Beginning even before the first Tour de Rez, the people who are today known as NavajoYES were offering outdoor adventure programs for reservation youth. Multiple outings at Navajo Mountain, Rainbow Bridge and Grand Canyon had already been completed before the Tour was even conceived in 1991.
The growth of the Tour marked the advent of a new era and revealed the need for a new organization. In 1994, Youth Empowerment Services for Dine' Bikeyah (NavajoYES) was established, joining community-based groups in the rez towns of Shonto and Kayenta.
While our life as a nonprofit 501(c)3 has provided new opportunities, our mission and programs have remained centered on youth. Initially our focus was on the development of youth centers. Our mission in the past decade-plus has emphasized outdoor adventure, community service (with a focus on trail-building) and school-based programs. (More details on each aspect of our program is found in the "Programs" section of the website.)
In 2006, NavajoYES moved into its office in T'iis Nazbas, where it has been based since. The organization operates under the leadership of Executive Director Tom Riggenbach and a voluntary Board of Directors headed by Ron Barton, MD of Navajo, New Mexico.
The mission of NavajoYES is to promote healthy living and lifelong fitnes; encourage the "natural high" as a means of substance abuse prevention; and foster among youth a sense of empowerment - the belief that you can affect positive change in your world.