We have no doubt that your inboxes are filled with messages regarding COVID-19. Though we don’t want to add to your load, we do want to make sure to keep you informed on the steps Young Life is taking to ensure the safety and well being of our staff, volunteers, and the kids with whom we work. As a global organization, our mission leadership has been monitoring and actively responding in areas that have felt the impact of Coronavirus more acutely than we have locally for some time now. Whether in China, Italy, Seattle, or Shreveport, we know that it is difficult for a kid to hear the Gospel when they are unwell, and their health has to be our first focus. This is why Young Life was one of the first organizations with concerted efforts on the ground during the West African Ebola outbreak in 2014 and why we’ll continue fighting for kids to hear the Gospel in this season.
We’re taking a few practical steps locally to help protect our kids and community. As of today, all Young Life events including Young Life and WyldLife Clubs, Campaigners, and leadership meetings have been put on pause until April 13th. At that time, we will reevaluate and update our plan moving forward. We have and plan to continue to follow Young Life's policies and CDC recommendations in this time.
This does not mean that our leadership team will disappear nor cower in fear. They will continue reaching out to kids with the security found in the Gospel. They will continue pointing kids towards our true refuge. It will simply look different for a time. As parents, we encourage you to set the boundaries that you feel are appropriate for your children and families. Our leaders will honor your decisions.
Looking at the longer term, we are already diving into plans for this summer and have more than 150 kids and leaders registered to travel with us on 4 different trips. Though many things can change between now and then, our priorities are preparing, seeking understanding, and committing to following guidance established by the CDC, WHO, and local health agencies. With 32 properties around the world, Young Life has a long track record of fighting to keep children safe and will continue to add to the already rigorous health and safety protocols in place at each of our camps. With that, we are planning on a full and exciting summer of camping while closely monitoring the situation.
Finally, as I mentioned above, Young Life was on the front lines of the Ebola outbreak a few years ago. During that time, we joined with our staff and volunteers in Africa to pray Psalm 91 for 91 days. Psalm 91 reminds us that we can rest in God’s refuge and fortress so we need not live in fear. It also reminds us that when we call on the Lord, He answers us and is with us in that time. Will you join us as we again pray through this Psalm together? Let’s pray for kids to seek comfort in their Creator, find shelter in His love, and rest in the One who calms the seas.
P.S.-- Young Life is working on a way to serve families in this time. We are compiling a list of students that are available to babysit. We will send a follow-up email with how to sign up for that.