YoungLife: For Teens at Their Own Pace

Publishing Date: May 14, 2023 3:30 am

By Elizabeth Matthews

YoungLife Youth Ministry is a national organization that seeks to reach young people with the message of the gospel.

It’s not your standard youth group, but a youth mission reaching students that may not necessarily feel comfortable going to church.

YoungLife is powered through volunteers from young adults to retirees who build relationships with young people throughout the year with weekly meetups at the beach, skate park or other places they feel comfortable, culminating in a weeklong sleepaway camp.

The local Nassau County group is run by Area Director Dan Binnette, whose life is dedicated to kids. He’s been involved in the organization for 20 years, as a student, a volunteer and now on staff. He truly believes in the mission of introducing adolescents to Jesus and helping them grow in their faith. Dan says, “YoungLife is here to try and reach every student to let them know that God loves them.”

Mentoring relationships are also an important part of YoungLife’s work. These relationships are formed between young people and adult volunteers who serve as mentors and positive role models. Mentors provide guidance, support, and encouragement to the young people they work with, helping them to navigate the challenges of adolescence and develop a stronger sense of purpose and direction.

YoungLife is always looking for volunteers, who have a heart for kids, to connect with young people and grow the program. The demographic scope is middle and high schoolers. YoungLife meets the students where they are. YoungLife understands that every kid is unique, therefore, there are branches of Younglife groups such as Capernaum for teens with disabilities and WyldLife for middle schoolers.

Capernaum serves youth with special needs and gives them an opportunity to enjoy time and activities outside of school settings and attend camp with other YoungLife members.

There is a cost associated with the annual YoungLife camp that can be a hardship for some teens and their families. YoungLife groups hold fundraisers throughout the community.

Nassau County’s YoungLife group is having a spaghetti dinner fundraiser at The Tavern by AIBC on June 5, 2023, from 5-8 p.m. (no reservation required). You can purchase tickets at The Alley next door, on the night of the event. The Tavern by AIBC is at 318 Centre St., Fernandina Beach.

The majority of the money raised will go directly to fund the campers. You can also give or learn more about your local YoungLife chapter at

When asked what sets YoungLife apart, Dan said, “We want to bridge the gap between kids who don’t have the same philosophy or who have questions about God. They can ask questions without feeling judged.”

YoungLife is a special program in which young people can explore their faith at their own pace and in their own way.

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Mark Tomes
Mark Tomes(@mtomes)
21 days ago

I would just caution parents to be careful about their kids getting involved in different religious organizations. I snuck into one evangelical church’s youth group (parents were “not allowed to be there”), when my son was a teenager years ago, and I heard them say that the kids didn’t have to talk to their parents or their coaches about the kids’ questions about the churches message; they had youth leaders they could talk to instead. It was very cultish. They had tons of fun activities for kids, which, in my opinion, lured them in to hear false message of Christianity. Just be careful, and be sure to be involved in where your children are going and what they are hearing.

Richard Cain
Richard Cain (@guest_69523)
21 days ago
Reply to  Mark Tomes

That you would respond to this article in this way surprises me not in the least.

Roy Chisolm
Roy Chisolm (@guest_69548)
20 days ago
Reply to  Mark Tomes

I’m sure your son was proud of you. Did you dress up like a teenager?

Peg Scherr
Peg Scherr (@guest_69556)
20 days ago
Reply to  Mark Tomes

As a parent, researching and evaluating a youth organization is sound advice. There are many wonderful groups for children and young adults and they can provide a rewarding experience for them that will provide good memories for their entire life. No matter what type of group it is, parents need to check out the leadership and get recommendations from people that they trust.

bob (@guest_69521)
21 days ago

Hearing Christ’s message of spiritual salvation from a world gone mad was my turning point at 19 years old. Although I had spent my entire life in church to that point, Jesus was just another authority figure that I rebelled against. Thanks to that wonderful family that shared the gospel with me over a long period, I came to believe and understand the ‘real’ Jesus Christ. He too, was a rebel and fought against the system, something that a teenager could relate to. In time, I have learned the love of God as something more than tolerance of bad behavior and accepting cultural norms. I’m thankful every day for those wonderful friends, and the grace of our Creator.

21 days ago

Sounds like a well organized brainwashing organization to me. Trying to get them while they are young and impressionable.

Richard Cain
Richard Cain (@guest_69526)
21 days ago
Reply to  Bob

You are one sick puppy.

Doug (@guest_69527)
21 days ago
Reply to  Bob

Truth isn’t brainwashing! It’s life saving!

William Gower
William Gower (@guest_69534)
21 days ago

I know YoungLife (YL). I believe in the message and role model YL provides for our youth.I also have experienced the physical, mental, and spiritual strength YL brings to our everyday life. Also, I have worked with and had friends who credit their happiness and personal well- being to YL. Finally, I also know Dan Binnette and cannot say enough good things about him and the outstanding leadership he brings to our young people as they navigate the challenging society we all find ourselves living in each day.
Support YL in any way you can…it is a worthy investment in our greatest asset – our youth.

Doug (@guest_69539)
20 days ago
Reply to  William Gower

Well said!!

Kelly (@guest_69537)
20 days ago

I remember these YL folks when I was in high school many years ago. It seemed rather weird at the time that they had access to schools and were always roaming the hallways. Hopefully YL does not have the same access to schools here in FB. Religion has no place in our public schools.

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