Religion is something that has been part of cultures and societies for millennium. It has allowed for people to believe in a higher power and have helped to knit communities together. Young Life is an organization that is devoted to bring religion to a younger generation that sometimes can get lost in the fast paced culture that is our society.
Young Life's main goal is to allow a younger generation to establish their religion and also to grow in their faith with a group their own age in a relaxed atmosphere, rather than in a church setting.
In Shepherdstown the Young Life coordinator and Area Director is Joel Heslop, Shepherd University graduate. Heslop has been working to establish the Shepherd University branch of Young Life and is looking to expand it out into Jefferson County.
"I have some great college leaders working with me. They have really stepped up to plan and make things work. I hope to give them the reigns so they make it there's and I just get invited to things," Heslop said about the group that he started a year ago.
The Young Life organization is dedicated to their commitment to bring religion to the youth in today's society. To do this they help foster relationships between the youth and an older generation, this is meant to make lasting friendships and a connection that will help them establish their relationship with religion.
Along with fostering these relationships Young Life offers many the opportunities to participate in activities that allow interaction with not just each other, but also the community.
"(We) are looking forward to connecting with first years (at Shepherd) this year. We will be having an event at orientation and looking to try to have activities set up for the first week that students come back in the fall," Heslop explained.
Heslop also went on to tell about some of things that were done in the past year that have popular, which was anywhere from a simple late night barbeque to the group dressing up as lumberjacks and having a pancake dinner. The Young Life group has 30-35 active members, but each event is open to all that can make it.
"It's hard being a first time student, so we are trying to help bring some fun and a community to them. It doesn't matter if they believe what we believe in. It's just about wanting students to feel loved and accepted, and knowing that we are there," Heslop said.
Young Life as an organization has worked with high school and college aged people for years to find a place that is accepting of everyone, no matter if you have a religious base or if it is something new. Heslop is hoping to bring activities to not only Shepherd University, but also to the local high schools in the fall.
To learn more about Young Life or to help contact Joel Heslop at firstname.lastname@example.org or look at their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/shepherdyounglife. Young Life at Shepherd will meet on Tuesdays at 8:57 p.m. in the Rumsey Room.