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Our Story.
Our History.
Our Heritage.

the national youth conference story

In the early years, the efforts of the Trones were supported by other great men of God who understood the need for such a Conference. The first set of additional Directors included Alvin Adkisson (Tennessee), Calvin Bowers (California), Dual Ghant (Illinois), and Carl Swanigan (Michigan). Later came the additions of Jesse Bishop (Michigan), Orum L. Trone, Jr. (Michigan), Ron Palmer (Washington), and Ernest “Deacon” Wyrick (Texas.) 

These men enjoyed the respect and support of churches of Christ across the brotherhood. As the Conference grew in attendance, Trone Sr. recognized the need for perpetuity. He appointed several younger men with a commitment to the annual event and added them as Assistant Directors at various stages across the years. The young men serving in this capacity were James Kevin Murray (California), Jack Evans Jr. (Texas), Phillip Wade I (New York), Perry Wells (Michigan), Darwin Mason, Sr. (Tennessee), Adell Bradley (Texas), Fate Hagood Jr. (California), Narleski Wyrick (Texas), Willard Crigler (California) and Randy Poole (Michigan).  

It would be fair to say that every regional, state or local youth conference has benefitted from the determination and grit of the Trones. While the National Youth Conference has been emulated by many, it stands alone as a signature national event for teenagers among the churches of Christ. The friendships, memories, and traditions that have been created among Conference attendees since the 1950s are a testament to the vision of the Trones. The desire to ensure that Christian youth across the country were able to create meaningful relationships with their Christian peers was and continues to be at the forefront.

As the National Youth Conference continued to evolve in the 1990s and 2000s, its senior leadership transitioned. With the passing of Trone Sr. in 2008, Deacon Wyrick found himself as the lone remaining director left to revive the Conference after the recession which resulted in the first ever cancellation of the storied event. 

In 2009, Deacon Wyrick collaborated with the four remaining assistants (Murray, Wade, Wyrick, and Hagood) who were now Directors to adjust the programming to meet the needs of a new generation of Conference attendees. As the team began to hit its stride, the sudden death of Murray in 2013 was a sharp blow to the leadership. Deacon Wyrick regrouped again and began adding young men and women as staff members to help plan the Conference that was now growing again. In 2017, the National Youth Conference reached a milestone by finally becoming an official nonprofit organization and a registered charity with both federal and state governments. This designation stabilized the organization ensuring its history and future would be secure.

The next evolution of the Conference involved stabilizing its leadership so the youth being served and adults supporting the event would know the Trones’ initial purpose was still being fulfilled. 

In the words of the Orum Trone, Sr., “How Sweet it Is!” 


The National Youth Conference rotates locations to expose students to various college campuses and communities to broaden their collegiate opportunities and cultural experiences. 

1952 Detroit, Michigan
1953 Washington, D.C.
1954 Detroit, Michigan
1955 Detroit, Michigan
1956 Chicago, Illinois
1957 Chicago, Illinois
1958 Los Angeles, California
1959 Terrell, Texas
1960 Detroit, Michigan
1961 Houston, Texas
1962 Miami, Florida
1963 New York, New York
1964 Los Angeles, California
1965 Chicago, Illinois
1966 Detroit, Michigan
1967 Memphis, Tennessee
1968 Cleveland, Ohio
1969 Los Angeles, California
1970 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
1971 Nashville, Tennessee
1972 Bishop College: Dallas, Texas
1973 Winter Park, Florida
1974 Detroit, Michigan
1975 Pepperdine University: Los Angeles, California
1976 Boston, Massachusetts
1977 Seattle Pacific University: Seattle, Washington
1978 University of South Florida: Tampa, Florida
1979 University of Colorado: Denver, Colorado
1980 Tulane University: New Orleans, Louisiana
1981 University of California: Riverside, California
1982 University of Tennessee: Chattanooga, Tennessee
1983 University of Milwaukee: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
1984 University of Maryland: College Park, Maryland
1985 Washington University: St. Louis, Missouri
1986 Yale University: New Haven, Connecticut
1987 Washington University
1988 Oklahoma Christian College: Oklahoma City
1989 University of Indiana: Bloomington, Indiana
1990 Michigan State University: East Lansing, Michigan
1991 Loyola Marymount University: Los Angeles, California
1992 Harding University :Searcy, Arkansas
1993 University of Illinois Urbana: Champaign, Illinois
1994 Michigan State University
1995 University of Washington: Seattle, Washington
1996 Abilene Christian University: Abilene, Texas
1997 Harding University
1998 University of Minnesota: Minneapolis, Minnesota
1999 Georgia Tech University: Atlanta, Georgia
2000 Michigan State University
2001 University of South Carolina: Columbia, South Carolina
2002 University of Northern Arizona: Flagstaff, Arizona
2003 Ohio State University: Columbus, Ohio
2004 University of Arizona: Tucson, Arizona
2005 University of South Carolina
2006 Abilene Christian University
2007 University of Massachusetts: Amherst, Massachusetts
2008 No conference
2009 Concordia University: Irvine, California
2010 Abilene Christian University
2011 Pepperdine University: Malibu, California
2012 Lipscomb University: Nashville, Tennessee
2013 Bowling Green State University: Bowling Green, Ohio
2014 Oklahoma Christian University
2015 Oklahoma Christian University
2016 Harding University
2017 Harding University
2018 Freed-Hardeman University: Henderson, Tennessee
2019 Harding University
2021 Camp Copass: Denton, TX
2022 Michigan State University
2023 University of South Carolina Upstate: Spartanburg, South Carolina


Our Heritage

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