Young Life, Christ-centered ministry organization, supports Harford County teenagers


Kevin Maher

Young Life kids at camp in New York last summer. Where they participated in water sports and fellowship as a group.

Caroline Barquin, Reporter

 Young Life is a ministry organization focused on introducing kids to Jesus Christ and to help grow their faith through friendship and meaningful conversations.

   According to the Young Life Website, the group was created in 1941 by Jim Rayburn through his efforts to show young people how much God cares about them by coming into their lives. Kevin Maher and Carol Maher are leaders of the Harford County group and describe their job as “basically walking through life with the kids through fun, adventure and real conversations.”

     Gigi Dellarose, a junior at North Harford and a member of Young Life describes the group as a “a fun place for young kids to go to learn about God and play lots of games.”

     The leaders of Young Life share their lives with the kids “by attending sporting events and band concerts or stuff like that, so we are able to show high schoolers we care for you.” explains Carol. 

     Although the organization is ministry based, high schoolers that have no interest in religion are their most targeted audience.

     Kevin emphasizes this point by mentioning, “The idea is that when you get to school there are people there that you have had real and honest conversations about life with regardless of where you stand with God. But a chance to be honest, real, and be in a community of people that care about you.”

     Young Life has two main types of meetings; the first type is called Club. Marissa Altenburg, a senior at North Harford High School and a member for around five years explains that “Club is a mix of a big party and fellowship together with the whole community of Harford County. We play a lot of group games and then the leader gives a talk like a lesson.” Kevin adds “Club feels like a party, you never really know what’s going to happen. “At the end of the club, a leader will tell a story about their life and who God is so anyone regardless of their belief can make their own decision of what god is.

     According to Dellarose, Club is her favorite type of meeting, “it’s a lot more fun and there are more people with their friends.” This contributes to the party-like atmosphere that Club is more focused towards. 

     Campaigners is the second main type of meeting, Altenburg said “it’s a much smaller group that runs more relaxed than a club, there are fewer games and it’s more of reading our bible and discussion.” Carol notes “Campaigners are a time where high schoolers can have more meaningful conversations.” She describes it as more of a small group atmosphere. Kevin agrees that it is more of a ministry time where people interested in learning more about God can talk. Creating a community of other people that are interested in that as well.

     Young Life is open to all high school students, “there is no way to “join” just come,” said Kevin.

Dellarose added, “Young Life is for any high school student, anyone can come even if it’s just to get a break from school and sports.”     Information about the group is mostly spread through people who are involved in inviting other people. Altenburg was introduced “through a friend in 4H who was having a group at their house.”

     There is an Instagram page @cmwyounglife where leaders post events for people interested. Carol reassures “Although it says CMW it is not just for C Milton kids it’s for kids from all over Harford County.” Kevin encourages kids to get involved with his catchphrase “You just have to come and see.”