Young Life club persists through COVID-19
THURS. | 05-06-21 | NEWS
Young Life is a non-profit Christian organization that has worked with Rose students for 30 years. It is open to local middle school, high school and college students in Pitt County and its surrounding areas. The organization operates by having a group of leaders go and meet students through the school and invite them to participate in activities and events such as Young Life “club.”
“We call it a party with a purpose,” Young Life leader Hannah McWilliams said. “We play games and sing songs to break down walls and get kids excited, then at the very end we have a Young Life talk and that’s when we talk about [our faith].”
Young Life also offers a smaller activity called “Campaigners” which is similar to a Bible study. Through Campaigners, students are able to open up and talk, read the Bible and ask questions within their group.
A larger event that Young Life offers to students is fall and summer camp. Fall camp lasts for a weekend and summer camp lasts for a week. Because of COVID-19, Young Life had to cancel fall camp this year, and it was not the
Photo contributed by Hannah Smith
“This whole year we haven’t been able to have clubs because we had to follow the state guidelines,” McWilliams said. “We also weren’t able to go to the school during lunches because Rose was [hybrid] for more than half of the year,” McWilliams said.
Young Life leaders have tried their best to continue meeting with students through doing regular activities as safely as possible with COVID-19 restrictions set in place. Leaders made sure to practice social distancing and only met with what the current allowed amount of people in a room was at the time.
“Young Life is all about relationships and being with people so COVID really put a wrench in what we’re doing,” Young Life Area Director and Leader Austin Robertshaw said. “It’s a relational ministry; we’re all about people coming together.”
In order to keep the number of students attending the meetings smaller, leaders would host their own “hang outs” with Rose students once a week in place of club. These meetings would vary from one on one time with a student and a leader, to a small group of students meeting with their leader and having Campaigners.
“That was kind of cool because we all got to grow so much closer with the kids we already knew,” McWilliams said. “But it was harder to meet new students without being able to go into schools.”
Now that vaccines are being distributed and statewide protocols are loosening up, Young Life leaders are excited to announce that summer camp for 2021 is planned to take place. The spots are more limited than they typically would be for students to sign up due to social distancing procedures.
“It’s such a cool way for kids to meet other people and get connected in the community,” McWilliams said. “I think it’s really awesome to be able to build that community with each other as well as being able to have a relationship with a leader who is there for you guys specifically.”
Even through COVID-19, Young Life leaders have been able to continue spreading their message through their peers.
“It’s been a great year to empower students to be missionaries in their school and be able to share Jesus with their friends even when we can’t be together or among the students,” Robertshaw said.
McWilliams and Robertshaw both strongly encourage Rose students to get involved with Young Life and sign up for summer camp 2021.