Welcome to Young Life.

Welcome to Young Life Australia, a non-aligned Christian charity focussed on role modelling and mentoring young people of high school age, to build confidence, values and resilience.

Young Life seeks to reach out to teenagers and instil a sense of purpose and meaning through significant relationships with active adult role models. We achieve this through the commitment of a motivated youth leadership team skilled in encouraging, mentoring and lending a willing ear.

We have been making a positive impact on the lives of young Australians for the past 40 years with one-on-one support and tutoring as well as with small groups, in schools, sporting clubs, regular get-togethers, and on inspiring camps.

Apart from the cost of our camps, everything Young Life Australia does is free of charge. And everything we do is driven by earning the right to be heard, and then providing friendship, leadership and guidance, when young people need it most. Whether teenagers are seeking empowerment, answers, or just acceptance, Young Life is here for them, with a desire for fun, a compassionate understanding heart, and a powerful message of hope.


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Our journey

Young Life has been around long enough to have made a very real difference in the lives of many millions of young people all around the world.

The foundations for the organisation were laid in Texas in the United States of America in 1938. Jim Rayburn was a gifted youth leader in Gainesville, in his late 20ís when he had a life changing moment of clarity and a burning desire to carry it out. Jim believed it was ďa sin to bore kids with the GospelĒ and in conjunction with his pastor, Clyde Kennedy, they worked out a plan whereby Jim would work with disinterested teenagers instead of those who already attended their services.

Seventy years ago, Jim Rayburn walked across the street from his church in Gainesville in order to reach out to the kids who didn't come to church. As Jim's son recounts in his biography, "armed with a soft spot in his heart for kids, and a burning love affair with God, Jim headed for the local high school. Little did anyone suspect how far-reaching his efforts would be."

Jimís philosophy was an instant hit. His weekly youth club was loaded with music, funny skits and exciting games, plus easily digested positive messages that connected with the kids. Young Life was founded in 1941 and it didnít take long for the movement to gather momentum.

Jim Rayburn encouraged his young staff in the forties to "walk in wisdom towards those who are without." Jim wanted to help teenagers by providing hope, inner peace, forgiveness, direction, identity, purpose, understanding as to who they are, where they come from, and most of all, where they are going.

Soon Young Life was reaching out to youth all over the USA and then Canada, and then other countries further afield, offering teenagers an entertaining and compelling mix of understanding, guidance, mentoring and positive values, without judgement, and without talking down to the kids either.

Today, the organisation operates in 45 countries around the world and has around 4,000 personnel and 28,000 volunteers globally, who work directly with young people or who serve as local committee helpers or board members.

Young Life commenced in Australia in 1972 with a single representative, Arthur Ongley, working part-time out of his home in the Sydney suburb of Northmead. Soon after, a Melbourne office was added and the two states began a slow but steady expansion program.

In 2000, the New South Wales and Victorian branches of Young Life joined forces and Young Life Australia was born, with a national office based in Ryde, Sydney, and with a total staff of four along with around 40 very motivated but under-resourced volunteers.

Rapid expansion followed, with more regions being represented within NSW and Victoria, along with the addition of the ACT and Queensland.

Today, the Young Life Australia network has a staff of 20 along with over 200 fully trained volunteers in the field, who mentor, lead and support more and more young people in an increasing number of regions throughout the Eastern seaboard. More state offices and regional representatives are set to roll out over the next three years.

So the journey that began so long ago continues, with the same youthful vigour and the same willingness to make a positive, lasting difference in the lives of young people.


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A message from the CEO, Glyn Henman

As we move through the 20-Ten’s, we can take heart from all of the positive interactions we have with high school aged kids, during school hours through our Volunteers in Schools school community program, at our regular fully supervised Club nights, and on the countless group get-togethers that our leaders arrange with the young people they mentor and interact with, every now and again on a weekend.

Yet, there are so many more teenagers we could be helping. And that’s why we are continuing to reach out to new communities, and engage more fully in our existing areas, to listen to young people without judgement, and mentor and guide them through the maze that is the teenage years.

My role as CEO for the organisation provides me with a window into the inner workings of the lives of Generation-Y, and in a few short years time, the kids of the new millennium, Generation-Z.

I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to play my part in being there for our young people when it really counts, by providing friendship, guidance, mentoring and support so that our youth can reach their full potential.

Iíve been involved in working with Australian teens for the past 23 years and I have served on the staff of Young Life for the last 17 years. During this time I have been fortunate to have worked with thousands of youths around the country, in Asia, and the USA.

My main responsibilities in the organisation involve training staff and volunteers who work with Young Life, developing our network throughout Australia, raising financial support and seeking out new opportunities to start Young Life in new communities in partnership with local churches, schools and community groups.

I believe the biggest problem among young people today is that they have lost hope. I also believe that when hope is restored in a young person's life, they can go on to develop the ability to make a valuable contribution with their life in the wider community.

Itís teaching, not preaching. Our vision for Young Life is to be a conduit for positive change and emotional growth for the youth of Australia, so with the right back-up and encouragement, teenagers can achieve outcomes that will put them on the right path.

Young Life is not just about focussing on troubled young people, itís about connecting with all young people. Itís about instilling strong values and providing a shoulder to lean on. Itís about delivering guidance, support, understanding and compassion. Itís about listening without judgement and leading by example.

The Young Life Australia approach is centred around creating a solid framework in a young personís life to make the most of their life and make their own decisions about their own direction and their own walk of faith. With fun and entertainment and all the exuberance of youth celebrated, not locked away in a boring old locker with the key discarded.

I thank you for visiting us and invite you to contact myself or the team for more information on how to help us, how to get involved, or how to take advantage of our various youth support initiatives.

Best regards,

Glyn Henman
CEO Ė Young Life Australia


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Bridging the gap

The founder’s philosophy.

“Our young people today are waiting for somebody to care about them enough to take the time and trouble to pour out compassion on them. To prove their friendship. To bridge this tragic and terrible gap that exists in our culture between teenagers and adults.”

Jim Rayburn, Jnr (1909 - 1970)  -  ordained Presbyterian minister and founder of Young Life.


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Meet the team

Glyn Henman

Sharon Lopez
Belconnen Area Manager
& Chaplain

Chris Douglas
Glen Waverley Chaplain

Josh Schloss
South East Queensland
Area Manager

Brendan Hatte
Armidale Area Manager

Mark Hamilton
Belarus & Baltics
Regional Director

Brooke Filipovski
Ryde and Northern Sydney
Area Manager

Fudge Jordan
Hobart Area Manager &
Senior Project Manager

Heather Gant
Bathurst Area Manager

Paul La'Hay
Development Manager

Llew Morris
Financial Controller 

Vicki Rochow
Barossa Valley
Area Manager

Megan Sparkes
Maroondah Field Staff

Warwick Thompson
Accounts assistant




call us on
1300 557 647
connecting with young people in their world