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Young Life in 30 Seconds

You will be asked so often, “What is Young Life“?  This brief video below will give you an overview and the Young Life in 30 Seconds document will help you answer that question!


This is a key document! We recommend that you download and print this document and have it somewhere that you view it often. You’ll also notice that it’s in the Young Life Essentials toolbar on the right-hand side of the page.

Download – Young Life in 30 Seconds

Neighbourhood and School Research

Neighbourhood and School Research

1. Get to know the school and community in which you will work.

  • Size of school.
  • Intensity of school spirit.
  • Economic, social and racial strata within the school.
  • See who the school leaders are. Read the school paper or yearbook, and be sensitive to changing or new areas – positive or negative ‑where leaders are involved.

2. Learn as many names as possible. Keep a list.

  • Follow the athletic programs in the local papers.
  • Cheek to see who on the faculty might be sympathetic to Young Life.
  • Learn any special ground rules for visitors on the campus.
  • Get the school calendar of events and activities.
  • Find out what other clubs are operating, especially other Christian organisations like Scripture Union and Youth Dimensions. Meet
  • with them to determine if there is a need for Young Life as an additional ministry.
  • Be aware of any local high school customs or local slang words and their meanings.
  • Invite local congregations and individual Christian people to begin praying for specific students. And by all means, have your own prayer strategy!

3. Public relations contacts.

  • Make sure local law enforcement agencies know of your work (local Police).
  • Call on school administrators with staff and local committee members or adult friends. Be positive and open to them. We are there to give information, not to seek their endorsement. Answer their questions concerning purpose, support, endorsement, church relations, program, and personnel.
  • Find out what other agencies and churches in the community are at work with young people. Get to know and pray with the leadership of these groups if possible.
  • Carefully plan to meet the parents of the students whose friendship you make in the early stages of club development, explaining the program and answering questions. Also, check out your own attitudes toward parents. Are these open? Respectful?
  • By showing them the proper respect, seek to get to know school officials, coaches and sponsors as friends so they understand why you are frequently there.

Guiding Thoughts

1. Keep clearly in mind that our goal is that every young person should have the opportunity to see and hear of God’s love for him/her in Christ through what we do and say.

2. We must be aware of influential teens within different groupings. If we touch these students, we may have the potential of touching others. If we ignore them, we may automatically ignore many who would have been influenced by them.

The key teen concept was based on a sound theological principle. It also has been the target of much criticism over the years. Our call first and foremost is to every young person and we must use whatever strategy possible to reach every teen for Christ. In some schools, the teens who traditionally would have been Young Life key teens are actually the objects of ridicule and scorn. We should love teens unconditionally and offer Christ to all.

3. Most important of all, we must seek to be led of the Holy Spirit. The Lord will often lead us to people who do not seem to be key teens. Many times these will turn out to be the real disciples.

4. You are representing Christ before teens; therefore, it is essential that you are not always with the socially “in” crowd. To spend quality time with all sorts of young people and groups is good. This example is worth a thousand words at club. Your treatment of the “least of these” will prove who you really are.

5. Adult volunteers who come to club but do not do contact work are not Young Life leaders. They might be “club specialists,” but the required behaviour to be a Young Life leader is contact work.

Download – The Signature of Young Life

A Checklist for Running a Local Camp

Although Summer Camp is often seen and spoken about as the pinnacle of the Young Life calendar, each area should be attending or running 3 – 4 local camps / year.

The camps could be run with other nearby areas, they could be run with multiple clubs from your town or city, or they could be aimed at a few key teens you’re working work.

Examples include running a Wyld Life Camp, or a Discipleship Camp, hiring a couple of cabins near a lake, taking tents and setting them up and going hiking for the weekend, doing a canoe trip … the list is endless! 


Why local camping?

  • Helps growth of relationships with the teens you’re working with
  • Novel environment and experiences strengthen relationships and understanding
  • Another avenue for discipleship without the many of the worlds distractions.
  • You can target a certain group of teens you’re working with.
  • You can target a certain need.
  • You can build closer community with teens / leaders in your club or area.
  • Costs can be greatly reduced

What are things you need to think about before you run a local camp?

Who?Who is your target group?
Why?What do you want to achieve with the group?
What?What kind of activity are you going to use?
Day trip? Camping? Activity based? Discipleship or Evangelistic?
When?When is it happening?
Where?Where is the best place to achieve your goals?
Cost?
Size?
Transportation Needs?
Distance for time
How much?What are all the costs involved in doing the camp (accommodation, transport, food, activities, programme, equipment)?
What is my price range?
Other Factors to ConsiderHow are you going to publicise the camp?
Who is going to do program? No need to go big and flash (a simple programme doesn’t mean we skimp on doing everything we do with excellence), unless you want to, what type of program is going to meet your goals for the camp? The value is in spending time with the kids.
What equipment do you need and where are you going to get it? Plan your programme and go through it step by step so you know you have everything you need-don’t get yourself in the position of having to find things for a game after you are at camp
Who are the leaders who are committed to going? Give them jobs to do and they will be there. Delegate jobs in the planning and at camp so people are engaged in the process, more ownership of the camp if they have contributed and are contributing (they feel more needed because they are needed).
Transportation? What transport do you need? Whose cars are going? Who are the drivers? Do they know where they are going? Maps? Do they know what staying together means? Do they know what responsible driving means?
Have you done a risk assessment of the camp?
Are you equipped to do the type of camp you are planning? Don’t do something you are not equipped to do (difference between stepping out of your comfort zone and doing what you are not equipped to do) example: White water canoeing, canyoning, caving, etc… with no qualifications.
Who is going to do the catering? What is needed to make it happen? Who is cooking? Who is buying? etc…
Who is qualified to do first aid? Do you have an equipped first aid kit? Who is bringing it?
Do you need a Work Crew? Who is recruiting the Work Crew? Who will train them? Who will be the bosses?
Have you had everyone fill out a Young Life Indemnity form?

Downloads to help you plan:

Local Camp Planner


Download – Local Camp Checklist

Camp Sell Calendar

Below is a snapshot of a year and the things you can be thinking about each month to get as many young people as possible to Summer Camp.

Camp Sell Calendar Download – Camp Sell Calendar

The Six C’s of Young Life

Before you begin to look at what we do, have a listen to these young people share about the way their Young Life leaders have impacted their lives.

Club Resources

We hope you find these resources useful.

Once you have completed the YL 101 course, you’ll have access to it as well in the Lesson: Resources.

Please note that these resources are Copyright to Young Life Australia; this means that you can use them for your use as a Young Life leader, but they can not be distributed to other youth or church organisations without first seeking approval from the National Office.

Download – Young Life Club Talks & Campaigner Lessons


Download – Young Life Club Talks

Download – Club Games Resource


All our young people attending club should be registered on Care Monkey, which your Area Manager will allocate access for.  If  a child attending is unable to complete a Care Monkey profile, one of these forms must be completed by their parents / guardians. Your local Area Manager will collect the completed forms.

Download – Club Consent Form

Who’s Who on Camp?

The roles below are predominately seen on Summer Camp, however when you are running local camps or regional camps, the different roles may also be utilised.  This document will be really helpful for you to come back to in the lead up to Summer Camp if you are not familiar in the way that camp runs, as the roles are referred to often.

Just a note – when you sign up for Summer Camp, you will be assigned one role.  Please keep this in mind as well when you are recruiting other volunteers for camp.


Before any volunteer attends camp, they must complete camp training, which can be found here on the YL Hub.  You can click on any of the buttons below to be taken to the training for the different roles.  You can complete the training at any time.

Cabin Leader Training


Summer Staff Training

Work Crew Training


Camp Roles

Camp Director: The Camp director oversees the whole camp and is responsible for the smooth running of camp. The camp director ensures that all the elements of camp are working together.

Program Directors: Responsible for the total camp program. The P.D.’s run the social interaction and fun part of the program etc . At all times however this should enhance the spiritual impact of the camp allowing quality times of interaction between cabin leaders and young people. The program director should be a facilitator of fun and not the centre of camper’s attention.

Head Cabin Leaders: This is a male and female role and entails the task of encouraging and uplifting the group leaders in their task of being with the campers and facilitating cabins leaders to succeed during the camp week.

Cabin Leaders: The cabin leader’s role in camp as far as the campers are concerned is a most significant role. They are the closest person to the kids. They eat, sleep, and play with them and model Jesus Christ to campers.

Camp Speaker: The person who has the tremendous opportunity to direct kids’ thoughts to their relationship to God. The presentation should be enjoyable, reasonable in length and most importantly, clear in understanding. The messages should be a springboard for leader/camper discussion and it is often helpful for the speaker to pose questions to be discussed in the cabin time.

Work Crew Boss: Oversees and has authority over the work crew team. The role also enables the “boss” to have a ministry to the work crew kids themselves in the serving capacity that this function entails.

Work Crew: The work crew serves the needs of campers from unpacking buses, serving meals and cleaning toilets. They are the engine room of camp.

Summer Staff Coordinator: Coordinates all Summer Staff positions on camp to assure the smooth running of all the extra activities. The coordinator plays a pastoral role with the Summer Staff.

Summer Staff: Summer Staff are responsible for the extra activities and may also serve in a supervisory role with Work Crew working in their areas of expertise. They often have jobs which include responsibility for camper safety such as abseiling, water sports, etc ….

Cooks: The all important task of preparing and presenting meals that kids will eat and enjoy. They have the task of obtaining the food required, keeping a list for future reference of food used and the cost.

Adult Guest Hosts: The Adult Guest hosts act as cabin leaders to any adult guests on camp. They ensure that the adult guests are having a great time and are getting involved in as many activities as possible.

Adult Guests: The Adult Guest program is used by areas to involve adults from the community in a Young Life camping experience. The adult guests may be people interested in supporting Young Life or who the staff would like to get interested in supporting Young Life, parents of kids in club, church members who want to know more about Young Life.

Download – Camp Roles

Responding to Crisis: Knowing Where to Get Help / Refer to Support Services

By Glyn Henman

Working with people is always a messy business because we are people, and young people are no different and that is what makes Young Life both fun and challenging. In recognising this, we need to understand that we are not in a position to provide suitable care for every possible situation that we encounter.

As a result, we need to be aware of our limitations in the service that we provide young people. We are not health care professionals, we are not mental health professionals, and we are not professional counsellors or family therapists. We are concerned adults who believe that all young people need to be introduced to Jesus by someone they know and trust.


When do things get beyond the service that Young Life provides?

Situations that often go beyond the realm of Young Life’s expertise are: drug addiction, eating disorders, sexual abuse, sexually transmitted disease, pregnancy, criminal activity, depression, suicide, homelessness etc… All of these plus many other issues may fall outside the skill level and capacity of individual leaders and Area Directors. At that point, you need to know what to do and where to turn for help.

What do I do when the issue is bigger than I can handle?

  1. Tell the young person you are working with that you will need to get outside advice on what to do next. This builds trust with the young person.
  2. Go and speak with your Senior Leader or Area Director. They often have had more experience and will know if outside help is required.
  3. Develop an action plan with your Senior Leader or Area Director and share that plan with the young person you are working with. Depending on the issue, you may need to include parents in the action plan.
  4. Action the plan together and involve the suitable external services as required.

Note: Young Life Australia Policy states it is mandatory to report all cases of sexual or physical abuse against a young person. Failure to report in some states and territories is a criminal offence. If you sense that a young person is about to disclose this type of information, you need to inform them of your responsibilities before they disclosure.


What services should I seek out?

  1. Local GP: Establish a relationship with a trusted GP in your community. This relationship will pay huge dividends on physical health issues in general and may be a first point of call for mental health issues etc.
  2. Community and Family Services: This office will be able to provide correct procedures and responsibilities for reporting abuse of young people in your state or territory. The how, when and why will be covered. Each state and territory will need to be acquainted with local laws.
  3. Police: Often they have a Youth Liaison Officer who deals with youth and community issues dealing with young people.
  4. Accommodation: Research any crisis, medium or long-term accommodation facilities in your community for young people who find themselves homeless.
  5. Professional Counsellors: Research any youth and family counsellors operating in your community.
  6. Local Council: They often have a youth interagency meeting once a month, where all the local youth agencies meet together to share information. Many also have a community grants program to help support local work.
  7. Phone Help Lines: These are not only useful for young people, but can be great resource for you in your leadership. There are some of these numbers listed on the web page. www.younglife.org.au and click on resources.
  8. School: The school you are working in may already have many of these relationships established so that may be a good place to start. If they do not have this established, it may be a great way to serve the school by compiling this information.
  9. Church: Some local churches have set up community support programs that you can tap in too. They may also have suitable professionals in their congregation who may become an invaluable resource for specific areas of training for you and your area.
Download – Responding to Crisis

A Prayer Strategy for Club

Adapted from an article written by Kit Sublet

“Prayer is surely one of the most spoken about and written about subjects in Christianity. Unfortunately, it is not the most acted upon subject in all Christian­ity. We constantly emphasize the impor­tance of prayer but seldom heed our own words. The quality of the staff (volunteer) reflects the quality of the individual’s time in his/her closet with the Saviour” From Back to the Basics by John Miller

I am sure all of us pray for our Young Life club. Without prayer, club is no more than an entertaining evening with some friends (if it is even that), and you are no more than a neat guy or gal who has an attractive personality. The power of prayer cannot be overstated. It powers our lives and empowers our ministry. When we are prayed up, we are instru­ments of the Holy Spirit finely sharpened and ready for spiritual warfare.

We all have a picture in our mind of what great Young Life ministry is sup­posed to look like ‑ energetic singing, amusing skits, winsome club talks and, of course, lots of contact work. It is possible, however, for all of these things to be tak­ing place ineffectively, because it lacks the power of having even one person pouring his or her heart out to Christ, asking for the salvation of the kids that are involved. Andrew Murray says, “God seeks intercessors. God has need of inter­cessors. God wonders at the lack of inter­cessors. Rest not till God see that you are one.”

What I am trying to say here is that we must be sure that prayer is every bit as much a priority as the rest of the pro­gram. Young Life has become so pro­gram-oriented and so specialized that we have a tremendous amount of gifted peo­ple. It is possible, and likely, to pull off what would technically be described as good ministry without ever praying. Something that has the appearance of godliness, but lacks the power.

So, what is the importance of prayer?

Prayer ‑ secret, fervent, believing prayer ‑ lies at the root of all personal godliness.” (William, Carey)

It is the key ingredient to the recipe for a successful ministry.

Has anything new been said about prayer? Of course not! However, is it pos­sible to begin new prayer practices that will empower our ministry and help pro­duce eternal fruit for the kingdom? Yes, definitely. But, like everything in Young Life, we need a plan. We plan certain talks for certain times of the year; we plan our music to bring kids out of their shell and enhance the message; we plan skits to show that Christianity can be fun; and we even have three levels of contact work. Doesn’t it make sense then, that if prayer is the most important ele­ment of our ministry, it should have a plan as well?


Following are some possible plans and strategies you might be led to try:

  • Pray for a manageable number.  Whether this means separating the names on your club list throughout the week or throughout the leadership team ‑ keep it reasonable and specif­ic.
  • Pray them through these basic lists:
    1. Kids you don’t know: Start with a list of kids you would like to meet. Pray. Hopefully, they do not stay on this list too long.
    2. Kids you’ve met: Pray for an oppor­tunity to get together.
    3. Kids you spend time with: Pray that the conversations will eventually reach beyond the surface level of getting ‑to know one another.
    4. Intimate relationships: Pray for an opportunity to share your life with them.
    5. Meeting Christ: Pray for them to give their lives to Christ.
  • Assemble a group of committed mums and dads who are sold out to the idea of praying daily for a list of kids that you give them, and to meeting once a week together for prayer. (Preferably during the hour your club is meeting.)
  • Keep a prayer notebook.
    1. Don’t casually promise to pray for someone or something. Make a seri­ous commitment and record the requests and results.
    2. The blessing in prayer is to be able to look back and recognize how God chose to answer the requests.
  • Have a prayer partner. Meet weekly with another person to pray solely for the team and for kids. The partnership will keep you accountable and comes with a promise, “for where two or three have gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst,” Matthew 18:20.
  • Keep kids’ names in front of you: on bookmarks, on the back of the visor in your car, on the refrigerator. Create constant reminders to be an intercessor.
  • Don’t forget to pray during club and have others pray on the night at home.

Remember, your prayer strategy need not consist of all, or even any, of these suggestions, but you need a systematic plan by which you lift up the individuals which God has placed in your care.

Download – A Prayer Strategy for Club

Why Go Camping?

Watch the clip below.  Alex served on the Young Life Staff and as a volunteer in Bathurst; Dylan is one of the young people we had the honour of walking with during his high school years.  The clip is based upon a discussion between Alex and Dylan; it shows Dylan’s experiences and highlights with us, and shows the importance of taking young people on camping and shared experiences.


Why Get Kids to Camp?? – by Alex Cuttiford

I asked Dylan to think about his last 3 years with Young Life and to write down his top 10 experiences. What he wrote revealed to me the fruit of the process Young Life has.

Dylan’s Number 1 experience was when Mel demonstrated how to go to the toilet in the bush on Newnes camp 2013.  Why? because it was hilarious!

His Number 2 experience was P’ish having to come get Dale out of bed every morning on Summer Camp 2015.  Why? because he used a different instrument each time.

Number 3 – when Bon Jovi “Living on a Prayer” was played at summer camp 2015 and everyone sang along.

Number 4 –  picking John up in his swag at the Lake Lyell Ski Trip 2015 and dropping him on top of P’ish. Why? to start a prank war with John.

Number 5 –  the first time I came to club and met Alex, Heather, Josh, Lloyd, John, Rachel, Christie, Adrian, Eric, Sam and Tal. Why? because the relationships I have with the people mentioned above have been amazing even if some haven’t been for long.

Number 6 – having wrestling match with Tim C. at Newnes 2014 because it went for ages and I almost won.

Number 7 – fire breathing by the 2 Tim’s. Why? it’s not every day you get to see people do that.

Number 8 –  the amazon game at Summer Camp 2015 when the girl’s had to try and break the grip of the guy’s. Why? the team work of the guys was amazing until P’ish and Adrian came and pulled us apart.

Number 9 – me, Tal and Ty water skiing at Summer Camp 2014 on the back of the V8 boat and getting thrown 20m at near full speed.

Number 10 –  the leaders especially Alex, Pish, John and Heather because there always there when you need them, helping with things like education, lift’s, becoming a better person, leading me towards Jesus and helping me understand the Bible.

Number 11 – being baptised

Dylan has just mentioned 16 different people in 11 experiences, 9 out of 11 experiences happened on a camp, the other 2 where about the relationships he had with leaders and the support they gave him.

Why do we go camping? Because Young Life is a relational ministry and camping is the door we walk kids through to offer it.