I am incredibly excited. Tomorrow morning I will be waking up at 6:30 am to meet up with some of the most incredible people I have ever met. In previous blog posts, and twitter updates, I have mentioned I am a volunteer Young Life (YL) leader. Young Life is a non-profit christian high school outreach program. It is unlike any other youth group I have experienced. Young Life’s mission statement is simple: Every adolescent will have the opportunity to meet Jesus Christ and follow Him (I understand some Punch Debt readers may not share the same beliefs that I hold and that is fine, to each their own). This week, myself and five other young adults will be taking a bus of 50 rambunctious high school kids to Lost Canyon Young Life camp in Williams, AZ.
I have been heavily involved in YL for eight years now. I started as a participant my junior year of high school and have volunteer lead for both high school and middle school groups ever since. When outsiders think of San Diego, they often envision beaches, fast cars, and big houses. In reality, only a small percentage of San Diego residents live this life style. I lead YL at a high school in which over half the student body is bussed in from all across the county (basiclly meaning 50% of the student body should be attending a different high school). Why are they bussed in? Because the high school near these kids’ homes are too dangerous for them to attend. These kids literally wake up every morning at 5 am to take a one hour bus ride across the city so they can get a decent education. I have been leading at this school for two years now and have gotten to know the kids pretty well.
Spending time with high schoolers serves as a humble reminder how good we (meaning most people reading this) really have it. We may worry about our overwhelming debt, or how we are going to make the next mortgage payment, but few have dealt with the issues these high school kids face every day.
One of my favorite students, Yonis (pronounced Yo-niss), has one of the most incredible stories ever. He was born and raised in Africa. As most know, Africa is not the best place to be right now. Tribal warfare and child abduction is rampant. At 8 years old, Yonis witnessed the murder of his parents and siblings. I need not go in to further detail, but understand, Yonis has faced something none of us probably will. He now resides with his aunt, uncle and 8 cousins, in a small three bedroom house. Yonis is coming to camp with us. Yonis is going to have the best week of his life.
This week at camp 50 kids have the opportunity to take a vacation from their broken families and abusive parents. They will experience seven days of love, excitement, and good ole fashion crazy fun. I am excited to spend the next week of my life with some of the most inspiring individuals I will ever meet. Does this article have anything to do with personal finance? No, but I hope it reminds us to be thankful for what we have (no matter how crappy things may seem) as well as our responsibility to help those in need.
I encourage you to check out the clip below. It is a short video about the camp resort these high schoolers will be attending this week.
*p.s. What’s really cool is these kids would not be able to afford the camp costs, but we had someone donate $30,000 for camp this summer to fill up a bus of kids. It’s stories like this that make me want to be wealthy.*