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Young Life director leads young people to grow in their faith

Allen Crawford, 31, works for LaGrange Young Life, where he is the area director. Crawford grew up in Knoxville Tennessee, where his love for Young Life began. As a high school freshman, he discovered Young Life when his best friend’s brother took him out to a Young Life meeting. That summer he attended a Young Life camp in Colorado.

“It was the first summer I really started to follow Jesus,” Crawford said. “There was definitely a connection.”

After high school, Crawford moved to Georgia to attend the University of Georgia.

At first, he attended school to be a journalist, as he had a love for writing in high school. Then, he thought he might end up being a teacher. He never really saw himself having a career in Young Life.

Crawford began his training as a Young Life director in Columbus, then ended up in LaGrange. From there, he began to coordinate with families to start a Young Life program in LaGrange.

“Young Life helped me to figure out who I wanted to be,” Crawford said. “I feel like God is calling me to it, no matter how hard or exhausting it may be at times.”

Crawford said through Young Life, there are so many opportunities to form life-long relationships with kids’ middle school age and older.

“The relationships formed through Young Life don’t just stop after high school ends,” Crawford stated. “These kids stay connected to the leaders and the program even through college.”

The Young Life program in LaGrange consists of 25 leaders who help kids to grow in their faith and as members of society.

Crawford said the goal is that these kids have consistency in their lives.

“Teenagers need stability, someone who won’t leave them and will stay faithful and consistent. These things are so valuable,” said Crawford when asked what Young Life members take away from the program.

Crawford enjoys playing golf in his spare time, as well as coaching.

He said that the best thing to happen to him since living in LaGrange was marrying his wife Mamie, who is a graphic designer and also works as a Young Life volunteer. Crawford enjoys food, reading and attending church when he is not busy with his career at Young Life.

— Story by Grace Braswell, Photos by Jenna Oden