Young Life starts school year back up with a bang

Elise Clary

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On Monday, September 23, Graham High students gathered at the Bluefield College annex for the first Young Life club of the school year. It started exactly at 7:37 p.m. with a classic game called “Baby, Bronco, Backpack.” Club is led by Jack and Erin Jennings, the Young Life leaders for the Bluefield area. They were assisted by the “campaigners,” who are high school students who have been going to Young Life for a while and love participating in introducing games and announcements. Young Life is a faith based organization that seeks to reach out to high schoolers across the world and create fun and life-changing memories.

Erin Jennings started leading Young Life in college and has been a leader for nine years and counting. “I thought it’d be cool to do what my leaders did to me for other people.” Her Young Life journey began her sophomore year of high school, “It radically changed my life when I understood that life was more important than myself.” Her goal for this year outside of building relationships with high school students is to develop more adult Young Life leaders in the community to partner with other leaders. After an “awesome” and successful first club, Erin Jennings is “hopeful for more people to come who have been hearing about club but were skeptical about coming.”

For first-time participants, Monday night was an exhilarating hour and a half. Caitlyn Martin (9) said, “I liked that it was more than just reading the bible verses and we had fun games.” She said her friends had been asking her to come, but she was already planning on going. Caitlyn hopes to to go to fall weekend camp. One of the new upperclassmen who attended, Matthew Sarver (11), was called up for a skit game and said, “I wasn’t expecting to have 12 suckers put in my mouth… it was fun.”

Cianna Carter (11) is a campaigner, and she spent her Monday night at Club with her friends, spreading positivity and encouraging the newcomers to let loose. She has been going to Young Life since her freshman year, “It has helped me build a relationship with God, become a better person and get more friends.” Her fondest memory from club was from her first year of Young Life, “I’ll never forget when Tanner Pensula was swinging Jordan around at club and she got injured.” Of course, she wasn’t terribly injured and it made for a memorable night.

There are high hopes for Graham Young Life program for the school year of 2019 and 2020. A new wave of seniors and incoming freshmen are being encouraged to come to club Monday nights at 7:37! As tradition entails, every club ends with a trip to McDonalds and a fun time to build memories.