Thanks for visiting my support page! I am Kansas City born and raised but am currently living in Tulsa most of the time. I did my undergraduate degree at the University of Tulsa in music and graduated in 2019. Since then, I have been pursuing a Masters of Divinity at Phillips Theological Seminary in Tulsa. I have been with my partner, Rianne, for three years, and she plans to pursue a career in aerospace engineering after she graduates.

I am passionate about music, disc golf, and theology. Youthfront has been a huge part of my life for the past four years, and I’m honored to be part of what makes Youthfront a vital place for growth, community, and friendship.

I was first introduced to Youthfront through my friend Abbie, who I had essentially followed from high school to college, and now into this ministry that was Youthfront. I knew nothing about what summer camp was like (I had never gone growing up; Mom thought I was too young, and once I wasn’t, too busy), so I came into my first summer thinking I was entering just a normal old summer job. And boy was I immediately proven otherwise. I was not prepared for the onslaught of love, family, friendship, and joy that was embodied by the Youthfront community. By the end of my first summer, Youthfront became a second home to me. As I came back the next few summers, Abbie had become my direct supervisor and her guidance and friendship was invaluable through these years.

After my third summer, I had just graduated from TU and I was about to start seminary and take on a bigger role at the church where I was leading worship. I believed that this would be my last summer, but as the year went on, I kept feeling that my journey was not over, and God was still calling me to come back. I determined that there was no reason not to come back the next summer, and committed to return in the role of Program Supervisor and Abbie’s direct assistant. And then… the pandemic hit and the fate of my fourth summer on summer staff was in limbo. Eventually, we did have camp in the summer of 2020 and it was during this summer that I realized I could continue to make an impact at this camp that I loved so much. That was Abbie’s last summer and as the Program Supervisor, I was well placed to take on her role once she left. By December of 2020 I had left my church in Tulsa and joined the Youthfront team full-time.

I owe a lot of my story to Abbie. She was my encourager, supporter, and leader throughout those years. Since joining Youthfront staff, I have made it my purpose to be those things for the staff that I lead. My first summer as Program Coordinator was challenging in a lot of ways, as we still were making adjustments due to the COVID-19 pandemic, both operationally and relationally. I was constantly learning through my experiences, and my hope is to use this knowledge and growth to make next summer even better.

 

Many folks throughout my life would affirm in me that I had a calling for ministry… but I never took their words seriously. However, as I grew in my faith and in my understanding of my gifts, I came to realize they were right. I had been involved heavily in leadership with my youth group while I was still in middle and high school, and I was also active on our worship team. Over time, my passion for youth and worship blossomed. Once I got to college, I stayed active in a faith community so that I could participate in leading worship teams. My first Youthfront summer on staff, I led worship for Camp West, and through the summer I was able to hone my skills. After the summer ended, I moved on to lead worship for a church and stayed for three years. During my second summer at Youthfront, I felt a conviction to continue pursuing ministry more intentionally so I decided to shift my undergrad focus from music education to pursuing seminary.

Even before I started working for Youthfront Camp and for churches, I always felt that I was called to show people what Christ’s love is like, in whatever vocation I chose. For that reason, I originally went to college to become a choir teacher. I was heavily influenced by my own high school choir director, who exemplified love and compassion to his students every day. I wanted to follow in his footsteps and share the love of Christ in my relationships with my students.

 

In recent years I have felt convicted to pursue a deeper exploration of my faith and to question and challenge some of the things I’ve constructed, especially as the realities of this world stopped lining up entirely with what I had always believed. I began to see the pain and trauma that some experienced from their interactions with the church or with Christians. I realized that I wanted to minister to those people, who had been shown a false representation of God’s love and a harmful experience with the Christian faith. My heart since then has been attuned to those harmful experiences and moving forward, my hope is that in all things, I can show people that God loves them and knows them fully for all that they are, regardless of what they have been told or who they have been hurt by.

 

 

As part of my responsibility at Youthfront, I am fundraising to support the ministry and a portion of my salary. Through the support and generous giving of others, I am able to fully and deeply lean into my ministry at Youthfront.

There are multiple ways to support and partner with me: through prayer, community, and giving. I not only want to raise support financially, but also gain a community of supporters through friendship, mentorship, and prayer. You can also support me monthly or through a one-time gift. Thank you so much for considering a partnership with me! And if you have questions, please reach out to me: rganaban@youthfront.com.

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