Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Top 10 Things To Know Before Interning At Young Life Camp

Every summer, thousands of middle, high school and college students participate in "the best week of their lives" at a Young Life camp. This can only happen thanks to the many volunteers and staff that work tirelessly to ensure that the YL camp slogan rings true. Some of the most behind-the-scenes servants are the Young Life camp interns! 

With the help of many past and present YL camp interns, we've compiled the list below. 

Top Ten Things To Know Before You Intern

When you're constantly working and having Gospel-centered conversations, it can be easy to get busy and miss your own time alone with the Lord. If you are going to have a successful summer, this is an absolute must. But not just reading God's Word and spiritual books, be sure to take time to LISTEN. Be still and know that He is God.

We aren’t perfect people and as close as it might be, Young Life camp is not a perfect place. You’re going to mess up and you’re going to need grace. You are also going to need to give grace. Be slow to anger, quick to forgive and courageous enough to receive grace. Speak life. It will be easy to grumble. You want to create safe spaces and a community that reflects Jesus. Celebrate in public, correct in private. If someone does something awesome, let everyone know. If they do something regrettable or make you mad, have a private one on one conversation. Never resort to shame.

Nothing will burn you out more than not getting enough of it. Be disciplined in this. Fight for it. Be willing to miss out on fun things so you can be well rested. It's tough to hear from the Lord and to be fully present with others when you are exhausted.

Interning can be an easy job. Not because the job is easy, but because the job is worth it. Finding joy in the work you are doing is crucial. Understanding that what you do for the camp and the kids has an eternal impact. Remind yourself of this on the daily and rejoice that you have this incredible opportunity.

Be vulnerable. Let the community see your mess and your deep goodness. It will allow you to know sides of God you never dreamed were real. Don’t be afraid to be known and give everything. People will respond with love and grace. This won't happen right away. Be patient. Spend the time it takes to know and be known.

Begin your internship with open hands. Don’t go in with any expectations of other interns, property staff, summer staffers, or your job itself. One thing you’ll discover is that God put you in that job and not another for a specific purpose, and often it's for refining. Be careful to not be jealous of other jobs, because there are days where you might work much more hours than others. It can be easy to get frustrated about that because you might think it was all going to be fair work time and everyone was doing to do the same amount of work for the same amount of hours. Comparison is the thief of joy.

If you are fully-on-board for the mission, then the community will follow naturally. Understand that your mission is to love the Lord and to love others. It always is, not just at camp. The summer is going to be long. Be intentional with your fellow interns, be clear in communication and strive to be on the same MISSION. You are in this together. You need them to point and often push you to Jesus. And you need to be willing to do the same. 

What if the entire intern group had one common goal- to out serve each other? It may take a while to understand, but your job is to work behind the scenes to set up both the summer staff and the work crew to serve. You also get to set up the leaders to lead. It's not often glamorous, but it's always glorious. Be a "THERE YOU ARE" kind of a person, not a "HERE I am" kind of person. It’s easy to go to a new place and be so consumed with what others think of you.

You will interact with a lot of different people all summer. Some might not be easy to love. The way you act and respond in situations will be seen. Summer staff can be knuckleheads sometimes. Showing them grace and love will change their life. It for sure changed mine.

Spend time on your knees. Expectantly and often.

Interning at a Young Life camp is much like the story with the four friends who lowered their paralyzed buddy through the roof to meet Jesus. Except as an intern, you aren’t the paralyzed buddy. You aren’t the buddies. And you certainly aren’t Jesus. You are not even in the crowd. Rather, you are the house owner. Every week leaders will show up at the camp and tear the ceiling off just to get their kids to the feet of Jesus. And every week you will fix that roof, again and again. And every week you'll be excited to get a front row seat as you watch another miracle happen right in front of you.

Thank you to Craig Linder (YL Leader at FGCU) for compiling this list and thanks to Kate Macmillan, Jake Busch, Kelly Potilechio, Mike Pavlak, Josh Shipman, Kyle Banal, Dan Rehor, Matt Meier, and Elizabeth Veres for their input in putting this together. Special thanks to all of you who will be interning at Young Life camps across the globe this summer!

Friday, February 16, 2018

New Leader Placement Party: Downtown Columbia, South Carolina

Rick Palmer, Young Life staff in South Carolina, recently shared this video of Young Life leaders in Downtown Columbia celebrating after new leader placement night! 

Rick writes,“We now have 26 African American leaders serving in 3 high schools and on our Young Life College team! Our prayer is that the Lord would provide 50 African American leaders in the Columbia area by 2020! Please join us in praying that every kid will be reached with the gospel!”

If you have a fun video or pics of your new leader placement night, email us here.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Let The Players Coach

On Monday night, Steve Kerr, head coach of the NBA champion Golden State Warriors, let his team do something I've never seen happen in the NBA. He handed over the coaching duties to his players. And wouldn't you know it, his team ended up winning by 46 points. Watch highlights here

As the Young Life spring season begins, it's a timely opportunity for Young Life leaders to do the same thing Steve Kerr did- to hand over the keys and allow students to lead.

Brian Summerall says it this way: 
"Why do seniors stop coming to club? Because they are tired of sitting there. We have made them consumers of a product rather than producers of change. I would argue that even seniors that do not know Christ long to be a part of something significant... it’s what they were made for. What they do not know yet is that as they engage in the process, they will meet Jesus along the way."

What if, instead of leaders giving the talks during the spring semester, leaders worked with upperclassmen and helped them learn how to communicate the gospel? I imagine if Susie Senior was speaking at club next week, she might even invite a few of her friends that haven't been in a while.

The same thing can happen with...

  • leading Campaigners.
  • leading skits at club.
  • running your YL social media.
  • picking your club games.
  • making flyers.
  • inviting people to camp.
  • doing "Good Morning Young Life videos."

What would it look like for your Young Life team to let the playes become the coaches this semester?

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

A 40-Day Experience For Your Campaigners Group

Tomorrow, February 14th, will be a collision of roses and ashes. Not only is it Valentine's Day, it is also Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the ancient church season of Lent. 

I didn't start practicing Lent until I was in college and our Young Life Regional Director taught on the spiritual practice at a leadership meeting. With each year, this Lenten season grows more personally significant and is consistently a time of deeper intimacy with the Lord.

The term "Lent" comes from the English word Lenten (lengthen), referring to the season of the lengthening of the days, the spring. Ash Wednesday, the first day in the Lenten season, traditionally has been a day of repentance. 

Ben Witherington writes "The remorse for sin is symbolized by the imposition of ashes on the forehead, but in that imposition is the sign of hope, for the ashes are imposed in the sign of the cross—the means by which our sins were atoned for."

In our Campaigners group, we have been preparing for the season of Lent, 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter. Understanding a relationship with a God they can't see or touch often feels intangible to a high schooler. Yet, it seems the concept of Lent is something they can wrap their minds around, something they can actually do.

At Campaigners, we discussed the concept of Lent through the metaphor of athletic training, one quite familiar to most the guys. In order for an athlete to excel, they must prepare. When you watch an Olympian break a record, you know they didn't just walk out there and get lucky. Their performance happened because of years of repetitive behavior.

Lent also involves preparation, prepping our hearts to grasp the power of the cross (Good Friday) and the hope of empty tomb (Easter). One way we can prepare is the same way athletes prepare, with repetitive behavior. We can set our mind to do almost anything for 40 days.

Suggestions I Gave To My Campaigners Group

A Nightly Time Of Written Confession 

Create a 'locked' document on your laptops or phones, or in a hidden journal. Three sections of specific confession each night, "Thoughts," "Words," and "Deeds." (based on the Book of Common Prayer general confession)

Give Up A Bad Habit

Pick something hard, but doable. Some guys are giving up porn, alcohol, masturbation, sex, weed, etc... (things that should be given up regardless, but hopefully Lent will be a catalyst to developing some healthier habits following these 40 days.)

Giving Up A Comfort

Some guys are giving up things that aren't necessarily "bad," but things they consistently run to for pleasure instead of God. Ex: desserts, fast-food, soda, Netflix, iPhone games, video games, Snapchat, hitting the snooze button, etc.. I also saw that someone was only wearing 1 pair of shoes for all of Lent in order to remember how wealthy they are and how a majority of the world doesn't have "shoe options."

Taking On A New Habit Replacing An Old One

Instead of watching Netflix or checking social media sites before bed, reading a chapter of the Bible on the YouVersion app on their phone. Memorizing a verse of scripture each week. Calling people instead of texting them. Lent just a behavior modification program? 

Not at all, but it is still important to modify behavior because behavior often influences belief. By choosing to purposefully give up a comfort or habit of pleasure, we take our eyes off of ourselves, our needs and our wants. Before we can fix our eyes on Jesus, we must stop being so preoccupied with the idol of our own flesh.

" an intentional season...where we’re challenged to arrange our lives in such a way as to be daily frustrated. As people addicted to comfort and convenience, we’re often unaware of how we live to feel good about ourselves, to gain a bit of affirmation, to exert influence, to maximize our own pleasure, to satisfy our immediate needs. 

Lent invites us to intentionally frustrate ourselves, to engage in a season of deprivation, which actually makes us more aware of the depth of our dependence on any number of things – a substance, our reputation, control, achievement, being right, being comfortable, being secure.

Lent is not about going off chocolate or caffeine or alcohol. It’s about frustrating what Thomas Merton calls our 'false self'....Lent strips us of everything that is not us. In that sense, Lent is not a chore. It is an opportunity for profound grace by a God who longs to love us at our core, not in our false projected self which desire influence and accolades, but in our truest, most humble and dependent self, once lost but now found in the wilderness of Lent.

Helpful Resources for Lent
Many of you have read Jim Branch's "Blue Book devotional. Jim has just released a new book specifically for the season of Lent. Get it here on Amazon.
Justin wrote a series of discipleship posts in the fall. In his brand new book he has partnered with visual artist Scott Erickson to combine fresh language and imagery for the practice of prayer. They wrote and designed the book to be a resource for people who want to reimagine and strengthen their spiritual practice.

Ty Saltzgiver's "40 Days of Lent"
Many of you have read Ty's book, "My First 30 Quiet Times." "40 Days of Lent" is the same small size that fits in many Bibles, easy to read in the daily format, and a helpful tool to hand to your Campaigners group. You can get it here for only $1.99 in hard copy or as an e-book.

Henri Nouwen's "Show Me The Way"
Henri Nouwen is one of my favorite authors. You could really pick up any of his books to help prepare you for Easter during the Lenten season, but "Show Me The Way" is specifically designed for that purpose. If you haven't read Nouwen yet, be prepared to encounter Jesus in a fresh way.

Monday, February 12, 2018


Thanks to Stephanie Hoke for sending this one in!

Many of your middle, high school, and college friends are already playing the HQ Trivia game on their mobile devices, why not turn it into a mixer at club?

Download Slides

Materials Needed

  • Keynote presentation with videos and sound
  • 3 hula hoops in different parts of the room 
  • Potential skit characters: Up and coming trivia hosts 
How To Play

  • A host reads the questions out loud and designates each hula hoop to represent answer A, B, and C. 
  • Once the question is read, contestants have 5 seconds to run and touch the hula hoop they think is the correct answer.
  • If they are at the wrong hula hoop or didn't get there in time, they are out. 
  • Last person remaining wins!

Friday, February 9, 2018

The Selfie Picture Game (Download the App)

Written by Coby Velez, Area Director in Ingram, TX.

In Young Life, we love playing games that show kids how much fun getting in a group and doing something as pointless as taking a selfie next to a red truck can be! We play Couch-a-rama, Instagram or selfie scavenger hunt with the sole purpose of getting kids in to a team and bringing down walls through a competitive and memorable experience. 

A donor of Young Life has seen this and decided to join in on the fun and give us an app that makes having a selfie scavenger hunt with kids, easier than ever!

Yee. The Selfie Picture Game is a free app that allows you to join with other teams and play a game of selfie scavenger hunt while it keeps and notifies you of the score, generates new things to take pictures with, and tells you when the game starts and ends.


When your competitors accept the challenge to play a game of Yee, Yee will send you a list of objects randomly and your team has to be the first to take selfies of you and your team with the objects to win. Along the way, it will alert you of when your opponent takes a picture and how many pictures they have to take in order to win. Once a team takes all the pictures necessary, every team is alerted of their victory and shown the pictures that were taken.

  1. Create A Game
  2. Invite Your Team Captains To Play
  3. Wait In The Waiting Room For All Team Captains To Join
  4. Yee Will Automatically Start When All Team Captains Join
  5. Take Pics With The Objects (Both Teams Get The Same Items In Different Order)
First team to take a picture with all the objects in the list first, wins!

Fair warning though, after playing this game with my club for the first time, it has been requested nonstop since. So be prepared to play multiple games, especially if you lose the first couple!

Click on the links below to download the game and leave a review or let us know what you think! 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Love Club/Valentine's Day Club Ideas

Below are a few different directions you can go if you're planning a Valentine's-themed club.

Call It... 
  • Love Club
  • Battle of the Sexes Club
  • Ms. Valentine's Pageant
  • Dating Game Club
  • Red Club

Battle of the Sexes
One year we did Battle of the Sexes Club on Valentine's day and it was a big success. Gals wore pink. Guys wore blue. They entered through different tunnels. We had contests singing love songs the loudest. We did the giant pyramid mixer.  We played Battle of the Sexes trivia and a few other fun games. Get all of the Battle of the Sexes Club Ideas here. 

Ms. Valentine's Pageant
This club is very similar to the Mr. Christmas Tree Pageant done with the guys in December. Get ideas here

Anti-Valentine's Day Club
I've actually never done this club but I've heard a few folks say that it's gone well for them. If you have ideas, send them in here and I'll add them to this post. 

Dating Game Club/The Blind Bachelor
Have "Antonio Amore" host your evening. He enters to the song “That’s Amore” and is dressed in a suit with red hearts pinned all over him, a mullet wig, mustache, top hat, anything over the top. He has a French accent and repeatedly says: 

“I do not push, I do not shove, I am as sweet (sweet is said in a high pitched voice) as a turtle dove, I get my looks from the man above, my name’s Amore, my name means love.

In the past, we've borrowed a male and female senior leader from our rival high school and had them serve as our guest "bachelor" and "bachelorette" for the night. The "bachelor" went first and entered blindfolded while the bachelorette was hidden in another room. 4 girls (one from each grade) competed to win the date with the bachelor. The bachelor asked the girls a series of questions like these:
  • If you were a candy, what would you be and why?
  • Describe your perfect date? What would we do?
  • What are you looking for in a future spouse?
  • If you were to write me a poem, what would it say?
Ex: "Contestant #1, if you could change anything about the world, what would it be?"

After a series of questions, the bachelor makes his decision and writes it (still blindfolded) on a piece of paper placed in a sealed envelope and handed to Antonio Amore. The female contestants all wait in suspense while the Bachelorette enters along with the 4 male contestants, one from each class.

I like to prep the freshmen guy ahead of time with good answers so he's the hero. It's funny when the senior girl wins a date with the freshmen guy.

After the bachelorette makes her decision, Antonio announces both winners. The music plays, rose pedals are thrown down, and the blindfolds are removed. The two winning couples are escorted to the door where the limo awaits! (See if you can get an area limo service to donate or give discounted service. Typically a Monday night isn't too busy for them!)

In the limo, the couples are joined by Antonio and another friend of YL who is the videographer for the evening. The two couples leave club before the talk and head to a local dive like What-A-Burger or Sonic. Have silverware, flowers, placemats, etc... Antonio helps the date along prompting conversation with pre-planned questions and instructions like "feed your date a bite of that milkshake with your left hand.'

Show the video at club the following week!

The Talk
I recommend using Love Club to address sex & dating. I know it's not in our typical YL talk progression, but its something teenagers are dealing with daily and we owe them the truth.

In the past I've done a light-hearted talk, explaining the difference between lust and love. It's important to help our high school friends understand that we desire more than just what our hormones tell us we want. We long for intimacy, way more than just physical affection. We long to be completely known and yet completely loved- accepted and unashamed, without fear of rejection.

Gen 1:27, 2:18-25, and 1 Corin. 6:16-19 (from the Message).

Quotes I Like To Use When Speaking About Sex & Dating

-Purity paves the way to intimacy. (Andy Stanley)
-They don't make condoms for your heart. 
-You don’t have to shop at Victoria Secret and do poll-dances to be a desired woman. (Ken Tankersly)
-I'm no sexpert, but... (Can't remember who I stole that from.)
-God loves sex, He's the inventor of sex. Do you think Adam & Eve were just walking along and bumped into one another? (Mike Ashburn, maybe only Ash can pull that off.)

If you have any other ideas to add, please comment below, or email me here.