Christian group recruiting youths

by Teresa Byrd
Staff Writer | March 25, 2020 6:14 AM

Young Life Montana, a state chapter of the international ecumenical Christian youth ministry Young Life, is looking to expand its reach to Columbia Falls.

The organization’s mission is, “to help adolescents know Jesus through discipleships, mentorships, clubs, camps, and weekly bible study,” stated Keith Dow, the Montana-Northern Wyoming Young Life Director, in a recent press release distributed by the Gianforte Family Foundation, a major funder of Young Life Montana.

The Young Life Foundation is “about caring for kids,” says Dow. The group offers faith-based programming through weekly social events, summer camps, and athletic contests throughout the state, according to the press release. Billings, Bozeman, and Flathead Valley chapters minister to pregnant teens and teen moms through the Young Lives program.

Young Life Montana is expanding to several new locations across the state, most recently Belgrade and Red Lodge, said Dow. “[Those chapters] are up and running, but we still need volunteers and are always looking for more participants,” he said.

Young Life Foundation began in Texas in the 1930s when an elderly woman, concerned the town’s high schoolers were showing a declining interest in traditional church programs, recruited a group of Christians to pray for the local teens, according to information provided by the organization.

The foundation, now based out of Colorado Springs, continues to employ relational-style youth outreach, summed up in the words of an original founder, “The key to going deep with kids: spending time with them on their turf.” This approach eventually became known as “contact work,” and it’s been at the heart of Young Life’s mission ever since, says the organization’s website.

Young Life has grown to become active in over 100 countries, serving over 2 million young people worldwide. The new Columbia Falls group will join established chapters in Kalispell and Whitefish. For more information on Young Life or to volunteer, contact Dow at 425-422-3711.