2017 Love Stories

​ My wife, Judy, and I met at Malibu in June of 1982 as volunteer leaders. She was from Boulder, Colorado, and I was from Eugene, Oregon. We only had about one hour together at camp to talk because we were invested in leading kids, but there was enough interest for us to begin writing letters. We wrote letters all summer, and I drove out to Boulder to visit her in September while attending a Young Life leader training conference. That pretty much sealed the deal for both of us, and in June of 1984 we got married. Then we began a long, exciting journey with Young Life throughout Oregon as we served as field staff, camp developers, committee, property managers and now volunteer leaders. Our two daughters help us lead and serve at club. In June we will have been married 33 years, and it has been a great journey together and with Young Life all along the way. We both began pursuing Jesus as a result of leaders who pursued and discipled us, and we have been trying to do that with others ever since! — Ben Herr 


When I was 15 years old, my crush texted me saying he was going to Frontier Ranch. I told him to call me when he got back, hoping he would start a relationship with Jesus while he was there, as I had done at Castaway Club. Sure enough, on July 31, Conor surrendered his life to Christ! He came back from camp and we started dating. Five years later our Young Life leader officiated our wedding. Today we have a four-month-old son named Elijah Frontier! Our prayer is that people would come to know Jesus because of God's work through Him, just like thousands have at Frontier Ranch! — Chelsea Smith


I am a Young Life baby through and through. My sweet parents met at a Young Life work week at Frontier Ranch in 1988. My mother was a student at the University of Memphis, and my father was attending Texas Christian University. They married in 1992, and two siblings and I were all involved in WyldLife and Young Life. While I was in high school, my mom was a leader at the University of Denver, my dad was on committee, my sister and brother were leading WyldLife, and I was leading behind the scenes at my high school. Our whole family has been to countless family camps at Trail West and plenty of leader retreats at Crooked Creek Ranch. God has used Young Life to shape me to be the person I am today, and I feel so honored to be able to say I am a product of this great ministry. I can’t wait to be involved for the rest of my life and hopefully follow in the path of my parents and meet my “hub at club”! — Emma Hingst

I met my husband through Young Life! Eric had been a Young Life leader in Hamilton, Ohio, for three years when I got placed there in 2013. Throughout the year we became good friends and spent lots of time together while loving kids. Leading beside someone, hearing him pray and seeing him love a city was such a gift. We are in our second year of marriage; we bought a house and are now on committee in the area we led in. #younglifeforever — Kieh Kirby



My wife, Cara, and I "met" in the summer of 2012 while doing summer staff at Lake Champion. When I say "met," I mean we didn't talk at all and the only thing I knew about her was that she washed my underwear. But God had a plan. We reconnected a few months later. I was living in Virginia and she was in Michigan. We dated long distance throughout college, got married in 2015 and moved to Ohio. We are now on Young Life staff in Solana Beach, California! It's a love story that spans many years and many states, but it all started with Young Life. — Gianni Massaro I was a Young Life leader in Omaha, Nebraska. As I was doing the Captain Nemo skit for a group of high school students one summer, I saw this very attractive young college student. After club that night, we went out for pizza and more than 40 years later, we are still going strong. After our wedding, we were so broke that we could not afford a honeymoon, so the local committee gave us a trip to Trail West for our honeymoon. — Ken Dick 


My husband, David, and I met as high school juniors at Saranac Village in 2004 while serving on work crew during a staff training weekend. We long-distance dated on and off from 2004–2010, and in December 2010, I moved to Buffalo, New York, to attend graduate school and give my work crew crush a real shot! We got engaged July 2012, married October 2013, daughter Carley was born October 2014, and we have another baby expected this September. I've been a volunteer leader in my area for nearly six years, and my husband served on work crew three times and summer staff twice. We love the Young Life ministry so much and praise God for the way He wrote our story and continues to use our gifts to further the Kingdom. — Abbey Cole 

My husband, Jordan, and I met as Young Life College leaders at Washington State University (GO COUGS!). We barely spoke, but then became paired to do music together. After spending six months on a team and practically doing everything together, we fell in love hard and fast while serving the Lord. We spent many weekends together at Washington Family Ranch and enjoyed a discipleship weekend at Malibu Club! We were engaged in the spring of 2014 and married shortly after in September. We now love to have Young Life leaders at our home for dinner, and we support them throughout the year. Young Life taught us how to have a deep relationship with the Lord and with each other. This September we celebrate three years of marriage! — Jenny Eskander 

I met the love of my life at a Young Life camp. I am from Grand Rapids, Michigan, and got involved with Young Life during my freshman year of college. During the summer of 2014, I was able to serve on summer staff at Timber Wolf Lake, a camp dear to my heart. That same summer, a southern belle from Texas was serving as an intern in the kitchen. The month at camp changed my life, and Timber Wolf Lake became a second home for me. I quickly decided that I wanted to intern the following summer. There was no doubt in my mind. So, fast forward one year and I was sitting around a campfire on a beautiful Michigan night, right next to this girl who radiated joy and love. I spent the summer trying to pretend like I wasn't head over heels for this girl from Texas, knowing we lived so far apart. Fast forward another 1.5 years to the present. We are both on part-time staff here in Grand Rapids, and she is the woman of my dreams. — Andrew Crawley My wife and I have been married for almost three years now after meeting in 2012 at Frontier Ranch. I am from North Carolina, and Rebekah is from Indiana. We were both serving that summer; I was on the ropes team and Rebekah was in the store. I became quite "fond" of Rebekah, and when it was time to head back home after the month, I knew I had to find a way to see her again. I made some calls and worked out some plans to return third session to "help out" as an extra hand on the ropes team. By the end of the summer, we knew we wanted to try dating long distance and see if it would work out. However, God had other plans and moved Rebekah to my college town in North Carolina! A year later I joined the staff in Greensboro, and we eventually married. Frontier Ranch brought us together, and we still reminisce on the summer there and how the Lord worked in our lives to make our relationship work! — Kevin Matznick


When I got placed on my Young Life team, I told a fellow leader that I "just had a feeling" that another leader and I would date. Two years later we were not dating at all, but we were best friends. Everyone in our lives believed we would get married — we even had one of our Young Life kids create a fake Twitter account with a fake invitation to “our” wedding at SharpTop Cove that summer. A year ago I realized that I had feelings for Nolon, but he said he didn’t feel the same. However, a month later he returned from his internship and told me he felt the same and we started dating! Only eight short months later, he proposed and we are getting married in July! Thank you LHS Young Life and Jesus! —Logan Daniel Grace and Connor Patterson first met at Southwind in 1994 as 1-year-olds. They led WyldLife together in college, married in 2016 and are now leading Young Life College together. Both Grace and Connor come from Young Life families. Grace's parents, Kevin and Sharon Comiskey, met at Wilderness Ranch and Connor's parents, Vance and Lauren Patterson, met as leaders in Ft. Worth. — Sharon Comiskey