The Blue & Gold

The official newspaper of Chamblee High School, preserving the past for the future today!

The official newspaper of Chamblee High School, preserving the past for the future today!

The Blue & Gold

The official newspaper of Chamblee High School, preserving the past for the future today!

The Blue & Gold

Chamblee Young Life: Bringing Students Closer to God

Chamblee Young Life at SharpTop Cove in 2022. Photo courtesy of Anna Kate Flood (’26).

Many Christian students at Chamblee participate in Young Life, a Christian organization associated with many schools around the world. Young Life is aimed at teaching high school students about Christianity. Each school has adult volunteers who help lead the program, such as by leading games and teaching students about the Bible. Every Thursday evening, Chamblee Young Life meets for members to play games, have fun, meet new friends, and grow their relationship with God.

“Young Life is an outreach-focused and interdenominational Christian ministry geared towards high school students. We aim to introduce adolescents to Jesus Christ and to help them grow in their faith. Each high school that has a Young Life club also has a team of volunteers. It’s not directly affiliated with the school, and it is not a school-mandated club.” said Alex Vandusen, who is the Young Life area club director in charge of the Young Life program at the schools in Perimeter North and helps lead the club at Chamblee every Thursday.

Many Christian students believe Young Life is important because it is a more accessible way for teens to learn about Jesus than going to a church is.

“Young Life is important because it takes the gospel to high school kids rather than having them come to the church,” said Vandusen.

Every winter, the Young Life organization hosts a weekend retreat in North Georgia that any Chamblee student is welcome to join.

“At Young Life camp, you go on a Christian weekend camp with a group of people from your school. We do worship and many fun activities,” said Grace Graham (‘26), who attended the 2022 retreat at SharpTop Cove. 

The camp is open to Young Life students all around the country, and many students from schools in Metro Atlanta attend.

“Some of the schools in our area that go to SharpTop Cove are Dunwoody High School, North Springs, Marist, Mount Vernon, and Chamblee. There are schools all over the state and in surrounding states that go to SharpTop Cove during the school year,” said Vandusen.

At SharpTop Cove, students have the opportunity to participate in a variety of different activities, from ziplining to learning more about the Bible.

“It’s an over-the-weekend camp up in North Georgia; there’s a lot of fun activities you can do such as ziplining and jumping into the lake. We also have morning and late-night worship where we get to learn more about God,” said Bryanna Harper (‘26), a Chamblee Young Life member.

The camp welcomes any Chamblee student interested in attending.

“Young Life camp is a camp for anyone at Chamblee to have an opportunity to go to to meet other Young Life members from around the United States, engage in fun activities, and learn more about God,” said Owen Legg (‘26), who has been to two Young Life camps.

Young Life doesn’t only have camps in Georgia; there are many in other locations for people all over the world.

“Young Life has camps all over the world – there are about 50. We have three in the Southeast United States region: SharpTop Cove in Jasper, Georgia, and Carolina Point and Windy Gap in the North Carolina region,” said Vandusen. 

Since all the camps are in different locations, they don’t all provide students with exactly the same experiences.

“Each Young Life camp is slightly different. The themes and attractions are different. SharpTop has a giant swing, but Carolina Point has go-karts. Some camps have horses, so people can go trail riding,” said Vandusen.

Young Life isn’t the only organization that uses its camp spaces; the spaces are open to anyone who is interested in renting them out.

“All the Young Life campgrounds can host any group that wants to go use their space. It doesn’t have to be Christian. It can be any retreat, and anyone can rent the spaces to host something,” said Vandusen.

Many Chamblee students who went to last year’s SharpTop Cove retreat are going again this year because of the people they met and the fun times they had.

“I decided to go this year because I went to the weekend camp last year and the week-long camp over the summer. I had a great time having fun with friends and growing closer to God,” said Oliver Pratt (‘26), a student at Chamblee who has been to Young Life camps at Carolina Point and SharpTop Cove.

Students enjoy Young Life because it gives them a chance to spend time with their friends from school and exercise their faith outside of a church environment.

“I went to camp last year, and I honestly thought it was the most fun thing ever. One of my favorite things to do is go on church retreats, but getting to go on one with my friends from school was really fun,” said Graham.

Because Young Life camp is open to people from all around the country, students are able to meet new people from other schools and even other states.

“I did go [to Young Life camp] last year, and it was a lot of fun. There were a lot of different people that I had never met from outside of Georgia, so I had the chance to make new friends as well as be with my group from Chamblee,” said Harper.

Many students enjoy the food at SharpTop Cove, especially the desserts.

“My favorite memory [from Young Life camp] was when we got a giant cookie pie for dessert, and we all got to eat it with ice cream,” said Caroline Runsick (‘25), who went to the SharpTop Cove camp last year.

Each night at SharpTop Cove has a different theme that the campers dress up for and play games based on.

“I really loved summer camp last year, especially the Western night where we all dressed up, danced, and had so much fun. Then we got to play all the carnival games, and campers got to pie their leaders in the face,” said Vandusen.

Some students had some rather unconventional favorite memories from camp last year.

“My favorite memory was probably jumping in the ice-cold lake. It was probably around 40 degrees outside, and for some reason we decided to jump in. It was really cold, but it was definitely worth it,” said Graham. 

Upperclassmen have the option to volunteer at camp in the summer and over the weekend instead of attending as campers.

“Work crew is when high school juniors and seniors give away their time to serve their peers. Work crew consists of servers in the dining hall that prepare meals as well as serve them to campers. There are people who run the snack bar, and in the summertime, there are people who wash all the laundry and clean the bathrooms. The program of work crew is designed to discipline high school kids in the ways of walking with the Lord as well as give them opportunities to practice their faith through service,” said Vandusen.

While many students find work crew to be a great opportunity, there are also some downsides of doing work crew instead of participating as a camper.

“Everybody said that work crew is a lot of fun, but I also know that you don’t get to hang out as much during the day. The whole time, you’re helping out with the food or watching over the events or activities,” said Harper.

However, many students like the idea of volunteering with their friends while helping out fellow students at camp.

“I would love to do work crew my senior year. It sounds like a lot of fun doing some work around a fun camp for a little bit. I would definitely do this if I also had some of my other friends with me so that I could have people to talk to,” said Pratt.

Many Chamblee students love the idea of giving back to the community while supporting something they love.

Graham said, “I definitely want to do work crew because even though it’d be hard, I’d be doing it with my best friends. It would be really great for me to give back to the community and to be able to serve other people who are there at camp.”

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About the Contributor
Anna Kate Flood, Staff Writer
Anna Kate Flood (‘26) is a sophomore and Staff Writer for the Blue & Gold. In five years, she hopes to be in college and studying to do something so she can be rich. Her 3 favorite things are food (especially Italian pasta dishes and matcha lattes), every Taylor Swift song ever, and Christmas.

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