Young Life

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Young Life
Young Life Logo.jpg
Motto"You were made for this."
"Life the way it was meant to be."
FormationOctober 16, 1941; 77 years ago (1941-10-16)
FounderJim Rayburn
HeadquartersColorado Springs, Colorado
  • Worldwide
Newton "Newt" Crenshaw

Young Life is a parachurch ministry that is based in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The organization was started in Dallas, Texas in 1941 by Presbyterian minister Jim Rayburn. Young Life operates globally as several different organizations with different focuses.


In 1939, Presbyterian minister Jim Rayburn started the Gainesville, Texas chapter of the Miracle Book Club for high school students. The book club became Young Life on October 16, 1941. The headquarters moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado in 1946.[1] Young Life volunteer leadership began in the 1940s at Wheaton College, Illinois. At the beginning of Young Life's ministry its focus was directed almost completely to suburban high school students. By the early 1950s, it had begun ministries in approximately 25 urban areas. Young Life now has over 700 ministries located in 324 cities, reporting about 18,000 members.[2]

Camps and clubs[edit]

Swimming campers at Young Life's Washington Family Ranch.

Young Life maintains summer camps in 17 American states[3] as well as camps in British Columbia, Canada, the Dominican Republic, The United Kingdom, Armenia, and France.[4][better source needed] These camps incorporate Christian messages presented in a camp setting along with typical camp activities.[5]

The largest of Young Life's camps is the Washington Family Ranch (and accompanying Big Muddy Ranch Airport) in Antelope, Oregon. The ranch was formerly the site of Rajneeshpuram, an intentional living community centered on the Rajneesh movement, which in September 1984 used it to carry out the largest terrorist bioweapons attack on US soil.[6][7]
Young Life also runs local Young Life clubs for high school students, held weekly and typically in homes, which include singing, skits, and where the Christian gospel is explained in short talks. There are around 700 Young Life Club chapters worldwide, and usually one Club is associated with one high school. Each club is composed of volunteers who contribute their time to mentor and assist high school students based on Christian values and principles[8]

Camp properties[edit]

The following is a list of properties operated by Young Life.[9]

Young Life International[edit]

Young Life began an international program in the 1940s focusing on teens living on military bases. Shortly after that, Young Life expanded from military bases to ministry with local adolescent kids. Young Life International reports divisions in more than 100 countries.[10]

Notable People[edit]


  1. ^ "Young Life History". Retrieved 21 October 2013.
  2. ^ "Young Life History". Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Find Young Life". Retrieved 2011-12-12.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Preusch, Matthew (2 December 2008). "Christian youth camp at ex-Rajneeshee commune gets $30 million gift". The Oregonian. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
  7. ^ "Once a cult compound, now world's biggest Young Life camp". East Oregonian. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
  8. ^ "Younglife Leaders". Retrieved 2018-02-18.
  9. ^ "Contact a Camp". Young Life. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  10. ^ "Young Life International". Retrieved 2016-11-02.
  11. ^ "J.D. Gibbs, a Young Life story". Retrieved 2019-02-21. External link in |website= (help)
  12. ^ "Seahawk Clint Gresham, 'I play football to glorify Jesus Christ'".
  13. ^ "New Artist, Brandon Heath". Hope Today Magazine. Archived from the original on September 5, 2008. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  14. ^ "We Were Made For This". Archived from the original on February 8, 2013. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  15. ^ "Cheering on Aaron". Retrieved 2019-02-21. External link in |website= (help)
  16. ^ "Jordy Nelson and Young Life". Retrieved 2019-02-21. External link in |website= (help)

Further reading[edit]

  • Cailliet, Emile; Young Life (1963)
  • Meridith, Char; It's a Sin to Bore a Kid: The Story of Young Life (1977) ISBN 0-8499-0043-3
  • Miller, John; Back to the Basics about the early years of Young Life including a lot of Rayburn's life.
  • Rayburn, Jim III; From Bondage To Liberty – Dance, Children, Dance a biography by his son (2000) ISBN 0-9673897-4-7
  • Rayburn, Jim: The Diaries of Jim Rayburn (2008, Morningstar Press and Whitecaps Media) Rayburn's personal journals, edited and annotated by Kit Sublett ISBN 978-0-9758577-7-9

External links[edit]