Sunday, November 04, 2007

Greenville YL

My sister's husband, David, is on staff with Young Life. He's been with them since he graduated from college. The Greenville (SC) News ran a great story on David and YL in their weekend edition. They also ran a cute picture of him in front of the YL office. Unfortunately, they didn't run a picture of the whole family. Seeing those adorable children would, I'm sure, cause donations to skyrocket! (Of course, my sister's cute, too, but we're twins and to say she's adorable would have sounded self-serving...)

Director Bokowy: Young Life is 'seed-planting' ministry
By Abe Hardesty

David Bokowy was a teenager when he got involved in Young Life ministries. His life hasn't been quite the same since.
His dream today, nearly 20 years later, is that more teenagers will benefit from the same experience.

"As an adolescent, you have the capacity to make decisions that affect you for a lifetime. "A person of that age is more open to new ideas and to the truth than at any other age in life," Bokowy says. "I feel called to be part of that critical time in a kid's life."

That explains why Bokowy joined the Young Life staff 15 years ago, shortly after earning a business degree at Furman University. And it explains why, at age 37, he continues to serve as Greenville area director.

"If we can have a positive influence on teens, an influence that might direct them to Jesus Christ, then we should do that," says Bokowy, who calls his work "a seed-planting ministry."

"The fruit of Young Life isn't seen for years," Bokowy says. "That's a challenge, because in the business world, we all want to see results now."

Bokowy, a father of two, began working in Young Life as a volunteer during his college days at Furman. After college, he joined the staff -- serving eight years in North Carolina and five in Columbia before returning to Greenville as area director in 2005. Office administrator Holly Chadowski, another Furman graduate, is the only other full-time staff member of an organization that sponsors clubs in eight Greenville County high schools and one middle school.

Bokowy became a Christian in the summer prior to his senior year of high school. When he joined Young Life that fall, he says the group "helped my faith grow and take off."

His role today is to cultivate volunteers who lead the individual clubs and to help the organization raise operating funds -- which it does primarily through an annual banquet.
The 2007 banquet, scheduled Tuesday evening at Christ Church Episcopal School, features music from the engaging voice of Georgia native Allen Levi -- a former trial attorney who walked away from that profession to focus on a songwriting and singing career.

The banquet, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at the All Saints Center on the CCES campus, is the only Young Life fundraiser of the year. In recent years, the banquet has raised more than half of the Greenville area chapter's $267,000 annual budget.

The event has lured about 600 in each of the past three years. The appearance of the inspirational Levi, whose work was recently featured in Southern Living magazine, has Bokowy hoping for at least that many next week.

"The banquet is a fundraising tool for us, but it also gives us exposure. It enables more people to be informed, to see what we do, and better understand what we do," Bokowy says. "Hopefully, they'll support what we do."

The support helps the organization fund weekend and weeklong camps -- one in North Carolina and another in Colorado -- that have provided ideal settings for spiritual decisions.
"At the camps, we try to give the kids a picture of abundant life. Often, they say it's the best week of their lives, or the best weekend of their lives," says Bokowy.

Campers are charged a tuition; the support generated at the banquet provides scholarships. "We don't want to turn kids away. We do everything we can to provide scholarships, and the banquet helps us do that."