Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Plano Young Life!
We hope you had the merriest of Christmases and the happiest of New Years! This December, we took a crew of juniors and seniors to Crooked Creek Ranch for our annual Young Life Ski Trip and IT. WAS. AWESOME. If we had to rate it on beautiful weather, amount of laughter, inches of powder, awesomeness of Club or time with friends it was definitely a 10/10. Some of us (me included) learned how to ski and experienced scary, yet courageous moments facing our first greens. Others dominated black diamonds and terrain parks, and a few simply enjoyed being in the snow and enjoying time with friends. All of us got to head back to what can only be compared to Narnia to have Young Life Club every night.
There is something special about getting away to a new, beautiful place and experiencing adventure with your friends. I don't think it was just going skiing or just being at a Young Life Camp that made Ski Trip what it was. It was the community and the gift of doing life together combined with learning more and more of who Jesus is every single day. When Jesus walked with his disciples, he referred to so many things around him to explain the Kingdom of Heaven, our need for a Savior and the Love of God. From birds to coins to sheep to a Prodigal Son, he used parables and analogies to teach us. On Ski Trip, instead of birds and coins, we had a snow capped mountain that gave us many analogies of what it looked like to follow Jesus. We had to learn to trust our instructors, be patient with beginners, not give up when we were only half-way down, be content with our limits, bring darkness to light, and have thankful hearts to be in one of the most beautiful places on earth. Following JesusLike I said, it was awesome!
Check out the video below to see Ski Trip from a West Plano girl's perspective :)
As I think back over the past three months of Young Life, they have been jam packed, filled with activities, adventures, and lots of conversations. This semester has been marked by the usual fall happenings of lunches, club, campaigners, pep rallies, volleyball games, football games, conversations over coffee, two different weekend camp trips, a night in cowboy’s stadium for our middle school friends, and so much more.
From the outside looking in this semester has been filled with smiles and laughter that fill rooms across Plano on most every night of the week, but a deeper look would reveal sweet and tender relationships between kids and their leaders that are filled with conversations in which kids share life's joys, celebrations, hurt, loss, and pains.
I’m prone to want to fix things, to save others from their own situations, but as young life leaders we’re called to something different. We're called to share life with kids, to love them in the midst of their brokenness, to celebrate their joys, to suffer in their sorrows, and to walk along side them no matter what life brings. Therefore the pain that life brings in kids lives, is impossible to ignore.
As we’re entering into the holiday season, I’m reminded that there is hope. That all the loss, pain, and hurt kids experience, is overshadowed by the life and light that Christ offers and provides. In John 8:12 it says, “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." This is my hope our high school and middle school friends in Plano. That they will know and live in the light that Christ provides and that even in the midst of pain and hurt, there is hope!
2 weeks ago today we arrived back in Plano from Frontier Ranch! It may have been a day early, but let me assure you, we got to have the BEST WEEK of our lives! The days were full and went by fast, days full of adventure and laughter and so much fun. We dressed up like Carrots and (Frontier) Ranch, rappelled off the side of a cliff, made new friends and learned a lot about who Jesus is. We say that it's the best week ever because it really, really is.
Young Life camp was one week of the summer where the weather was beautiful every day, where we ate dinner around a round table with good friends every night, where laughter was genuine and deep and ongoing, where adventure waited around the corner, where we felt safe and heard and loved. Young Life camp was THE BEST WEEK OF OUR LIVES!
Just because we're not in the mountains anymore, doesn't mean the adventure has to stop! Since we've been back we've had Summer Campaigners and Camp Follow-up making the awesomeness of Camp continue. We've gone bowling, went to THE Thunderbird Roller Rink, treated ourselves to Bahama Bucks and sand volleyball! Up next... we leave for another week at Frontier Ranch next weekend!
Senior year, wowza. The time definitely flew by, like everyone always warned. But I also have had some extra time on my hands. Time to reflect and time to cherish what I’ve put into my past 4 whirl-wind years of high school. Here’s a glimpse of what I’ve learned:
As I’ve witnessed at Plano West, a lot of the struggles of high school students (well, myself definitely) involve identity. “Who am I?" or "Who do I want to appear as to others?” are questions at the forefronts of our minds. The answers are what a lot of us are searching for, maybe even subconsciously. We’re longing for something or someone to define us and make us feel important. Maybe that longing can be satisfied by a boyfriend or straight A’s, but what I’ve come to find is that kind of fulfillment is oh so temporary.
My personal identity crisis led to look for approval and a sense of belonging in good things like school, boys, leadership positions, etc; but nowhere did I find more belonging than at Young Life. Freshman year I was hooked. Really cool kids went to Young Life and we had so much silly, genuine fun and the leaders always seemed to care about how I was doing. I subconsciously began to put my identity into Young Life, spending all my free time there and hanging out with my Young Life friends. I felt the happiest when I was there and something about my time at Young Life was different from the rest of my activities. The people seemed so joyful, so care-free and my leaders’ constant pursuance to get to know me was so odd but refreshing! Clearly, I found a different kind of acceptance at Young Life and it wasn’t until at Frontier Ranch that I realized why that was. It should’ve been pretty obvious because we talked about it at the end of every club and campaigners…. But, this maybe it was this guy named Jesus! He is love and my leaders love me differently than any other people I had met… Oh. Yep.
Jesus is why Young Life was different from anywhere else, He is why my leaders love me so well and why we have joy. While I believe Young Life is one of the greatest things you can do in high school, its purpose is to point to something greater, toshow kids like me that there is something (or maybe I should say someone) bigger than our earthly titles or thingsthat we can put our identity in. Jesus, people, we can come unfulfilled and broken and find life and a perfect identity in Him.
So, through the eyes of a senior, I would like to thank Plano Young Life for all the laughs, memories and friendships that have filled my high school days. But more importantly, thank you for showing us what unending love and perfect identity we have in Jesus. That He is fufillement forever.
Love, Lauren Sharrock
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" 2 Corinthians 5:17
Sunburns are fading and golf clubs have been cleaned and our 5th Annual Golf Tournament has come to an end. As my friend Jim Carey with Gleneagles would say, it was a day that began with “humble beginnings.” With thunderclouds rolling out in the morning and clouds in the early afternoon, it ended up being an absolutely beautiful day.
Golf Tournament ranks in my top five favorite times of the year. I love the atmosphere that the day brings. It is so much more than a day of golf: it brings fellowship, laughter, and an overall calm- because, when you’re with your friends and scores aren’t the end of the world, who can have a bad day on a golf course? We got to share the mission of Young Life and what we’re doing in Plano with men from across the Metroplex. We got to tell them about our privilege of bringing kids to the feet of Jesus and the joy of sharing the good news that there is a man named Jesus who loves them and wants to be in a relationship with them.
I can’t believe it’s over and I miss the atmosphere of the day already, but we can’t wait until next year! With humble beginnings we started the day and with humble beginnings we start relationships with students all over Plano in the hopes that they would know more about this amazing Love. Thank you for those of you who came and supported us. Your support makes Young Life possible and we are so grateful for you!
Y'all. It felt like we were at Frontier Ranch! Music was blasting, the gaga-ball pit was packed, knock-out basketball games were never-ending, hundreds of shirts were sold at $5 a piece and over 500 kids came from across the Metroplex for the biggest Club of the Spring.
On Monday night, high school kids from Frisco, Allen, McKinney, Richardson, Melissa, Sherman and Plano rushed into the Watermark Plano sanctuary-turned-Club-room for an epic night of Young Life. We went "bananas," spontaneously body surfed, played ultimate body twister, sang at the top of our lungs, slam-dunked fish and heard the truth of the Gospel with new friends in a new place. It. Was. Awesome.
As Brad took some freshmen guys home, they couldn't stop talking about how much fun they had at Club. When he told them that every single night at Frontier Ranch has a YL Club just like that, they spent the rest of the ride home talking about what friends they could invite to experience in Colorado what they had just experienced on a Monday night in Plano, TX. How great is that?!
It is Jesus' constant invitation, "Come and see!" Come and see fun and community and joy. Come and see that He is God, that He loves you and that you are made to be in relationship with Him. Come and see!
This time last week I was in Jasper, Georgia with some of the senior guys from Plano West. We set out on the thirteen hour drive with two objectives: to get away from the fast paced city life and to make memories. We succeeded in both! I have gotten to know these guys though club, campaigners, and football games, etc. throughout the year and it was a treat to spend some time away with them. We fished out on the lake, played Frisbee golf at a Young Life Camp, and spent several hours playing Lord Of the Rings Monopoly. As you could imagine there was a large amount of laughter, snacking, and bickering (we did play Monopoly after all), and we also had some serious conversations about life.
Meet the crew! I am grateful to have gotten to know them over this past year, and the thought of them graduating soon is truly a tear jerker. My hope is that we continue to make memories even after they leave for school, and that we continue to have deep friendships forged in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Last fall Plano and Richardson joined together to embark on the new adventure of YoungLives - Young Life’s ministry for teen moms.Twice a month these sweet moms come from all three senior high’s in Plano and all three high school’s in Richardson for club and campaigners.But don’t be mistaken, club at YoungLives looks quite different than your typical Young Life club.To start picture children and babies everywhere filling a room with laughter and some tears as babies are passed around, toddlers are chasing each other, while others are trying to figure out how to crawl or walk to keep up with it all.The night begins with dinner where mentors, moms, and kiddos all gather around tables to talk, share and eat.After dinner moms and sometimes kids too make a craft that they can bring home that night.Then finally all kids are handed over to our amazing childcare volunteers, so that their mamma’s can catch a much deserved break during club where they sing, dance, laugh a lot, and get to hear that they are dearly loved and adored by our heavenly father. At our first club ever we met 13 precious girls and since then we’ve more than doubled in club attendance, with our last club having almost 30 sweet moms and their kiddos!Our first few months in YoungLives have been nothing short of an adventure, but some highlights have been an all regional Bunco night, a campaigners Thanksgiving feast, and having Santa Clause come to club at Christmas!We’ll celebrate St. Patrick’s day in style this upcoming Thursday at club and are looking forward to all that spring has in store, and of course camp this summer where we get to take our babies too!If you’re ever in need of some love, we have plenty of sweet babies to hold and hilarious toddlers who love to run around and be cuddled, come spend a night with us!
One club down and six more to go! Y’all, this life with middle school students is high packed energy, fun and laughter! We went on an all night Bus Tour on January 23rd and it was so much fun. With all our kiddos and our high school leaders, we loaded up some Yellow Buses and crawled down the highway to the Mavericks game. There were over 600 middle school students and 60 volunteers and staff adults packed into a sold out game. It was WYLD. From there, we went to Jump Street and jumped out some more energy and then headed to Wyldlife Club at Greenville Church in Allen to jump around and sing some more! We got to hear the Great News that night that Jesus wants us to trust Him in the midst of “storms” in our life’s and that He cares about us. We finished the night at Main Event with more running around in Lazer Tag, games and bowling. From start to finish, the night was full of laughter and fun. Needless to say, we were sweaty and tired by the end of it, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Bus tour kicked off our semester and led us to our first Spring Wyldlife Club back at the Muehlenbeck center with a “Minute to Win It” themed club. Who doesn’t love a bunch of “Minute to Win It” games packed into one hour? That night I got to tell them more about who Jesus is and that He says “I am the Bread of Life.” I got to share the truth that Jesus wants us to find our full satisfaction in Him AND that He meets us in the midst of our anger and frustration and in our happiness and laughter. Getting to share just a little piece of who Jesus is to them is one of my favorite things. It is a privilege to have their attention for a mere 7 minutes so that we get to learn more of the God who created us and who loves us.
Young Life in Plano, TX exists to introduce kids to Jesus Christ and help them grow in their faith.
We currently have Young Life in West Plano at Shepton, Jasper and Plano West; East Plano at McMillen and Plano East. We also serve middle schools in East and West Plano through WyldLife. Check out theYoung Lifepage for more info!