a YL leader builds with a teenager or the relationships that form between committee members, staff, and volunteers. At the center of all we do is this desire for everyone involved in the mission to be drawn deeper in relationship with each other and with our Savior.
In the Western Great Lakes Region, Young Life is organized into 32 local areas in order to best reach kids in their own communities. Some of these areas are staffed with a director, staff associate, administrator, mission staff, and possibly church partners. However most areas have no staff and are led by volunteers alone. We have 19 volunteer-led areas.
Behind each one of these areas is an amazing team of adults from the community who partner with staff. They are the Young Life committee. We like to think of them as the backbone holding everything in place.
Having a dedicated, dynamic committee is a lifeline for every local YL area. But it’s especially true for a volunteer area like Spring Lake Young Life.
“As a volunteer area, our YL committee is managing all behind-the-scenes aspects of Young Life in our area, including leader recruitment, special events, and fundraising,” shared Scott.
Committees oversee finances, foster donor relations, pray faithfully for kids and for Young Life, plan events like fundraisers and community socials, and support the staff and area director.
So, who are these amazing committee members who do it all? They are adults who care about kids and are committed to Young Life’s mission to introduce adolescents to Jesus Christ and help them grow in their faith.
Many of them are parents who have their own kids involved in Young Life. You’ll also find some who were Young Life kids themselves long ago, and who want to see today’s kids come to know Jesus in the same way. Some are pastors, teachers, social workers, or doctors who understand the importance of building relationships with adolescents today. Some are builders, bankers, small business owners or community leaders with unique skills and circles of influence who want to be used in their community to make a difference in the next generation.
At their best, YL committees beautifully reflect the community they serve as each member brings with them diverse perspectives, skill sets, and resources.
“Our committee members leverage their own networks and circles of influence to find new leaders and help create events for our YL community to connect,” shared Scott. “Young Life has grown in our community thanks to our committee’s collective efforts, whether it be hosting leader feeders, praying for kids during club time on Mondays, or hosting events like our annual hayride.”
Scott and his wife Sheila, who is the Team Leader for Spring Lake Young Life, have appreciated the diversity of ideas and experiences and the collective wisdom shared by their committee members as they discuss pressing issues or how to grow as an area.
Recently, Spring Lake Young Life experienced a time of uncertainty and was thankful for a committee that came together, stayed strong despite turnover and remained unified in vision. Scott reflected more about that time:
“After a year of sending kids to camp and recruiting a team of leaders, we were down to only one leader and nothing specific was happening with kids. It was a low point. We felt out of ideas and were not certain what was next, but being at the bottom together and continuing to do what we needed to do—pray and ask—was a memorable time. No one bailed on the vision. We continued to meet, pray, and maintain community, trusting God to grow our numbers.”
Scott sums up his YL committee experience with this: “It all feels like a blessing from God.”
If you are reading this and thinking to yourself, I love Young Life; I love kids; I could do that! Consider joining a Young Life committee. Here’s more info on what that entails.
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