By Karsyn White
The Parsons Advocate
In today’s society building a youth group from the ground up can be nothing short of a challenge. Although there is one organization that has exceled in guiding youth of different ages since 1941.
In the Spring of 2012 Young Life was introduced to the Tucker County area through its State Director Scott Berg and Elkins leader Heath Sizick. The two began their introduction by meeting with a group of local Pastors, presenting them with the offer of starting up this program. Which intern enabled them to point Berg and Sizick into the direction of Daniel ‘Chopper’ Evans who’s had previous work within youth ministry.
To get a feel for Young Life Evans and his college age son Josh Evans began attending meetings to learn about Jim Rayburn, the founder and the purpose for the youth ministry. That it is designed to meet kids in the school, giving them the right to be heard and loved on at all times. This objective has now been established in fifty states and one-hundred countries so why not Tucker County as well.
The County was officially added to the Eastern Mountain Young Life area after Chopper Evans became a qualified head leader. In which he did by completing training with Sizick, being an entry level Ordain Pastor and attending yearly classes or seminars. Although Evans suitability for the position was just the beginning of his journey. The next task would be to set up clubs and of course get kids to attend. This is typically the hardest part in sustaining a youth group but Evans said, “the beginning was just so exciting and new, we had so much fun, laughter and such unique presentations and that drew the kids in.” Seven years later and Evans has continued on with Young Life seeing it thrive through participating in fundraisers and benefiting from generous donations to help send a growing number of kids to camp.
Along the way he’s picked up some help from past teens such as Jonna Burnside, who is now the leader for Tucker County girls. As well as Logan Evans who’s helped introduce Young Life’s Middle School program called Wyld Life. Due to leaders like them every other week kids can gather at the ‘Our House Youth Ministry’ building across from Dollar General. Waiting through sunshine or rain clouds to spend an hour inside dancing, singing, playing games and watching fellow classmates and leaders participate in skits. Of course, throughout all the horse play Evans has prepared lessons that allow the teens to view gospel stories in a form that they’ve never seen before and relate it to themselves. With all this in place it seems that Tucker County Young Life has many years to look forward to.