• 45°

Rowan County Young Life

By Kynsay Hunt, Salisbury Post Intern

Since 1941, the parachurch youth ministry Young Life has gone from a Texan organization to an unbounded, international movement. Encompassing several different ministries, from high school youth to children with disabilities, the organization invites kids from every imaginable background to learn about Christ in a non-judgemental environment.

Young Life was officially established in Rowan County in 2000, but its journey to reach Rowan County students started long before. In the 1980s, Salisbury residents Susan and Dem Ward became involved with Young Life. They recognized the need for such an organization and started a group to pray for Young Life’s establishment in Salisbury. Chris Fowler, the first Rowan area director, started Young Life at Salisbury High School, but by 2009, the organization had spread to almost all Rowan County schools, even branching to Gray Stone Day School and South Rowan High School by 2015.

Unlike most clubs, Young Life has no requirements; any student from any background with any beliefs is encouraged to come to meetings, also known as ‘clubs.’ Current Rowan area director Susan Nixon says that one of the ministry’s missions is to meet kids where they are. “Even if they have never heard of us, whether they would consider themselves religious or not, we interact with them in schools and invite them to club where they can have a good time with friends and learn more about what a relationship with God looks like for a teenager.”

Photo by Kynsay Hunt
Lindsay Spada enjoying the cool, early fall weather in Weaverville

Each year, anyone who wants can join Rowan County’s weekend retreat, called ‘Fall Weekend,’ into the Appalachian Mountains, where students spend 36 hours unplugged with friends, learning more about Jesus. For the past four years, the organization has taken kids to Windy Gap, a Young Life camp located in Weaverville, just outside Boone. Windy Gap, nestled in a mountain valley off the beaten path, provides a picturesque location and safe environment for students to explore and grow their faith in addition to fun activities, from a ropes course and waterslide to horseback riding.

In an increasingly digitized world, where most need some form of modern technology to do everyday jobs, the thought of an unplugged weekend seems more challenging than refreshing. However, Rowan County Young Life alumna Anna Lewis says that being away from her devices helped her connect with the people around her: “it allows you to really embrace every opportunity to connect to the people and environment right in front of you. You get to fully be in the moment, which is something I think us teenagers tend to miss out on these days.”

The organization also takes students on a week-long retreat during the summer of each year, almost as an extension of the Fall Weekend experience on a much larger scale. The location for 2019 was released to students before heading home from their Fall Weekend last week. In July 2019, Rowan County Young Life will travel to a camp in Upstate New York, located on Lake Saranac. Like Fall Weekend, students spend the week unplugged from their devices, experiencing nature, developing friendships, and learning more about the person of God.

Visit rowancounty.younglife.org for more information and to sign up for summer camp at Saranac Village.

Photo by Kynsay Hunt
Forging friendships at Windy Gap, a Young Life Camp

About Post Lifestyles

Visit us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SalPostLifestyle/ and Twitter @postlifestlyes for more content

email author More by Post

Comments

High School

North Rowan romps into second round of football playoffs

Nation/World

FBI had interviewed former FedEx employee who killed eight

Crime

Gastonia man sentenced for crash into restaurant that killed his daughter, daughter-in-law

Nation/World

Some call for charges after video of police shooting 13-year-old in Chicago

Business

State unemployment rate falls to 5.2% in March

Coronavirus

NASCAR approach to virus vaccine varies greatly

News

Judge rejects Cherokee challenge against new casino in Kings Mountain

Elections

Jackson tops NC Senate fundraising; Walker coffers also full

Local

Kiwanis Pankcake Festival serves thousands of flapjacks for charity

Coronavirus

Rowan remains in state’s middle, yellow tier for COVID-19 community spread

Crime

Blotter: Man faces sexual exploitation charge for images on Instagram

News

Defendant convicted in attempted murder case on the run after fleeing from trial

Business

Downtown Gateway Building to be renamed for late Paul Fisher

Coronavirus

Rowan County COVID-19 data for April 15

Local

Rep. Warren’s bill would prohibit parking in electric vehicle charging stations

Local

Historic Preservation Commission approves Integro Technologies expansion, Paint the Pavement project

Education

Faith Academy, RSS will negotiate over what goes, stays in elementary school

Crime

Teacher killed in Alamance County shootout with Mexican drug cartel

Coronavirus

Bill would give more tax breaks on COVID-19 loans

Nation/World

No response as divers knock on capsized ship’s hull

Local

Quotes of the week

Crime

Blotter: Man found on church property with litany of drugs

Crime

Man charged in connection to 2019 overdose death

Business

‘It’s our big time’: Salisbury Farmers Market reopens Saturday