September 2019 Global Innovation

Did you know?

  • The hardest question for a military teen is “where are you from?”

  • 1 of 5 Military teens has made a plan to end their own life (USC survey)

  • Military teens move 10 times more often than civilian families -  on average every 2-3 years. every 18- to 30-months, and start all over again…

  • Since 2001, more than 2 million American children have had a parent deployed at least once.

  • More than 900,000 children have experienced the deployment of one or both parents multiple times.

  • Young Life has focused on military teens since 1959


Young Life has been working to reach military teens since 1959 when Jim Rayburn identified the teen-aged children of U.S. Military Families stationed in Europe as a unique demographic that Young Life needed to reach, reporting to the YL Board of Trustees that, “…these kids are stranded. If we don’t go after them, no one will.”

Since Sept. 11, 2001, the U.S. Military has endured the longest period of sustained armed conflict in the history of our nation, according to the Department of Defense. The current generation of teenagers has known only a post-9/11 world, which has been characterized by the frequent extended deployments of their military parents. 

As the “Did you know?” opening statements share, military teens face unique challenges, but the broadening experiences of military life and the military community values of resiliency, service, and sacrifice give these teens high potential to become leaders and world-changers. Helping these teens find faith can help them avoid the negative factors of their high-risk profile and can help them fulfill their full God-given potential.

Young Life Military is authorized to bring the Club Beyond ministry on-installation, “inside the gate,” at individual military installations around the world, and conducts ministry to military teens at these installations in close coordination with Military Chaplains and Installation Commanders.  Young Life Military has staff openings at installations in the United States and around the globe, and filling these openings to keep up with the military’s demand for Club Beyond ministry is YL Military’s #1 challenge. Perhaps you are hearing the “call of duty” to serve in ministry to military teens, or you know someone who is hearing that call. If so, please contact Phil Alfrey at

Please see this month’s survey question, which asks you about personal connections you may have to the Military.  We’d love to hear your story!

Written by Marty McCarty, VP YL Military (