Young Life religious group inspires Vail Valley youth |

Young Life religious group inspires Vail Valley youth

Meredith White
Special to the daily
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the Daily Vail Valley high school students at Frontier Ranch Young Life Camp in Winter Park. Almost 60 local students went to the November camp with Young Life Vail Valley, a Christian youth group that restarted in the area last September. The group continues to meet weekly in Edwards.

VAIL VALLEY, Colorado ” I was lying across a rock, late at night, in the freezing cold, staring into the dark night when I realized why I had come to this secluded camp near Winter Park for the weekend.

I was at Young Life camp, part of a Christian youth ministry, and the entire camp was asked to go outside and reflect upon their weekend. The leaders did not tell us what to think about ” we were just supposed to think.

That night I finally realized what it meant to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. Miraculously, I found myself staring into the skies and thought about all the obstacles that had come between my relationship with God and how I could fix it.

Young Life is a group of high school students that meet once a week in a safe environment to enjoy each other’s company while learning about God ” It is an idea that has spread quickly throughout high schools in the valley.

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A couple of years ago, Scott Leonard, a local youth pastor, created a group to educate teenagers about Jesus Christ in a relaxed setting. I went to these meetings a couple times each month ” only five or six other kids would be there. Now there are approximately sixty teenagers who show up for Young Life every Monday night.

I love being involved in Young Life. About a month ago, a group of us went down to Crooked Creek Ranch near Winter Park, where I ended up sitting on the freezing rock that night.

Honestly, I didn’t really want to go to camp at first, but my parents told me that they wanted me to get involved. When I went, I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into –all I knew was that it was supposed to be “the best time of my life or I would get my money back.”

I became excited as soon as I got into the car to go to camp, but I was still completely oblivious to what I would be doing that weekend. Everything came to me as a surprise, and I loved it.

I had always dreamed of sumo-wrestling in a sumo-suit, and I got to do it ” in the snow! We sang many songs and swam in a hot tub that could fit more than 200 teenagers. I never thought I would be having that much fun.

We had club, our main group meeting, three times each day. Everyone at the camp would come together to enjoy hilarious skits, entertaining activities and a man talking to us about how to develop a better relationship with God. After each club, we would be sent back to our rooms and we would talk with our leaders about what we had learned that day.

Despite all the fun we had over the weekend, the deeper meaning of why I was there had never occurred to me until the last night. That night I resolved to overcome the obstacles that interfered with my relationship with God and make time for him.

That weekend was one of the best weekends of my life and I am never going to forget it. I am so grateful to Scott for creating this group in the valley because it has changed my life and other teenagers’ lives in a positive way.

People involved in Young Life develop their confidence, optimism and relationship with Christ. I recommend that every high school student interested in this kind of experience try Young Life.

There are thousands of Young Life clubs around the country, and now there is a Young Life in Vail. Young Life meets every Monday night at the Miller Ranch Community Center from 7:32 p.m. to 8:31p.m. There is another camp this summer from June 21-27 at Crooked Creek Ranch ” limited spots available. If you are interested in Young Life, visit, or contact Scott Leonard at (970) 376-7971.

Meredith White is a junior at Vail Mountain School.

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