Young Life volunteers from throughout the state come to Galena


Photo by Sarah Brown

Young Life volunteers and local supporters, along with the Galena student members of the club, gather in the SHS elementary gym during a club meeting in late January.

By DOROTHY WILLIAMS, staff writer

Young Life representatives from all over the state gathered to Galena during the last week of January to encourage and train the people who are in charge of their Young Life in their local communities.

“I want kids all over this state to know that they are loved and that there is a God who deeply loves them,” said Alaska Young Life regional director Brent Cunningham.

Young Life gathers all the folks who are in charge of Young Life in their local community three times a year for encouragement and training. That’s what this year’s meeting in Galena was. There were 25 Young Life supporters and volunteers from all around the state who gathered in Galena for encouragement in Christ and to be trained in Young Life.

Young Life participants sing a song during their gathering in the SHS elementary gym.
Young Life participants sing during their gathering in the SHS elementary gym.

“That is why we are here in Alaska and that is what is keeping us here. Young Life is a great vehicle for kids to have fun, know they are loved, and hear about Jesus,” said Mr. Cunningham.

The main speaker at the conference was Mike Ashburn, special assistant to the president of Young Life. He’s from Indiana. His main focus was to remind local Young Life volunteers to maintain a strong relationship with Jesus so they could share that message with young people, said Kim Kopp, Galena Young Life area director. There are 17 adults who volunteer for Young Life in Galena.

After joining Young Life in high school, Mr. Cunningham got involved in his local youth group in Kirkland, Wash., at a local church. After working as a high school math teacher and being a Young Life volunteer leader for 10 years, he then moved to Sitka be the first full-time Young Life staff ever 14 years ago.

Mr. Cunningham transitioned into the Alaska state director role three years ago.