Seniors take over Younglife youth group, bring new changes


courtesy of Carsen Daniel

Junior Taylor Daniel squirts senior Lily Mitchell with syrup during the ice cream olympics on Aug. 17 hosted by Oxford Younglife.

Anna Barrett, Staff Writer

Oxford Younglife (YL) recently changed the set up of the club meetings that are held at a local house each week. For the first time, the high school seniors are taking charge of the event and inviting all students to participate in YL.

“I hated Younglife in high school,” Area Director Brian Spillman said. “I didn’t get it. I thought it was for the wild kids who pretended to be Christians. I didn’t understand that Younglife was not a Christian organization for Christian kids. It is an organization about Jesus for non-christian kids and Christian kids. It is for everybody regardless of who they are: black, white, gay, straight, democrat, republican, whoever they are. If we start to love people at the high school and tell them they are invited, then love could change things.”

According to Spillman, in order to have a successful club, students have to feel invited. Most students who claim to not like YL, have never attended one of the meetings. Students do not feel like they are welcome in this organization because they have never been invited, and that is what this group of seniors is attempting to change.

“The whole point of Younglife is to be a place where everyone feels loved and invited,” senior Cole Moore said. “One night a bunch of seniors met at Brian’s house to write down the names of every person we could think of and give them personal invitations to the next Younglife meeting.”

Not only are students invited to club by word of mouth, but also by their own curiosity after seeing posts on social media. These outlets cause many students to want to try out the club because they see the amount of love shared when their friends post photos or videos on their accounts.

“Social media is a huge influence with this generation of high schoolers,” small group leader Liz Rainer said, “We have an Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and Twitter to spread the word and remind people about Younglife events. Information about Younglife is even posted on Schoology.”

According to Moore, Oxford ran their YL club just like every other group. A couple of college leaders assigned to each grade would lead club every Monday, but this year, Spillman handed the club over to the high school seniors instead.

“I was at camp this summer at Sharptop Cove, and I was hanging out with some senior guys, and I asked them if they were excited for club this fall, and they said not really…If our seniors aren’t excited, who’s gonna be? I started dreaming and kind of scheming, and I realized that seniors in high school are tired of being in Younglife club as spectators; they are ready to be participants,” Spillman said.

This change has already shown positive results in just a few short weeks. According to Spillman, personal invites are what caused many people to come.

“This change is fantastic. We have tried to hold meetings and clubs and had a great turnout at all of our events. Brian has really turned Younglife into something awesome and he is helping lead more people to God than Oxford Younglife ever has,” Moore said, “Younglife is really making my senior year great. I’ve gotten closer to a lot of people and been given the opportunity to lead at club has really changed the way I live and love.”