Regional Board

Mission of the Regional Board:

To support and advise the Regional ​Director in helping fulfill the Young Life mission in Alaska.​
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Dale & Sue Kanen
Anchorage, AK

The Kanens met and married while attending the University of Maryland, as he studied engineering and she studied biochemistry. Dale is from Southeast Alaska and his maternal side is Tlingit. Immediately after graduation, they returned to Alaska where Dale spent over 30 years working in small communities and villages. Prior to retiring from the U.S. Forest Service, he served as t​heir National Director for Tribal Relations in Washington, D.C. Sue's work as a chemist contributed to the awareness of lead contamination of drinking water. The Kanens have always had a passion to see that kids in rural Alaska have the opportunity to come into an exciting and loving relationship with Jesus Christ. They are blessed with three pairs of married children and five grandchildren.

"The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love." Galatians 5:6b 
Kristian & Molly DeKruif
Wasilla, AK

Kristian - I was born and raised in Alaska for 11 years before moving to Denver, CO.  I began a career in Mechanical Engineering and volunteered for four years with Young Life, then was led to be on Young Life staff for 2 years.  In 2005, our family relocated to Alaska
.  We assisted with the start of YL in the Mat-Su Valley,  and are now involved for the first time on the regional level.  I love the relational aspect of Young Life, earning the right to be heard, going where kids are, and loving people just as they are. 

Molly - I am a wife, mom and business owner who grew up in Boulder, Colorado - and came to a love for Christ in my freshman year of college at the University of Colorado.  It is such an honor to serve on Young Life's Regional Board. I love that this ministry is devoted to accepting kids completely, without the life-change that would follow a faith decision.  I love that humor and fun are used to share God’s immense love.  I love the weight given to relationship. 

“The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood…”  John 1:14a
Nick & Marta Lofthouse

Alexandria, VA

We joined the Young Life Alaska Regional Board in 2011, and Nick has been acting as the financial adviser/treasurer since 2014. We fell in love with Alaska at first sight, and since then our affection for the state and the people has deepened and broadened.  Widespread darkness plagues today’s culture and the many social ills affect Alaska. Young Life offers Jesus Christ, the only hope we can trust in, to vulnerable kids who need Him to fill their void hearts.  We’re blessed to be part of such a wonderful and life-changing ministry!

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord.”​ Jeremiah 29:11

​Mark & Suzanne Luiken
Anchorage, AK

Marc and Suzanne Luiken have been involved with Young Life Alaska and the Regional Board since 2010. Following a 29-year U.S. Air Force career, Marc has previously served as the Commissioner for the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, and currently is an Engineering Manager at Michael Baker International. They both have hearts to see Alaska’s kids and young adults given a chance to hear the gospel and make a decision about Jesus. They love being part of the board and are excited to see God working in our state as a result of the Young Life’s ministry to hundreds of Alaska’s kids.  

"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age."Matthew 28:19-20​
​Eric & Dawn Ash
Anchorage, AK

The Ash's met over 30 years ago during her summer break from Bible College in Canada, and he was a single Air Force Lieutenant, out on a long afternoon run. She said hello & we were married the next summer! After a 30-year career in the Air Force that took us all over the world, we were excited to retire in Anchorage, where Dawn had lived previously. Eric now serves as the Dean of Wayland Baptist University-Alaska, and Dawn is a substitute teacher in the Anchorage School District. We attend University Baptist Church and try to support a number of different ministries.  

We felt led to serve on the Regional Board when we saw how effectively Young Life impacts the lives of young and impressionable people. We also have a connection through our own children: Andy and his wife Carrissa (formerly Carrissa Rayburn--yes, related to the Jim Rayburn who started Young Life).

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God that transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 4: 6-7

Leo & Beth Lemelson
Anchorage, AK

Leo and Beth met at an airshow in 2007, a fitting place for two pilots to come together.  Leo flew in the Air Force, Beth flew commercially and the only place where the two careers intersected was Anchorage, Alaska.  We married and landed together in Alaska in 2009.  A son and a daughter later, we decided the best thing for our family was to stay in Alaska.  Beth continues to fly and Leo has transitioned out of the Air Force and into a career in finance. 

Beth met Christ through a Young Life camp as a teenager and volunteered as a leader in the Chicago area for a number of years.  We are excited to serve in Alaska at the regional level.  Introducing the grace of Christ to the youth of our great state is a mission we feel honored to support.  Young Life may be the very beginning of a walk in faith, and we want everyone to have the chance to start such a journey.

"I pray that out of his glorious riches He may strengthen you, with power through His spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ and to know this love that surpasses knowledge- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:16-19​

Young Life Alaska Region | PO Box 92153 Anchorage, AK 99509-2153

Phone: (907) 631-8777

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