Wednesday, September 20, 2017

How Far I'll Go (Moana) Chords and Slides

There sadly are not many new, popular, usable, club songs these days. If you have any ideas, email us and we'll share them on the blog.

Special thanks to Catherine Harrison at UVA for sending us slides for this newer Disney classic. 

Guitar Chords in C

Guitar Chords in E

PowerPoint slides

Keynote slides

Monday, September 18, 2017

Easy Club Mixer: "Would You Rather?"

Need an easy mixer for club?

Download the slides below and have your group divide into two sides of the room based on what they would rather do. It's an easy and quick mixer to get kids moving and laughing. 

You can also use the last question on the slides to form two teams (Would you rather eat or burger or tacos). It usually ends up working out that half the group chooses taco and the other half chooses burger and you can end up with mostly evenly divided teams, Team Taco and Team Burger, to move directly into another game that requires two teams. 

You can also use this mixer to create teams for a semester-long competition as detailed in this post. 


"Would You Rather?"(Keynote)

"Would You Rather?" (PowerPoint)

Friday, September 15, 2017

Hurricane Relief Young Life Shirt

Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma have impacted many in the mission of Young Life in Texas, Florida, Latin America and the Carribbean islands. Our hearts go out to the leaders and staff people who have lost their own homes and are ministering to many others who have been devastated by the storms. 

You can stay up-to-date on the needs and also make donations through this webpage

The Young Life store has also created a t-shirt to support our YL friends in Texas.  all proceeds from the shirt will go back to the two Regions in Texas affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Buy it here at the Young Life store.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

This Week's Fresh Club Idea: Semester Long Competition

Teenagers love competition. Competition already drives many of our Club mixers and games. What if we took it up a notch and created a semester long contest? It's one great way to build off of the momentum of the fall. 

Create two teams: Use your school colors!

Team 1: Last names A-J
Team 2: Last names K-Z

(I know it would make sense to divide the alphabet at M/N, but statistically in the US, a more even divide occurs between J/K.)

Dividing by last names works as a natural mixer because it's puts people on teams, not divided by grade or gender, but truly randomly.

At your next club, explain the following guidelines, you could even copy and paste them into a slide and put them on the screen.


  • All Club games/mixers/contests this semester will award points to the winning team.
  • At the end of every month (4 Clubs), the team with the most points will win free dinner at club (pizza, dessert, drinks, candy, etc...). The losing team will just have to watch the winning team enjoy the food! There will be an awards dinner at the end of each month.
  • At the end of the Club semester- whichever team has the most total points will win sweet YL Intramural Champion t-shirts! 
  • You get 200 points for your team just by showing up at Club. 
  • You get 500 points for your team when you bring a friend with you to Club for their first-time.
  • Your team gets 2000 points when you win a Club competition, like a game or mixer.
There are tons of other ways you can give out points. Similar to camp, you could throw out frisbees and give 10pts for each one that is retrieved. You could also do a handshake contest and have each team create their own handshake. Judges decide who gets the points. 


Encourage teams to wear their team colors when they come to club. It's also fun to pass out red and blue bandanas on the first night when you're explaining the competition. Order enough red and blue bandanas for each person to have one. I ordered these on Amazon and they're great and only $1/bandana. 


It's essential to have 2 unbiased folks who are not on a team, but are simply designated scorekeepers. They keep track of who is there and who wins the game. You probably have some folks in your club who would much rather be the statistician than participating in games. This is a good opportunity to give them ownership and a chance to serve. (Here are 10 more ways to give kids ownership at club.)


If you call Papa Johns or most any pizza chain, they will give you large, 1-topping pizzas for $6-7. Ask them to cut the pizza into 10 slices instead of the typical 8, this just makes it go a little father. Estimate 2.5 slices/person or 5 people/pizza. If you have 40 people, you need 8 larges. 8 x $6 = $48. Plus tax and drinks= $65. Ask some parents to send desserts and also give them a chance to help chip in some money. Raising $65 to feed 40 people once a month is very doable! 


If anyone likes to make design and can come up with a sweet YL Intramural Champs shirt design, send it our way and we'll share it on the blog!

If anyone gives this a shot, let us know how it goes! We did it last semester and it was really fun! 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Best Practices for Social Media In Young Life

We recently received the following email from an Area Director:

"I wanted to reach out and see if you had a good list/plan of social media best practices to engage people well, without it being overbearing. My committee really values seeing stuff on Facebook (primarily) and Instagram, but I will admit that when I was younger social media was easy and now it's stressful and hard."

We asked Young Life's social media expert, Alex Lewis, to help answer the Area Director's question. Below is his response.

Storytelling vs. Selling on Social Media by Alex Lewis

I graduated from Elon University in North Carolina. Like most colleges, Elon had a student center, the Moseley Center, where students could hang out, grab food, and even pick up their mail. The Moseley Center also had several hallways always filled with tables hosted by fraternities, sororities, and various student organizations selling things and trying to raise money.

Whenever I’d walk through Moseley to go to the dining hall or mailroom, I’d get bombarded by students at these tables.

“Hey, can we talk to you real quick?”
“Would you like to buy a ticket?”
“Hey, we’re selling… (you name it).”

I’m not mad at these students. I get it. Student organizations require funds to operate. That’s the same reason I don’t get upset at people or businesses who sell online. Small businesses need business. Unsigned artists need people to listen to their music. It’s part of the game.

However, I did find ways to start avoiding the barrage of tables in Moseley. I found doors that would lead directly to the dining hall and mailroom. If I had to walk through the tables in Moseley, I’d make sure I was wearing headphones or walking with a big group. I was tired of being sold to.

There are also lots of people online who are tired of being sold to, too. Based on a 2016 report from Streaming Observer, over the course of an average life in the United States, people spend roughly four years watching TV commercials. Add all the other ads we’re seeing on top of that — social media, billboards, magazines, etc. — and it’s no wonder we’re tired.

Ultimately, I believe we go to the places where we gain the most value. That’s why I was trying to find a direct path to the dining hall and mailroom. I needed to eat. I needed my mail. It’s also why most of us go to the bank or grocery store — we find necessary services at these places.

I have three things I want to share with you that will help you make your Young Life social media accounts into valuable destinations for kids, parents and potential donors:

You’re not selling. You’re storytelling.

In a world where people spend over four hours a day on their phones, we’re all vying for each other’s attention. That’s why it’s important to ensure you’re looking to add value with your social media content. Value gains attention. Selling doesn’t add value; it acquires value. But you still have specific calls to action you need to make, so what do you do? My answer: tell a good story.

You’re not telling your story. You’re telling kids’ stories.

While our primary audiences in Young Life may change, the meeting point for all of us is kids and a desire for them to experience full life. The Young Life story isn’t worth telling if you’re not sharing how God is working in and through kids’ lives. Telling kids’ stories on social media will not only help you meet your desired result, but it will help your primary audience see that you care about the things they want to hear about. That’ll catch their attention. And once you have your audience’s attention, you’re able to capture their hearts and commitment.

Telling a good story is not only what you say; it’s how you tell it.

There are different ways to tell kids’ stories on each social media platform, and it’s important to use these features to the best of their abilities so that you can get your messages to the right people in the most effective ways.

Below is a list of various ways you can tell your story on social media’s most popular platforms:

Facebook: Video, Photos, Text Updates, Stories, Notes, Ads, Messenger, Events and Fundraisers.

Instagram: Video, Photos, Stories, Ads, Direct Messages and Boomerangs.

Twitter: Video, Photos, Ads, Direct Messages and GIFs.

Snapchat: Stories, Discover Ads, Messaging and Geofilters.

LinkedIn: Articles, Photos, Updates and Messaging.

I also want to provide you with a breakdown of different types of content you can share on these platforms:

Informative: Club flyers, announcements, updates, ministry statistics, and answers to questions.

Entertaining: Memes, funny videos, and pop culture references.

Inspiring: #humansofYL stories, #MondayMotivation messages, and human interest videos.

Engagement: Replying to comments, liking posts, tagging users, responding to direct messages, and commenting on others’ posts.

While our mission in Young Life is to introduce kids to Jesus Christ and help them grow in their faith, we create these opportunities for deeper offline relationships through valuable online interactions that catch the attention of kids, parents, and potential donors.

If you're looking for a practical example of how to do this well, Hamilton Southeastern Young Life (FacebookInstagram & Twitter) communicates very effectively on their social media channels. They have a great mix of informative, entertaining, inspiring, and engaging content. For example, I’ve seen them use Twitter polls asking students to learn what their students are dealing with. They share encouraging messages with their students and also use their Facebook Page to speak directly to parents.

Much love! 
Alex Lewis

Monday, September 11, 2017

An Open Letter to All Young Life Leaders

This letter below was written by Brooke Putney when she was a high school junior in 2015. She is now a college sophomore in Austin, Texas. Be encouraged! 

My first real conversation with my Young Life leader included a lie that I ran five miles every day. I was running about two in reality, but I felt the need to impress her. I felt this way, because as a freshman in high school, that was my mission, to impress people. I wanted to be known, admired and loved- just as we all do. In my mind at this point, being admired came from being impressive to every onlooker. Looking back now, I realize my Young Life leader didn’t care if I ran or how far I did. She simply wanted to know me, because she knew something I did not; God simply wanted me to know Him. As high school students, we often walk through the halls feeling as if we are not desired in the slightest, as if no one wants to know us.

But along came Young Life leaders.

Along came Young Life leaders who gave up their lives fully, so we could catch a glimpse of life to the fullest. Along came Young Life leaders who said, “Here am I, send me!” so that others would get to know just how loved they were. Thank you.


Making beds out of hard wood floors so kids like me could have the best week of their life.

Waking up early to pray for us, when you desperately needed that extra hour of sleep.

Being bold for the sake of the gospel and ignoring your fears so we could have a raw example of courageous living.

Having no shame in who you are, because you have none in who He is.

Not giving up on us, even when we mess up in the same ways again and again.

Always being a phone call away.

Sending “wanna get coffee and talk?” texts, because we need them more than you’ll ever know.

Showing up at our high schools, even when you feel awkward and out-of-place.

Not shying away from the conversations that will change eternity.

Running through mud obstacle courses when it is the last thing you want to do.

Your genuine humor that never leads to the hurt of others.

Living outside of your comfort zones.

Dancing like no one was watching during that neon rave. Seriously, thank you for that.

Loving us so well, because the fearless, unconditional, personal way in which you have loved us has changed our lives forever.

Loving us at all times.

Being a non-judgmental person against negativity and evil.

Answering all of our questions after camp.

Driving us around when we couldn’t drive ourselves.

Randomly paying for our meals.

Being our friend.

Showing up.

Praying for us when we can’t pray for ourselves.

Admitting you are broken too.

Begging us to go to camp and fall weekend when we have turned you down time and time again.

Taking your vacation time to ride on a bus that smells like a combination of cheddar goldfish and body odor.

Always telling us what we need to hear, even when we don’t want to hear it.

Always pulling for us.

Loving us despite our mess.

Being our number one fan.

Thank you for caring for high school kids like me.

Because you are a Young Life leader, you are far too humble to take any of this credit that we give you. You are too humble to not give all the glory back to the Lord. I am aware that Young Life alone hasn’t changed anyone’s life. I am aware that you, as Young life leaders, haven’t changed our lives by yourselves.

But through you, God has made His invitation of love and belonging so well known. God has worked 180-degree turnarounds, renewed lives and offered beautiful new beginnings. You are far more appreciated than we will ever be able to show you. No words, no gifts, nothing will ever be able to thank you for being the Christ-like person you are to us.


I am sure that there is more to life than high school.

I have been shown that impressing others is not our purpose, but simply put, loving is, because of Christ.

I have found that my life has a greater meaning.

I have learned to freely love my God and my neighbors as myself.

I know there is a love far beyond my comprehension and now I know what love looks like.

I know what joy in pursuing people in the name of Christ looks like.

I know the impact a sacrificial heart can have.

I know what “life to the fullest” looks like.

I know that there is a choice to live for myself or live for something much greater.

I know that there is an option of a life based on deeper conversations, deeper meaning and deeper love than the life I have lived in the past.

My life has drastically changed.

I know that we must give up all that we are, in order to show off all that He is.

I know that I do not have to be completely perfect in order to be completely loved.

I have been given the gift of knowing that I’m loved and valuable.

I know that fullness comes from nothing but our Father.

I always have someone to turn to who will tell me the truth; His truth.

So, thank you. Your efforts, your pursuit, and your love has not gone unnoticed.

Thank you for being a Young Life leader!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Practical Help For Your Campaigners TEAM

As the school years begins, so do many Campaigner groups. To help us think through some of the non-negotiables of Campaigners, the Young Life Discipleship office has come up with the memorable acronym: T.E.A.M.

As you're planning for Campaigners this year, think through these 5 pieces below.

The acronym TEAM is a reminder that each Campaigners group should function like a team. It's crucial to prioritize building the bonds of friendship and fellowship. It takes leadership, time, energy, trust, and prayer for the group to gradually bond and grow. 

As you lead the group, are you cultivating a community that feels like a team?


Campaigners begins with the expectation that it will be a time of transformation. The goal would be that none of us, both leaders and students, would be at the same place spiritually at the end of the year. The hope is that we would grow in maturity in Christ and be transformed. (Romans 12:1-2)

What do you want God to do in your life this year?

Now all of us, with our faces unveiled, reflect the glory of the Lord as if we are mirrors; and so we are being transformed, metamorphosed, into His same image from one radiance of glory to another, just as the Spirit of the Lord accomplishes it.- 2 Corinthians 3:18


God's Word is the center of our Campaigners time. It's alive and active and shapes us and we read it and hear it read. We allow God to be our teacher and the Bible to be our guide-book.

Do you have a plan for what books/passages of scripture you will study during Campaigners this year?

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. -2 Timothy 3:16-17


The goal isn't just more head knowledge. The goal is to apply God's Word to our lives. That's how transformation actually happens. Scripture invites us into the adventure of trusting God. His Word is practical and applicable to our daily lives. 

What would happen if you left Campaigners each week with a practical assignment of how to put God's Word into practice?

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. - James 1:22


The goal of Campaigners isn't just to form a bubble and stay in it. As God transforms us, he pulls back the slingshot to launch us out into world as salt and light. As we circle up in community to be transformed by God's Word, we are sent out as missionaries to love the world out of the overflow of our hearts. 

In what ways can your Campaigners group serve and be "on mission" together this year?

"Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” -Matthew 28:19