YDI HistoryYDI was founded in 1959 by the former wiretapper for gangster Mickey Cohen, Jim Vaus. After Jim was saved at a Billy Graham crusade, he and Dr. Graham would walk the streets of Hell’s Kitchen, New York and minister to the youth of the city. YDI was birthed in Hell’s Kitchen, and over time grew to include camps, youth homes, and a nationwide youth crisis hot line.

For a time, the YDI ministry was led by Pastor Mike MacIntosh of Horizon Christian Fellowship in San Diego, California, under whom the youth crisis hot line operated. And, in the early 1990’s, Elizabeth Kubler Ross donated Head Waters Camp along with its extensive property to YDI. This camp, in Highland County Virginia, has become the hub of YDI’s extensive ministry.

After being donated, the camp was significantly expanded under the leadership of Jim Vaus’ son, Roger Vaus, and his wife Lorrie. Currently, Head Waters covers more than 240 acres and is home base to several of YDI’s ministries.

Climbing WallWith a climbing wall, low and high elements ropes courses, zip lines, and the majestic George Washington National Forest as its backdrop, the 90-bed lodge with additional lower and upper cabins makes an ideal spot for pastors and ministry leaders from around the world to come, be still with the Lord, and rest. Our idyllic location is also perfect for youth from around the world to come enjoy one of our many discipleship programs.

Individuals and groups of all sizes enjoy year-round activities at Head Waters: retreats, youth camps, Bible studies, discipleship programs, team building, hiking, caving, fishing, zip lining, and more. The newest addition to YDI’s ministry at Head Waters is our exciting Calvary Chapel University, where students can earn an AA in Biblical Studies.

In the new millennium, YDI continues to minister in a debt-free environment and has reached well over a million youth since 1959. We welcome you to prayerfully support the Lord’s work at YDI, as we love Jesus and share His love worldwide every day.

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