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Basic Information

Full Name: Stephen George


UC Email: georgesd@mail.uc.edu
College: College of Engineering and Applied Science
Major: Chemical Engineering
Title of Project: High School Young Life Leader
Thematic Area (choose only one): Leadership
Expected Project Start Date: 7 September 2015
Expected Project End Date: 9 May 2016

Project Information
1. Provide a detailed abstract of your proposed honors experiential learning project.
Young Life is a huge, nation-wide Christian ministry which is focused on high school students
and introducing them to Christ. It has been lucky enough to reach across thousands of high schools
across the United States and serves as a major tool of impact regarding an incredible number high school
students identities within Christ. It also has branches which focus more on middle school (Young Life
Wildlife) and college students (Young Life College Life) though these areas are not as major as the high
school division. The organization is ran by adults and college students mainly whose purposes are to
reach out to local high schools in order to initially develop friendships and relationships with the students,
loving on them as much as possible. After patience, time, and much commitment on the part of the
leaders, hopefully the kids will be impacted by the love they receive by the leaders, trusting them enough
to ask for advice regarding their personal lives and perhaps simply wondering why the leaders are there
and searching for these relationships with the kids in the first place. This provides incredible
opportunities for the leaders to then share Christ with the kids whom they love so deeply.
The organization is set up to run in a specific way; it is a fairly specific and organized formula.
After a leader goes through New Leader Training at their designated college, he or she is placed at a high
school in the region. For UC, our leaders will be placed at a college in one of four Greater Cincinnati
areas: East, West Central, Southeast, or Urban. Once he is placed at a high school, the leader needs to
begin contact work, meaning he needs to reach out to the students. Leaders are expected to attend high
school football games or basketball games and mingle with students to meet them and being to immerse
himself in the student crowd. Next, it is the responsibility of leaders at the high school to begin a weekly
Bible study, conventionally names Campaigners, with a core group of students. The leaders will share
the responsibility of leading the Bible study and helping lead the kids in their walks with Christ. When
Campaigners is successful, the leaders should urge the kids toward being leaders at their high school
through loving their peers and asking kids to hang out, kids who they know do not know Christ. If a
sufficient number of kids are interested, this leads toward a second weekly event conventionally called
Club which becomes the next responsibility of the schools leaders. Club is essentially a weekly hangout or party which involves a larger group of kids from the high school playing very silly games, singing
and dancing to popular music, and watching the leaders perform ridiculous skits. At the end of club, a
leader will be responsible for delivering a club talk which is a 10-15 minute talk which briefly
introduces Christ to the kids. Any student from the school at all is invited to Club. The goal of Club is to
break down barriers between students through the craziness and weird games and to introduce a spark of
interest about Christ to kids who may not know Him yet. Twice a year Young Life puts on Fall Weekend

and Camp, the two most important events for the organization. Leaders take their Campaigners and Club
kids to camps for a weekend in autumn (Fall Weekend) or an entire week in the summer (Camp) and the
kids are absolutely spoiled and loved on so much during their time there, along with being introduced to
Christ gradually throughout their days there through a series of club talks. At the end of the event,
hopefully many new students will decide to devote their lives to Christ. These are the main
responsibilities of a Young Life leader.
Every Young Life leader is told in their training that it is expected that leaders spend at least 1520 hours every week with the students combined though Club, Campaigners, at sports or club events, or
simply through hanging out with them. It is also expected that 1-3 hours is dedicated each week to
planning and developing the Campaigners and Club events.
This experience is very meaningful to me because of the incredible impact I have seen in my life
as the result of my relationship with Christ. I want to share that with kids in the Cincinnati community
and feel somewhat of a sense of urgency to do so. I personally was not involved in Young Life during
my high school career, but I wish that I was; my little sister is involved in it currently, and it is incredible
to witness her growth. I want to be a person who kids can look up to. I want to develop these
relationships with kids who trust me because I will always listen to them, support their sports and
activities they care about, have fun with them, am there for them when maybe no one else is, push them in
their Christian faith, and simply love them.
My main goal in this role as a Young Life leader at whichever high school I am placed is to
develop and maintain relationships with the kids through leading them in their faiths and being a role
model and mentor on how to live a Christian life. Through the experience, I also hope to grow
significantly within myself and my personal walk with Christ as I develop studies for kids, answer tough
questions they may have, and mentor them.

Clearly and thoroughly address how each of the following elements will be exhibited in your work:
2. Connection to Learning Outcomes within the Honors Thematic Area (Leadership)
The first Learning Outcome listed for the Thematic Area of Leadership is Possesses knowledge of
various leadership theories and identifies with the characteristics of leadership. I intend to achieve this
learning outcome through taking personal time to research leadership theories and characteristics which I
will apply when I am serving as a leader. I will also absorb much of these leadership qualities through
observing and questioning the current leaders at the high school where I am placed during the time before
my leadership when I will shadow them at Clubs and Campaigners. I want to learn the best, most
impactful way to lead these high school kids through living a Christian life, developing my overall skills
as a leader for any situation through this process. I will acknowledge my knowledge of the theories and
characteristic of leadership through personal reflection regarding how my kids are reacting to different
leadership theories I attempt, making it possible for me to recognize what type of leader I am personally
and what is the most effective for the situations I deal with commonly in this role.
Another Learning Outcome I will strive toward is Identifies the various characteristics of a
leader in a situation/role. I will strive toward fully understanding how a Young Life leader should look
during my time in the role. Because I was not involved in the organization previous to college, I did not
have a leader myself who I can look toward for a reference regarding how a leader should lead his kids
and what characteristics I should have. I will rely a lot on following the examples of my fellow leaders
and the area director who is in charge of all the leaders in an area to see what a Young Life leaders
character and actions should look like in the role. It will be somewhat of a learning process for myself,
but by the end of the project I will understand how I can best relate with kids and how I should present

myself to be the best role model in Christ that I can be while loving the kids and maintaining strong
relationships with them.
The next Learning Outcome for Leadership I want to achieve is Has the ability to relate,
communicate and work effectively with peers. This is part of my job, truly, as a leader. I must develop
relations with the students and become friends with them to the point that they truly trust me and look to
me for advice and guidance where they may not want to communicate certain things with peers or their
parents. I will be dedicated to understanding these kids and making their lives a major part of my life,
making relating to them, communicating successfully with them, and working with them priorities.
Finally, I will strive for the final Leadership Learning Outcome, Develops a vision of the future
and acknowledges the impact of decisions. I know that as a faith leader, my impact on these kids has the
potential of being very impactful. I will develop an understanding of how my choices may reflect on how
they choose to live their lives because of my role, and thus I will need to make decisions in all aspects of
my life with this in mind. Regarding my role of leading events for Young Life, I will develop an
understanding of what activities and events have worked very well in the past, what have not, and how all
of it can be improved to make the kids enjoy and experience Christ more in the future.
3. Connection to Goals and Academic Theories
A. This experience relates directly to goals I have for my life. I believe that as a Christian, I am called to
reach out and share my faith with others that they may have the opportunity to know Christ, and I believe
Young Life is an incredible tool to help me be able to do so. I also want to develop the ability to be more
personable. I believe that I am easy to get along with, and I make friends well, but I am often nervous to
go out of my comfort zone to meet new people. This role will force me to dive into uncomfortable
situations where I need to meet new kids and quickly develop relationships with them. These social skills
will be very useful as well as I begin searching for jobs and am more comfortable talking to and
connecting with strangers. I will also be closer to the personal goal of being a leader in my community
through this experience as I reach out to kids and become very visible to the high schools staff and the
kids parents. I want to be a leader in my community no matter where I settle down later in my lifetime.
B. One leadership theory which I want to implement in my role as a Young Life leaders is Participative
Leadership as demonstrated at https://www.udemy.com/blog/participative-leadership/. This leadership
theory stresses the leaders ability to basically lead a group of fellow leaders; I will want my kids to be
able to be leaders at their high school and to be strong enough in their faiths to be answering important
questions about Christ and keep each other accountable as leaders should. I also plan on reading two
books, Letters to a Young Life Leader by Bob Mitchell and The Truth about Leadership by James M.
Kouzes which will both provide a Christian look into what it means to be a leader, how to lead others in
faith, how to react to certain situations, and how to show those whom you lead the love of Christ along
the way. All these resources will help me prepare in my role as a faith leader and person who will be seen
prevalently in the community around me throughout the time I am a Young Life leader.
4. Initiative, Independence, and/or Creativity
One aspect of my responsibility as a leader which will showcase personal initiative will be the
way in which I approach leading a Campaigners Bible study. To me, it is important that students will
have the opportunity to speak, share their opinions and ask questions during the study in order to spur true
personal growth and understanding of the Bible as opposed to their sitting and listening to me speak at
them. I will introduce studies through choosing a passage, reading it as a group and then asking the group
essential questions about the passage, hopefully spurring questions the students develop by themselves. I
want to further develop my full understanding of scripture to be able to answer confidently any question
they may ask, but I do feel that I have a good, firm understanding of scripture now as a base for when I
begin this process.

Something unique I intend on bring to the table as a leader is actually my background in theatre.
I was very involved in theatre in high school, and wrote countless skits and silly plot lines as a leader in
my high schools theatre program, and I know this past experience is going to be useful to Clubs in
Young Life. There currently exist several generic skits which are nearly Young Life tradition to
perform for kids at the high school Clubs, Fall Weekends, and Camps, but I know that I can help develop
more skits or adapt some of the skits I have written in the past to be used as entertainment for these kids
during Clubs. It is the leaders responsibility to determine what entertainment is used a Clubs, and I fell
my past experience in this area will be applicable. Also, I feel very comfortable performing and being
ridiculous in front of crowds, so I will happily volunteer to be one of the leaders carrying out the skits.
I want to bring a new skill to the table as well; I want to learn guitar. Leaders are together in
charge of the music which is played at Club and Campaigners, and though sometimes it is just played out
of someones iPod, I believe having the ability to play guitar would be so useful for these purposes,
especially worship during Campaigners. It would be the leaders job to learn the songs and put together
either a lyrics sheet or PowerPoint for students to follow and use to sing along.
5. Reflection
I plan to reflect on this experience through journals which I will write weekly. I will ask the same
questions to myself each week regarding the events of that time. These questions include the following:
What did I notice worked well at Club and Campaigners? What did not work well at Club and
Campaigners? What did the kids say they liked about Club and Campaigners? How can I reach out to
more kids? How can I love my kids better? How have I seen Christ working in the high school? How
have I seen Christ working in the kids hearts? What can I bring to the table that will improve the kids
experiences? What can I do to improve myself as a leader? How have I grown this week as a leader?
What leadership styles am I good at? What leadership qualities do I need to improve? When the year is
concluded, I can look through the journals and view the gradual growth I experienced as a leader, seeing
myself develop into a better mentor and role model in Christ, as well as reflecting on the kids
developments in their faiths.
6. Dissemination
I will share my experience in a few ways. First, I plan to make a video journal at the very end of
my experience, concluding my overall experience regarding how I have grown as a leader through the
process, what valuable skills I have maintained and improved, what skills I can still see I need to improve,
and how I have seen Christ through the entire time. This video will be posted on my learning portfolio as
well as my social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr (personal blog). Second, I plan to
have a brief presentation at one of the weekly leadership meetings for the area in which my high school is
located. In front of all the other Young Life leaders of the area and the area director, I will share my
overall experience reflection also regarding how I have seen personal growth, growth in my leadership
skills, how I have seen Christ through the experience, and how I want to continue to improve moving
forward as I continue to lead my kids alongside the fellow leaders present for this part of my
dissemination. Finally, I will present briefly in front of my home church in Columbus, Walnut Creek
Presbyterian Church, sharing the same reflection. This will allow my community from where I came to
be able to see my growth and see how God is working through Young Life in Cincinnati.
7. Project Advisor
Kolia Lutow: One of the Area Directors for the West Central Area in Cincinnati Young Life
Phone: (513)-253-5834
Email: kolialutow@gmail.com