University of Oregon student looking to inspire others through religion
By Spencer Schloss
At the front of a large crowd, sits a young bulky man wearing a blue t-shirt, black sweatshirt, and blue jeans in a freshly painted house. As the crowd goes silent all of a sudden the bulky man jumps into the air screaming a chant.
“Give me a Y! give me O! give me a U! give me a N! give me a G!”
“Give me a L! give me a I! give me a F! give me a E!”
“What’s that spell?”
“Younglife,” as the crowd roars in excitement.
Younglife is a Christian based non-denominational youth outreach program that is focused on introducing who god is to young men and women who would never step foot in a church.
Saucerman, a group leader for the Younglife chapter at the University of Oregon and downtown Eugene neighborhood, still holds the same burning passion he’s had since his childhood. “Since I started going to Younglife at a young age, as I got older I knew I wanted to be a leader and help people,” says Saucerman.
Saucerman has been a group leader for four years and has participated in Younglife since he was five. “Growing up in Southern California and seeing my mom, Cindy, take part in Younglife made me yearn to help make an impact on other people’s life when I got older,” says Saucerman.
Coming from a religious family with his mom, Cindy, older sister Kristen, and older brother Ryan, Saucerman fell in love with worshipping god and volunteering in the community at a young age. “My mom always took me to Younglife when I was younger. I can still remember learning from the group leaders and having fun with friends everyday,” he says. Saucerman could still recollect the smell of the freshly baked oatmeal raisin cookies, group leaders yelling and screaming during skits, and the elementary school he would hang out with all his friends.
“People always think that we are just a religious group that talks about god, but we are actually just college students that like to have a good time and also have a place to go to talk about religion if we need it,” says Saucerman.
Younglife meets once a week you get to hang out with other friends and do a wide-variety of events like ice-blocking, ultimate frisbee, most nights turn out to be skits like you would see from Saturday Night Live and games that would be played on the TV show Wild and Crazy Kids and at very end we have a small passage from a leader that shows why god has such a big impact on their life.
Saucerman spends a couple of days devoting his life to Younglife as a leader making a positive influence someone else life. “I’ve learned a lot from my experiences with Younglife. It has taught me a lot about responsibility, being a leader, and life lessons,” says Saucerman.
Saucerman has helped kids of all ages. Saucerman has volunteered his last three summers to work for the Younglife summer camps helping plan activities and assisting in religious talks. “I’ve been to British Columbia, San Francisco, and Flagstaff volunteering for Younglife. Even though I am working at these places it is a lot of fun and I get a chance to help others,” says Saucerman.
“Wow, Justin has helped me with a lot of problems I have dealt with. He’s just someone that you can easily talk to that gives advice,” says Josh Kaplan. Kaplan, a sophomore at the University of Oregon, started participating in Younglife after Saucerman met him in one of his business classes. “He is just an easy guy to reach out since he is also a student”.
Saucerman wants to continue working for non-profit groups after he graduates, especially a surf ministry that goes around the world helping build houses, teaching kids about god, and also lets volunteers surf at any location the ministry travels to. “This is what I love to do,” says Saucerman. “I have always loved helping people, especially people younger than me where I can make a difference”.
*A video Justin Saucerman made from summer camp this past summer while volunteering in British Columbia