In 1986 Kirk Pankratz was in his backyard praying about his present situation. He was a young Senior Pastor who had just planted a church in a small town in western Oklahoma. He asked God for wisdom and direction. What he got was a mandate from God to reach teenagers in America. The beginning of this vision had to do with a summer camp. The first steps toward its fulfillment came in 1987 when Youth America was born.
The Early Years
Like no other youth camp before, the progressive, energetic summer camps of Youth America swelled to thousands of students in attendance on the campus of ORU in Tulsa, Oklahoma, over the first few years. Soon after, another aspect of Youth America came to light: Campus Clubs. Taking the lead role in our nation, Kirk and the Youth America Team set out to see a Bible Club started on every school campus in the country. In the early 90s, almost every state had a Youth America Campus Club – and much legal action was pursued concerning the “equal access” laws of the land.
In the mid 90s, Youth America launched another arm of ministry dedicated to equipping Youth Pastors. The Quest Leadership Conference was a catalyst for many churches, while the summer camps were still raging and expanding.
In 1994 Youth America’s Epic Plant was opened right in the backyard of Church of the Harvest, the local church Kirk started in Oklahoma City. Sleeping up to 840 campers per week, this 60-acre campus within the city limits gave Youth America the potential to expand. As the new millennium dawned, Youth America was impacting thousands of students and leaders, and the Youth America Relational Resource Ministry was launched to equip leaders and students to reach to the city within each week of camp. Today Youth America isn’t just a national summer camp outreach, but it’s also the local expression of youth ministry at Church of the Harvest.
From his backyard in 1986, Kirk Pankratz couldn’t have imagined how Youth America would evolve, the countless ministries it would launch, the thousands of lives that would be saved, or the numbers of people who would be called into ministry from that one revelation. He just knew that the vision of Youth America was God-inspired.
One thing is certain. In its timeline, you can see for yourself that Youth America has always been a ministry willing to blaze new paths and attempt innovative approaches to reaching young people. If you are of that same spirit, consider joining thousands of others with the same vibe at camp this summer.
1987 – Youth America Is Born
1988 – Taking Back The Heart Of America
1989 – Preparing A Prophetic Generation
1990 – Going Boldly Where No Man Has Gone Before
1991 – Locked Up No Longer
1992 – Bustin’ Down The Barriers
1993 – Crankin’ Up The Heat And Making Hell Sweat
1994 – The Genesis Expedition
1995 – Burn The Ships
1996 – The Edge
1997 – Decade Of Destiny
1998 – Go The Distance
1999 – Year Of The Bug
2000 – The Appointed Time
2001 – A Gripping Focus
2002 – In Motion
2003 – Ready To Rise
2004 – One Voice
2005 – Marked For Greatness
2006 – Born To Lead
2007 – They Devoted Themselves
2008 – Distinguishing Light
2009 – Rule The World
2010 – A Cause – A Generation – A Revolution
2011 – We’re Going Public With This
2012 – Awaken
2013 – On The Rise
2014 – Undefeated
2015 – Strictly Inclusive
2016 – Taking Ground
2017 – It is Written
2018 – Pioneers