All that I have ever known is
the life of a Young Life staff kid.
On August 19th, 1969, my Dad walked out of club and surrendered his life to Christ under a starry Colorado sky. Thus began his love affair with Christ and his relationship with Young Life. Twenty-one years later, to the day, I was born. Today, my father still walks with the Lord…and still loves Young Life.
My childhood was unique. I spent a month of every summer at a Young Life camp, playing Frisbee golf and listening to my Dad speak at club every night. During the school year, I would sit in on leaders’ meetings, play basketball in our driveway with campaigner kids, and show off my “stupid human tricks” each year at All Area Club. I felt like a hero.
Because my parents stayed in the same community for several decades, I was surrounded by a closely knit Young Life family throughout my childhood. To call this a blessing is an understatement.
Along with the unique blessings came unique challenges. When your parents care so well for so many people, it is natural to feel overlooked on occasion. And when you grow accustomed to people treating you special because of your last name, it can be difficult to shape an identity around your first name. A community of love and attention can sometimes feel like a boiling pot of expectation and pressure. What starts as a crutch can turn into a handicap.
Some of you out there are familiar with these thoughts, because you also were raised as Young Life staff kids. Whoever you are out there, I want to hear from you! I am compiling a book of childhood reflections from grown up staff kids. You can read more about the vision at www.YLstaffkids.com.
I am passionate about this project, because I believe this book has the potential to bless Young Life families for years to come. Young Life staff parents need help raising kids in such a unique environment. Adolescent staff kids need to hear from someone who has walked in their shoes.
You can help me make this vision a reality. Please pass along word of this project to any staff kid that you know, and encourage them to participate.
Below are a few soundbites taken from some of the responses that have already been received. You can read more responses here.
We were marinated in the Gospel. My fondest memories of my childhood are ones when I was sitting in the back of our basement family room, watching club, listening to my dad paint the picture of Jesus Christ.
I deeply respected both my parents and they did ministry together. My Dad remains my hero in the faith even though he's no longer alive. My Dad always took time to take me out to dinner alone.
It was often times hard, as someone who is a quality time person, to have my dad run out the door as I was getting home from school to go do contact work or to a leaders meeting or club or meet a donor.
Contact Curtis at CurtisChesney@gmail.com
Feel free to comment below with any insight you have into life as a staff kid and visit the website to submit your responses for the soon to be published book. www.YLstaffkids.com