By Shirley Shuman
Taylor and Wesley Spencer recently moved to Braxton County with a purpose: They want to introduce Young Life to the area once they have become acquainted with Braxton County and its citizens. Taylor is on the staff for the organization, and Wesley is highly involved with it. As the two are getting acquainted with the people of the county, both are contributing to the area. He teaches physical education at the middle school, and she coaches the middle school volleyball team and is highly enthusiastic about her job.
West Virginia natives, she graduated from Morgantown High and he at Richwood High. Both were involved in Young Life in their schools, and they actually met through Young Life at WVU, from which both graduated. They met through the Young Life organization on the WVU campus. Their involvement in this organization shows their dedication to bringing it to our area. “The ministry is very dear to us, and we are eager to start ours here,” she said. “My job is fundraising and outreach,” she said, and she has already begun working. A committee, which meets monthly, has been formed, and she invites anyone interested to contact her.
She also explained that, in some ways, Young Life does not have to a formal organization although once they have a group, they may have some meetings and aim to have organized events, including Bible study, in the future. Mostly, they will be involved in out-of-school activities with adolescents. “We talk to them, and if they want to go to a game, we go to a game. If they just want to go for ice cream, that’s what we do, or we may have a ‘paint run,’ and we get acquainted,” she stated. Here she noted, “There is not much for these young people to do in the area.” That’s one area in which the two come in.
The history of Young Life is not complex. In the 1930’s, Clara Thrasher began to pray for high school students at a local high school. From there, the movement evolved, and in 1941, Young Life came back to life when Jim Rayburn, a Texas football player, wanted something for his friends after he noticed their lack of direction. From there, the organization has become global and is now in over 100 countries.
At this point, the Spencers are “getting to know how to introduce ourselves to adolescents,” Taylor Spencer said. “For me, it will come after volleyball season is over. “This is more of an organization that meets people rather than holds meeting,” she added. “We want to get to know them, live life with them. If they have questions, we’ll answer them. We will perform our ministry by living this life as an example. We’re not here to preach.”
The website of Young Life summarizes what those staffers are doing: Going where kids are and building personal relationships with them; providing fun, adventurous, life-changing experiences; working in community along like-minded adults—volunteer leaders, committee members, donors, and staff. Taylor and Wesley Spencer definitely look forward to working with all phases of the Young Life organization here in Braxton County.