2016 favorite photos

Some of our favorite photos from 2016

If you've never been in our club house in Craig, you've missed out on seeing our "Walls of Fame." We have photos from over the years plastered like wall paper. Images are a big part of how we tell of God's work in Bear River Young Life. Here is our wall of fame, in digital form, from 2016!

1. This fall we had a major transition for ministry in Hayden. Zach Engle, who had been huge a part of BRYL for eight of the last nine years, moved to Tennessee to pursue a degree. Naomi Rowley a former WyldLife and Young Life leader in Craig felt called to work in Hayden. She and her team of five volunteers have worked well together to keep bringing the Gospel to high schoolers in Hayden. One community aspect we have taken on in Hayden is putting up the community nativity scene. It's a little hard to see, but eight folks braved the cold to get the nativity up this winter.

2. Jordan Vorland, a MCHS junior, shows off his painted face from our paint party. The paint party has become our tradition to kick off the school year. It makes for a colorful start to the year and some bright photo subjects.

3. This photo doesn't look like much but tells the story of the last night of my last final for seminary. It took me 10 years to get to that night! I'm glad to say that I finished my Masters in Christian Leadership from Fuller Seminary in December. Young Life required trainings count toward the degree but the rest was done as one-week intensives on campus with assignments before and after. As my family grew it was harder to get away so it took longer than I anticipated. Some folks have asked, "so what's next?," but "next" was never a goal. I pursued the degree to be better at what I did/do and I was able to finish the work... just in time (we only have 10 years to complete the degree, haha).

4. Another tough photo to see but you can make out the European-esque architechture of Harry Potter World in Orlando. Every four years "Big" Young Life holds an All-Staff Conference in Orlando. Jennifer and I attended our third ASC in January. It is a tremendous experience and inspiring time focused on our mission and celebrating it's workers.

5. Fifth Quarters - fun activities after sporting events - have been around longer than me. This marks our third year collaborating with Grand Futures Prevention Coalition to advocate for safe, fun options for 100s of youth. This photo is the event we put on at the ice arena after a basketball game in February.

6. In May we announced the upcoming addition to our family with a "Cinco De Pressgrove" photo. In November we welcomed Dash Jager Pressgrove to make our crew now the "Magnificent 7."

7. Our most breathtaking photo of the year - this image is of our backpacking crew on RMR, our annual backpacking discipleship trip. The longstanding image that best represents BRYL is that of former youth and leader Jason Kawcak standing on a mountain top with his arms wide open. To me this image was reproduction of that image with God's amazing colors in the background.

8. Our eighth annual golf tounament was the best ever as far as turnout and fundraising went! We ran out of carts for participants and mostly thanks to alumni Justin Kawcak and leader Dave Peterson our income from the tournament was the greatest ever. A tradition of our tournament is for people to get a photo of their group with at least one Young Life prop and it was fun to have youth golfing this year!

9. Grant Gatlin, Stephanie Duarte and Nick Cocozzella (not pictured) collaborated for the second year to write a song for our banquet. This year we celebrated 20 years of Young Life at the banquet. We were able to get founder Sam Wood back and if it weren't for bad weather we would have been able to have our other Area Director Scott Smith back as well. We had several alumni come back who hadn't been to Craig for several years! Speaking of alumni, this year we have 24 volunteer leaders helping with our work, 12 of those are alumni! I am grateful for those who want to give back by serving!

10. This photo is of our ladies at Winter Camp at Frontier Ranch this winter. It is a great photo just for all of the smiles and silly clown noses, but there is more to the image. To the right is Jazzmine Piatt and her son Carter and Karina Browning behind her. Karina approached us after our last banquet and said she believed God was calling her into helping start a Young Lives ministry. YLives is focused on walking alongside teen moms. Jazzmine and Carter were our first campers ever for YLives! We are praying for God's provisions when is comes to reaching this demographic in our valley for years to come!

11. If you look really closely in the bottom left of this picture you can see Emma Johnson from Hayden. Emma was the first person from BRYL to ever see Young Life's majestic property called Malibu, which is on an inlet in the waters near Brittish Columbia. She served as "Work Crew" this last summer there, which means she gave up a a month of her summer to serve her peers. This last summer we had four high schoolers and three college alumni serve at camps across the country for a month. I believe those experiences will leave a long-lasting imprint on their walk with the Lord and I hope we can continue to grow our work crew participation.

12. One of our clubs in the spring was called "Emoji Club." We attempt to keep up with the kids these days and one aspect of social media that was popular were the images called emojiis. We created the club around the images and it garned national attention when it was published in the popular young life blog at younglifeleaders.org. It was fun for our leaders and youth to see their club recognized by a Web site that is read all around the world.

13. A tough image to make out, but this is another one that tells an important story. There are six middle schoolers from Baggs, Wyo. in this image at Crooked Creek Ranch in August. In January we started overseeing WyldLife 40 miles north of us in south central, Wyoming. Little Snake River Valley Middle School has 60 students and more than half of them heard a Gospel during the second semester by attending club. This winter we took nine of them to winter camp! We look forward to big things ahead with the work in Baggs, Dixon and Savery, Wyo!

14. Young Life celebrated 75 years of existence this year. The ministry is currently in more than 3,000 schools and more than 100 countries! What started with a handful of women praying for students at the high school in their community has continued to focus on youth and prayer today. Thank you for praying for the youth in your community!

15. Our annual trip to Telluride for a weekend of skiing, community and fellowship was another great one this year! Leader Nick Cocozzella snapped this selfie of our group this year as we were leaving our cabin for home after four days of amazingness!

16. Crooked Creek has been our summer camp home every other year for the last eight years. Our youth enjoy getting to know new friends, typically from the south, who attend the camp with us. This last summer was another blessed week with 23 high schoolers and six leaders at the camp just down the road from us in Fraser, Colorado.

17. This image is from a favorite club for our middle schoolers this last year simply known as "neon club." We keep the lights off and glow all night!

18. We put on our 12th car show this year and I wrote a story for the Craig Daily Press about local collector Joe Herod and his 1951 Chevy 3100. The truck has been entered in each of our car shows. The photo is of Joe's granddaughter, KyleeJo, in the back of the truck with all of the shirts he has collected from entering the show. You can read the full story by clicking on this link here.

Young Life Bear River | PO Box 1345 Craig, CO 81626-1345

Phone: (970) 629-9600

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