Young Life, a campus ministry that used to be known as The Well, was newly recognized as an organization on campus by the Student Senate on Feb. 11.
The organization is a nondenominational religious group for students and community members.
Young Life is a national organization running summer camps across 18 states and local club meetings as part of many high schools, colleges and universities across the U.S.
At Northwest, Young Life holds weekly meetings along with Bible studies.
Kylie Miller, a junior biology/psychology major, is the head student leader of Young Life at Northwest. She said her parents and older brother, Zac Miller, who graduated from Northwest two years ago, were involved with Young Life when she was growing up.
When she was in middle school, Kylie Miller was a part of Wild Life, which is the middle school’s version of Young Life.
“My parents both came to know Christ through Young Life, so it has always been an important part of my family’s faith journey,” Kylie Miller said.
Kylie Miller said she has been attending Young Life and WyldLife meetings with her family since she was a toddler and started going to her own meetings when she was in seventh grade.
Kylie Miller helps coordinate the other leaders and makes sure they have everything they need to be leaders of the group. Kylie Miller said in a message that the leaders of Young life run the club. They organize games, make announcements and make sure everyone feels cared for and welcomed by the campus ministry.
Kylie Miller said Young Life at Northwest is hosted off campus, but it is looking to move on campus in the fall of 2020. The group meets every Wednesday at 7:57 p.m. Women’s Bible study meets every Monday, and the men’s Bible study meets every Friday.
Two years ago, Kylie Miller, her brother Zac Miller and a few of their friends started The Well, another campus ministry, off campus that had the same core values as Kylie Miller’s church, Wellspring, which was founded by Kylie Miller’s father, Bob Miller.
After Zac Miller graduated from Northwest in 2018, he began as a part-time staff member with Young Life. Kylie Miller said when she and Zac Miller found out Missouri Western had started a Young Life group three years ago, they decided they wanted to bring Young Life to Northwest. The siblings decided to change The Well to Young Life in fall 2019.
Zac Miller also grew up around Young Life with his family and sister. After he graduated, Zac Miller received a part-time position at Missouri Western State University’s Young Life last year.
Zac Miller said Young Life is about loving people no matter where they are in life. He also said that the organization does not have any expectations for members or people thinking about joining Young Life. He simply wants people to come and feel encouraged by their fellow Young Life members.
“Creating a compelling community,” was the overall reason behind Young Life, Zac Miller said.
“(Young Life) focuses a lot more on, creating the relationship (with Jesus) before you’re even ever sharing Jesus with people,” Kylie Miller said when she explained how Young Life is different from other campus ministries. There are nine other campus religious organizations recognized on campus, including: Seven Thunders Club, Christian Campus House, Campus Crusade for Christ, Indian Student Association, Muslim Students’ Association, Newman Catholic Center, The Bridge Collegiate Ministry, The Lighthouse and Wesley Student Center.
Erinn Fitzgerald, a junior, is a leader of Young Life. Fitzgerald said she was invited by a friend to go to The Well and has stayed with the group throughout the transition from The Well to Young Life. She has been a part of the group for three years.
“I was just hooked from the moment I was around everyone. I felt really welcomed and very invited,” Fitzgerald said as she described her first experiences with The Well and Young Life.