The encounter is almost always the same. I'm at the gym on the stepper in my hiking boots, backpack full of weights on my back, out of breath and dripping with sweat, when the onlooker wanders over and with a curious expression asks the question, "What are you training for?" I pause and give them the short answer because I'm so winded. "Stacy and I are planning to climb Mt. Hood and Mt. Rainier this summer." "How long have you been on that thing?" "About an hour." "What's in the pack?" "About forty-five pounds." Almost inevitably at this point the person smiles, looks away and then looks back and asks the question, "Why do you want to do that?" In reality I've spent most of the last hour reflecting on all the reasons I'm planning to climb. I would love to tell them how God put it on my heart to make the trip. Would love to tell them about all the kids' lives I hope will be impacted by our climb. Want to share with them how much my wife and I love sharing adventures together. Wish I could express how excited I am about the challenge of summitting two of America's most challenging peaks. Want to paint for them a picture of the routes we're planning to follow and show them photos of the mountains. But, truth is I'm so out of breath I can hardly speak and half of the time I feel like I'm about to pass out. About all I can usually muster is a smile and, "Trying to raise some money for Young Life."
It's my hope that I will be able to use this blog to explain to family and friends what Young Life is and why we support it and also to give a picture of what we will be facing in June when we climb the mountains.
What is Young Life?
Young Life was founded in Texas in 1941 to reach out to high school kids who were not interested in attending church. The program has since expanded to include junior high kids as well. Today Young Life is present in all fifty states and in more than fifty countries around the world. Young Life has been going strong in Cape Girardeau for the last twenty-five years.
Staff and volunteer Young Life leaders enter the world of high school kids to build friendships with them and accept them unconditionally through contact work. They do this by going where the kids are - in the schools, at sporting events, at lunch, at practice - wherever kids are. Out of those relationships trust is built.
Kids come to Young Life clubs each week on Monday night where they meet with their friends, laugh together and hear a presentation on the Christian faith in a fresh way that they can understand. Kids interested in going a bit deeper meet weekly in small group Bible study groups called Campaigners.
One highlight of Young Life is camp. There are several first class camps across the country where kids go for a week to climb mountains, sail, ride horses and enjoy many other activities, all in an environment where they feel the love and acceptance of their adult leaders and where they can give undistracted attention to thinking seriously about themselves and their relationship with God. It's a crazy, fun-filled kid fest where lifetime relationships are made.
Why do I support Young Life?
I became involved in Young Life when it began here in Cape and it continues to have a significant impact on my life. I became a Christian at summer camp when I was thirteen and I remember being told at the time to fix my eyes on God and run to him as fast as I could. I was told that when I got back to school, others would be running hard and fast in all sorts of directions but most would not be running toward God. When you're running they said, look to your right and to your left, find someone who is running in the same direction as you, lock arms with them and keep going as fast as you can. For me that person was Steve Pickard, my local Young Life leader. And the neat thing was that throughout high school and then as a leader in college, we were able to lock arms with a bunch of other kids and bring them along. My best memories of high school are of Young Life and the crazy, fun times we had.
It's been a blessing to serve now on the local Young Life Committee. We get to oversee the local ministry, help recruit and support the local leaders and help raise money both to support the local ministry and to send kids to camp.
About three months ago, I woke up five nights in a row at 4am and I could never get back to sleep. Each time God put it on my heart to climb Mt Rainier and make it a fundraiser for Young Life. He's definitely given me the vision to do it and I hope and pray that my old, out of shape body will carry me to the top and back down safely. I also hope and pray that God will put it on the hearts of many if not all who read this to help me on my mission.
How can you help?
Our goal is to raise $50000 to support the local ministry and to send many kids to Young Life camp. I know it's a big number, but that's the number that He put on my heart and with your help and the help of others like you, I think we can make it happen. When I am climbing that stepper, sweating and out of breath, the thing that keeps me going is that lost high school kid looking for direction. It's my hope that kids like that will get the opportunity to go to camp because folks like you share my vision and are willing to help. I want that kid to have the same chance that I did. Will you join us on our mission? We need your prayers for a safe and successful journey and Young Life needs your financial support!
Make a Pledge! Help Us Get to the Top!
Three different ways to give:
1) One time gift of any amount
2) Make a pledge based on number of vertical feet we climb. If we successfully make it up both mountains, it will be a total of 12,000 feet climbed. 3,000 on Mt Hood and 9,000 on Mt Rainier. Below illustrates example pledges:
1 cent/ft $120
2 cent/ft $240
3 cent/ft $360
4 cent/ft $480
5 cent/ft $600
10 cent/ft $1200
50 cent/ft $6000
1 dollar/ft $12,000
10 dollar/ft $120,000 (for this pledge Stacy will personally pull you up in a sled)
3) Make a pledge of any given amount based on a successful summit. Historically, there is about a fifty percent rate of success on each peak.
If we successfully summit one peak, total pledge would be $50, if we make it up both peaks, the total pledge would be $100.
Please email your pledge to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will keep you updated on the results of the climb and you can make your donation based on how far we go. We are scheduled to climb the first two weeks of June. If you would like to send in a one time donation, you may do it online at southeastmissouri.younglife.org When you fill out the online form, please fill in "Kinder Climb" in the blank marked "Sponsoring." All donations are tax deductible and 100% will go towards Young Life. Stacy and I will be covering the cost of our trip.
Photos of our Routes
Below see photos of our planned climbs. The first group is for Mt Hood which we are planning to climb on Thursday, June 4. The second group is for Mt Rainier which is a planned 3-day climb beginning Monday, June 8 with a summit attempt on Wednesday, June 10. Say a special prayer for us on these days!