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History

A Promised Fulfilled – 1979

February 11, 1979

As a young man in his twenties, Gene Johnston promised, “If you will provide the resources, I will invest them in a manner that will have eternal value.” In 1979, he fulfilled that promise, purchasing a 300 acre hunting lodge in the beautiful mountains of northern California and founding JH Ranch.”

The Adventures Begin – 1980

February 11, 1980

In 1980, Bruce Johnston, the eldest son of Gene’s twelve children, launched JH Ranch’s first program named Second Wind. A leadership program for high school students, Second Wind was designed to help students develop a practical understanding of life purpose, personal values, and leadership skills.

Parents Join – 1992

February 11, 1992

As parents saw the impact in their children’s lives, they asked to experience JH for themselves. Thus, Father & Son/Daughter Adventures began in 1992 and then Mother & Son/Daughter Adventures in 2002.

Beyond the Ranch – 1996

February 11, 1996

With the growth of Second Wind and Father & Son/Daughter, JH alumni wanted to take the Ranch experience to their cities. That vision was first realized in 1996 with the first Outback America weekend in Dallas, Texas which hosted more than 1,000 students.

JH Goes Global – 1997

February 11, 1997

In 1997 Bruce and Heather’s friendship began with Mayor Ron Nachman, founder of the City of Ariel in Israel. Through an active partnership, a cultural exchange was established between the summer volunteers at JH Ranch and Israeli students who attended the leadership program at JH Ranch.

Outback Multiplies – 2000

September 28, 2000

Four years after the Dallas event, Outback America is born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, with the leadership of business leader, Bill Trick. This weekend experience for parents and teens soon spread to other Alabama cities and has since grown to eight cities in America hosting 14 events.

Outback Lands in Africa – 2009

September 28, 2009

In 2008, African ministry leader Steve Kabachia attends a week at JH and tells Bruce, “You need to bring Outback to Africa.” In 2009, the first international Outback launched outside of Nairobi, Kenya.

Impacting Israel – 2010

September 28, 2010

JH Israel is working with various government and municipal entities in Israel to participate in shaping Israel’s next generation of leaders. In collaboration with the Israeli city of Ariel, JH Israel built a site similar to JH Ranch’s California property, named the National Leadership Center. The NLC provides leadership training based on Israel’s cultural and biblical history, which provides an important dynamic for the building of modern Israel.

JH Aotearoa Lands In New Zealand – 2014

April 19, 2014

In 2014, long-time staff member Rob Hayes-St. Claire, originally from Australia, led a leadership summit in New Zealand with the purpose of starting a JH Ranch experience. In 2015, JH Aoteaora launched with a one-week full Ranch experience in New Zealand.

2016 & Beyond – 2016

April 19, 2016

In 2016, Outback continues to grow internationally spreading to Malaysia, Thailand, and Ukraine. On the home front, Outback San Diego, Outback Palm Beach, and Outback Tennessee are all launched, with more cities to come.