YFC fundraising banquet features humorThis year’s James Valley Youth For Christ “Report to the People” Banquet promises humor along with information on the year’s ministry and future plans according to its theme “Focus.” Ventriloquist and comedian Taylor Mason has spent 25 years making audiences laugh. He’ll take the stage at the banquet, which starts at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Civic Center. Known as the “Comedian of Clean,” Taylor’s humor and music entertain without offense.
By: Toni Pirkl, The Jamestown Sun
This year’s James Valley Youth For Christ “Report to the People” Banquet promises humor along with information on the year’s ministry and future plans according to its theme “Focus.”
Ventriloquist and comedian Taylor Mason has spent 25 years making audiences laugh. He’ll take the stage at the banquet, which starts at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Civic Center. Known as the “Comedian of Clean,” Taylor’s humor and music entertain without offense.
Troy Gunderson, YFC executive director, said he takes personal pride in finding top quality acts for the banquet and this year is no exception.
“Last year, we had a dramatic and sad story,” he said. “Every other year we like to have humor and laughter. I’ve never seen Taylor Mason in person, but I have seen him on ‘Bananas’ and on video. He’s very entertaining.”
The banquet is YFC’s major fundraiser for the year with more than 400 people attending. Some of the $200 table sponsors don’t use all their tickets so people interested in going to the banquet can get free tickets.
“They gave us the right to give them away,” Gunderson said. “I do have some tickets available if you call Youth For Christ (252-5501) today.”
The year has been a busy one for the ministry, Gunderson said. The flood situation, the golf tournament, the annual trip to Valley Fair and backpacking were all crowded into an abbreviated summer. Students and YFC staff also raised funds for a trip to Washington, D.C.
“I couldn’t believe all we did,” he said.
When school started the busyness continued with the opening of the drop-in center, Teen City. The after-school center serves students in grades 6-12. Primarily it’s middle school students, but also includes some in high school. This year 30 to 40 students a day make use of the center the three days and one evening a week it’s open.
“The youth center has been unbelievably busy. More kids are enjoying it and sharing it with their friends,” he said. “Now we need to hire more staff and I hope the banquet can help us with that.”
The ministry of Youth For Christ is focused on people. In the case of the growing popularity of the after-school drop-in center that means more adults to interact with youth.
“It’s a relational ministry so when we talk about expanding, we do that with people not buildings,” Gunderson said. “It comes down to having the people to do it. It means more feet on the ground.”
The youth ministry is growing in Jamestown and that pleases Gunderson. He said churches here are investing in their youth programs and adding youth pastors.
“Some of the churches have been lacking a youth pastor for awhile and have hired them,” he said. “I think there’s a lot of good movement now and a good group of youth pastors.”
The theme “Focus” refers to the need to cut through all the clutter affecting young people to help them focus on what’s important in life, he said. Gunderson believes youth are bombarded with too much confusion and lack of direction in their lives and the Youth For Christ ministry can help — as can youth pastors in the various churches.
“We want to help people at the banquet understand what and who our focus is and get other people to focus on us,” he said.
At the last two fundraising banquets, Gunderson said they did a matching campaign. That isn’t expected to happen this year, at a time when more funding is needed.
“At this point, we can’t secure the matching funds,” he said. “That does weigh on my mind.”
Sun reporter Toni Pirkl can be reached at (701) 952-8453
or by e-mail at