Discipleship Focus

About Discipleship Focus
Discipleship Focus is currently accepting applications for their summer discipleship program. This program offers college-aged Young Life leaders and those in Young Life College a 10-week opportunity to study God's word with few distractions, live in Christian community and make some money working at an exciting theme park, all while being discipled one-on-one. The focus ison the participants' personal spiritual growth and creating a deeper foundation in their own walk with the Lord so they will be better able to share the Gospel in Young Life or anywhere else! There are two locations: Branson, Missouri, and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

The dates for this summer are June 2 - August 12. Program tuition is $550, but the first installment is not due until after their first paycheck. Participants are allowed to leave for a week or so to take kids to camp as well. Applications can be filled out online at www.dfocus.org.

For more information, contact Shanna Fuller at 865-428-4011 or fuller@dfocus.org.
                                                        Will and Betty’s Story

I was recently stuck in a dental chair, listening to my dentist share about his upcoming family vacation to Branson, Missouri. It will be the second year in a row that he has gone to Branson. Besides the nice accommodations and the beauty of the surroundings, he shared that the local theme park (Silver Dollar City) and the manner in which its employees treated people were significant factors in his decision to return. As I listened to this middle-aged man share about the cleanliness of the parks and the kindness of the employees, I couldn’t help but smile (on the inside), because there is more to the story than even my dentist knows …

Will Wyatt was first introduced to Young Life in Southern California, but learned more about the mission on a trip to the midwest,when he stopped by Silver Cliff Ranch and Frontier Ranch. According to Will, “I never finished the trip. The rest of the summer I stayed and worked at Silver Cliff; then was a volunteer leader in the Denver area for a year.” Meanwhile, Will’s soon-to-be bride, Betty, was working as Jim Rayburn’s secretary, having been introduced to Young Life as a teenager. After meeting and eventually getting married, Will and Betty moved to Knoxville, Tennessee, where Will served on Young Life staff for a few years. The couple then moved back to California, where they led Young Life clubs while Will got a second degree in business. Upon graduation, Will and Betty felt they could continue to serve God through Young Life as volunteers while supporting themselves. Since that time, the Wyatts have owned several businesses while serving as volunteer leaders, volunteer area directors, committee members, and were instrumental in the start of Young Life’s Wilderness Ranch in Colorado.

During their early involvement with Wilderness Ranch, Will and Betty developed a burden for the spiritual growth of young leaders. In their words, “We wanted a program where young people could have community, serious Biblical study, and a work experience where they could live out what they were learning.” The Wyatts shared this vision with Bob Mitchell, then Young Life president. Soon after this, Will was contacted by a group of Christian investors, who were about to close on a ski area property that also had summer recreation possibilities. It appeared that the Wyatts’ dream would soon be realized. However, the day before closing, the Lord shut the door as the money was not available. Though this came as a great disappointment, two years later another door opened when Jack Herschend, owner of Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri, called Mitch to see if he could send some Young Life people to work at his theme park. This was a much better opportunity, as the Wyatts would be able to focus on the development of the program and not the building of facilities. Thus, “Discipleship Focus” (first known as “Young Life’s Discipleship Experience at Silver Dollar City”) was born. Since its humble beginnings in 1977, Discipleship Focus has impacted thousands of college-aged Christian men and women. Today, almost years later, Discipleship Focus provides a place where young people can share in community during the summer, grow in their faith through biblical study, and have employment at one of four theme parks in Missouri and Tennessee (Silver Dollar City, White Water, Dollywood, or Dollywood Splash Country) where they can live out what they are learning.

Now, let’s return to Will, sitting in a dentist chair, listening to his dentist share why he can’t wait to return to Branson, Missouri, for vacation. His experience is influenced by something that started decades ago, when two people — two alumni and friends of Young Life — pursued a God-given vision to disciple college-aged people, while offering them gainful employment during the summer. The ripple effect of this vision and this investment cannot be measured. From those involved in Discipleship Focus, to those who experience the love of Christ as they visit one of these theme parks, the impact is truly incredible and eternal. 
Will and Betty, thank you for your many years of service and for your ongoing partnership as alumni and friends of the Young Life mission! Find out more about Discipleship Focus: www.dfocus.org