Founders of CYN
Dan & Kelly Weightman
How the Caribbean Youth Network began.
2000 CYN founders, Kelly and Dan Weightman arrived on Long Island, Bahamas as YoungLife missionaries to disciple teens and adults.
2001 Started a camping outreach ministry.
2004 Through substantial assistance from Nassau developers, an American Women’s Club and mission teams from the US renovated an old school building located centrally on Long Island into the Oasis Youth Center. Also, began hosting mission teams from the United States to support CYN activities in the Bahamas.
2005 Began offering mission trip experiences to further encourage growth in spiritual leadership.
2007 Staff started monthly weekend visits to Nassau to continue mentoring college age students.
2008 Caribbean Youth Network (CYN) Founded.
Local leaders on Long Island, The Bahamas organized a board of directors and started the incorporation process for Bahamas Youth Network (BYN). The local board for BYN worked to develop a uniquely Bahamian organization to stand the test of time.
2009 Staff established the Long Island Baseball Association to reach children in the community.
2012 Additional staff join CYN on Long Island, The Bahamas. Over 100 teens involved in ministry on Long Island.
2013 Staff deployed to Nassau.
The Caribbean Youth Network Story.
Kelly Weightman shares:
“Wow, I can’t believe we have been here for 16 years!” Time does fly and I thought it would be a good time to pause and reflect with you on some of the major developments over the years and the goodness of God to all of us who have invested time, money, and prayers in this mission…
So on a cold winter day in January of 2000, Dan and I moved to Long Island, Bahamas. Our long term vision was to develop a community based youth ministry organization that would become Bahamian in ownership and leadership. We began the long process of modeling relational youth ministry among Bahamian teens, we started discipling adults, and commenced adapting to life on a remote island.
After a few years, we realized the need for a larger meeting space than our home for ministry activities and a better geographical location than the only community building on the island. In 2004, the Lord opened up the opportunity to renovate an old school building located centrally on the island into a youth center. He also provided a unique window of time where some developers in Nassau and an American Women’s Club were available to substantially fund the initial phases of the renovations. Over the years, mission teams from the US came and provided additional help and funding to transform the property into an expansive youth center complete with basketball court and a little league baseball field.
In the years shortly following the Oasis Youth Center opening, we finally got to a point where there were teenagers who had come to know Christ that were growing, and wanted to develop in spiritual leadership. In addition to taking students to outreach camps in the summer we began offering a summer mission trip experience in 2005.
In 2007 we realized we needed a way to continue longer term relationships with the students who graduated from high school and left the island (over 90% of them). Many who had been discipled on Long Island were falling through the cracks when they moved to the city (Nassau, 200 miles away) for work or college. Many more who had shown leadership potential were also in need of continued mentorship…and of course we were praying that some might one day return to Long Island to settle down, raise a family, and continue in leadership. Hence, we started monthly weekend visits to Nassau to continue meeting with these college age students. A connection with the Milagros Foundation also provided us an opportunity to continue working with these students while helping them pay for college.
The year of 2008 was a landmark year for major organizational transitions. After much prayer it became clear that the Lord was leading us to create a new mission organization that would be tailor-made to fit the unique needs of the Caribbean. In a giant leap of faith we transitioned out of Young Life and started the Caribbean Youth Network, a US based non-profit organization.
In 2008, the local leadership on Long Island also organized a board of directors and started the incorporation process here in the Bahamas for what would be called the Bahamas Youth Network. Over the past few years they have invested in learning how to develop an organization that would be uniquely Bahamian and stand the test of time. In 2010 they were able to raise about $16,000 within the Bahamas to fund the ministry. The ministry that was planted eleven years ago finally moved into a stage where we and the CYN could morph into a partnering relationship with them. They have gotten their roots and are starting to sprout!
A constant prayer over the years has been, “Lord, send more workers into the harvest field.” In eleven years we have only had one intern couple serve for a time with us.
Learn more about The Caribbean Youth Network at their website: