‘Time to Build’ county’s Young Life programs

Sara Beth and Dustin
Schmidt are going to be new local leaders of Young Life organization. 9/15/09 (Photo: J.D.

Blueprints adorned the walls along with pictures of youth from various Young Life activities for the
recent annual Wood County Young Life banquet and fundraiser.
More than 140 adults gathered at Stone Ridge Golf Club on Oct. 5, for an evening centered on the theme of
this year’s program, "A Time to Build." High School students involved with Young Life built a
receiving line for guests to be greeted as they arrived as a way of thanking them for their continued
support of the Young Life ministry.
The purpose of the annual banquet is to inform those in attendance about the ministry of Young Life.
Currently, Wood County Young Life serves students in Eastwood, Elmwood, Otsego and Bowling Green High
Hoping to build on this foundation, Wyldlife, a Young Life program focused on the junior high age
students, is being considered for expansion beyond Bowling Green Middle School.
Student speaker, Tony Thomas, a graduate of Otsego High School, became involved with Young Life while a
junior in high school. He shared the positive impact Young Life has had in his life and how he is
totally changed after attending a summer camp.
Now a freshman at Bowling Green State University, Thomas continues his involvement with Young Life by
participating in First Year Fellowship, a training program for those wanting to become volunteer leaders
in schools.
Rich Dargenio, the regional director of the Young Life North Coast Region was the featured speaker who
recognized the Young Life volunteer leaders and staff in attendance for their commitment to embrace
kids. Noting there are three primary questions we should ask ourselves: 1. What are the needs of kids
today? 2. Who or what is the answer to those needs? 3. Why Young Life? Kids today feel totally isolated
and are looking for instant friendship.
Only 4 percent of a kid’s life is spent with an adult. One in eight struggle with depression. They want
so desperately to be loved. When their deepest needs aren’t being met, they turn to alternatives like
drugs or alcohol. Their deeper needs are not being met through these alternatives.
Young Life tries to assure that the students at least hear, if not fully understand that Jesus heals
those needs. Only through Jesus Christ can kids get their needs met.
Young Life takes Jesus to kids. Often kids will not go to church so through contact work, Young Life
leaders go where kids are – in the flesh. It may be a sporting event, a favorite after school hangout or
a pick up game at a park. They hang out with kids who need Jesus.
Dargenio shared a recent experience at a football game where he left his seat to work his way through the
student section to hang out with kids. He continues to do Young Life because it does make a difference
in kids’ lives. He has seen lives transformed.
The new area directors, SaraBeth and Dustin Schmidt were introduced and shared their enthusiasm for
leading in Wood County as well as their vision of expanding Young Life beyond the current schools.
The 2009-10 Budget includes a growth fund to continue growing the Young Life ministry.
The total operating budget is $108,164 with $40,000 already provided thru commitments from supporters.
More than $11,000 of new money was pledged during the banquet.
If anyone is interested in contributing to Wood County Young Life, please view the area’s w
Web site at www.woodcounty.younglife.org or contact the Schmidts at (419) 367-9802.

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