History of the Chapter

Posted on by Tim Gray

Our Story: YFC Lehigh Valley

The story of our chapter goes back even before our paperwork was officially filed fifty years ago. The goal of this page is to tell the story of the men and women who went before us. This narrative is developing. Some people have passed away, others have fuzzy memories. If you have any stories or pictures from the early days, please email them to [email protected]

 

A Brief Review of Executive Directors

 

The Early Days: In the 1960s, Campus Crusade and Youth for Christ (interchangeable in many ways in their language) was active in the Lehigh Valley Region. Clubs and meetings occurred with the gospel being shared at local event rallies, Bible Studies being held at schools and in homes, and relationships being built all over the Valley. From Easton to Souderton, Palisades to Ephrata, local clubs were everywhere. 

One of the Early leaders to emerge during this time was Don Landis. He met his wife Beverly during the late 1960s and their days were spent travelling the region and sharing the Gospel. Walter and Gladys Landis (Don’s parents) supported these efforts as did Beverly’s parents. One of their first offices was at Beverly’s parents’ farmhouse. Don’s time as Executive Director of YFCLV was during a few different phases. Don and Bev moved to Jackson Hole, Wyoming in the start of the 1970-71 timeframe, then moved back briefly in 1973 to help reorganize, before Leadership transitioned to Jim Bates.  The support of YFCLV through Walter and Gladys and their ministry in the Poconos (The Loft) was an important element for the ministry operating as it did in those years. 

Of Jim Bates’s time and years, not much information has been gathered thus far. Sadly, Jim passed away to be with the Lord a few years ago. If you have information from this time, please forward on to us.  After Jim Bates came Dave Freckleton. Of Dave’s time it can be said of this: His involvement and sharing of the Lord led the next generation of leaders for YFCLV. Students that came to their faith during Dave’s time ended up being leaders and volunteers of clubs and locations for the next Executive Director: Ed Ahlum. Ed’s time at YFCLV (1990-2000ish) was marked with successful clubs mentioned in Palisades, Coopersburg, Quakertown, Bethlehem, Allentown, and various other locations. When Ed Ahlum moved to West Virginia (and then Jackson Hole, Wyoming), Al Chassard Jr stepped off of Board to become Executive Director. He served as Executive Director from about early 2000 to 2006. Next came one of our longest serving Executive Directors: John Bovard. John and Joanie brought years of experience from their time serving YFC in New York. The times were also changing for the organization. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, site locations started to close, leaving active clubs in the Bethlehem area only. John’s partnerships with local churches and developing relationships over the years carried YFCLV through some of the most challenging times for the organization. New Board members came forward during John’s tenure and YFC nationally went through some large changes. John’s recent retirement brought the addition of Tim Gray as the most recent Executive Director, YFCLV is looking to engage the Lehigh Valley community in new ways, while remembering the stories and lives of those that have gone before us. 

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