My best practice and advice for volunteer Young Life College leaders around the nation seeking “shared adventure” opportunities with students is to embrace a simple phrase passion follows passion. Why I want to suggest this mentality is because it works. When you live into the things you are passionate about, it shows. It’s attractive, it’s engaging, and others will follow your passion and match it with their own. It is a catalyst to consistent opportunities for shared adventure in a way that fills you up to keep going. If you have found yourself getting dragged down and exhausted by “creatively wasting time” with your small group, the question I would ask you is, How often are you doing something with them you truly love to do?
When I am healthiest as a leader, I am consistently taking a closer look at what I want to do each week, each month, each year, and I invite others to be part of it. If I show excitement and passion for it, I’ve found the students I lead will as well.
Here are some examples of what I have pursued on a daily basis and brought others along with me in:
-Playing Darts – Cricket is a really easy game to learn.. buy some cheap darts from Walmart and find a restaurant that has a dart board. Order some sodas and get after it.
-Pickle Ball – I know it sounds lame, it will surprise you, tournaments are an amazing way to engage an entire small group for a whole afternoon!
-Frisbee golf, Campus golf, actual golf… best part is you need minimal prep or equipment.
-Archery- You don’t need to be an expert to shoot a bow, a lot of life lessons there too!
On a monthly basis:
– Camping overnight at a nearby state park.
– Lake day and swimming in a nearby reservoir.
– Volunteering with a nearby food bank.
On a yearly basis:
-Take them out of the country with you on an International Immersion trip.
Seriously, College students want to see the world, you probably do too. Study abroad can be a good option for this, but people either love their experience with study abroad or hate it and regret leaving their community for an entire semester. There is rarely an in between. Why not lead a group from your own community with Young Life College across seas to grow in cultural intelligence, spiritual formation, and shared adventure? It can be done, and the impact is tremendous. In the last three years I’ve led three different trips to Uganda, and one to Israel. People followed me because I was passionate about the places and the people that we were going to. The trips were successful not because we did anything special or of specific noteworthy importance, but because we trusted God and trusted each other. I believe International Immersion trips with the right focuses and the right intentions can help college students move the ball of faith down the field in a rapid and radically transformative way.
What I hope you hear from me is this: Find what you are passionate about, make a plan, and invite students on the great adventure of life to sync up with your passion. If you have thought about it intentionally, they will be blessed by it, and so to will your spirit by doing things you truly enjoy. If you love coffee, but an espresso maker and make latte art with your small group. If you love snowboarding, plan a trip. If you love surfing, get out in the waves with them. If you love expanding your lens through other cultures, take them across the world with you. they will follow you. You can trust me on that one.