Making An Impact

A Conversation with Doug Young

It was 1961, and I was a sophomore at Lee H. Edwards High School, which is now Asheville High.  I played football for the school, and every day at practice these dads would come out to watch their sons play.  I always noticed this one guy leaning up against the fence, and he seemed different, but I thought he was just somebody's dad, until he introduced himself to me one day.  His name was Chuck Riley, and he was the Young Life leader.  He did not have a child of his own on the team, but he came out to meet guys like me.  Chuck was more "with it" with the young people than anyone I've ever met in my life.

Chuck had many conversations with me.  He was on my paper route, and I'd spend a lot of time with him in his house and with his wife and kids on that route.  A lot of what I later adopted in myself is what I learned from watching him.  He spoke the Gospel with his actions, deeds, and sometimes words.  By his very life he spoke it.  If there was a teenager that needed Chuck for anything, he was there for them.  It didn't matter if they were Christian or not. 

Well, Chuck and I got to talking, and he invited me to come to the Young Life meeting on Monday nights.  I don't really know why, but I went.  They would do these skits and sing songs, but what impressed me the most was the way they presented Christ.  Young Life presented Christ in an "every day life" kind of way, and with applications to every day life.  I was hooked.

In the summer of 1961, Chuck asked me to go to camp with them.  I wanted to go, but didn't have any money, so I bought Kleenex wholesale and would sell them for profit on my paper route!  I attended Young Life camp in Colorado at Star Ranch, I think it was called.  I remember we just walked up to Cheyenne Mountain, and started climbing it . . . we didn't have ropes or anything!  I went to Young Life camp again that Christmas down in Florida and a man named Scott from Knoxville talked to us about Jesus being interested in the deepest part of our lives.  On December 31, 1961, I gave my life over to the Lord.

There were others like Chuck who cared for me, like Dick and Marilyn Griffith.  We went to hang out with them on some property in 1963 or '64, and that property has now been developed into the Young Life camp named Windy Gap in Weaverville.  We knew they were there for us. 

Young Life played a huge role in my life with Christ.  I've had a lot of detours in my walk with Christ since I was 16, but Christ has used them all to grow patience and understanding in me.  It takes time to grow spiritually, and it takes spending time with the Lord.

-Doug Young



Young Life Asheville/Buncombe County | 199 Elkwood Ave # A Asheville, NC 28804-2209

Phone: (828) 484-1711

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