About Young Life Virginia Beach


​Where It All Started

The Virginia Beach Experiment was a group of Christian, business men who had mostly met Christ as adults through the ministry of Dick Woodward and Joyce Trayweek.  In 1971, The Experiment wanted to do more for the city of Virginia Beach than just run a coffee shop called "The Upstairs."  Dick got in touch with Young Life through Burnett Thompson, who was the administrative assistant to Congressman Whitehurst and in touch with Young Life in D.C. (there was no Young Life in VA outside of suburban D.C. at that time).  Tom Raley, who had been in Jim Rayburn's club, and Greg Kinberg came to Virginia Beach in February 1971 in the midst of a horrific snowstorm to mee with "The Experiment" at the resort on Linkhord Bay across from Virginia Beach Community Chapel.  When Dick told Greg that he had been praying for 20 years for the ministry of Young Life, Greg knew this is where he wanted to be.

The summer of 1971 they took a group of 9 kids from First Colonial High School to Saranac and started clubs at FC and Cox in the Fall of 1971.

Jack Birsch was the first volunteer leader and a key leader in developing other leaders and clubs at the beach.  They outgrew homes within a couple years and began to meet at the Rogues Gallery, a night club on 17th Street where Bill Diehl and the Rhondels played six nights a week.  Young Life had the seventh night for no charge.  Other than having to get there early to pick up beer bottles and open doors to air out the stale beer and smoke smell, it was great to meet on the largest dance floor in the state of Virginia for club.  And there were loads of high school kids who wanted to see the inside of Rogues Gallery.  It was almost as good a draw as the opposite sex.  The Lord used it mightily. 

Who is Young Life for?

Everyone is welcome in Young Life! Our programs are custom made for kids throughout their adolescent years. Young Life is the name of our organization and is also the term we use for our program with high school students. We call our middle school program WyldLife. 

Our Mission: To introduce adolescents to Jesus Christ and help them grow in their faith.

Our Vision: Every adolescent will have the opportunity to meet Jesus Christ and follow Him.

A Time-Tested Approach

Young Life began with a few simple ideas about sharing the truth of God’s love with adolescents. Those simple ideas have become time-tested methods for reaching out to middle school, high school and college students in friendship and hope.

Caring for Kids — Contact Work

Because kids don’t care how much you know till they know how much you care, Young Life leaders show they care by going where kids are, meeting them as they are, believing in who they can be. Within Young Life we call the persistent going out into the world of kids “contact work.” But kids just call it friendship.

A Party with a Purpose — Club

What is it about Young Life club that makes it the best night of the week for thousands of kids every week? We like to think of it as a party with a purpose. It’s controlled chaos that’s almost impossible to describe, but kids know it when they see it. And before the party ends, we share a simple message about God’s love for them. After all, that’s what the celebration is all about.

The Best Week of Their Life — Camp

Kids consistently tell us that Young Life camp is the best week of their life. That’s a rousing (and unsolicited) endorsement! But how else would you describe a week where deep relationships are forged in the midst of mind-boggling fun and where you experience and listen to what we believe is the greatest love story ever told?

A Time to Question, Learn and Grow — Campaigners

Campaigners is a weekly gathering for kids who wish to learn more or grow in their faith through study, service and leadership. We invite kids to actively follow Jesus Christ — and we’re with them for the long haul to help them take those steps of faith with unconditional love. Along the way, we encourage kids to celebrate their faith through participation in a local congregation.

Adults Who Care — Committee

Young Life is making a difference in the lives of kids around the world because we are supported by adults who care about kids in their community. For every talented Young Life staff person there is a team of dedicated leaders who works directly with kids. In each community, the local “committee,” comprised of parents, Young Life alumni and civic leaders, provides a foundation of financial, administrative and moral support for the local Young Life team.

As you experience Young Life, we hope you will decide that you were made to get involved. To learn more, contact your local Young Life office (757) 463-6312.


Young Life Virginia Beach South | PO Box 4492 Virginia Beach, VA 23454-0492

Phone: 757-635-6830

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