YCorps Spotlight: Kevin Lungay
We are so grateful for our wonderful staff at Youth Frontiers (YF), from our full-time and part-time employees to our YCorps. The Youth Frontiers YCorps (Youth Corps) is a seven-month internship program that gives emerging leaders the opportunity to facilitate, along with our full-time staff, life-changing retreats for schools all over the upper Midwest. The YCorps do a lot to further our mission, so we want to celebrate their skills and stories on our blog in a five-part spotlight Q&A series. Our second YCorps member in the spotlight is Kevin Lungay.
How did you learn of Youth Frontiers?
My first memorable encounter with Youth Frontiers was in the summer of 2015 when I met YF’s Founder and CEO, Joe Cavanaugh, along with his wife, Jane, and their daughter, Tess, at TLC Family Camp. The Cavanaugh family has always been a staff favorite, and I saw why. As I spent time with them that summer, they gave me a small glimpse of what YF is like. The following summer, fellow TLC instructor, Daley Rupar, started working for YF, and I was able to learn more about the organization through her.
What’s your favorite part of facilitating retreats?
My favorite part of the job is seeing the transitions that the students, small-group leaders, teachers and staff from the school undergo throughout the day. What really excites me is when I am able to see a student slowly come out of their shell, embrace the day and find meaning and value in the retreat.
What’s something that surprised you about the job?
Something that surprised me is how much the students treat us like celebrities on retreat. Twice now, kids have lined up at the end of the day to ask for my autograph – that has never happened to me before! At times it can be overwhelming, but it shows how much the retreat means to the students.
What is a favorite retreat story of yours?
When I facilitated a Courage Retreat at Riverside Middle School in Wisconsin, a seventh grader came up to me and thanked me for being at his school that day. He told me that he had been struggling and feeling down for the past few months, but that the retreat served as a healing moment for him. He said that he hadn’t felt that happy in a long time. It made me realize how powerful the retreats are.
What are you learning at Youth Frontiers that you will take with you after your YCorps commitment ends?
I will hold onto my newfound ability to communicate well with youth. When I started at YF, I had a tendency to use vocabulary that went over students’ heads while I was trying to deliver a serious message. Now, I can speak in a way that is simple to understand and that clicks with students.
This week’s Character Challenge was to make someone laugh. What makes you laugh?
Puns make me laugh! They are truly a blessing.
Also, one thing that I’m still trying to comprehend is how the kids find me funny. Oftentimes during retreats, I hear kids say that I’m hysterical, but I’m just trying to do my job. Maybe one day I’ll figure it out …
Thank you, Kevin, for all that you have contributed to the YF team and for helping us accomplish our mission.