Young Life Alumni Awards

​James "Mark" Pogue

2018 Young Life Posthumous Alumni Achievement Award
By Jonathan Schultz

In the words of Young Life Chief Operating Officer Steve Thompson, “Part of Mark Pogue’s legacy will always be connected to his passion, talent and commitment to provide life-changing experiences to kids who attend Young Life camps. Mark’s service on camp assignments, his time spent taking kids to camp and his time volunteering at work weeks were all primary examples of how much he enjoyed and excelled at using Young Life camp to help proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.”

Mark Pogue passed away on September 5, 2018, at the age of 57. Mark is survived by his wife, Jami, and two daughters, Paige and Reilly. “Mark was brave and others-focused even in his last days on earth,” Jami said. “We were able to take a miracle trip and be the adult guest hosts with our Lincoln area at Castaway just one month before he died. Seeing our two daughters as leaders at camp was one of the greatest joys of our 25 years together! God was so generous in granting us this last trip together as a family.”

Mark came on Young Life staff in 1987 in Kansas City, later serving as area director for Lincoln, Nebraska, from 1994 to 2000. “Mark’s love for Christ and desire to make a difference in the lives of young people were ignited through being involved in the mission of Young Life,” Jami said. “He was drawn to the level of excellence, the laughter, the good clean fun and humor embedded throughout everything. He was captivated by the love, acceptance and the diversity of kids from all walks of life that the ministry drew. His creative gifts found a home with developing characters for walk-ons, giving compelling club talks, taking kids on amazing trips, and always creating and fostering life-changing experiences.”

Mark loved doing program, and a few of his program bits have become enduring legends in the mission, including the Mr. Christmas Tree Pageant. In the words of Mark’s brother, Matt, who is Young Life’s Midwestern and Northwestern divisional Camping coordinator, “My brother had a passion to help kids know who Jesus is and how to have a personal relationship with Him. His ability to make people laugh and engage them with the gospel were a gift to all of us. One of my most treasured times was working at Frontier when he would do program. Listening to he and Brian Summerall banter during games were some of the best times ever!”

“Young Life is woven into the tapestry of our entire lives,” Jami said. “As donors, staff, volunteer leaders and committee, being involved with Young Life has been one of God’s greatest gifts to us. Mark embodied exceptional and unselfish dedication to Young Life, using his gifts to serve, equip and fortify the mission with his talents and financially as donors for over 30 years.”

David and Bonnie Weekley

2018 Distinguished Young life Alumnus Award
By Jonathan Schultz

In 1969, David and Bonnie were sophomores at Memorial High School in Houston, Texas. High school sweethearts, the two attended Young Life club, Campaigners and even shared a “mountain-top” faith experience as campers at Star Ranch.

“Young Life was not only fun, but it deepened my faith and took me from being a cultural to a committed follower of Christ,” Bonnie said.

However, it wasn’t until they were in their 40s that the Weekleys joined the regional board, helping to fundraise and donate to the mission themselves. David remembers that God used Young Life to “get me back into my responsibility of being a committed Christian and putting faith into action.” During these years David served as the initial chairman of the Greater Houston Young Life Board, and helped start the Every Kid Fund, which has reached multiethnic kids within the city since 1997. Bonnie was also on the urban board and has fond memories of helping with gala events, and taking bus rides to pray around the various Houston schools.

“David and Bonnie live out the essence of Young Life,” said Young Life’s Chief Development Officer Eric Scofield. “They are people who love with the love of God. I remember moving to Houston in 2001, and the first people to greet me and lend me a hand were the Weekleys. Nearly 20 years later, nothing has changed. David and Bonnie live, love and pour out to so many. Today, David and Bonnie have their fingerprints all over the entire mission across this globe and serve at the highest level on the Executive Campaign Committee for Young Life Forward.”

The Weekleys are very excited for the mission’s future. “Young Life is as vital today as it has ever been,” said David. “Solid business acumen in a large ministry is important, and I believe Young Life has incredible leadership, accountability and performance in leading kids to Christ.”

Today the Weekleys are the founders and David is chairman of the largest privately held homebuilding business in America, “David Weekley Homes.” The website states: “Our purpose is to build dreams and enhance lives.” David and Bonnie have been tremendous stewards of the success they’ve been granted.

Dale and Beverly Willman

2018 Alumni Service to Young Life Award
By Shannon Harrell

Dale and Beverly Willman both met Jesus through Young Life under the nurturing leadership of Cleveland Area Director Pete Weaver. After seeing invitations for club in the halls of Bay High School in 1970, Dale showed up to the first Cleveland area club. Even though he was a new guitar player, he stepped into leading club songs like the classic, “If I Had a Hammer.” Within weeks, Dale and Beverly were both signed up to go to camp at Frontier Ranch.

In 1973, Dale moved to Boise, Idaho, and Beverly joined him a year later. They faithfully served as volunteer leaders as the Young Life work was just beginning in the early ’70s. In addition to being volunteer leaders, Dale and Beverly have served Young Life as committee members, donors, fundraiser hosts and advocates of the mission. Dale and Beverly’s two children, Mindy and David, have also served as leaders.

In 1981, the Willmans served on the support team that brought Gary and Jeanne Parsons to Boise. This began a decadelong friendship, based on the love of spreading the gospel and raising their own kids together.

As the Parsons began ministry in the Former Soviet Union (FSU), the Willmans joined right in, nurturing and guiding staff and volunteers, and serving on the FSU committee since 1992. Over the years, they’ve visited Russia, Ukraine, Latvia and Armenia to encourage local staff and volunteers in their ministries. Their love for all of the U.S.-based FSU staff is evident through their integral and generous giving of time, talent and treasure. The couple has also helped with the effort to launch Young Life ministry in the Baltics.

Dale has also worked with Young Life’s development team to evaluate the complicated process of funding international countries and help with expatriate tax issues for staff serving overseas. Dale has specifically assisted in the search for camp properties in several of the Former Soviet states and in the development of Pioneer, Young Life’s new camp in Armenia.