GROVE CITY – For Linda Hines Strohkorb, the Young Life reunion, which took place at East Main Church on Aug. 30, was the fulfillment of a 40-year dream.
A 1979 graduate of Grove City High School, Strohkorb had dreamt of reconnecting with Young Life leaders and peers ever since leaving for Switzerland following her senior year.
Strohkorb and several former classmates planned the event to coincide with the 40-year reunion of their graduating class. Thirty-four people attended, including alumni from the class as well as several adult committee members and Grove City College student leaders from the 1979 era.
Dr. Scott and Kimberly Hahn, who were in attendance, met and began dating while serving together as leaders. Kimberly said that their dates consisted of going to Young Life events together, then riding home together. Married for 40 years, they now have six children and 18 grandchildren.
Sisters Susan Orr Wahl and Beth Orr Dickey spoke of the impact Young Life had throughout their entire family. Their father Morrison Orr, the former principal of GCHS, played a key role in helping Young Life thrive within the school.
Dickey and husband Ron currently serve as adult committee members, the team which oversees the operational responsibilities that support Young Life. Ron Dickey provided an overview of how the ministry has changed over the past 40 years.
In 1979 there was one adult committee for Grove City Young Life, and the ministry was present only in GCHS. Although a single committee continues to provide oversight, the ministry now known as Penn West Young Life has since expanded its presence to 12 schools.
Penn West operates 14 Young Life clubs including eight for high school students, four Wyld Life Clubs for middle school students, and two Capernaum Clubs for students with disabilities.
Strohkorb remembers Young Life as life-changing and remains grateful for the experiences it provided throughout her high school years.
“I couldn’t imagine why they (the leaders) would want to be with us instead of their college friends. They loved me exactly as I was and didn’t try to change me. They got to know my turf and cheered me on in my activities,” she said.
“My faith began to grow when I attended retreats, camp, and especially Campaigners (Bible study). I am eternally grateful for all that the leaders, adult committee members, and parents did to help establish a firm foundation for my faith before I left home,” Strohkorb said.
For more information about Penn West Young Life, visit pennwest.younglife.org Nancy Owens Franson is a writer and former Grove City resident currently living in Mansfield, Conn.