Young Life is a Christian ministry that reaches out to middle school, high school and college-aged kids in all 50 of the United States as well as more than 90 countries around the world. For more information, please visit the Our Story page.
There is no one type of person involved in Young Life. It’s for everyone. It’s a place to talk about surviving school, break-ups, parents, bad grades or God. If you’re currently in middle school, look at our WyldLife group. If you’re in high school, check out Young Life. College? Great! We have a group for you in Young Life College. We also have groups for military kids (Young Life Military), teen moms (YoungLives) and special needs kids (Capernaum). If this sounds appealing, then there is space for you in Young Life.
In 1999, Young Life veterans Chuck and Linda Reinhold went to Ethiopia to start Young Life in the Kore area of Addis Ababa, a large urban slum and former leper community. This home to the outcast, sick and poor was a fitting place to start Young Life on the continent of Africa. Chuck began telling the kids in Kore about the love of Jesus and teaching them leadership skills. He also worked with surrounding communities to identify, disciple and train Young Life leaders to work in this difficult neighborhood. It was quickly apparent that the basic principles of Young Life worked well in an African culture and Young Life began to gear up to reach kids all over Africa. In 2003, Steve and Dyan Larmey, also with a long Young Life history, came with their young family to Ethiopia with the charge of spreading the roots of Young Life Africa from Ethiopia to the entire continent. They moved from Ethiopia to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in 2007 to establish a training center in East Africa where staff and leaders could gather for training and fellowship. Young Life has since exploded across Africa, doubling in size every three years.
27 and growing!
Young Life introduces teenagers to Jesus Christ and helps them grow in their faith. Together we’ve set our eyes Forward, joining in a movement that compels us to go deeper in our walk with Jesus while helping young people grow deeper in their faith; to welcome a diverse team of men and women into leadership; to innovate new ways to reach and teach; and to grow – building relationships with more young people all over the world. In Africa, our aim is to reach every kid with the truth of Jesus Christ and to impact the fastest growing demographic in the fastest growing region in the most dynamic, resourceful continent on the globe.
296 men and women from 27 countries are on staff across Africa. In 2019*, Young Life Africa reached over 1,372,310 kids with the gospel.
*statistic no longer collected as of 2020
Since launching in Africa just over two decades ago, Young Life has grown rapidly, reaching over 1,372,310* kids in over 27 African countries. But we have done that by reaching one kid at a time. An African proverb teaches the slow way is the fast way and that proverb has guided our vision for reaching every kid in every country in Africa.
Our senior Young Life leaders observe that it takes three years for the mango tree to bear fruit, but once it starts, the mango produces fruit in season for over a hundred years! Contrast that with the tomato bush, which produces fruit in less than three months, but then dies out, never to produce again.
Our Young Life African leaders use a Leadership Tree to grow mango trees.
*statistic no longer collected as of 2020
Young Life Africa, a division within the nonprofit ministry of Young Life, functions through the generous support of individuals, families, foundations and churches. These individuals or organizations give in a variety of ways including monthly or one-time gifts. Much of our operations and camps are supported directly through sponsorship programs designed to enable donors have a direct connection into the community they are investing in.
In Young Life in the U.S., support is usually raised from donors in the community where we are reaching kids. In Africa, Young Life uses a different paradigm. Many of the communities where Young Life operates in Africa are impoverished and unable to adequately support Young Life locally. Currently, we’re raising approximately 5% of our annual budget in the continent of Africa, but are committed to raising that percentage over time and in fact have a goal of raising more than $1 million on the continent of Africa in the five-year period ending 2022.
Sponsorship sustains the core of our mission in Africa. Donors can partner with us directly as staff, country, camp or Developing Global Leader sponsors.
Staff and Country Sponsorships
Staff and country sponsorships provide resources necessary to reach teens in countries across the continent of Africa. They are relational – staff and country sponsorships enable our donors to form relationship directly with our African staff and view the impact their investment is making in the community they are funding. By placing our African staff into direct mission partnership with the individuals, families and churches that fund them, sponsors are able to lock arms with the African staff that are transforming their continent. They sustain us – country sponsorships require a $35,000 commitment annually for three years; staff sponsorships require a $12,000 annual commitment for three years. Staff and country sponsorships, when fully funded, cover our in-country operating costs. These sponsorships fuel our mission.
Transformation happens at Young Life camp. Kids pour in from every neighborhood and community, along the Young Life leader who has been with them in their homes and schools, forming relationships and modeling a life in Christ. Over three days at camp, these kids are given the time of their lives and are introduced to Jesus Christ. Before boarding the bus to return home, these kids are given an opportunity to make a commitment to follow this Jesus they have learned about at camp. It costs only $50 to send an African kid to Young Life camp; an entire camp of kids and leaders can be sponsored for $7,500 with our Camp Match program. Thousands of kids (nearly 2/3 of those that attend) give their lives to Christ at Young Life camps in Africa every year. These kids return home with the leader that brought them and begin the journey of discipleship.
If you would like to learn more about staff, country or camp sponsorship, please contact Candace Grisdale at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Developing Global Leader Sponsorships
Our Developing Global Leaders program allows selected Young Life Africa volunteer leaders to participate in a four-year leadership program, which includes a full scholarship to a local university, life-skills mentoring, and leadership training. These students continue to serve as volunteer Young Life leaders in their communities. Go here to give and learn more.
You can donate online.
You can write a check to:
Attn: Young Life Africa
Africa Development – XD410
420 N Cascade Ave
Colorado Springs, CO 80903-3325
You can go to Africa, pray and join a Regional Team.
We encourage anyone to go and see what Young Life Africa is all about. You’ll get a chance to serve alongside our amazing indigenous leaders who make Young Life happen in Africa! You can even join a Young Life Africa trip to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa at 19,341 ft! Check out Young Life Expeditions for more information.
Young Life Africa is part of the Young Life Africa/Middle East division within Young Life. This division works together to reach teens with the gospel in 27 countries. Our senior leaders meet, train, worship and fellowship alongside each other.
“Pamoja Pamoja” is a saying in Swahili that means “Together Together”
As it says in Acts 2, when we were “all together in one place” experiencing the power of the Holy Spirit to knit hearts and minds, we are all “together, together” (“pamoja, pamoja”) in the ministry of serving teenagers in Africa.
Get involved and find out what's happening in Young Life Africa