Young Life garage sale helps high school students attend camp

Story and photos by ERIN HENDRY
neighborhoods@ColumbiaMissourian.com

Sara Buxton, 16, sorts through her items to sell at the garage sale.

Lava lamps, TV sets and prom dresses were among the items sold at the Young Life garage sale Friday, May 7.

The garage sale, which was held at the Hulen Lake shelter was set up to raise money to help local high school students be able to attend the Young Life camp in the summer.

Luke Neal, the area director for Young Life in Columbia, said Young Life is a nonprofit youth organization that is Christian but nondenominational.

“What we do is try to provide mentoring relationships for high school students,” he said. “What we’re interested in, in Young Life, is what the kids have to say and not to just preach to them but more to think and interact with them.”

Some of the activities at the Young Life camp, which will be at Crooked Creek Ranch this year, include horseback riding, ropes course climbing and sand volleyball. Young Life was able to bring 75 high school students to the camp last year.

The properties where the camp is held have been a product of a lot of time and money to make sure they are good quality for the campers.

“Camp is not really a good word to explain what we do at camp,” he said. “It’s really more like a resort.”

Dari Cranford, who organized the garage sale, has been a committee member for 14 years and participated in Young Life herself.

“I was a 15-year-old high school student who got to attend Young Life camp in the summer just like we’re helping these kids do,” she said. “It has changed my life forever, and every day of my life has been different because of the difference Young Life camp made to me.”

The first garage sale to raise money took place last year, and Cranford said it was pretty successful, which is why they did it again this year.

“We never want cost to be an issue,” she said, “which is why we are trying to get more scholarship there to lower the price of camp and help kids be able to go who otherwise might not be able to.”

Some young people hoping to attend camp even set up their own station to receive money for their belongings.

Sara Buxton, a junior at Hickman High School, got involved with Young Life about three years ago. She is hoping to attend camp for the first time this summer.

“I just want to try it out and see if it really is the best week of my life,” she said.

Zophia McDougal, who is also a student at Hickman, brought her photography as well as other items to sell at the garage sale. She has been involved with Young Life for about two years and has enjoyed the atmosphere.

“It’s like, ‘Come even if you aren’t a believer, even if you don’t have a relationship with Christ,’’ she said. “It’s just a safe place where kids can go.”

Adam Miles, who also attends Hickman, went to the camp last year and is attempting to go again this year.

“Other than the nasty sunburn I got, which was my fault because I didn’t apply sunscreen correctly, it was awesome,” he said. “The food was great, the activities were fun, and there was even horseback riding.”

Some people who attended the garage sale had previous experiences with Young Life.

Bissy Crosby and her daughter, Margie, found a cookbook and a prom dress at the sale. Crosby’s son, who is now a senior at MU, was able to attend the camp in high school with the help of others. Crosby donated items to the garage sale and brought cupcakes.”

“It’s really cool to be able to give back,” she said.

Crosby also said Cranford is very good at doing garage sales because she knows how to price items and get everything working.

“She works very hard to make sure everyone goes to camp,” she said.

Cranford said one way she could help contribute to the Young Life camp was to use her abilities of organizing the garage sale.

“I have a huge passion for helping every kid go to camp and have the best week of their life,” she said.


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