Get a group of teenagers together, especially if they are members of Young Life and you know you are in for a good time, as was in evidence on Friday, Nov. 2 when the group held its annual fundraising banquet at the Riverside Township Hall.

The Riverside-Brookfield Young Life organization comprises as many as 140 local high school students, mainly from Riverside-Brookfield High School. The group meets weekly at the Riverside United Methodist Church and is led by Jonathon Gorny, the area director for Young Life.

The purpose of the group is to work on relationships and listen to kids and let them know they are never alone and that Jesus is always in their lives.

The banquet, chaired by Shawanna James, was a tailgate theme with guests encouraged to come wearing the attire of their favorite team. Following a tailgate meal, the program began with a description of Young Life by parent committee chair Peg Detloff.

RBHS senior Emily Filec spoke of her experience with Young Life after being part of the organization for only two years. She encouraged students to take part and see what they have been missing.

Gorny also spoke before turning the evening over to the students themselves, but not before a few skits entertained the guests. The students of RBYL took over displaying posters they had made, which described the impact the organization had made on their lives. It was quite effective to see young people take that step in front of a large crowd. The evening was brought to an end with the students gathering together to join hands and sing.

Members of Young Life also have the opportunity to attend a summer or fall camps and other trips which could be described as “mission” trips. Their meetings are casual with the emphasis being on listening to each other and building relationships. It also is not about how much you know, but how much you care.

RBYL has been in the area for seven years, after Gorny learned of the program’s existence at Lyons Township High School, whose group had been established for a number of years. Young Life also has a program for junior high students known as Wild Life.

Those in attendance walked away with a good feeling and a lesson about the importance of relationships, no matter who you are or whatever age you may be. To learn more about Young Life you can contact Jonathon Gorny at