Global Volunteers August 2019



In all of my Young Life experiences, the deepest relationships with students came from taking them to camp and coming back home with them to live life together. While we call this outreach camping, there are just as many discipleship experiences where kids build a community of unlikely friends, living and sharing life with each other. 

So how, after all these years of life-changing, community-building, discipleship-shaping experiences, did I miss the goldmine that had been directly in front of me for the same amount of years? 

What goldmine? The Summer Staff Experience. I am embarrassed to say that I did not prioritize this in any of my Young Life positions—until now.

Some of my favorite moments of Jesus’ life are when he was walking, eating, and sitting by the fire with his disciples. They talked honestly about life, unpacked the day’s events, and shared important yet uncomfortable feelings. It’s where they worked on being human. Irenaus, an early church father, said, “the glory of God is a human being fully alive.” This is where the glory happens, where we come alive: in real, authentic, life-giving community.

All this happens on a Summer Staff assignment—hard work, service, challenges of jobs, living in community, processing uncomfortable feelings in a safe space, daily learning more about Jesus—and it typically leads to one thing: transformation. If this is true, then let’s get to it! It is who we are, what we do, the second half of our mission statement, a pillar in YL FORWARD (Deeper). Besides, we have a Bible full of Jesus modeling shared experiences with people that he hoped would join him in shaping the world into his image for his Father’s glory.

Taking college students deeper into the heart of Jesus is a part of who we are, from YLC staff to AD’s in college towns. Let us not overlook the goldmine of Summer Staff while searching for a different speck of gold on the ground. These students are in front of us and so is this opportunity, right now!

Here are five practical ways for staff to strategize with their college students:

1. PRAY: Summer Staff can be a pivotal moment in a students life.  Ask the Lord to help you identify specific College Age students who are ready for the challenge of SS.

2. LIST: Start a list (now) of students you want to personally invite to do Summer Staff 

3. ANNOUNCE: Starting now!- Start announcements at Club, etc., about Summer Staff.  

4. INVITE:  Starting on or before October 1 - Start personal invitations. 

5. TRAIN:  Invest in students before, during, and after their SS Experience. Need a goal? If you train and place 5-10 students you would be in the top. 20% of staff in the US utilizing Summer Staff!!

The Young Life College Summer Staff Pilot has provided YL staff across the country like Brittany at Palm Beach Atlantic University an opportunity to bring students with them on assignments. Lily, a sophomore at PBAU, said it was an easy decision to serve on Summer Staff because her leader Brittany invited her and would be her SS Coordinator, and she’d spend a month in Colorado with several of her friends. “It was truly a life-changing experience that I couldn’t be more grateful for,” Lily said. “One of the coolest things about the experience is that I get to go home with five people who were at Crooked Creek with me experiencing this change and growth."

Let’s be a part of the 5000 legs that don’t stand still, inviting students into a transformational experience—and then celebrate their change at home with them.

Written by:  Kenny Nollan (