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Style Magazine

Young Life

Feb 28, 2009 04:00PM ● By Super Admin

Growing up is one thing, but maturing into an adult with good judgment and sound leadership skills, who acts in good conscious powered by faith in themselves and a higher power, is why the nonprofit El Dorado County (EDC) Young Life exists. Even though the group is youth-centric, its program, says staff member Colleen Short, “starts with adults who are concerned enough about kids to go to them, on their turf and in their culture, to build bridges of authentic friendship.”

By fostering this connection, EDC Young Life – which works directly with county high schools and students, while its affiliated organization, Wyldlife, works in partnership with junior high schools in the area – is helping shape an entire generation of young people through its mission: “Introducing adolescents to Jesus Christ and helping them grow in their faith.”

Easier said than done, what with the sheer amount of exposure today’s youth has access to, not to mention a pervasive sense of cynicism that exists for many of these kids, and a lack of a genuine, healthy support system. To help accomplish its mission, however, EDC Young Life provides a faith-based program that emphasizes prayer, adult-adolescent relationship building, winning the right to be heard, and, as Short puts it, “helping young people develop the skills, assets and attitudes to reach their God-given potential.”

Armed with this enormous responsibility, EDC Young Life relies on a team of like-minded individuals that includes volunteer leaders, committee members, donors and staff, to provide positive experiences for group members that are fun, adventurous and life-changing. Among these activities are weekly meetings held at the homes of “Club Kids;” a week-long winter and summer camp; a Campaigners group bible study for kids who have been accepted at these camps; various fundraisers, and a variety of special events (Girls Night Out, for example).

EDC Young Life also assists with a number of community service projects around the county, and as such, works in partnership with such organizations as Chamber of Commerce affiliates in El Dorado Hills and Shingle Springs, and on behalf of several local events, including El Dorado Hills Art and Wine Affaire as well as that community’s Tree Lighting at Town Center and Community Family Fair, and the Cameron Park Show and Shine. “We want our kids to understand the importance of community service,” Short says. “We also are willing to help out the community in any way that is needed.”

Any student of junior high or high school age, who resides in El Dorado County, is welcome to join EDC Young Life. The nonprofit currently works directly with Oak Ridge, Ponderosa, and Golden Sierra High Schools, as well as with Marina Village, Rolling Hills, Pleasant Grove, and Camerado Middle Schools. Students who do not attend a public institution are still accepted into the group, so long as he or she meets the aforementioned age requirement. •

For more information about EDC Young Life, visit the group’s Web site online at, or call Colleen Short at 916-799-1992.