This Year… West Coast – East Coast YL

Over the summer I normally try to post a couple things that I learned over the previous school year. If you have anything you learned from last year that you would like to tell me about, send it my way smcgever (at) pv dot younglife dot org

I hope you all have a lot to say about this one!

As you may have picked up, I tend to have lots of ideas. Some good, some not so good, but either way I love ideas! You may have also realized I am from Arizona and in the Western Division of YL. I’d say I am very, maybe even extremely, familiar with most of the “norms” and standard approaches to club, campaigners, camp, assignments, etc. as we do them here on the West coast. So when I end up interacting with people from another part of the country who do YL differently I get really excited to be exposed to new ideas. I might not always like them, and lets be honest, we usually like “our” ideas better due to familiarity, but there is more than one way to skin a cat (I think they say that in some parts of the Carolinas?)

From time to time I get to experience these new ideas. This year I was part of a training class at Lost Canyon in the Spring, and as you might imagine, a lot of people from the frozen East coast came to Arizona looking to thaw out. Ironically it snowed, but that is another story. But, of the 150 or so people there, only five or so of us were from the Western Division. I loved hearing all the ideas and norms from their parts of the country. Then this summer we took our YL kids to summer camp that was being led by the Southern Division. Once again I saw all kinds of different approaches and ideas that had great reasons behind them. I even took some of those things and incorporated them into my assignment (war room in the afternoon, WC leads the new Christian walk, other things too). Even on this blog I have seen people chime in on some things such as how cabin unity outfits have become too competitive in other parts of the country, which generally isn’t the case at camps I go to regularly.


The great part of our mission is we are held together by principles and approaches that can be contextualized into our local environment. The prime example is the excellent work YL International is doing around the world. Yet I think we could really benefit from the perspectives of others if we come with an open mind and humble heart. The tricky part is it takes time to discover these things. It would be hard to have a meeting to go through all these things quickly. They emerge on assignments, at trainings, road trips with old friends, etc. Who knows, maybe one day there will even be cross-divisional assignments, but this blog isn’t a place to discuss that topic!

I know there are some of you who participate on YLHelp who have YL experience in different parts of the country, whether on Work Crew, Summer Staff, Staff, Volunteering, etc. What differences have you seen?

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