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Help to guide our struggling youth



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March 19, 2008
Editor's note: The following guest column was submitted by longtime Imlay City resident and attorney Ron Rickard. Rickard has been active with a variety of youth groups and youth-oriented initiatives in the area. Rickard is a member of the Young Life Committee, which includes Dan Stern, Adam Reamer, Melissa Stern, Lois Brinker, Pastor Ken Vander Horst, Pastor Rick Schwab, Pastor Rodney Sanderson-Smith, Pastor Gary Gillim, Mark Gillim, Pastor Tim Martin, Rod Soule, Gene Sample, and Jim Arnold.

This is to the concerned adults in the area. On April 5, 2005, the headlines read: '9 traffic fatalities stun 3 Lapeer County towns.'

The article indicated that a car traveling close to 85 miles per hour hit a tree and five of our local young people died in one accident.

On November 14, 2006, an Imlay City High School student was sentenced to spend the rest of her life in prison.

As a result of issues like these, some concerned adults in the Imlay area did some research. They wanted to find out what organizations exist in the United States that are the most successful in helping young people make good decisions.

The result of that research was a determination that YOUNG LIFE, a non-denominational, Christian organization with over 60 years of experience with kids, is the most effective, most financially responsible organization to reach kids in a positive way. YOUNG LIFE will work with a million kids around the world this year.

In 2006, a group of 12, nine high school students and three adults, went to a Young Life Camp, Timber Wolf Lake, in Lake City, Michigan. One year later, the group grew to 26 students and four adults. Twenty other area adults have now visited a Young Life camp.

Today, there are over 100 Imlay area students that would attend a Young Life camp if they had the resources to get there.

Imlay area students have earned over $10,000 to go back to Young Life camp in 2008. They will be attending a Young Life camp in Minnesota this summer.

For the first time, a group of Imlay area middle school students will be attending Young Life camp this summer.

We have deposited over $6,000 dollars toward hiring a part-time Young Life leader to expand the Young Life organization.

Thirty to 40 Imlay City Community School students get together every Wednesday night to have a great time and to talk about the difficult issues of their day. In the process, they learn what the Bible has to say to them about these issues.

The Young Life movement in the Imlay area has grown too large to be managed by a few local adults.

How can you help?

This Tuesday night, March 25, a number of concerned adults will be attending a meeting at the Imlay City High School Library. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. We hope to be done with our business at 8:30 p.m. At this meeting, we hope to do the following:

•Give our community an update regarding the progress of Young Life in the Lapeer County area;

•Set goals to expand the Young Life movement in Lapeer County;

•Select a permanent Young Life Committee, establish a Finance Committee and ask for volunteers to help us with various Young Life events;

•Establish financial goals that will allow us to officially become a local Young Life organization and hire a part time staff;

If you only attend one meeting regarding the welfare of our young people in this area in 2008, let it be this meeting. We sincerely need your input and assistance if the Young Life movement in this area is to grow and prosper.

There are a number of young people that are struggling in our community. They don't attend church. Some of them don't know anyone that attends church. Some of them are raising themselves and not doing a very good job of it.

We need to give them some help. Please join us on Tuesday, March 25 at the Imlay City High School Library.

Castle Creek
Van Dyke Gas
08 - 21 - 17
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