We are proud to introduce to you the 2012-2013 Team and Alum Leaders for Youthlinc!

Ruth Adolphson – Guatemala Team Leader

This is the second year that Ruth has worked with Youthlinc. She led the Thailand team last year and absolutely fell in love with the organization and with the beautiful people she served and worked with. She was always taught that if you want to love someone, serve them. Ruth found this to be especially true with the Youthlinc team and the Thai people. This year she is super excited to lead the Guatemala team this year and fall in love with the people there. She knows that it will be an amazing experience for the team.

Ruth teaches biology and anatomy/physiology at Cyprus High School. She loves her job and loves working with youth. The best part of her job is seeing students get excited about the world in which they live and gain an understanding of how life works. Ruth also coaches and is the HOSA advisor. Ruth spends her summers traveling, teaching, gardening, reading, and catching up on much-needed sleep. She also loves to camp and hike and spend time with her family.

Madeline Rencher – Guatemala Alum Leader

Madeline is delighted to be the Alum Leader for Youthlinc’s trip to Guatemala this summer! Madeline was a student on the Kajuki, Kenya 2012 team, and together with amazing team members had a life changing experience—one she thinks about every day. Madeline says that she left part of her heart in Africa with the wonderful people of Kajuki. She is excited to work with the people of Guatemala and those that will be on her team this year! She has loved her past experiences with Youthlinc and can’t wait to make more memories through this service year and in Guatemala.

Madeline is 19, graduated last spring from East High School, and is now a student at the University of Utah in the Honors College. She is pre-med and is involved with student government through Freshmen Council and with many academic and service clubs. Madeline is enjoying living life on campus, and is a member of the sorority Delta Gamma. She enjoys service and currently volunteers in the Operating Room at a hospital in Salt Lake City and by dancing with her little brother’s special needs dance class. Madeline loves photography, dance, spending time outdoors, singing, acting, scrapbooking, and spending time with friends and family.

Britnie Powell – Vietnam Team Leader
Britnie has been involved with Youthlinc since the beginning. She was on the pilot expedition to Kenya in 2000. Since then she has been committed to continuing service both locally and globally. Britnie has returned to Kenya several times doing humanitarian work, traveled to Peru with Youthlinc on an alum trip, taught English in China, participated in an expedition to Guatemala, and has led Youthlinc teams to Thailand, Kenya, Cambodia, and Peru. The work Brit has done in other countries inspired her to become a teacher.

Britnie has a Masters of Education degree and currently teaches 6th grade at the Salt Lake Center for Science Education. In her class she integrates service learning, in which the students do a range of service projects: supporting a local care center for the elderly, environmental projects, organic gardening, teaching science to kindergarteners, helping the humane society, and they have even helped Youthlinc put together hygiene kits! Locally, Brit has been involved with the Boys and Girls Club, volunteered at Cottonwood Hospital, the Battered Woman’s Shelter, has tutored ESL students, made meals for the homeless, and has been a Sub-4-Santa for many years. She likes spending time playing the guitar, reading and riding her bike. She also enjoys adventures of animals. In her classroom she has a pet tarantula, two snakes, two pigeons named Chicken and Dinner, a gerbil, a handful of other creepy creatures, two sugar gliders, and a rabbit named Abner. Britnie is married to Justin (another Youthlinc team leader!) and loves spending time experiencing new places with him. She is stoked to be leading the Vietnam Service Team this year!

Taylor Johns – Vietnam Alum Leader
Taylor is excited to be selected as the Alum Leader for Youthlinc’s first ever trip to Vietnam. Last summer Taylor was as a student on the Kenya team that visited Kajuki, Kenya – also a new site for Youthlinc. She is equally excited to spend a few weeks in Vietnam this summer as a friend and mentor to the new Youthlinc student participants.

Taylor is 18 years old and currently living in Salt Lake while attending the University of Utah. (Go UTES!) She is studying Anthropology and working on a yoga teaching certificate as well. She loves her dogs, reading, and anything outdoors, including hiking, backpacking, camping, and fishing. She also likes sushi, laughing, and anything service related!

Carson and Bobby Sheen – Thailand Team Leaders

As our newest Team Leaders, we’d like to welcome Carson and Bobby! This is Carson’s third trip with Youthlinc. Her previous trips were to Peru as a student volunteer and Cambodia’s Friends & Family trip. Now she is a co-team leader for Thailand. Carson first started with Youthlinc ten years ago and has continued to volunteer ever since. She volunteers with local recycling centers, trail clean ups, elementary schools and the American Heart Association. Her love of volunteering has over flowed to her husband, Bobby who is co- leading with her this year. This is his second trip with Youthlinc, his first was with Carson last year to Cambodia.

Carson graduated from the University of Utah and works at the University of Utah Hospital in Preventive Cardiology. She is continuing her education by going for her PA degree. Bobby graduated with a double major in biology and chemistry from Westminster and is continuing his education with an M.D. PHD program. The two of them split their time between work, school, traveling, rock climbing and volunteering. They couldn’t be more excited to be leading this team.

Siri Vlasic – Thailand Alum Leader

Siri went to Kenya with Youthlinc in 2011 and looks forward to continuing her involvement as Alum Leader for the Thailand Team 2013. She is a senior at West High School where she is involved in the National Honors Society and recently initiated the re-birth of the Ski Club, where she is now the co-president.

Siri loves to play soccer and is a member of the Black Diamond Soccer Club in Park City and recently committed to play for Westminster College as a freshman. Volunteering with Real Life at the Hser Ner Moo Center had a strong impact on her life, and she has since tied her interest in sport to become a mentor for refugee kids at an after school soccer program. Siri is known for her positive attitude and big smile, and she is very excited to take on the responsibility as an Alum Leader for the Thailand trip.

Kelly Mattingly – Cambodia Team Leader
I had the chance to go to Kenya in 2009 as a mentor and was sucked into the Youthlinc volunteer vortex and haven’t been able to get out since (not that I would want to)! I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am to be able to return to Cambodia again this year.

I was the team leader last year as we went to the village of Chung Ruk and I cannot wait to return to the wonderful people there. Last year a few of our projects were to build a classroom, install a 440 foot long fence around the school yard, and fundraise for lots of bikes, uniforms and animals. I look forward to all the projects we will be doing this year to improve the village even more.

By day, I am a school counselor at an elementary school in Herriman. Over the last 23 years I have worked with youth in various psychiatric settings and love working with children and teenagers! In my free time I have a difficult time choosing between a good book, the vegetables in my garden or the fish just waiting to be caught. I love being outdoors in the summer so the fall is a traumatic time of year as this tends to come to a screeching halt. However, planning for a fantastic trip to Cambodia seems to get me through the winters in Utah.

Aaron Coon – Cambodia Alum Leader
Aaron had his first experience with Youthlinc in 2010 when he had the opportunity to go to Thailand as a student participant. He found that he is always happiest when in the service of others. Aaron has served locally at the West Jordan Senior Center and has enjoyed getting to know the people there. Then he got to Thailand, fell in love with the people and was hooked on service!

For fun, Aaron enjoys the outdoors, reading, movies, traveling, playing with his nieces and nephews. He is a Pharmacy Technician and attends Salt Lake Community College working on prerequisites for pharmacy school.

Justin Powell – Friends & Family Team Leader
Justin has been involved with Youthlinc for four years. He was a mentor on the Thailand team in 2009, a mentor on the Cambodia 2011 team, was a mentor on the Peru 2012 team, and he led the Friends & Family trip to Peak Sneng, Cambodia in 2012. What Justin loves most about Youthlinc is that it is a vehicle for participants to gain a new lens through which to view the world. Through acts of local service, preparations for international projects, and implementing projects abroad, Justin’s mindset has been forever altered in how he perceives his role in the world. Justin has especially enjoyed working on the education and micro-finance committees, and has had some incredible and humbling experiences helping to pilot Youthlinc’s livestock exchange program; first in Cambodia in 2011, and then in Peru in 2012. He also loves to help students find the power and motivation within themselves to become active, compassionate citizens in the world.

Justin worked as a business professional for several years before making a career change to the education profession. He will finish his Masters of Education at Westminster College in December 2012 and has Bachelor’s degrees in International Business and English. In the past, Justin has lived in Australia, Egypt, South Korea, and Vietnam. He has volunteered locally teaching ESL to adults, teaching writing to kids, and is highly involved in promoting awareness about human trafficking. Justin loves volunteering with his wife, Britnie, a Youthlinc original, all through the year and internationally every summer. They are stoked to be having their first child in December 2012, who will accompany them on their many adventures.

Emma Stephens – Friends and Family Vietnam Alum Leader
Over the years, Youthlinc has helped Emma to discover and grow her love for service and helping others. Emma had her first experience with Youthlinc on the Peru 2011 team. The people she met in Peru and the experiences she had helped Emma to develop a passion for helping others. Emma has grown to love service, both locally and internationally. She continues to volunteers weekly at her past main service site, the Park City Medical Center, as well as with the various service clubs she is involved in as a senior at Park City High School. Emma was a development intern for Youthlinc in 2011 and her latest Youthlinc experience was the Friends and Family trip to Cambodia. She especially loved getting to know the children and seeing their smiling faces everyday! Emma is so excited to serve as part of the Vietnam Friends and Family Team!

Scott Bawden – Kenya Service Team Leader
This is Scott’s fourth year with Youthlinc and his third as Team Leader. On Scott’s first trip he took his son and had such an amazing experience, he had to return as soon as possible. Scott went last year (2011) with his daughter and had another wonderful and magical experience. This year Scott returned again with his son as Alum Leader and were a great leadership duo.

For Scott, Kenya is a magical place with some of the most kind, caring, and generous people you will ever meet. Scott has been involved with youth service projects for the last 15 years and absolutely loves spending time with the type of young people that get involved with Youthlinc. The students that he has had the privilege of working with the past 3 years are some of the most amazing people he has ever met and he can’t wait to meet another wonderful group for Kenya 2013. The Youthlinc experience is life changing and one of the most amazing experiences he has ever had.

Scott has a beautiful wife Michelle. They have been married for 24 years and have 3 wonderful children. Kevin is 20 and participated in 2010 with Youthlinc. Jaclyn is 18 and went last year to Kenya and Jill is 14. He has two awesome beagles named Tucker and Hunter. Other than traveling to Kenya with Youthlinc, Scott’s favorite things to do are golfing, jeeping, rapelling off of arches, listening to rock music (if it’s too loud, you’re too old), going to any Utah Utes games and going to Lake Powell. Scott works at the University of Utah School of Medicine as a Computer Professional which means he’s pretty much just a computer geek. He also has his own computer repair company which keeps him extra busy but allows him the ability to do lots of playing.

Scott can’t say enough good things about the Youthlinc program and especially the Kenya teams he has had the fortune of working with. Kenya 2013 will be another exciting adventure as we return for a second year to a small village named Kajuki and get to learn to love the people there and help them help themselves to a better way of life. At the same time they will teach us how to be happy and joyful no matter our circumstances in life.

Isaac Puriri – Kenya Alum Leader
Isaac got involved with Youthlinc for the 2012 service year trip to Peru. He describes his experience as an all-around an amazing journey, which is why he wanted to stay involved! Before Youthlinc he had never thought about going to South America or even to Kenya. Youthlinc has turned his desire to travel and see the world in a vacation style, into a desire to travel and experience the world through service.

Isaac is currently a student at BYU and studying political science, with the goal of moving on to law school afterwards. When his time is not consumed by homework he loves to play soccer, hike, and do anything with his family. Isaac is excited for this service year and looking forward to everything it will bring!


Mark and Shelly Burningham – Peru Team Leaders
This is Shelly’s third year and Mark’s second year with Youthlinc. Shelly went on her first Youthlinc trip to Kenya in 2011 with her daughter, Alycia. It was a “magical” experience and she will cherish the love and welcoming kindness that was offered by the people there. Mark and Shelly have become “hooked Youthlinc volunteers” because they love seeing the changes that come to the young people that serve in this program. They also love the type of students that this program attracts. Mark and Shelly served as the 2012 Team Leaders to Guatemala where they were able to share the experience with their youngest daughter, Brooke. They have a deep love for the people of Guatemala, and have participated in various humanitarian projects there. The Guatemalan people they served were the most humble, hard-working and grateful people that they have ever met. Although they were saddened to see their difficult conditions, they were humbled by their happiness and appreciation for the simplest things in life. Mark and Shelly have accepted the opportunity of serving as the Team Leaders for Peru this year and understand that it doesn’t matter where you serve – the experience is moving in every way. They can’t wait to get to know and understand the people of Peru and are super excited about working with a new group of Youthlinc participants.

Shelly works part-time at Columbia Elementary School as a Reading Tutor. Mark teaches math at Viewmont High School and is the boy’s tennis coach. Mark has taught ESL and Spanish classes and is also endorsed in Computer Science. Mark and Shelly’s greatest joy in life is their family. They have five wonderful children, a darling granddaughter and a new grandson.

Jaclyn Bawden – Peru Alum Leader
Jaclyn has been a part of Youthlinc for 2 years. In 2011 she went to Kenya with her dad and the Kenyan people will forever have a special place in her heart. She is excited to have the opportunity to go to Peru in 2013. Jaclyn is passionate about helping others and can’t wait to get to know the Peru team.

Jaclyn attends Utah Valley University and is studying Dental Hygiene. In her spare time, Jaclyn loves to be outside boating, camping, or swimming. She is the middle child of three and loves spending time with her family.

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