Marquette, MI – 12/02/2019 – Katja Olari is a senior at Northern Michigan University, and also a leader of the Christian organization Young Life! This week, I interviewed Katja about questions I had about the organization. Katja became a leader in Young Life about a year ago when one her roommates got her involved. She decided to go through leader training, and has been in love with the organization ever since. See what she has to say about the group below!
What is Young Life?
Young Life is an Christian organization whose goal is to introduce kids to Jesus Christ and love them regardless of their response to that invitation. We meet kids on their own turf and reach out to those who wouldn’t normally come to a church or youth group. We understand that we need to earn the right to speak in a kid’s life, and focus on building relationships with those kids before we present the gospel of Jesus Christ to them.
Who can join?
Young Life is for high schoolers, and there are other branches of the ministry like Wyld Life which is for middle schoolers, Young Lives for teen moms, and Capernaum for friends with diverse abilities. So anyone can join, no church affiliation or background necessary! Right now, we have Club based out of Marquette Senior High School, but have recently added Gwinn and are working on adding other high schools to be able to meet kids on their own ground.
What are the meetings like?
Young Life Club is our weekly meeting, run by the leaders, who are all college students in Marquette. Sometimes, leaders will get food with the kids at a local fast food restaurant before the meeting, and then we meet up at the YMCA Youth Center. We play big group games, have skits with game-show style games, and end with a “club talk”, which is when one of the leaders shares a short story from the Bible that has to do with their own life and is relevant to high schoolers.
Why do you think it’s important to be a part of an organization like this?
I think it is incredibly important to be a part of Young Life because high schoolers need people around them who believe in them, are willing to invest in them, and want to show them the love of God in a way that they can understand. High schoolers are often stereotyped as dramatic, crazy, or simply difficult to deal with and because of that, don’t receive positive support and truth that they are loved, no matter what. So as a Young Life leader, I show up to sports games, plays, concerts, wherever the kids are, and build a relationship with them. I get to hear about the great things in their life and the really hard, overwhelming things and offer them not only my support, but the hope of the gospel and Jesus at the same time. Even if they choose not to go forward with any faith-related steps, we stay invested in their lives and continue to walk alongside them in their day-to-day life.
What is the goal of the group?
The goal is to introduce kids to Jesus Christ in a way that they can understand.
Are there any upcoming community events?
Not specifically, we have weekly Young Life club open to all, at 7:00PM, every Monday in the YMCA Youth Center of Marquette. We also have weekly Wyld Life club at 3:30 PM on Sundays in the Youth Center.
What events do you do throughout the year with the community?
Occasionally, we will have community dinners when we are planning a new outreach area. We also have New Leader Training each semester, for college students or young adults who are interested in becoming leaders. This fall, we were able to help with the YMCA Halloween event and give back to the community that has been really supportive of us!
What is camp like?
Camp is AWESOME! I haven’t been able to go with the kids myself, but I’ve been to a weekend camp for the leaders. From what I’ve heard, it’s a full week of fun and games, music and messages given by speakers, and lots of crazy fun, including random dance parties, relay races, go-karts, and more! Young Life as a nationwide organization has many camps, but we’ve gone to Timber Wolf Lake, in Lake City, Michigan.
Anything else you would like to add about the group?
If you know any high schoolers or middle schoolers, send them our way! We would love to get to know them and include them in the crazy goodness that is Young Life.
Katja did a great job explaining anything you might have been wondering about this awesome group! Her passion for this group really shows through her responses during this interview. If you would like more information about Young Life check out their website here!
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