An upcoming clay shooting competition called the "Second Annual Pull for Young Life," will benefit a group that touches the lives of Carthage High School students.

An upcoming clay shooting competition called the "Second Annual Pull for Young Life," will benefit a group that touches the lives of Carthage High School students.
Young Life, an international, Christian organization comprised of parents and citizens focused on improving the lives of youth, was established in Carthage about three years ago. Dr. Louis Drackert, the committee chair for the Young Life chapter in Carthage, said the group was formed because of the organization's positive influence on him as a student in Kansas City; plus, others in the community expressed a passion to bring that experience to Carthage students.
"It's about connecting caring adults, who would be good role models, with high school kids," Drackert said. "It's a Christian ministry, but instead of making the kids go somewhere, the adults go to them. They visit them at school, they go to their games, concerts, and just meet them on their own turf to make that connection."
Drackert considers himself a behind-the-scenes supporter, but his wife, Sabrina, is one of the five leaders for the high school Young Life chapter. There is another chapter in Carthage, called Wild Life, for the junior high school.
"It's enjoyable," Louis Drackert said. "We just hope to reach as many kids as we can in Carthage."
The group enjoys activities throughout the year, including a summer camp. This year, the group will be traveling to Timber Wolf Lake, Mich.
Weekly club meetings are held at a leader's home, where students play games together and fellowship, then conclude with a talk. This time is designated to encourage each other, and introduce basic Christian values.
"Young Life gave me a community where I felt like I could be myself, learn more about God and how to deepen my faith by reading my Bible, attend a Bible Study and how to pray," said Lindsey Hardister, a 2008 high school graduate. "I have benefited from Young Life in many different ways. The organization provided me with an adult leader who not only showed up to club on Monday nights, but she showed up at my school lunch, my swim meets and even let me sit on her back porch and had intentional conversations with me about who God is in my life. She didn't push her religious views on me, she answered my questions and challenged me to see God as a friend versus something unattainable. Once I graduated high school my leader didn't stop showing up, she continued being my friend, asked about my relationship with Christ and often prayed with me. She even took part in my wedding."
Those who lead Young Life in Carthage are: Louis and Sabrina Drackert, Jeff and Tina Hallmark, Barbara Wright and Young Life part-time staff member, Olivia Jones, who also works at Dr. Fly's Salon.
"I believe that God was preparing my heart for many years to be a Young Life leader," Tina Hallmark said. "After hearing about the program, Jeff and I prayed about it and felt this is what God is leading us to do. We want to be there for them if that's a shoulder to cry on, crazy-funny texts at night, discussing their dreams and future plans but also to show them they are loved by us and by Jesus."
The Second Annual Pull for Young Life will be 1 p.m. April 9 at Claythorne Lodge, Columbus, Kan. Sporting clays is one of the most popular forms of shooting, and is recognized as a competitive sport. Each target simulates the flight of a different kind of game species such as teal, dove, quail, pheasant and even a bouncing rabbit.
The following sponsorships are available to support the cause:
"Big Gun" - $800; "Double Barrel" - $400; station - $200; prize - $100; individual shooter - $100; five-man team - $450.
For questions or to inquire, please call Louis Drackert, the Young Life committee chair, at 816-223-8677 or email carthageyounglife@gmail.com.