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Literacy Ethnography

Literacy Ethnography

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Published by Meghan Young

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Published by: Meghan Young on Nov 30, 2012
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Meghan YoungMr. BorreroENG 110111/25/12
Project #2 Literacy Ethnography:
Young Life
The purpose of this essay is to examine how the leaders of Young Life at UNC Charlotteand the Cabarrus County high schools engage with literacy in order to teach the word of God toyoung adults and teenagers. In order to achieve this I will be observing the Young Life campaigngroup at UNC Charlotte; as well as traveling to different. By the end of my ethnography researchI not only plan to learn how literacy influences Young Life leaders, but I also hope to learn formyself what it will take to one day become a Young Life leader in my community.Young Life is a Christian non-
denominational Youth ministry that “Believes in the power 
of presence, and that kids' lives are dramatically impacted when caring adults come alongsidethem, sharing God's love with them. Because their Young Life leader believes in them, theybegin to see that their lives have g
reat worth, meaning and purpose,” (Young Life). Another 
thing that Young Life makes a big point of doing is going to the kids instead of them having tocome to a church. They want kids to feel comfortable and to be in their own atmosphere. Theyalso want kids to be able to not be ashamed of who they are and know that they are accepted nomatter who they are as stated clearly on their website-
Young Life brings the good news of Jesus Christ into the lives of adolescents with an approach that is respectful of who kids are andhopeful about who they can be
,” (Young Life).“Young Life was started in 1938 when a young Pre
sbyterian youth leader in Gainesville,Texas, named Jim Rayburn was given a challenge. A local minister invited him to consider theneighborhood high school as his parish and develop ways of connecting with kids who had no
Meghan YoungMr. BorreroENG 110111/25/12interest in church,
(Ministry Wa
tch) “Rayburn graduated from seminary in 1941, he
collaborated with four other seminarians, and by Oct. 6, 1941 Young Life was incorporated. By1946, Young Life moved to a new headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo. and the staff grew to20 men and women across several states. Volunteer leadership then began at Wheaton College,Illinois, in the late 1940s,
(Ministry Watch).
“Prior to the 1960s, Young Life directed its
ministry almost completely to suburban high school students, but by 1972 it started ministries inapproximately 25 multi-ethnic and urban areas. Today, Young Life is in more than 700 urbancommunities meeting the unique needs of inner-city young people,
(Ministry Watch). Alsotoday in Young Life the focus is not only on High Schools. Young Life has spread to MiddleSchool, where the roots are first established, and in College, where people who have a strongfoundation in Christ are encouraged to become Young Life Leaders. Each week on average inthe United States alone Young Life currently reaches 124,679 kids (Young Life).While over the years Young Life has spread nationwide and worldwide and has becomeone of the largest youth ministries in the United States reaching kids from ages 12-
23 its’
mission has remained the same-
“to introduce adolescents to Jesus Christ and to help them growin their faith,” (Young Life) In order to do this the kids in Young Life are reached by leaders in a
certain order of 
steps called the “Five C’s”, Contact Work, Club, Camp, Campaigners and
Committee. (Young Life) Each of these steps or approaches is in a specific order that Young Lifehas tested and found most efficient.Contact Work is where it all begins. This is where the Young Life leaders cross onto the
kids’ turf in order to create a relationship. It might mean the leaders attend basketball games,
school plays, football games, or any other school event. It is important for Contact Work to
Meghan YoungMr. BorreroENG 110111/25/12
happen first because “kids
don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,”
and by going to school events where the students are shows them that you care about who they
are as well as who they can be, (Young Life). Next comes Club or as they say “the party with a
rpose” this is where the kids meet once a week to have a good time (Young Life). The night
starts with music and a dance party followed by a game that gets everybody to work together andlearn about each other and before the end of the night a message is s
hared about God’s love for them, (Young Life). Club is the start to enriching kids’ lives with the power of God while Campis the time when kids’ lives are completely changed. Many kids’ describe it as “the best week of 
their lives, for the main reason that they are having so much fun while constantly growing deeper
in their faith and experiencing the greatest love story ever told,” (Young Life) Once kids start
that deeper relationship that is formed during Camp week they crave more than the shortmessage that is given in Club which is why Campaigners was started. Campaigners meetsweekly just like Club except it is for the kids that wish to grow deeper in their faith throughstudy and prayer with Young Life Leaders. The final step to reaching hundreds of thousands of 
kids each week doesn’t necessarily come after Campaigners because it is Committee. Committee
is the backbone of the whole Young Life operation and is the reason it all happens. Since YoungLife is a non-profit organization each plant is supported by a local committee consisting of -
“local parents, Young Life alumni and civic leaders who provide
a foundation of financial,administrative and moral suppor
t for the local Young Life team,” (Young Life) Along with the“Five C’s” Young Life also reach
es their mission through
nurturing kids so they might grow intheir love for Christ and the knowledge of God's Word and become people who can share theirfaith with others.

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