Young Life Area Director Kurt Cotter at Lakeside Park in ‘Marvelous Falls.’ Staff photo by Alex Copeland
Kurt Cotter has a calling: working with children and young adults in a town he refers to as “Marvelous Falls.” Once a volunteer for Young Life, Cotter is now area director of the Christian organization that introduces adolescents to Jesus Christ and helps them grow in their faith.
“I’m answering what the Lord is telling me to do by doing this,” Cotter said. “The way that the Lord gifted me, it was a great gift.”
He also produces a podcast, aptly titled “Marvelous Falls,” with local business owner Corey Scahill of Horseshoe Bay. The interview-driven show features guests such as musician Brandon Alan, city of Marble Falls Recreation Coordinator Monique Breaux, and Marble Falls Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Christian Fletcher, as well as friends or kids from the Young Life program. All in all, Cotter and Scahill have recorded 46 episodes since 2018.
“We just get a microphone and go: ‘What do you do? Who are you? What do you like?’” Cotter said. “I love to get people connected, meeting people.”
Cotter started his path to becoming area director for Young Life at an early age. When he was just a toddler, his father worked at Camp Peniel, a church camp on RR 1431 about 3 miles west of Marble Falls. His family moved away for a few years to Indiana, but when the family returned to Texas, Corey returned to Camp Peniel. Later, he worked summers there, and, before he knew it, he was a full-time employee and volunteering with Young Life.
After just six years as a volunteer, Cotter became the Young Life area director, which he has been doing for the past decade. He met his wife, Heather, while working at a Young Life camp.
“I don’t know how it happened, honestly,” he said. “Doors just kind of opened up. The Lord showed up.”
Cotter describes himself as a social butterfly, an attribute that fits perfectly with his job.
“I always kind of explain it like this,” he said. “Young Life is a caring adult stepping into the world of a spiritually disinterested kid and building a lifelong relationship with them in hopes that they come to have a relationship with Jesus somewhere along the way. It’s very relational driven. It’s not forcing anything on anybody. It’s having a relationship with them.”
For him, being honest and caring comes first; the relationship with God follows naturally.
“I like to say, you know, let’s go to the mountains,” he said. “Let’s hike a mountain and be by a river and talk about Jesus and enjoy doing that. I love just taking kids places they’ve never seen and going, like, ‘You got to admit, this is pretty cool.’”
Over the past 10 years, Young Life also has expanded from Marble Falls to Johnson City, Burnet, and Llano. Cotter is modest about his role in that.
“A lot of people, prayer, and meeting with folks and trying to follow where we thought the Lord was taking us has opened the doors to a lot of new communities,” Cotter said. “I just do my thing here. I’m a little guy on the totem pole, but I love it.”