Lessons Learned – October Meeting


Zac West, Area Director for Young Life, spent time with Young Life in Africa. Using this global lens, Zac described how this experience shaped his life and his views toward relationships and collaboration. He shared the top 5 lessons he learned during his 5 years with Young Life in Africa. These lessons rival the advice that can be found in any top leadership book. They include:

  1. Make sure to ask your target community, “how can I help YOU,” rather than attempting to impose your own agenda on them. Based on local needs, Zac and his wife often filled in as coaches, teachers, counselors, and farmers.
  2. Don’t be afraid of needing others. If you go in thinking you’re the hero, you’ll deprive others of the blessing to help.
  3. Keep in mind that your project/organization is not the most important thing happening in your target community. Take time to first listen and understand – and then help.
  4. Think of helping the whole person: body, mind and spirit
  5. “Haraka haraka haina baraka:” This is a Swahili proverb that means “The fast way is the slow way,” so be prepared to take deep breaths, go slowly, and take the time to build things that will last forever.

Young Life is a non-denominational global organization that is consistently rated 5-stars on the Guidestar website. Its aim is to double its impact by 2016, touching the lives of 2,000,000 kids annually, world-wide.