Our story is somewhat complex as it is actually the story of three ministries: Youth With A Mission, started by Loren Cunningham in 1960, Sea & Summit Expeditions, started by Robin Wainwright in 1969, and Youth With A Mission – Bishop, started by Harold Cluff in 1991. We are proud of each of these aspects, and of all the staff and leaders that contributed to making us who we are today.
Youth With A Mission
In 1960, a young Loren Cunningham had a dream one night of the world where he pictured the continents being overrun with waves. The waves transformed into youth until the whole earth was covered. These youth were to carry the Good News of Jesus to every person on earth, and in ever growing numbers. Soon after this dream, Loren initiated the movement of Youth With A Mission (YWAM), and was shortly after joined by his wife and our co-founder, Darlene Cunningham. Though YWAM’s fulltime staff remained small in the first decade, they recruited many short-termers and impacted many people and nations. By the 1970’s and 1980’s, we were into full swing as a movement, carrying the Good News in many forms of evangelism, training, and mercy ministries, and by then had shared in every nation on the planet. YWAM has truly become an international mission family with over 20,000 fulltime staff from every nationality, over 1000 operating locations worldwide, and an achievable vision to reach and transform the lives of every person on earth. Click Here for more information on YWAM.
Sea & Summit Expeditions
Robin & Carol Wainwright had a tremendous concern for troubled youth, as well as a deep passion for God’s creation and outdoor adventure. In 1969, they experimented with taking such kids out of the city and seeing what three weeks of backpacking and climbing in the Sierra Nevada would do. From this powerful, life changing trip, Sea & Summit Expeditions was born in Santa Barbara, California. After several years of growth and tremendous success in the lives of so many youth, Sea & Summit went through several changes of leadership until Will & Millie Toms began directing the program at the end of the 1970’s. They began to diversify and reach adults, as well as youth, from many different backgrounds and with many different needs. In 1996, Will & Millie passed on the leadership of Sea & Summit and moved to the Hopi Reservation in Arizona where they founded YWAM – Tribal Winds, where they share the healing love of Jesus with Native Americans and where they work to this day.
Youth With A Mission – Bishop
When Hal and Barbara Cluff purchased Cardinal Village Resort in the 1980’s, high in the Sierra Nevada near Bishop, CA, they had a desire to see youth trained and discipled in these beautiful mountains. After several years of running camps and retreats for local kids and adults, they founded YWAM Bishop as an operating location of the larger family of YWAM ministries. Through the 1990’s, YWAM Bishop was involved in many ministries, from Discipleship Training Schools, to Kings Kids’ Go Camps, to pastors’ retreats, to outreaches in such locations as Mexico, Croatia, and other places locally & around the world. In 2001, the operations of YWAM Bishop moved 20 minutes down the road into the City of Bishop. After many years of inspired service and impacting countless lives, Hal and Barbara retired from leadership in 2004.
Three Ministries Become One
Many years before resigning from Sea & Summit Expeditions in Santa Barbara, California, Will and Millie had the foresight to see that a ministry tool as powerful as outdoor adventure could impact people well beyond the boundaries of California and the United States. Through God’s leading, they brought Sea & Summit Expeditions in the family of YWAM in 1992, and established YWAM Santa Barbara. David and Diane Fairley joined them in 1994, and two years later they were placed in leadership as Will & Millie moved to Arizona. David and Diane have worked for many years to align Sea & Summit with the movement of YWAM, as well as the specific vision David carried for this program. A part of that God given vision was to operate out of Bishop, California, so in 2001 they moved the program to Bishop and brought the Sea & Summit program under the covering of YWAM Bishop and the Cluff’s. At that time, Sea & Summit Expeditions became the primary ministry of YWAM Bishop. Hal and Barbara passed on the leadership of the entire organization to David & Diane upon their retirement in 2004.
After several years of working with youth from California, Mexico, and Central Asia, developing the outdoor ministry and training program, and eventually aquiring the Healing Waters facility, YWAM Bishop experienced a season of sabbatical. As God led us to re-birth YWAM Bishop in 2011, he also gave us a new vision: to share God’s healing love and work of restoration with the Paiute and Shoshone of the Owens Valley area. Today, David and Diane continue to lead YWAM Bishop as they humbly serve God, the local Native Peoples, and as they use the outdoors and other gifts to see lives restored.