Ohio Valley Supports Young Life Ministry at Annual Dinner in Wheeling

Attending Young Life Ohio Valley’s annual dinner and fundraiser Monday at Oglebay Park’s Wilson Lodge, from left, are Young Life Ohio Valley Board Chairman Chad Adams; Brad Mowry, Young Life Capernaum divisional coordinator, of Grove City, Pennsylvania; and Young Life Area Director Sean McCartney. Photo by Scott McCloskey

WHEELING — More than 300 people listened to the message of Young Life Ohio Valley as the organization celebrated 47 years Monday evening.

Chairman Chad Adams said the group, a nondenominational Christian ministry that introduces adolescents to Jesus Christ, continues to grow in the Upper Ohio Valley.

The chairman said the organization’s annual dinner, held at Oglebay’s Wilson Lodge, is its largest fundraiser of the year. Brad Mowry, Young Life Capernaum Divisional Coordinator of Grove City, Pennsylvania, served as the keynote speaker.

The event also gives its members an opportunity to share with the community the activities in which it has been involved during the past year, Adams said.

“We go to the schools, to the games. … We build relationships in what we call, ‘earn the right to be heard,'” he said.

The group uses skill-building experiences through camps and works in communities alongside like-minded adult volunteer leaders, Adams said. In addition to Young Life, the ministry has Wyldlife for middle-school students; Young Lives, for teen mothers; and Capernaum, for children with special needs.

“We want to give every kid the chance to know that God created them and God loves them and desires a relationship with them,” said Sean McCartney, Young Life area director.

McCartney said the group was expecting about 335 people to attend the dinner.

One of them was Stephanie Meredith, of Wheeling, who was first involved with Young Life as a kid. She said her son, Cole, and daughter, Bailey, are now in the ministry.

“My family continues to be involved,” she said.

Meredith said the group is a great way for students to have fun in a nice, wholesome atmosphere away from the pressures of school and learn about “a God that loves you” at the same time.

“It’s a fun time. The kids really enjoy it and look forward to it. It’s a safe environment,” she said.

Adams said the group works with The Linsly School, and the high schools of Wheeling Park, John Marshall and St. Clairsville. It also has a College Life group at West Liberty University and is looking to expand into other schools.