In The Spotlight: Young Life’s Ryan Anthony

Many of our kids in Montgomery County attend Young Life. I’ll be honest with you though, although I am aware that YL is a positive activity, I have absolutely no clue what actually goes on there. So, I decided to do something about this by going straight to the Young Life leader, Ryan Anthony for this In The Spotlight gem:

What is your your background?

I was born and raised in Spring, TX. My parents moved into Imperial Oaks in 1981 and I was born two years later. Still, to this day my parents live in the same home. I attended all the Oak Ridge community schools: Ford Elementary, Houser Intermediate, York Junior High, and I graduated from Oak Ridge in 2002.

After graduating from high school I attended Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, TX. In August of 2006, I graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Kinesiology and continued on to graduate school and received my Masters of Education in Kinesiology in May of 2008. During my time as an undergrad and graduate student I spent four years as an assistant strength and conditioning coach with the SFA athletic program. During that time I spent one season with the Cincinnati Reds Rookie League in Sarasota, FL as a strength and conditioning coach.

On May 24, 2008, I married my wife, Dana, who graduated from Oak Ridge in 2004 and who also receieved her bachelors and masters from Stephen F. Austin as well. We now live in the area and are expecting our first child on May 29!  Since August of 2008 I have been teaching and coaching at Rosehill Christian School in Tomball where I am the elementary physical education teacher, strength and conditioning coach, head middle school football coach, and assistant high school football coach.

When I was a student at Oak Ridge, Young Life played a huge role in my life and in my faith in God. During my time at SFA I was a volunteer Young Life leader at Lufkin High School, and ever since moving back to the Spring area I have been a volunteer leader for Oak Ridge High School.

Describe Young Life. What is its purpose?

Young Life is a world wide minisitry that loves to share the good news of God’s love with high school students. Without being a part of a certain church, Young Life’s mission is to put high school kids into the church. It is a place that students can come to, to be able to get away from whatever is going on in their life and to be able to kick back and have fun as they learn about the Lord. Young Life breaks down the walls between high school students and God so that they can begin their life with Christ. It is an atmosphere full of fun, love, and life.

Does a student need to be of a certain religious affiliation to be in Young Life?

No. Young Life is not affiliated with a certain church.  We don’t care where you come from or what your background is. If you are there, we are excited!

Describe some of the weekly activities in Young Life.

Every Monday night we meet at the Robinson Road Community Center at the corner of Robinson and Hanna Rd. We like to call it “The Shack by the Tracks”! This is a night that we just let loose! During this time we sing some high energy secular songs that you might currently be playing on the radio or some good ole classics, and play some games that can be really messy or really fun. For example, last night we played a game where three contestants had to to listen to the song Roxanne by The Police. Every time they heard “Roxanne” they had to eat a marshmallow and every time they heard  “Put on a red light” they had to take a drink of Big Red. Well if you know the song Roxanne I am sure you can see where this game will lead to. It’s good, clean/messy fun. It’s hard to describe the fun that goes on on a Monday night. It’s definitely something you will have to come and experience. We conclude the night with a few worship songs and then a leader will speak about God.

If we aren’t meeting at “The Shack by the Tracks” we will do a fun event such as black light dodgeball, which we have coming up on February 28, or Eat the Whole Menu Challenge which is on February 21 at Chik-Fil-A or a scavenger hunt of some sort.

Crooked Creek… I noticed a change in some kids when they arrived back from Crooked Creek. This was indeed a valuable life experience. Can you go into what this retreat is all about?

Crooked Creek! Crooked Creek! If Crooked Creek Ranch isn’t the best week of a student’s life, they can hit us in the face with a brick and get their money back!

Crooked Creek is in Fraser, Colorado near Winter Park. The students take a 24 hour bus drive up to Colorado and spend the week there. This isn’t your typical camp. It’s basically a resort. Campers stay in beautiful log cabins and eat like kings and queens. The week is full of Young Life events. The activities that we do on a typical Monday go on all week but are super sized! This also includes mountain biking, horse back riding, ropes course challenge, etc. Even without all the activities it is the best week of a students life. Its a great opportunity to get away from all the things that go on at home and spend the week in the beautiful mountains of Colorado and really see how much God truly loves us.

How do kids get involved with Young Life?

All you have to do is show up! There isn’t a “membership” type deal. Come one, and come all!

Are you involved with the schools or have some kind of arrangement with the schools?

We aren’t really involved with the high school itself. Young Life is supported by the community and the parents that are involved with the Young Life committee. Oak Ridge High School is very supportive of Young Life and allow us to be at many of the school events.

You have some spin-offs of YL such as Campaigners. Describe Campaigners.

Campaigners is Young Life’s version of a bible study. We meet every Wednesday night at a students house. At Campaigners we dig into the word of God. We take the type to read scripture, discuss life, and pray. It’s the low key version of Young Life.

What else? Am I missing anything?

I believe that’s it. If anyone has any other questions or need some better understanding of my answers please feel free to email me at rpanthony53@gmail.com or call me at 281-658-0689.

I don’t know about you but I’m impressed. It’s just reassuring and refreshing to know that our kids are into an activity this beneficial that is being led by not only a real good person, but someone who was born and raised in the Oak Ridge area, and now chooses to make this community their home.

Comments to Doug Sarant at doug@oakridgenow.com.

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Doug Sarant, Oak Ridge Now

Born and raised in New England, Doug promises he got to Texas as fast as he could. He earned the much needed "piece of paper" from Sam Houston State, proving to himself he could start and finish something. Doug's interests include coaching and playing any sport and still plays lacrosse competitively. He also enjoys going to dinner theaters, though he complains there just aren't enough of them in the area. Doug was brought up in a cultured environment, having suffered through dozens of symphonies and operas with his way too over-educated mother. At the end of the day, Doug is just a dad and husband and claims to be good at both.

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