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Youth connect with religion through Young Life

Organization open to adolescents, teens and college students

by Olivia Murray

 The Young Life organization is bringing spiritualism into the lives of West Virginia youth and reconnecting young adults with their faith.

Young Life College Director Heath Sizick said  the purpose of the organization is to not only assist adolescents in forging relationships with each other, but to help them create a relationship with religion as well. 

“The purpose of Young Life is to build bridges of authentic friendships with adolescents and to introduce Jesus Christ to them and help them follow Him if they choose,” said Sizick.

Sizick became a part of the organization in 2000, when he joined the Young Life staff in Erie, Pa.

Since then, Sizick said   he has benefited much from his participation in the organization. 

“I have grown much in my love for Jesus and Scripture,” Sizick stated. “In addition, I have developed great relationships with students over 20 years — many that I am still actively in contact with.”

The size of Young Life meetings and events has been significantly reduced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the group still converges in small parties.

The Monongalia County branch of the organization is open to middle-school, high-school and college students. There is  also a Young Life program called Capernaum for students with disabilities.

“In general, from a program perspective, we do resort camping in the summer, large group meetings called Club, and smaller Bible studies called Campaigners,” Sizick said. “However, the heartbeat of Young Life are leaders hanging out with students and building lifelong friendships outside of a programmatic setting.”

On Sept. 21, Young Life held the  organization’s second golf tournament. In attendance was Nate Scott, a Fairmont resident attending West Virginia University, who won the tournament’s hole-in-one contest by “sinking a 60-foot putt,” according to Sizick.

Scott was originally involved in Young Life in  high school, though he separated himself from the group before finding it again after he started college. He is now a Young Life leader in Fairmont.

“Being a Young Life leader and being involved in Young Life helps push me to be closer to Christ, and as much like Jesus as possible,”  Scott said. “I’ve been surrounded by so many wonderful people — it doesn’t get better than that.”

The day  Scott won the contest, he told his roommate, Frank, “I’m going to win that putting  contest today.” Scott said  while he isn’t “the greatest putter ever,” it felt “fantastic” to win the contest and the $2,500 prize. “It’s about the closest I’ll ever come to feeling like Tiger [Woods], so I’ll take it,” Scott said.

With the cash prize  from the contest, Scott plans to pay off his new car and other bills, so  he won’t have to work over the upcoming holiday breaks and can spend more time with his mother in Bridgeport.

“You really don’t join Young Life, you just come,”  Sizick said. “But we love to have students check it out because it’s safe, inclusive and fun. We believe students will find authentic relationships.”

In addition to the programs for middle-school, high-school and college students, Young Life also has a committee on which adults can serve. 

“We always look for more adults who want to get involved and help us out,” Sizick said.

Those interested in participating in the Young Life organization should contact  Sizick by emailing

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