Young Life working for Davie students

Published 10:28 am Thursday, November 8, 2018

Davie County Young Life (DCYL) held its sixth annual fundraising banquet Tuesday, Oct. 30 at Calvary West.

There were 265 guests  in attendance. Before arriving, all guests were asked to “put on their boots and saddle up” to walk into the venue that had been transformed into the Wild West.

Guests were entertained with rodeo clown antics, skits, and a cotton-eyed Joe dance contest.  Thanks to the Kelley Foundation and 11 other local business sponsors, 100 percent of the funds raised will go to the annual budget for DCYL.

An increasing number of kids in the high schools and middle schools are attending club events offered by DCYL. Due to the increase in involvement of middle school students, a new full-time staff associate will focus on this segment of the ministry. Suzzie Jones joined the team in September.  She spoke to guests highlighting that there are 11 adults in the community leading Wyldlife alongside her. An average of 50 kids regularly attend Wyldlife club meetings in the Farmington Community Center a couple of Friday nights a month.

Jones had been a volunteer leader for Wyldlife in Charlotte. She is from Christiansburg, Va. and graduated from Johnson and Wales University with a degree in baking and pastry arts and food and beverage entrepreneurship. Her love for baking remains, but her passion and calling to work in ministry with middle schoolers is what led her to Davie County. She gets the opportunity to get to know middle schoolers, earning their trust to hear their questions and struggles, and gets to share Jesus with them in a way they can understand and relate.

Justin Hepler, Davie County’s area director and his wife, Caroline, continue to lead the ministry. He spoke of some of his opportunities to engage in significant conversations with high schoolers by being available, walking alongside them in difficult life situations, and sharing the truth about God and His love for them. Hepler emphasized how Young Life values the local church and encourages students to be active in a church of their choice.

High school students meet Tuesday nights at 7:32 for Davie County Young Life club, also at Farmington Community Center. Club gathers high schoolers for a “party with a purpose,” and a simple message about God’s love for them just the way they are. Campaigners is a weekly meeting  on Thursdays during lunch in Ms. Sizemore’s room, for kids who wish to learn more or grow in their faith through study, service, and leadership.

The banquet guests experienced a club-like atmosphere when students flooded onto the stage dancing to music and then shifted gears to quietly support their fellow student, Grace Garner, while she spoke. She shared how God drew her into a life of faith in Him after showing her that chasing significance everywhere else is empty. She stated how thankful she is for new faith and for the strong friendships in the group of students that surrounded her as she spoke.

Students left the stage and returned the table of guests that they had served and shared what Young Life has meant to them. Students shared how Young Life has impacted their lives. Many kids value how DCYL offers a time for them to leave the pressures of life behind and simply be themselves while exploring what they believe and learning what the Bible says.

David Page was the keynote speaker. He is the Young Life area director in Greensboro and the associate regional director. He has been on staff with Young Life for more than 23 years. Page’s message was based on the story of the blind beggar, Bartimaeus, out of Mark 10:46-52.

Page linked how all of us are begging to belong and to be healed. He also shared a story of a time he saved a young boy and his father caught in a riptide at the beach. His first thought was, “the ones who try to be heroes usually die.” Regardless of that thought, he gathered up the courage to take a boogie board and head into the choppy waters and pulled  the boy  and his father back to the shore. Page told the guests that the dollars they give to the DCYL are used to essentially purchase “boogie boards” which are resources in the ministry to save lost teenagers. Jesus brings us into His family, helps us in many struggles, and saves us.

This truth impacts kids as well as adults, he said.

The 2018 annual banquet for DCYL was a success in raising $106,000 including the 12 sponsorships, committee pledges, and gifts from the banquet’s guests. Many guests expressed interest in the adult committee, becoming volunteer leaders or helpers in other areas of the ministry.  Log onto for more information, times and dates of events, or to financially or prayerfully support this ministry.

If you have questions or are interested in working with DCYL, call Justin Hepler at 828-713-8453.