History


How long has Youth Haven been in existence?
Youth Haven was founded in 1968 in Rives Junction, Michigan. The Arizona campus was founded in 1982.

How did the ministry begin?
Youth Haven really began as the vision of Morry and Dorothy Carlson. Morry was a successful business man in the Detroit area, and Dorothy was a Sunday school teacher. God placed a burden on their hearts for those boys and girls who were not going to Sunday school and weren't being reached with the message of God's love. As they began to seek His will and direction, He began to open doors. They became aware of a piece of property that was available in the center of the state and, stepping out in faith, left their life in Detroit to begin a campus-based ministry for disadvantaged children. Their son Larry and his new bride Cheri joined them, and Youth Haven accepted its first group of kids in 1968.

How was the property acquired?
Several parcels of land were purchased in Michigan. The property in Arizona, including a 1,500 square-foot building, and some additional funds were donated to Youth Haven by Palmer Miller and the Joshua Foundation of Arizona.


Campuses & Facilities


How many acres of land does Youth Haven own?
Youth Haven owns approximately 390 acres in Michigan, and 85 acres in Arizona.

How many buildings are on Youth Haven's property?
There are 30 year-round buildings at the Michigan campus, and 12 year-round buildings in Arizona. Each campus has a dining hall, a children's chapel, a petting farm, a swimming pool, dormitories, a “Chicken Coop" gymnasium, an office building, and staff housing. At our Michigan campus, we also have a nature/craft building and "the Lodge," where we hold special promotional events. Our newest addition is the Children's Discovery House, which houses a variety of indoor children's activities and is a renovation of the home where Morry and Dorothy Carlson resided. Youth Haven staff members and volunteers built most of the buildings in an effort to keep costs minimal.


Children's Programs


What children are eligible to come to Youth Haven?
Disadvantaged boys and girls between the ages of 7-13 are eligible to attend. These are children who have experienced some type of hardship in their lives. Examples include foster care, single-parent homes, or low-income homes.

How are the children selected to attend?
Children are either referred to Youth Haven by an agency representative or by an individual. We work with many different types of agencies, including but not limited to social service agencies, child welfare agencies, schools, and churches with community outreach programs. We also accept individual referrals from parents who are looking for help, foster parents, grandparents, or other individuals who would have an ability to secure permission from a parent or guardian for the child to attend.

Do you work with children of all races?
Yes! Children come from all racial backgrounds, and we welcome them all with love and care!

How long do the children stay on your campus?
A different group of children comes to our campuses each week, all throughout the year. We offer weekend programs throughout the school year, and five-day camps during the summer. Children are invited to return once each season.

Is Youth Haven non-denominational?
Yes, we are non-denominational Christian organization. We teach the children Bible stories, verses, and the basic gospel message. No child is ever forced or pressured to make a decision to accept Christ.

What are the activities of a typical day?
We're all about meeting kids' needs, lending a listening ear, and helping them develop the confidence and appropriate behavior to be a positive influence to the world around them. A big part of that is simply letting kids be kids. We want them to have so much fun they can't wait to come back! No matter the season, there's always something fun to do at Youth Haven! Typical activities include archery, bike riding, chapel, crafts, flag raising, gaga ball, games in the gym, a visit to the petting farm, playing on the playground, a walk-through maze, sports, and all-camp outdoor games. In the winter, the kids may be able to go sledding at our Michigan campus. And in the summer, they have a chance to go swimming, sleep in a covered wagon, or cool off on a giant Slip N Slide. We also have a zipline and adventure trail at our Michigan campus, with hopes to add similar activities in Arizona.

Do you have contact with the children after they leave Youth Haven?
Yes. All the children who attend our programs will continue to receive birthday cards, letters, and postcards inviting them to return. The “Kids' Connection" newsletter contains fun games and interesting stories to help encourage the kids and remind them they are loved.

Do the children pay to come?
All children come FREE! Caring people like you make all this possible through financial love gifts.

How do I schedule children to attend Youth Haven?
Please click here if you are the child's parent/guardian, or would like to refer a child you know. Please click here if you are an agency representative or counselor.


Partnership Opportunities


How is Youth Haven supported?
Youth Haven is 100% privately supported. Interested organizations and individuals provide the necessary financial support to keep Youth Haven in operation. We receive no State or Federal funding. Youth Haven is a 501(c)(3) charitable organizations. For all donations received, receipts are issued for tax purposes. If you would like to help Youth Haven meet the needs of disadvantaged children, please click here to donate now.

How much does it cost to provide a scholarship for a child to attend Youth Haven?
Every disadvantaged child receives a full scholarship to attend Youth Haven. We estimate that cost to be $384, which includes a child's food, lodging and bedding, activities, staff, personal hygiene items, a Bible to take home, and follow-up.

How can I help?
There are many opportunities for you to become involved! You can become a prayer partner and pray regularly for the children and our staff. You can partner with us financially and help us continue to bring disadvantaged children to our campuses through your love gifts. Please click here if you'd like to learn more or give a gift. Would you like to volunteer your time to help keep our facilities and programs running smoothly? Please visit our volunteer page here. Are you interested in joining our staff for the summer, on weekends, or full-time? Please click here to see our current employment opportunities.

How can I be better aware of Youth Haven's needs and activities?
Watch our website, Facebook page, or Twitter feed for updates! Click here to sign up for our regular print newsletters or e-mail updates.

Are visiting groups and tours welcome?
We encourage people to come see what God is doing! If you would like to visit the Michigan Ranch, call (517) 569-3328. For the Arizona Ranch, call (520) 466-3093. We would also be happy to visit your church or organization to share more about our outreach with your group.


Other Questions


Haven't I heard about Youth Haven on the radio?
Yes! If you listen to Family Life Radio, you have probably heard the "Moment of Hope" daily radio broadcast, a daily broadcast consisting of updates, testimonies, and personal thoughts from Youth Haven. In northern Michigan, you may have also heard about Youth Haven on the Promise FM.

What is the relationship between Youth Haven and Family Life Radio?
Youth Haven and Family Life are separate corporations, but sister organizations with common goals and objectives, and some of the same board members.