NBTX Young Life is celebrating 30 years of supporting the New Braunfels community and area teens. The organization offers ministries for middle and high school students.

Brought to New Braunfels by Tom Bluntzer and Anna Lisa Bluntzer-Tamez in 1993 as a program tasked with introducing youth to Christianity with about 30 local teenagers, NBTX Young Life has since grown to a ministry of around 600 middle school- and high school-age adolescents meeting weekly.

“We heard about Young Life through a relative who had attended a Young Life family camp in Buena Vista [Colorado], and we asked at the last minute if we could sign up and had room for us,” Bluntzer-Tamez said. “We had a fabulous time but knew nothing about Young Life then. We had a wonderful week, and my husband [Tom] decided we should bring this to New Braunfels.”

Ken White, who operates a drug and alcohol treatment facility in the Bryan/College Station area, was the first hired NBTX Young Life staff member. He credits the efforts of Tom Blutzer, who died from cancer complications shortly after founding the organization in New Braunfels, and a committee of individuals who worked to foster the organization's growth.

Young Life hosts events including weeklong camps, campaigns where kids and leaders discuss Bible scriptures, and club events structured around having fun and talking about life's purpose.

“When you do good relational, incarnational ministry, it's going to grow,” White said. “That's just what it is. If you do Young Life right, it will grow because that's the gospel in action. I always taught my teens—you always love them the way you find them—there is no preconceived idea that this person may or may not make a fate decision with us, but people want to be loved. They want to be known and loved for who they are. I think that's the strength of Young Life across the board.”

The staff and volunteers of the organization are active in the lives of students at New Braunfels High School, New Braunfels Ninth Grade Center, Canyon High School, Davenport High School, New Braunfels Middle School, Oak Run Middle School, Church Hill Middle School and many other area schools, according to a press release.

J. W. Harle, metro director of Comal County Young Life, said the organization continues to grow.

“Some organizations may sputter out or reach a plateau, then just hope to maintain course, but I can tell you with both confidence and excitement that NBTX Young Life is growing and growing fast,” Harle said. “But this should come as no surprise as our community is growing. I suspect many people moving into the area have been impacted by Young Life at some point in their teen or early adult years, and we want them to know Young Life is happening right here in New Braunfels in the high schools and middle schools.”

The organization is planning a celebration, inviting anyone and everyone touched by NBTX Young Life over the last 30 years Oct. 21 at 444, an event venue at 444 E. San Antonio St.

“We've been here 30 years, and we plan to be here another 30 and beyond, positively impacting teenagers with the good news about Jesus through caring relationships,” Harle said.

Young Life was originally started in 1941 by Jim Rayburn in Gainesville as a ministry designed to target unchurched high school-age students. ​Today, Young Life is a global organization with a local focus in more than 100 countries worldwide with ministries reaching more than 2.6 million middle school, high school and college students as well as teen moms and kids with disabilities, according to a press release.

214-957-7913. https://nbtx.younglife.org/