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If you've never been to a Young Life Work Week, this could be your year! Check the dates below and mark your calendars. It's a great opportunity to add another YL shirt to your collection, to join old friends, and to make tons of new ones. It's also a chance to help prepare our properties for kids to experience the BEST WEEK OF THEIR LIVES this summer!

FREE!! Your all-expense paid week will include housing, great food, club, fun activities, a t-shirt, and lots of hard but rewarding work!

College-aged young adults looking for a fun, rewarding, community-filled time to start your summer while serving a Young Life camp.

What To Expect
Work projects in the morning and part of the afternoon, free time before dinner, club in the evenings with plenty of time to connect with each other.

Contact your closest camp to sign up!

Camp Buckner
June 1st
Allie Dunivant

Carolina Point (Brevard, NC)
May 18th-20th
Kyle Gray

Castaway Club (Detroit Lakes, MN)
May 22nd-27th
Lisa Poll

Clearwater Cove (Lampe, MO)
May 13th-18th
Josh Zillner

Crooked Creek Ranch (Fraser, CO)
May 17th-21st
Rick Lowe

Frontier Ranch (Buena Vista, CO)
May 13th-19th
Bev Palm

Lost Canyon (Williams, AZ)
May 16th-21st
Bianca Puente

Malibu Club (Egmont, BC, Canada)
March 17-21st
Brooke Watson

Saranac Village (Saranac Lake, NY)
May 30th-June 2nd
Megan Funk

SharpTop Cove (Jasper, GA)
May 13th-17th
Corinne Watters

Timber Wolf Lake (Lake City, MI)
May 7th-11th
Mekoe Peterson

Trail West (Buena Vista, CO)
May 13th-19th
Brenda Saewert

Washington Family Ranch (Antelope, OR)
March 9th-13th
Gary Hopkins
March 23rd-27th
Wayne Patterson

Wilderness Ranch (Creede, CO)
May 10th-16th
Chris Payton

Windy Gap (Weaverville, NC)
May 16th-21st
Erika Knox

Woodleaf (Challenge, CA)
March 20-24
Ryan Green

Castaway Work Week Promo - Vimeo
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Do you need some clean, hype music for club? Thankfully DJ Promote has hooked us up with some current edits. DJ Pack 6 just came out and has lots of current mash-ups. These songs work great to play in the background as kids enter club or during games and mixers. (Thanks for the heads up Ty Gallenbeck!)

Download all 24 tracks on Bandcamp and pay what you want.

1. All The Way Up - Tommy Bustillos Intro Hook Edit - Fat Joe & Remy Ma
2. I'll Be Around vs Passionfruit 112 BPM Blend - The Spinners, Drake
3. DaDaDaDa vs Carnival Mashup - Wuki, Busta Rhymes, Quintino      
4. Saria's Turn Up Clean Edit - GTA
5. Bad & Boujee vs Bruh 128 BPM Club Blend - Migos, Lil Uzi Vert, Curbi, Mesto
6. Magnolia vs Everyday We Lit Hook Blend - Playboi Carti, YFN Lucci
7. Eye of the Tiger Mashup Short - Survivor, Kill the Noise, AWOLNATION, R.City, Nom De Strip
8. Eye of the Tiger Mashup Extended Intro - Survivor, Kill the Noise, AWOLNATION, R.City, Nom De Strip
9. Congratulations vs Storm 128 BPM Blend - Post Malone, Fresco, The Arcturians
10.Congratulations vs Apocalypto 128 BPM Tropical Blend - Post Malone, Fresco, DJ Freky 
11.Rolex (Steve Aoki Remix) Clean Edit - Ayo & Teo
12.Rolex Clean Edit - Ayo & Teo     
13. Tunnel Vision Hook Only Edit - Kodak Black  
14. Yeah (Madness Remix) Short Super Clean Edit - Usher ft. Ludacris & Lil Jon
15. Yeah (Madness Remix) Short Club Edit - Usher ft. Ludacris & Lil Jon
16. Differentology vs Jump Blend - Major Lazer, Bunji Garlin, Busy Signal
17.Differentology vs Jump vs Rumbla Blend - Major Lazer, Bunji Garlin, Busy Signal, Olly James, KANDY, Max Styler       
18. Differentology vs Jump vs Jump Remix Blend - Major Lazer, Bunji Garlin, Busy Signal, Nitty Gritty        
19. Jump In The Line vs Jump 112-128 BPM Blend - Harry Belafonte, Codes, Major Lazer   
20. Jump In The Line vs Jump vs Jump Remix 112-128 BPM Blend - Harry Belafonte, Codes, Major Lazer, Nitty Gritt     
21. Jump In The Line vs Jump vs Rumbla 112-128 BPM Blend - Harry Belafonte, Codes, Major Lazer, Olly James, KANDY, Max Styler  
22. Waterman vs Bombjack vs SOS 125 BPM Blend - Olav Basoski, Spyder, Ummet Ozcan, Ambush, Codes           
23. Get Lucky Mario Paint Intro - Daft Punk, Jeonghoon, DJ Promote
24. I Took A Pill In Ibiza Clean Twerk Edit - Mike Posner, Dirty Audio, Mr Collipark, JD

Here is a link to the DJ Pack 5 songs that came out in 2017.
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Starting tonight (Sunday, March 11, 2018) after the selection show, you can begin making your picks for the 5th annual Young Life Leader March Madness Bracket Challenge!

Enter your bracket in the Young Life Leaders group on ESPN.

The winner will be featured on YoungLifeLeaders.org and leaders around the world stand in awe of your ability to predict the future. In addition to featuring your pickin' skillz on the blog, you'll also receive a YL Swag Prize Pack in the mail. Let the games begin! 

Last year's top finishers are pictured here. 

Tons of ideas for March Madness Club.
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March Madness has begun and the NCAA tournament starts next week! If you're hosting a March Madness club, below are some ideas to get you ballin'. 

And don't forget to enter your bracket in the Young Life Leaders group on ESPN. (Brackets open on Sunday night, March 11, 2018)


Encourage everyone to wear gear from their favorite college team, and if they don't have a college team they love, just wear any sports gear. Give a prize to whoever looks the sportiest.


Indoor Knockout

Play knockout with a nerf hoop. If you have a big club, borrow a couple hoops. You can go with the stand-alone kind or the one that hangs on a door. Ask folks on your YL committee who are parents of young children if you can borrow some goals for the night.

Dunk Contest/3 pt Competition

Again, use a nerf hoop. Have "celebrity judges" who are dressed in skit clothes and use accents and award for creativity, style, and level of difficulty. Make score cards for the judges. 

Pre-select your participants. Have them wear costumes: basketball jerseys, headbands, wristbands, tall socks, etc... You can also help them think through creative ideas using props, other people, and theme music. 

You could also do a 3-point competition with similar style.

Free Throw Competition with 

Arizona St. University has a hilarious tradition called "The Curtain of Distraction." They have a curtain in the front of their student section and when the opposing team is shooting free throws, they open the curtain and someone in a crazy costume pops out. This has Young Life club written all over it.

You can watch an ESPN video about it here.  It wouldn't be hard to recreate a similar curtain at club and pick 4 contestants to each shoot 5 free throws and have different folks come out to distract them. If you pull this off,  a pic and we'll feature it on social media and add it to this post. 

Draw 64

Put the #'s 1-64 in a hat/bowl/bag. 64 kids will draw and then represent the corresponding team to that number (as the teams are seeded in the NCAA tourney). As the tourney unfolds, whoever is paired with the winning team wins $ off of summer camp. If you have 32 kids at club, get each person to draw twice, having a better chance to win.

Cookie Sheet Ping Pong 

Set up a cookie sheet as a mini-basketball court. Place a ping-pong ball on it, and one person on each end. The object is to blow the ball to the other side first. Have them play one round, and then raise the stakes, doing the next round blindfolded. After they are blindfolded, place the ball on a mound of flour in the middle of the cookie sheet. (via YLPlaybook.comPing Pong Ball Fight Game)

Name That Mascot

Download this screen game below (made by Amy Brooks!) and have kids "buzz in" when the image appears if they know the name of the school it represents along with the school's mascot. 

Dude Perfect
They have 27 million followers on YouTube and are fans of Young Life. Especially if you're planning a WyldLife club, you could show some highlights of their trick shots or, better yet, film your own. This could be a fun contact work idea to make a trick-shot video to show at club.

Ultimate Frisbee-Basketball

I bought two white circular laundry baskets from Walmart and cut the bottoms out of them. These were our hoops. We used zip ties to secure them on either end of the club room. We have high ceilings in our club room so we put them really high up. I also cut pool noodles lengthwise and attached them over the rim of the laundry baskets to make a cool looking basketball rim. Idea submitted by Will Orr.

How to Play
  • Divide the club into two teams.
  • Just like ultimate frisbee, you cannot run with the ball; you can pass to your teammates up and down the court with the intention of trying to score just like in basketball.
  • No goaltending.
  • Here is where the fun comes in. After every basket scored, switch out the basketball you’re using for another one that is slightly crazier, and do a tip off with that new ball. The tip off is key. Great photo ops and amazing for slo-mo videos.
  • The first ball you might use could be one of those big lightweight rubber balls you buy in the big ball bin at Walmart.
  • The second ball can be a squishy/spiky/weird ball, but then get creative with it. Our third ball was a ball covered in shaving cream. The slo-mo tip off video of that one is always epic. Our fourth ball was a head of lettuce. And last but not least we finished with a rotisserie chicken (this year we did a whole raw chicken which held together better but could possibly give kids salmonella). It’s always high intensity and because it's ultimate frisbee rules, the whole team tends to get involved via passing.
  • Get a leader in an afro and a referee outfit to be the referee who officiates and throws the tip off ball every time. Play the “Ya’ll Ready For This” song during game play.


March Madness Watch Party

Go ahead and plan now to watch some of the games with your middle, high school, or college friends. Look into local restaurants with TVs and see if you can reserve a room for your Campaigners group to watch the Elite 8 or Final Four rounds.

If you have other ideas to add, email us here.
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This year, St. Patrick's Day falls on Saturday, March 17th. Probably best to hold your Shamrockin' Club the week before. If you have a Monday club, you potentially could have it on March 19th. 

If you do it after the actual day, you can get cheap deals at Walmart on leftover St. Patty party favors. Below are 13 lucky club ideas.

Wear Green, Win Green

You could call it "Green Club." Encourage everyone to dress in green. Some folks may even paint their faces. Most green on one person wins "green," $50 off of summer camp.

Patty O'Furniture

Have a skit character host the evening. He/she could be "Patty O'Furniture" wearing green tights, red wig, bow tie, shamrock shades (see "party favors" below), Irish hat, beard, etc... A terrible Irish accent is a must. He/she should repeat Irish phrases like "top o' the mornin' to ye" and "let go of me Lucky Charms."

Ms. Shamrock

Host a "Ms. Shamrock" competition for the ladies similar to the "Mr. Christmas Tree" for the fellas, just tweak things to be "Shamrock-y" instead of "Christmas Tree-y.

Party Favors

Order party favors to pass out at club.

Irish Tunes

Irish Wristwatch

Invite 3 contestants to leave the room. Call them in, one by one, and have them see how many times they can correctly say the phrase "Irish Wristwatch" in 30 seconds. Don't say the phrase out loud. Just have them read the phrase off the screen or a piece of paper. Award either a green watch or a box of Lucky Charms as a prize to the winner. 

Nostril Shooters

Have a relay race where teams race to shoot marshmallows out of the noses into a bowl of Lucky Charms sitting on someone's head. At the end, if you want it to be over the top, you could have a leader pick up a spoon and start eating the marshmallows out of the bowl.

Classic YL Lucky Skit

It's an oldie, but a goodie! Based on an old Monty Python sketch. You can watch a video of the skit here. And another version here. There are quite a few on YouTube. You can download a script here, but I would edit it to make it your own with some lines that were tailored for your school's club.

Gettin' Jiggy With It

Have leaders or kids learn an Irish Jig ahead of time and perform the dance for everyone. You could then open up the stage for a competition. Watch videos on YouTube like this one to learn how to do an Irish Jig.

Feeling Lucky Mixer

It's an easy mixer with no prep other than going to the ATM. Give one student a $10 bill and tell him/her to give it to the 11th person that shakes their hand and says "Top of the mornin to ye laddy." Have everyone shake hands and meet someone new and tell them that someone has been given $10 to give to the 11th person that shakes their hand. Play some Irish Jig in the background.

Just Dew It

Have 3 teams of two come up and whoever finishes a two-liter of Neon Green Mountain Dew and a small bag of Lucky Charms wins! 

Leprechaun Skit

If you haven't used the classic YL skit "Little Nemo" in a while, now's a good time to do it with Lil Nemo being a Leprechaun. Here's a YouTube example.
Little Nemo Skit - YouTube

Irish Trivia 
(shared by Wes Wilson)

Here are the questions and answers below.

Q: What is the name of the lead singer of Irish band U2? 
A. Bono

Q: What are the colors of the flag of Ireland? 
A: Orange, white, and green

Q: What university’s mascot is The Fighting Irish? 
A. Notre Dame

Q: According to legend, Saint Patrick drove what creatures out of Ireland?
    a. Snakes
    b. Spiders
    c. Banshees
    d. French people

Q: The shamrock has been used over the centuries as a specific remedy for what? 
    a. Dehydration
    b. Snake bites and scorpion stings
    c. Urinary and kidney stones
    d. Girl cooties

Q: According to legend, leprechauns all engage in what trade?
    a. Tailoring
    b. Shoe making
    c. Blacksmithing
    d. Mattress testing

Q: Some traditional Irish St. Patrick’s Day foods include what?
    a. Corned beef and cabbage, soda bread 
    b. Sweet potato bread, soup 
    c. Mashed potatoes, carrots, rye bread 
    d. Mint pie, pretzels, curly fries and a large milk shake

Q: The most common hair color in Ireland is what? 
A. Brown

Q: Which holiday’s origin traces back to Ireland?
A. Halloween

What is the most important crop grown in Ireland, both historically and now? 
A. Potatoes

Tie Breaker
Q. What is the cereal Lucky Charms’ tagline? 
A. “They're magically delicious!” 

If you have any other ideas to add, ! 
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Before you know it, the seniors in your Young Life club will be graduating. One special way to honor and celebrate them is with a "Blessing Service." Go ahead and get a date scheduled on the calendar now as the end of the semester will sneak up on you.

Blessing Service Options

There are a few different ways you could set-up this rite-of-passage event:
  • Area-wide ceremonies done with YL leaders speaking over senior leaders.
  • Co-ed ceremonies done with seniors from one high school where both male and female YL leaders share about each senior.
  • Campaigner groups where only dads are invited to share about their sons or moms to speak blessings over their daughters.
  • Campaigner groups where both parents are invited to speak over their son or daughter.
My personal preference is the last option, with a Campaigners group of only guys or only gals and both parents speaking over their child. In our culture, it's becoming less common for both parents to be in the picture, so this allows at least one parent to be there to speak.

Rule Of Thumb: 12 Max

If you want each senior to have a chance to be celebrated individually, you will need an average of 5 mins/senior. 12 seniors= 1 hour. Anything over 12 seniors will probably take too long and should be divided into a smaller group.

How To Give A Meaningful Blessing

If you choose to do something like this in your area, I would coach whoever is giving the blessings to prepare well by choosing a few specific things to share. I have watched ceremonies happen where one senior gets spoken about for 10 minutes with well prepared and meaningful blessings. The next senior gets only one minute of poorly prepared thoughts.

Help your leaders/parents prepare by giving them a loose structure:
  • A story that is either funny and memorable or meaningful. It can be about a shared experience with the speaker and senior or one that happened in the senior's life that describes their character.
  • 2-4 Character traits that you have seen exhibited in the senior's life (ex: honesty, courage, integrity, unselfishness, leadership, perseverance, etc...)
  • A Bible verse that describes their life or that is your prayer for them. A thoughtful prayer for them.
  • Specific things you are actually praying for God to do in and through them.
  • Hugs, hands on their shoulders, looking into their eyes as you speak are all a very valuable part of this experience.
Make sure to snap a pic of each parent and child while they're speaking over their child. Email the parents copies of the picture!

It's also a great chance to take a group photo of your seniors and give them an empty 8x10 frame with a mat they each can sign. Then, get photos printed the next day and pass them out at your last Campaigners group for folks to put in their frames. Makes a great dorm room decoration.

Below is an email I wrote to parents. You can also download it here. Feel free to adapt it and use it if that saves you time. -Drew

Parents of the NWYL Senior Guys,

It has been a high privilege to get to know your sons and be involved in their lives throughout high school. I love these guys so much and desire to send them off well as they become men and head into this next season of life.
I would love to invite you to a cookout and a “blessing service” for your sons on Sunday night, May 22nd, at 6pm at the Smith’s home, 1000 Rocky Rd. The Smiths are providing burgers and hot dogs and I’m asking everyone else to bring drinks, sides, or desserts. Would you please reply to this email and let me know how many in your family can come and what you would like to bring? Siblings are invited as well.
Working with teenagers over the last 20 years, and being both a father and a son, I can tell you how valuable a parent’s blessing can be and how hurtful it is when it’s absent. I still keep a note in my Bible from my dad that he wrote me many years ago, simply saying these 12 words “Drew, I’m thankful you’re my son. I’m proud of you. Love, Dad.”

After we eat I'd love to spend an hour honoring these senior guys. They don't know I'm asking you to do this so I'd like to keep it a surprise. I'm asking one or both parents of each guy to spend around 5 minutes sharing about your son. With 10 guys, at 5 minutes each, it will take us close to an hour for the sharing time, so please be aware of how long you’re speaking, it’s easy to get long winded when sharing a story. On the other hand, don’t rush. This is a valuable time and it’s important for your child to feel the weight of this moment.
When you share, I would love for you to do 2 things:

  1. Tell them how proud you are of them and how much you love them.
  • Share character traits you've seen him exhibit (honesty, courage, integrity, unselfishness, leadership, perseverance, etc...).
  • Feel free to share a brief story about how you’ve seen those traits be a blessing to you and to others.
  • Speak vision over them about their future.
    • Recognize how God has uniquely gifted them.
    • Share how you’ve seen them grow and mature.
    • Share who you envision them becoming in the future.
    • If you want to pick a Bible verse to read or a specific prayer you are praying over them, that's great as well.
    • The principle of “speaking vision” is for your son to hear you say ‘I love you, I believe in you, and I’m in this with you.
    I know this may be difficult for some for a number of reasons. If you’ve never had a blessing from your parents, it is sometimes difficult to give it to another. You may feel regret, wishing you had more time with your son as they’re about to leave home. You may feel too timid to do this in public in front of other parents. Whatever the case, I promise you it is worth it to take the risk and bless your son. Your words hold immeasurable power!

    You may even want to write out your words to read. This could be an emotional time, so having it written down will help you say all you want to say and it will also preserve it for them in the future.

    If you are unable to be present, but your son is able to come, would you write down a blessing and email it to me so I can read it over him on Sunday night. You could also perhaps send a grandfather, a close uncle, or close family friend to step in on your behalf.

    When you share about your son, I suggest putting your hands on their shoulders and looking them in the eye as you speak to them and not just about them.

    Instead of saying, “John has always had a kind heart for people who need a friend.” Look at John and say “My son, you have always had a kind heart for people who need a friend.”

    I really believe this will be such a special night that they’ll remember forever. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. Would you email me back by Thursday at noon and let me know how many in your family can come and what food you can bring?

    In 1 Thessalonians 2:8, the apostle Paul writes, “We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God, but our very lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.” Your sons have become so dear to me and I’m thankful for the blessing it’s been to share life with them for these 4 years.

    Drew Hill

    If you’d like to read more about this concept of giving a blessing, I’ve attached a chapter from the book “The Blessing” by John Trent and Gary Smalley.

    If you have another creative way to celebrate this rite of passage with seniors,  and I'll add it to the post.

    Special thanks to Ken Tankersly, my former regional director, for instilling in me a value to celebrate people well. And another shoutout to my current area director, David Page, for passing along his insights on this blessing service tradition he's done for years.
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    I recently listened to a brillant conversation between comedian legends Jerry Seinfeld and Larry Wilde. Larry interviewed Jerry on the topic of stand-up comedy. You can listen to it here on Spotify.

    So much of what Jerry discusses is also super-applicable for giving Young Life talks, so I took a few notes to pass on below.

    On Comedy- Jerry Seinfeld (with Larry Wilde)
    I didn't use all 20 tracks of the interview but selected a few that were more relevant. Jerry and Larry's words are italicized. Mine are not.

    Track 2- Robert Klein’s Influence
    When speaking about a comedian named Robert Klein that Jerry likes, he said, “He seemed to me like a guy I knew. [Other comedians] were funny, but I didn’t know anyone like them. Robert Klein seemed like a real guy, he reminded me of myself, I thought- I could be friends with him.”

    Being relatable and approachable is crucial when giving a talk. When thinking of examples and illustrations, it’s important to try and relate with every kid in the room. Don’t alway just use sports illustrations, make sure to connect with the kids who aren’t into sports as well.

    Track 3- Education/ Track 4- Comedy Club Training
    "The thing about learning comedy is that you can’t train for it off-stage. To actually perform stand-up, you must get on stage and do it. You learn by doing. In my first years of doing stand-up in New York, I’m sure I went 18 months without missing a single night, and I’d usually do at least 2 shows a night…. and I tape recorded the shows to find where the laughs were.”

    That’s nuts- that he went 540 nights in a row doing a routine on any stage he could!  If we want to grow as communicators of the Gospel, then it's going to take lots of practice. Give talks anywhere you can. My preaching professor in seminary encouraged us to knock on as many doors as possible to practice preaching- smaller churches who needed “pulpit fill,” nursing homes, VBS, youth groups, etc… What if you even wrote Young Life talks just for practice and gathered your friends or Campaigners group together in your living room on a Saturday night and asked them to give you feedback? You could also give talks alone in your room and record them on your phone and send them to friends asking for feedback.

    Track 6 - First Tonight Show Shot
    In regards to Jerry’s first time doing stand-up on The Tonight Show, “I prepared rigorously. It was an opportunity that I wasn’t going to blow. I probably practiced my 5-minute routine 200 times. You know when you get out there, you’re going to be under such pressure. I’d practiced it so much, someone could be slapping me the whole time and I still could have delivered it. Security is knowing your lines.”

    Before you give a talk at club, have you given it the practice and time it deserves?

    Track 7- Technique
    “I watched the re-run of my Letterman gig. My pacing was off. I was out of rhythm with my audience. You have to let the laughs breathe. Every comic has their own organic rhythm. You have to pay attention to the audience. Really good comedy is a dialogue. Their laughs are as important as what I’m saying.”

    When we’re giving Young Life talks, it’s important to talk WITH your teenage friends and not AT them. Are you looking them in the eye? Watching how they respond to your words?

    “I watch tapes of myself and pay attention to gestures that are repeated too much. It becomes a distracting thing and hurts the line. When you’re a comedian, you have to analyze every aspect of how you communicate so you can improve it. Being a comedian is an exploration of yourself. You have to figure out who you are and express it well.”

    It’s easy in Young Life to watch your Area Director or Camp Speaker give a talk and then to try and imitate them. That works on some levels, because they are experienced at their craft and we can learn much from them. But on many levels, it doesn’t work. God created you uniquely and you have to figure out how to speak in your own style that is true to God’s design of you.

    Track 8 - Observations
    Jerry’s comedy comes out of observations of everyday life. He says, “I like to look at something that seems so trivial- like cotton balls, or the type of faucets they have at airport sinks, or wondering how much milk you have in your refrigerator.”

    The best talks we can give will come out of us spending time observing Jesus in the Scriptures and imagining what it would have been like to witness the scene in person. Then, we can smell the sea of Galilee and help bring the Scriptures to life for our middle, high school, and college friends.

    But we also get to observe them. We get to pay attention to what is going on in their lives and their schools. When we know them well, we’re able to use real life examples that make them nod and feel understood.

    Jerry also talks on this track about ‘Human Cartooning’- the art of making pictures with words. He says, “I do a thing about the candy at the movie theatres: giant boxes of candy and irrationally large popcorn bowls. We look like ants carrying food. They might laugh at the idea, but they’ll also laugh at a person on stage trying to imitate things using just your body. Pretending to be an ant carrying the popcorn box….How can I express this physically on stage? The first two years I did comedy, it was just from my nose to my chin- that was the whole act. Then I explored explaining things with body language.”

    Think through how you use your body language when you are speaking. Make sure it is purposeful and use it to enhance your talk, but be careful that it is not distracting. Think through when you will sit, stand, and move. How will you use your hands. How will you use the volume of your voice. If your holding a mic, that changes things, so think through that ahead of time.

    Track 9- More Technique
    Jerry says, “I never just think of a joke and do it and that’s the end of it. I explore each notion as far as I can. I do it on and off stage. I put a lot of thought into it. I will spend an hour trying to get an 8-word line down to five. That’s part of what makes the joke. Editing and the economy of a joke. You recognize how important one or two words can be.”

    One of the hardest parts of writing a talk is editing it down. I typically open a Word Doc and jot all my thoughts down. I copy and paste commentaries in there. I have a section for the intro, the scripture, the conclusion, and a separate section for illustration ideas. Typically by the time I collect all my notes it’ll be a 15 page doc. Then I title it, “Unused talk stuff 2.27.18.” Next, I open another Word doc and title it “Club Talk Final Notes 2.27.18.” I cut and paste and move things around and edit that 15-page doc down to 4-5. I usually plan for 4 minutes/page. Then, I edit those pages down some more in order to get the talk around 15 mins. Lastly, I practice it and learn it to where I only need 1 page of bullet-pointed notes to remind me of a few key things I want to make sure to say. It takes LOTS of editing to get that final version of that talk!

    Larry asks, “Is there something about the security of doing the lines over and over and knowing that the laugh is there?” and Jerry responds, “Yes. You can’t have too much confidence. The more you believe in a thought, the funnier it seems to get.”

    The more we can feel comfortable with our talk, the more confidence we’ll have. The more confidence we have, the more relaxed our audience will feel.

    Track 11 - Writing
    Jerry said, “There’s a great premium on originality. Just being funny isn’t enough for audiences these days. They really want a person with uniqueness. Everyone is funny in a different way.People want to know the person behind the work. It’s important that you reveal yourself through the comedy.”

    When you’re giving a club talk, be willing to pull back the curtain and bear your soul, at least a little. Find the tension between sharing enough about your own life that folks get to know the-real-you, and not talking about yourself the whole time. Keep Jesus as the focal point of your talk, but don’t afraid to share about yourself either.

    Track 12- Persona
    Jerry said, “Audiences will teach you what’s funny about you if you pay attention to their responses. The comedian has to have the courage to take a chance. It’s always difficult to do something new.”

    When I preached at church this past week, I was preaching on the Psalms of Lament. All week long as I prepared, I was singing this one particular song of lament in my head. I felt like I should sing it to begin my sermon, but felt insecure about doing it. I can lead club music, but I’m not a solo kind of singer. Despite that, I followed the Lord’s nudge, and went with it. I tried something new. And by God’s grace, it worked. It took some courage and it took taking a chance. Now, I’ve surely taken chances in talks before that haven’t turned out as well, but that doesn’t mean we should stop trying. How does God want to use your courage and creativity to speak to your teenage friends?

    Track 13- Taboo Topics
    Jerry said, “I don’t like to misrepresent anything. I would never say anything mean about my parents just to get a laugh. I try to work from my real feelings about things.I’d rather not be dishonest about it. If I’m making something up, it would be too hard for me to perform because the way I work is from a natural enthusiasm about all of these things, and I can’t manufacture that enthusiasm. It has to be real. The audience can pick that up.”

    Sometimes it’s tempting to make up stories and to not be honest, just to try and get a laugh. It might work in the short run, but eventually, the audience will pick up on the lack of authenticity. Trust is hard to earn and easy to lose.

    Track 16- Confidence
    Jerry said of his audience, “You have to love those people out there for some unexplainable reason and be willing to take a chance on perhaps embarrassing yourself so that they can have a good time. You have to like the people and really want your audience to have fun.”

    Do you love the kids you’re speaking to? They can tell. The best club talks start in school cafeterias and practice fields - by showing up in kids’ lives and earning the right to be heard.

    And the best club talks also start in private places- prayer rooms, prayer closets, and on our knees beside our beds.

    Lord, give us the confidence and the passion to speak of you with clarity and affection. Amen.
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    Written Lindsay Fluker.

    Spring is definitely in the air, as yards are bursting with color and my friends at the high school talk of prom and spring break. I am the wife of a Young Life Area Director and a volunteer leader and over the years, I have come to have a love-hate relationship with this little season.

    As a wife, I love it, because ministry slows down.
    As a leader, I hate it because... well... ministry slows down.

    The past two months have been filled with speaking engagements, weekend camp trips and successful work crew training and Bible studies. But now we are coming down from our little mountaintop and into the valley of Spring, where baseball games trump club, the Bachelor is more important than Campaigners, and that kid you led to Christ at camp avoids you when she sees you coming (or maybe that’s just my effect on people!) 

    It's ironic that while the flowers are blooming and trees are bearing fruit, this season of ministry with teenagers often brings lower numbers, spring break/prom rumors, and general apathy toward God. There are, of course, exceptions, but sometimes it can be quite discouraging.

    I also find this is when the Enemy often attacks us in our unique, individual ways. Stacy Eldridge, author of Captivating, wisely states that "the whispers of Satan are as old as the Garden of Eden. His mission is to convince us that we are too much and not enough, and that God is holding out on us."

    I laughed today as I looked back on a journal entry I wrote this time last year. Essentially, I was believing the same old lie: that I am not enough. Not doing enough with kids. Not being a good enough friend. Not sharing the gospel enough. Not going to school enough. Not helping my husband enough. Not being a good enough mom/wife/leader/follower of Christ.

    Year after year, the father of lies convinces me that my inadequacies are the reason for the Spring Slump.

    But this year, I want to take these thoughts captive. I want to push through this season with eyes on eternity. I want to keep pursuing kids, even though they seem disinterested. I want to be the one who tells them the truth. That God is GOOD and HE is ENOUGH!

    So if you are struggling, know that you are not alone. Fight those lies with Scripture that states who you are in Christ, that you are deeply loved and accepted. Know that even when kids’ lives seem fruitless, God is at work. And one day, those little seeds you are sowing, will “spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams.”(Isaiah 44:4)

    Here's another encouraging post from Lindsay about the sacrifice some high schoolers in their area made to take middle schoolers to camp.

    Originally posted in March of 2013.

    If you have anything you'd like to share on the YL Leader Blog, here is how you submit a guest post. 
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    Shared by Ryan Weston.

    One of the best discipleship tools we have in Young Life is Work Crew training.

    I remember when my Young Life leader invited me to do Work Crew for the first time. He said, "Ryan, you will work harder than you've ever worked in your entire life, with little breaks or rest. You will get absolutely zero recognition because it's about Jesus and the campers. You won't even get paid a dime, in fact, you'll have to pay to get yourself there. But at the end, you will consider the people there better friends than the ones you have back at home. You will have grown in your walk with Christ more than you could ever imagine, and you will call that month the Greatest Month of Your Life.

    He was right at every single level.

    Below you can download a Work Crew training guide made by Amy Johnson. This content was created by her years ago for her Work Crew kids and many of us in the mission have reaped the benefits of her hard work. 

    This is a digital copy of the work she prepared, which includes 6 weeks of lessons, 6 weeks of Scripture memory quizzes, and 6 weeks of quiet time material. There are also questions from each chapter of "Improving Your Serve," an "End of the Training Review," and a parent sign off sheet. 
    Also, the ringer is that there are chores they have to complete every day of the training! As a leader, I can honestly say this is some of the best discipleship material we have to offer, regardless of whether or not your kid wishes to do Work Crew or not. 

    All of those supplements are included because we don't want to believe the lie that our kids can't be challenged. However, as you spend time with your kid's, and also depending on the year's group of kids, you may choose to use just some of the resources, but not all of them. Hope this is helpful to you! 

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    Every summer, thousands of middle, high school and college students participate in "the best week of their lives" at a Young Life camp. This can only happen thanks to the many volunteers and staff that work tirelessly to ensure that the YL camp slogan rings true. Some of the most behind-the-scenes servants are the Young Life camp interns! 

    With the help of many past and present YL camp interns, we've compiled the list below. 

    Top Ten Things To Know Before You Intern

    When you're constantly working and having Gospel-centered conversations, it can be easy to get busy and miss your own time alone with the Lord. If you are going to have a successful summer, this is an absolute must. But not just reading God's Word and spiritual books, be sure to take time to LISTEN. Be still and know that He is God.

    We aren’t perfect people and as close as it might be, Young Life camp is not a perfect place. You’re going to mess up and you’re going to need grace. You are also going to need to give grace. Be slow to anger, quick to forgive and courageous enough to receive grace. Speak life. It will be easy to grumble. You want to create safe spaces and a community that reflects Jesus. Celebrate in public, correct in private. If someone does something awesome, let everyone know. If they do something regrettable or make you mad, have a private one on one conversation. Never resort to shame.

    Nothing will burn you out more than not getting enough of it. Be disciplined in this. Fight for it. Be willing to miss out on fun things so you can be well rested. It's tough to hear from the Lord and to be fully present with others when you are exhausted.

    Interning can be an easy job. Not because the job is easy, but because the job is worth it. Finding joy in the work you are doing is crucial. Understanding that what you do for the camp and the kids has an eternal impact. Remind yourself of this on the daily and rejoice that you have this incredible opportunity.

    Be vulnerable. Let the community see your mess and your deep goodness. It will allow you to know sides of God you never dreamed were real. Don’t be afraid to be known and give everything. People will respond with love and grace. This won't happen right away. Be patient. Spend the time it takes to know and be known.

    Begin your internship with open hands. Don’t go in with any expectations of other interns, property staff, summer staffers, or your job itself. One thing you’ll discover is that God put you in that job and not another for a specific purpose, and often it's for refining. Be careful to not be jealous of other jobs, because there are days where you might work much more hours than others. It can be easy to get frustrated about that because you might think it was all going to be fair work time and everyone was doing to do the same amount of work for the same amount of hours. Comparison is the thief of joy.

    If you are fully-on-board for the mission, then the community will follow naturally. Understand that your mission is to love the Lord and to love others. It always is, not just at camp. The summer is going to be long. Be intentional with your fellow interns, be clear in communication and strive to be on the same MISSION. You are in this together. You need them to point and often push you to Jesus. And you need to be willing to do the same. 

    What if the entire intern group had one common goal- to out serve each other? It may take a while to understand, but your job is to work behind the scenes to set up both the summer staff and the work crew to serve. You also get to set up the leaders to lead. It's not often glamorous, but it's always glorious. Be a "THERE YOU ARE" kind of a person, not a "HERE I am" kind of person. It’s easy to go to a new place and be so consumed with what others think of you.

    You will interact with a lot of different people all summer. Some might not be easy to love. The way you act and respond in situations will be seen. Summer staff can be knuckleheads sometimes. Showing them grace and love will change their life. It for sure changed mine.

    Spend time on your knees. Expectantly and often.

    Interning at a Young Life camp is much like the story with the four friends who lowered their paralyzed buddy through the roof to meet Jesus. Except as an intern, you aren’t the paralyzed buddy. You aren’t the buddies. And you certainly aren’t Jesus. You are not even in the crowd. Rather, you are the house owner. Every week leaders will show up at the camp and tear the ceiling off just to get their kids to the feet of Jesus. And every week you will fix that roof, again and again. And every week you'll be excited to get a front row seat as you watch another miracle happen right in front of you.

    Thank you to Craig Linder (YL Leader at FGCU) for compiling this list and thanks to Kate Macmillan, Jake Busch, Kelly Potilechio, Mike Pavlak, Josh Shipman, Kyle Banal, Dan Rehor, Matt Meier, and Elizabeth Veres for their input in putting this together. Special thanks to all of you who will be interning at Young Life camps across the globe this summer!
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