Our Local History

Dedicated to Serving Long Island Youth since 1959

Youth for Christ has over 140 chapters across the United States and is actively involved in more than 100 nations around the world..

YFC pursues young people who often feel overlooked, to build relationships at pivotal moments.

YFC partners with local church and like-minded organizations to reach young people.

We believe the Gospel comes to life in the overlap of God’s story, our story, and a young person's story.

The Youth For Christ movement began in 1944 in Chicago and spread across the USA and around the world. It all started with a rather remarkable young man:  “It was my privilege to be the first full-time employee of Youth For Christ. After 50 years Youth For Christ continues to communicate the life-changing message of Jesus Christ to our youth.” – Dr. Billy Graham

The Long Island Youth for Christ chapter was founded in 1959 by Dave and Darlene Swanson. Monthly youth rallies at the Cathedral House in Garden City, special trips, and weekly Bible Clubs challenged young people to follow Jesus Christ. Chuck Rigby served with the Swansons as LI YFC’s ministry director (1962-1970) coordinating special outreach events that attracted thousands of teenagers.

The previous executive director of Long Island Youth For Christ, Jack Crabtree started with LIYFC in 1971 and took the role of the leader in 1975. During these years thousands of teens attended Campus Life Clubs and found Christ on summer bike trips, winter snow camps, and Florida spring break trips.

In 1990, Long Island pastors affirmed YFC’s commitment to building the local church and to evangelism by selecting Jack Crabtree to serve as the chairman for the LI Billy Graham Crusade.

In the 1990s Long Island Youth For Christ helped launch the student-led ministry to public high schools and middle schools. It is YFC’s goal to train and empower young people to initiate and lead Christian Clubs or personal ministry with friends in all the public high schools and middle schools in Nassau and Suffolk Counties.

From 1995 to 2006 Long Island Youth For Christ was actively linked with South Africa Youth For Christ by hosting Team I-Themba, a group of seven young people who perform and speak about racism and HIV-AIDS in Africa. It is YFC’s purpose to break down the racial division in society and the church community and to build racially diverse ministry teams working in local communities.

In the new millennium (2000-2010) Long Island Youth For Christ offers a variety of ministry methods (Campus Life, Student-Led, Friday Night Live, Teen Parents, Team I-Themba, Youth Leader Networks, and several annual large events for young people.

In July of 2011, after 40 years of faithful service to LIYFC, Jack Crabtree retired from his position as Executive Director.

Beginning in the 2010s LIYFC shifts to target underserved communities implementing City Life and Juvenile Justice Ministry, addressing larger needs of the youth and their community.

An Ongoing Heritage — Over 500 professional and volunteer staff have served LI YFC since it was founded in 1959. Many of these young men and women have been launched from LI YFC into church youth ministry, teachers, counselors, pastors, foreign missionaries, and leaders in their local churches.

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Partner with us in sharing the story of Jesus with young people