Our History

About Itasca YFC

Itasca Youth for Christ began in 1970. A local group of clergy met to discuss their concerns that adolescents were no longer involved in the churches. From that meeting, the group inquired about beginning the Youth for Christ program in Itasca County and a screening committee was formed to solicit and review potential board members. From this selection process seven board members were chosen to comprise the Board of Directors of Itasca Youth for Christ.

The board began to raise funds and draw up By-Laws and a Constitution for the newly formed organization. In September 1971, Duane Geisler was hired as its first Executive Director. Shortly after moving to Grand Rapids, Geisler began the programs of Campus Life and Youth Guidance. Campus Life clubs were started in Grand Rapids, Greenway, Big Fork and Deer River high schools. The first Youth Guidance program, Lifeline, was established in 1972. The new program consisted of week-long canoe trips to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA). Boys placed on probation in Itasca County were referred to the program.

Itasca Youth for Christ is a local relational outreach ministry chartered with the National Youth for Christ/USA organization, headquartered in Denver, Colorado.

There were existing Youth for Christ rallies held in some major cities around the United States. And in 1944, a group met in Winona Lake, Indiana, to discuss ways and means of handling the many requests for help in establishing new YFC ministries. That same year, a follow-up meeting was held in Detroit, Michigan, where the National Youth for Christ organization began.

From 1945 until the early 1950’s, YFC essentially consisted of large Saturday night rallies. The development of Youth for Christ, after its initial beginning, came in three historic periods with philosophies overlapping to some degree.

History of the YFC Organization

First Period: The Mid 1940’s to the Mid 1950’s
From the beginning the organization experienced fantastic expansion. Youth for Christ was a very loose knit federation with rallies being set up all over America and in many foreign countries.

Second Period: The Mid 1950’s to the Mid 1960’s
This period was the beginning of specialization in ministry among adolescents through Bible Clubs, Youth Guidance (ministry with delinquent teens), Teen Evangelism, and Camping/Adventure Trips. The clubs were teen-centered, not leader-centered. Clubs existed for the purpose of fellowship, leadership, and evangelism, in this order.

Third Period: The Mid 1960’s to Today
The early part of the third period was characterized by YFC’s involvement with teens that were religiously oriented. In 1962, a group of men met in Salt Lake City, and developed a program called “Teen to Teen”. This was the teen communication in action and work, sharing his/her personal faith in Jesus Christ to friends, on the high school campus, and to the world. The new format allowed Campus Life staff to spend significant amount of time with students. The new format also did away with the Saturday night rallies.