This past weekend Young Life leaders, staff, and committee from IL and IN met at Lake Lawn Lodge for a weekend of training, fellowship, encouragement, and fun before fully diving into the second semester of Young Life. I have great memories of this weekend – as a volunteer leader I would drive up late Saturday evening after a Trinity basketball game to join the Hinsdale Central leadership team. I think I got lost every year. I remember lots of laughter and games, and being inspired by the enormous amount of other people who were doing the same thing I was doing. I remember hoping to find a nice Christian boyfriend (thankfully that one never panned out).
As a Young Life staff associate, my memories are a bit more profound – I got to take high school WyldLife leaders away for the weekend and paint a picture of what their college experiences could be like. Filled with community, purpose, worship, and genuine laughter. I got to lead seminars on my favorite topic – WyldLife – and still hope I might meet a nice Christian boyfriend (still thankful that never panned out).
This past weekend I read a lot of tweets coming from the 600 participants of the MCC weekend – while they brought back many fond memories, they also brought out two distinctive responses: loneliness and hope. I felt a bit lonely because the reality is YL Guatemala consists of 5 staff and a handful of volunteer leaders. We’re itty bitty and at times it feels like we’re flying solo. It’s hard to explain our mission and vision and we have to take an 18 hour bus ride to Nicaragua to find that big group of people who do.
But it also gave me a renewed vision and hope for our future here in Guatemala. YL has been in Guate for a measly 8 years. YL has been in Chicagoland for 65 years. That’s a long time. What will YL Guate look like 50 years down the road? Our dream as a staff is that we continue to spread out from our starting point – both within the City and outside it. Maybe 50 years down the road Grandma Annette will get to come celebrate for a weekend with 600 YL leaders and staff somewhere in Guatemala.
That’s a fun vision to think about, to dream about, and even more fun to move toward.