It's been many a year since I participated in Young Life, but it was fun and wholesome.
We usually met in someone's home (usually a NICE big home!) and played group games down in their basement family room. E.g., we would have marshmallow races, where we put a spoon in our mouth, a marshmallow on the spoon, and then we would try to get to the finish line first. Or we would play Pass the Can (lots of fun) or other hand motion-type games. Kids still like these games, BTW.
Then a leader would initiate a discussion with a question like, "What would you like to accomplish before you die?" or "Why do you suppose vampires are so popular?" (Back then, the popular vampire was Barnabas Collins on Dark Shadows.)
We would talk about the topic, and the leader would end the discussion by giving his or her personal testimony--VERY low-key--about how Jesus Christ gives purpose and meaning in this life. The leader would invite people who wanted to know more about Jesus to see him or her after the meeting, or call him or her at home.
And then we had refreshments and more talking and goofing around. The really good homes had foosball and pool tables or other board games, and we would hang out until our parents came to pick us up.
And that's it.
I would imagine that Young Life is still very much like this.
It was EXTREMELY low-key when it came to religion. In fact, many people in our evangelical Protestant church found it too low-key--not enough talk of Jesus.
I personally don't see why a Catholic would be threatened by Young Life (unless it's changed over the years). There is not attempt to get anyone into any particular church, and the Christian message presented is simply "Have a relationship with Jesus," which is totally consistent with Catholic theology.
It's basically a safe way/place for teens to hang out safely, with good supervision (usually parents are around upstairs or in the kitchen), do wholesome activities and games, have a discussion about a topic of interest, and hear the Name of Jesus proclaimed as the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Teenagers really like this kind of thing. A lot of parents get fussed out over the fact that their teenager isn't content to just stay home and be part of the family anymore, or just go to Church. Catholics especially seem to think that teenagers should be perfectly content with the Mass.
Well, they aren't. Teens love to go places where their parents aren't so that they can practice being grown-up and independent and on their own. You were like that, too, right? I know I was! I loved being left home alone and pretending that I was a grown-up and "in charge." I loved being dropped off downtown and given a little money for lunch. I loved walking to and from high school by myself--it was just nice to feel "on my own." That's normal teenaged attitude and behavior.
It's wonderful when those places are "safe"--run by Christians who don't allow bullies to take over, or violence, or drinking/smoking/drugs, or sexy flirtations, or peer pressure to do something wrong. Young Life provides this for teenagers.
I remember very distinctly that Catholic kids came to the meetings back then, and did not convert to Protestantism. It was always fun to have them come!
I would check it out--as I said, it may have changed over the years and maybe it's not so Catholic-friendly anymore.