Young Life Names Eli Lilly Executive Newton "Newt" Crenshaw as Next President


Press Release

Contact: Terry Swenson
Vice President, Communications

Colorado Springs, CO -- Young Life’s 75th-anniversary year will prove historic in many ways. Outreach to adolescents worldwide will exceed two million annually, ministry will extend to more than 100 countries, and two new Young Life camps, one in Missouri and a second in Armenia, will welcome their first campers for a week of fun, food and faith. This will also be a year of leadership transition, as Denny Rydberg will retire after more than 23 years in his role. After an extensive and prayerful search, the Young Life board met last week to select Rydberg’s successor and on Friday named Newton “Newt” Crenshaw to be the mission’s new president.

The board’s selection comes after an open and extensive search process, conducted with the assistance of executive search firm CarterBaldwin. The goal, said board member and chair of the search committee Curtis McWilliams, was “to identify a committed, gifted and experienced leader who will assume leadership just as the mission is completing a historic growth campaign and pursuing a new blueprint for continued growth.”

In announcing the decision to Young Life staff and supporters, chairman of the Young Life Board of Trustees John Brandon talked about Crenshaw’s long history with Young Life — as a volunteer, as a donor and as a member of the board — and about his impressive career with pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly that includes significant international leadership experience. Brandon also stressed how impressed the board is with Crenshaw as a person and as a leader, “Newt is a person with intelligence, drive, compassion and, most importantly, a deep faith and a passion for inviting adolescents into the abundant life for which they were created.” 

It is that shared sense of calling that led Crenshaw to respond to Young Life’s search for its next president. “Young Life has exhibited a constancy of purpose like no other organization with which I have been associated,” Crenshaw wrote in his Letter of Interest to the Young Life board. “The collective commitment that Young Life leadership, staff and volunteers have demonstrated in introducing Jesus Christ to young people is inspiring.”

Crenshaw will begin his new role with Young Life on July 15, assuming leadership from Rydberg who is the mission’s longest serving president and who has overseen a period of unprecedented growth and impact. “Newt’s leadership gifts, his international experience, his personal integrity and deep faith, and his long history with Young Life make him the right person to join a stable and strong senior leadership team,” said Rydberg. “I believe the board has chosen wisely, and I am grateful that the Lord has provided as He has.”

Crenshaw and his wife, Susan, have four children, all of whom are involved with Young Life in some capacity. More about Newt Crenshaw​ is available here​.

Young Life is a worldwide organization for middle, high school and college students. Our staff and volunteers enter the world of kids, focusing on what matters to them — fun, adventure and friendship. In doing so, we earn the privilege of talking to them about something that we think matters most of all — the truth about God and His love for us. Founded in 1941, Young Life has more than 4,000 staff and 60,000 volunteers and is active in more than 90 countries reaching more than one million kids annually. Young Life leaders bring more than 200,000 kids each year to one of our 32 camping properties worldwide. Learn More >>>

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