Partnership to reach youth in more ways


JASPER — After attending a national Young Life Catholic Forum in New York City last week, three Dubois County religious leaders have their sights set on connecting their organizations and their complementary ministries like never before.

Courtney Foye of Dubois County Young Life, Angie Greulich of St. John Bosco Youth Ministry in Jasper and Kacie Klem of Christ the King Parish in Ferdinand all attended the event last week. And while they don’t know exactly what their partnership will look like going forward, they know that supporting each other will lead to a bigger positive impact on the lives of more area children.

“Conversations have to keep happening,” Greulich said, “because I think there’s lots of fear that if our kids go to Young Life, they won’t go to the parish anymore. Or they won’t be involved in their Catholic faith. And so I think giving voice to that fear so we can disseminate some of that anxiety is probably the first step.”

She explained that while the parishes don’t currently collaborate with Young Life outside of their leaders grabbing lunch together, they plan on exploring the possibilities that could come from teaming up. Each organization has the same end goal, she said, and that is showing kids their communities are made up of people who love them while linking them to the kingdom of God.

“I feel like if we can collaborate, we just build a stronger network of support for our young people,” Greulich said. “I’m thrilled whenever kids come to Bosco. I’m thrilled when they go to Young Life. It doesn’t matter necessarily the specific environment, whenever we’re there for young people.”

Young Life is a parachurch outreach ministry in which leaders go into the community and show teens the word of God in a unique way. A group of Jasper high schoolers meets regularly for a club activity that lasts about an hour and includes fun and play, as well as spiritual education and guidance.

“My experience, even just as a student, was that Young Life was preaching me the gospel in a way that I hadn’t heard yet,” Klem said, reflecting on her time as a member of the club. “Or in a way that I hadn’t actually received tangibly and internally. Young Life put me on fire to be able to understand my faith, and then my church allowed me to be able to deepen that faith beyond that starter message.”

Last week’s forum brought in speakers and led sessions that Foye said opened doors for the three to have those conversations about how working together can benefit all of their groups.

“I think the overall theme is unity in what we’re doing,” Foye said on Friday. “I have felt unified being here all together, and that’s really powerful.”

At the heart of it all, the local leaders’ goal is to reach more of the county’s youth in more ways.

Greulich explained that she and Klem have different responsibilities in the organizations, but both are necessary.

“It’s not that one is better than the other one, it’s that they’re different and both needed,” Greulich said. “I can’t, as youth minister for Bosco Youth Ministry, I can’t do all of that outreach and do all of the good, core Catholic ministry as well. And Courtney can’t do that good core ministry because she is doing so much outreach. So, they really do need to marry together to provide for our young people. I think that’s what we’ve really learned.”

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