Youth for Christ Crusade

The Rev. Tyrone Broomfield and Ina Broomfield, Crossett natives who founded the Youth for Christ Crusade 30 years ago, look at a banner honoring their work that was presented Sunday. Participants in the crusade gathered at Gates Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church each day last week for fun activities and uplifting messages during Spring Break. (VAL GAUGHT/News Observer)

After 30 years, the Youth for Christ crusade that a couple in Crossett started is still going strong.

The Rev. Tyrone and Ina Broomfield, formerly of Crossett, founded the Youth Crusade at Gates Chapel A.M.E. Church in Crossett. 

The crusade is always hosted the week of Spring Break and current committee president, Pastor Harriel White, said they try to mix fun into their character building activities.

“We want the children who participate to enjoy the week, we don’t’ want it to be too much like school,” he said.

White said the week provides an opportunity for students and children who might otherwise do nothing during Spring Break.

“It’s a week of positive activities for some who might have otherwise spent the week doing very little,” White said.

“This day and age our youth need encouragement, more than just from one another, but they need encouragement from adults, they need encouragement from the community churches and businesses.”

Each day of the crusade, guest speakers were there to encourage and inspire the youth.

“If you have a church home, we want you to come, if you don’t have a church home we want you to come; it’s for all churches and we do not teach denomination, we preach the word,” crusade committee member Murlee Carter said.

Some of the 2019 guest speakers included John L. Williams with the Department of Human Services; Shanae Govan with Level Up; the Rev. Johnathon Brown, a former Crossett resident; David Davis Jr. of Bastrop; and Pastor Tara Hunter of Monroe.

Local law enforcement, firemen and employees of Phoenix Youth Services also spoke to students throughout the week.

The Rev. Ricky Lattimore also brought a “block party,” which is a traveling ministry that he works with that offers free fun for youth. The block party included inflatables and other activities for children to enjoy.

The week finished with a lock-in at Crossett Middle School Gym on Friday night.

White said it takes a lot of people working together and support from the community to make this event possible and that he feels it is good for young people to see the community coming together to provide an event such as this.

White said the event is sponsored by all of the community churches, the Professional Alliance of Women, the Housing Authority, Georgia Pacific, Phoenix Youth Services and other individual donors. 

In addition to White and Carter, other members of the committee who organize the week’s events includes Rev. Barbara Miller, Juanita Hollins, Darrel Newton, Kelsey Davis, Jason Bivens, Shanae Govan, Monica Giles and Pat Todd.

White also said that Nancy Jones runs the kitchen and manages the menu and the volunteers throughout the week.

“This program really is built on the backs of volunteers,” White said.

White said that celebrating the 30th anniversary of anything is quite an accomplishment and that he hopes he and the other orgainizers can continue building the program that the Broomfield’s envisioned three decades ago.

“I would like for the community to be aware that this crusade is still alive, still trying to provide a positive wholesome activities for our young people,” White said.

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