Vail Valley Character: Scott Leonard |

Vail Valley Character: Scott Leonard

Taylor L. Roozen
Vail, CO Colorado
Dominique Taylor/Vail DailyStudent pastor Scott Leonard takes a view for the top Thursday at the Vail Academy in Eagle-Vail, Colorado

VAIL VALLEY, Colorado –Since starting the Young Life program in Colorado’s Vail Valley last year, Scott Leonard has gotten more than 80 kids involved with the youth group.

This is by far the largest Christian student youth group that the Vail Valley has seen in over 10 years, he said.

When he arrived in Avon 3 1/2 years ago to be a student pastor for The Vail Church, Leonard also began teaching the Old Testament at The Vail Academy.

Last year, Leonard decided to start a Young Life program. Now he is available to kids from all churches in the area, and to kids who don’t attend church. He also teaches at Vail Christian High School.

Leonard says he loves providing a welcoming environment and good role models for high school students.

He is also married and has two children of his own.

VD: How did kids become your focus of work?

Leonard: I take a lot of heat for having never grown up, all the time. I grew up with Young Life being part of my life, so I had people pouring into my life that were a little older. I worked at summer camps every year in college at a camp called Kanakuk, which is in Missouri, and it’s the largest Christian camp in the country. When I was doing an internship at church, I did stuff with high school students … I was the high school guy, and I’ve always kind of continued to be the high school guy.

VD: Do you like being the high school guy?

Leonard: Yeah, I love it. I was actually in a meeting with a guy the other morning, and he was a reading a book on people who get burnt out on their job. He said if you feel that what you’re doing is irrelevant, that is one of the key things to burnout. I feel that I have one of the most relevant jobs in the world … Do I love it? Yeah, because I really feel that I’m making an impact on a lot of lives.

VD: So what kind of stuff do you do as a leader?

Leonard: In the summer I ride motorcycles with a lot of the guys. I just got a text message from one of the guys that said, “yo, let’s go ride tomorrow,” and that’s a great way to build a relationship. “Shared experiences” is a big vocabulary word for me, and a lot of Young Life people. Just living life and doing things together.

So, I ride with the guys, in the summertime we have camp, during the school year we have club on Monday nights, we’ve played capture the flag up in Beaver Creek Village together, and I go to basketball and football games just to get to know kids on their turf.

VD: What all are you responsible for?

Leonard: I’m in charge of leader development, the parent committee, some churches rely on me and Young Life for their student youth group, just being there for students, and I raise 100 percent of the Young Life budget.

It’s an interesting time to be fundraising in a small town. Young Life was started in 1951, so there’s a ton of history there … One of the things we’re trying to do this summer is connect with second home-owners, whose lives have been impacted by Young Life. I’ve been told that there are a lot of people that love the Young Life ministry, who would love to support us if they knew we were in need.

I’m also a licensed and ordained pastor. In September I’ll get to officiate the wedding for one of our first leaders here. I’m getting to marry a good friend that I’ve gotten to see go from single, to dating, and now engaged. That will be awesome.

For more information on Young Life, e-mail or call 970-376-7971.

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