About Asian Young Life
Asian Young Life is a Christian missions organization that introduces Asian American teenagers to Jesus Christ and helps them to develop a Christian way of life through activities that contribute to their academic, physical, social, and spiritual growth. We desire to work with local churches in northern New Jersey to reach Asian American youth. To learn more, please visit our Church Relations page.
It has been noted that a significant characteristic in teenagers who manage life successfully is the presence of interested adults who consistently demonstrate the values that make life meaningful. That's why in Asian Young Life we seek to be involved in the lives of the young people we know. Our approach is relational. We go where Asian teenagers are in order to build genuine friendships with them and earn the opportunity to make a positive impact on their lives.
We train our leaders to become experts in youth culture as well as exemplary models of God's love, as mentors who strive to help Asian teenagers become contributing members of American society. For these reasons, most Asian parents — both Christians and non-Christians alike — look favorably upon the work we do and regard Asian Young Life as a positive influence in their children's lives. Furthermore, there is typically so much to do and enjoy in Asian Young Life that just about every Asian teenager — regardless of his or her religious background — tends to feel welcomed and included in our group.
Although our leaders communicate what they believe about God through their words and actions, they do so with no strings attached. We never force our beliefs on young people, and we protect every child's right and ability to make his or her own decision regarding faith issues. Because we respect the beliefs and opinions of their parents, we want teenagers to do the same.
Asian Young Life is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that receives its funding from local churches, businesses, and individuals. If you would like to support us financially, please visit our Give page.
THE METHODS OF YOUNG LIFE
Asian Young Life is a ministry of Young Life, an international organization that has been making a difference in the lives of teenagers since 1941. Young Life has developed several methods that we use in our work with adolescents, methods that are ultimately dependent on a foundation of prayer and on the will of God.
1. CONTACT WORK
Contact work is the heart of the Asian Young Life ministry... It means going out into the world of Asian American teenagers, getting involved in their activities, and taking an interest in them. This "contact" can take place anywhere: afterschool, on a tennis court or basketball court, at Garden State Plaza, at Boba Land in Palisades Park, at Chick-fil-A or Starbucks... basically, any place where teens hang out.
Over time, it is hoped that genuine, "no strings attached" friendships will develop between our Asian Young Life leaders and the young people with whom they have contact; as these friendships mature, it is further hoped that the leaders will "earn the right to be heard" — the opportunity to offer advice and insight to their teenage friends.
Some of these young people may eventually get involved in Asian Young Life, but many do not. That's OK. Asian Young Life leaders initiate these friendships simply to model God's love and to be there for teens. Even young people who never get involved in Asian Young Life nevertheless recognize their local leader as an adult figure whom they can trust and to whom they can turn in times of need.
Club is the name Asian Young Life gives to its outreach meetings. Sometimes described as "organized chaos," club typically takes place about three times during the school year on selected Saturday nights. Anywhere from 150 to 200 students will show up for an hour of crazy skits, fun games (which we call "minutes"), and the singing of popular songs familiar to them on Spotify.
The last 10 to 15 minutes of club consist of a brief message given by an Asian Young Life leader on some aspect of God and His relevance in the lives of today's youth. Club opens a door for high school students and their leaders to get to know one another and to engage in conversations on what they may have heard at club.
Every summer, we take a busload of Asian American teenagers from Bergen County to a Young Life camp called Saranac Village for a week-long program of adventurous activities, entertainment, and inspirational messages. Saranac is only one of 25+ camps owned by Young Life, all of which are incredible and are located in places that, in the words of a news reporter for The Saturday Evening Post, would make "travel agents drool." Saranac Village, for example, sits on a huge freshwater lake in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York and includes parasailing, waterskiing, sailboats, a hot tub, and more.
We strive for excellence in all aspects of our camping ministry because we want young people to experience life from a new perspective. As a result, the term "camp" may be misleading; it is probably more accurate to refer to these properties as "resorts for teenagers." Simply put, we want to give young people the “best week of their life."
Our Asian Young Life leaders are instrumental in helping students to get the most out of their week at camp. Our leaders go to camp with the young people they know from home and serve as cabin leaders for these students, joining them in all of the activities and adventures of camp. They also help their high school-age friends to make sense of what they learn while away at camp.
For many teens, it is usually at camp that everything comes together for them. The serene environment provides them a perfect opportunity to think about their life and how God fits into everything. It is not uncommon by week's end for many of the participants to take home from camp a newfound relationship with their Creator as well as a deeper understanding of what it means to be a Christian.
After students come home from camp, many have questions about the Christian faith, so Asian Young Life has established school-based discipleship groups to help young people learn more about Christianity. We call these groups "Harvesters." Right now we oversee two Harvesters discipleship groups: one which meets on Saturday nights in Palisades Park for students from the Academies @ Englewood and another which meets on Tuesday nights in Tenafly for students from Tenafly High School (and we are currently developing a connection with a third Harvesters group at River Dell High School).
At these meetings, the young people meet with their Asian Young Life leaders to discuss their ideas and questions about faith and to begin exploring the Bible. Students can usually ask and say whatever they want.
The ultimate goal of Harvesters is to help teenagers get to a point in their lives where they can stand firm in their own faith and go on to have a positive impact on the world. Our Asian Young Life leaders help the youth to get involved in a local church and to become comfortable with the larger Christian community. Our leaders also strive to prepare teens for college and to assist them in maintaining and applying their faith in life after high school.
IN THE WORLD OF TEENS
Young Life has created a 5-minute video that gives you an overview of our approach to ministry and a glimpse into the kind of work our leaders do with teenagers. The video reveals what happens when caring adults come alongside teenagers with a message of friendship and hope.
We are not a church nor are we affiliated with any particular youth group, but we are funded by a number of churches in northern New Jersey that believe in the goals of Asian Young Life. We are also funded by individual donors who want to help Asian teenagers like you experience life in a whole new way.
If you have a question that has not been answered on the pages of our Asian Young Life website, please check out the Frequently Asked Questions page on the Young Life national website. Feel free to contact us as well with your questions or comments.