I just wrote a post which I think I lost. If not, sorry for the double post!
I doubt that YL has begun parental notification, but I could be wrong. YL has this article on keeping kids safe linked to wikipedia (where there was once a link to articles about the leader convicted of molestation): [www.younglife.org
It mentions making leaders and work crew kids sign something, but not parents.
I appreciate that you took the time to read my post and consider whether or not it fits with what you know of YL. What I took away from my experience is that I want people, especially those who aren’t yet adults and are still formulating their opinions on things, to be free to question and pick apart and accept or reject whatever they want. I’m sorry that I spent so much of my life trying to keep myself and others from asking questions that would lead us away from the faith YL taught us. If a question can destroy your faith, maybe it wasn’t worth hanging on to, right?
My experience with YL spanned almost a decade, from WyldLife in middle school to Young Life in high school to leading YL in college. I was intimately familiar with YL in two different states. I attended four YL camps (some of them numerous times) as a camper, leader, work crew staff member, and summer staff member. I attended weekly leaders meetings and weekend leader training sessions. Over the years I met dozens if not hundreds of YL leaders and staff members. There are many things that I am not an expert on, but I feel sufficiently familiar with YL to speak authoritatively on it. What makes me different from your leaders is that I have stepped outside of my experience to look at it as an outsider would look at it.
You pretty much admit that you are supposed to bring people to Club but then say that it’s just because you want to be closer friends with them. But I doubt that your leaders go to all the trouble to lead Campaigners, plan fun things to do at Club, and prepare a talk (spending 10 to 20 hours a week of their free time with teenagers) just so that you can hang and have a good time with your friends. That might be your agenda, but it’s not theirs. And that’s what’s important. They are the adults here. This is YL’s mission according to its website:
Introducing adolescents to Jesus Christ and helping them grow in their faith. We accomplish our mission by ...
Praying for young people.
Going where kids are.
Building personal relationships with them.
Winning the right to be heard.
Providing experiences that are fun, adventurous and life-changing.
Sharing our lives and the Good News of Jesus Christ with adolescents.
Inviting them to personally respond to this Good News.
Loving them regardless of their response.
Nurturing kids so they might grow in their love for Christ and the knowledge of God's Word and become people who can share their faith with others.
Helping young people develop the skills, assets and attitudes to reach their full God-given potential.
Encouraging kids to live connected to the Body of Christ by being an active member of a local congregation.
Working with a team of like-minded individuals -- volunteer leaders, committee members, donors and staff.
This is pretty much what I explained in my post. Note how leaders “win the right to be heard.” Just because an adult spends time with you doesn’t mean that you have to listen to their beliefs. That’s like saying that just because you went on x number of dates you must now sleep with this guy! Note how kids are supposed to “become people who can share their faith with others.” So if you are just bringing other kids to Club because you want to hang with them, your leaders have not yet reached this part of their mission with you. And it’s a process . . . obviously you need to accept their message and make some serious life changes before you can become instrumental in spreading the message to others. That’s how cults work. Nobody ever thinks, “Hurray! I’ve joined a cult! Now I must suck others in!” You just think that you are doing what God wants you to do and that you’ve finally figured out the meaning to life.
As a teacher, I’ve had students try to figure out my religious beliefs. Sometimes it’s because they’re atheists and they think I’m sympathetic or they want to debate. Sometimes it’s because they’re Christians and they think I’m sympathetic or they want to debate. Other times it’s just curiosity because they’ve gotten to know me. But I never answer their questions. I spent enough years of my life trying to make teenagers believe what I believe. Now I just want my students to be able to think for themselves. My hope for you is that you'll never be afraid to do that.