NCYAMA was established in 1982 and has been run by an all-volunteer Board of Directors, representing young adult ministry professionals around the country. In 1996, working with several leaders from NCYAMA, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) published Sons and Daughters of the Light, their primary pastoral letter on ministry to young adult Catholics in the United States.
In 2001, grant money assisted the organization in establishing a national office, led by an Executive Director alongside the Board of Directors. Ms. Michelle Miller from Washington D.C. served as the association’s first Executive Director from 2001 to 2005, followed by Sr. Christine Wilcox, OP, from San Francisco, as Interim Director.
In 2006, Mr. Paul Jarzembowski from the Diocese of Joliet became the third Executive Director for NCYAMA. Paul remained in the position until march 2013 when he assumed a position at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, DC.
Amy McEntee assumed the position of Interim Executive Director on April 1, 2013.
Since 2008, NCYAMA has engaged in an organizational partnership with the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry (NFCYM), and is working more intentionally with the Catholic Campus Ministry Association (CCMA). These collaborative relationships ensure a seamless bridge between youth, campus, and young adult ministry, and respect the current reality of those who minister to multiple groups in the parish, diocese, and in other Catholic organizations.
In 2009, the organization focused its attention on the new dynamics of the Catholic Church in the United States. Whereas NCYAMA was initially aimed at networking young adult ministers, it now targets its attention to all church workers who connect with men and women in college and in their 20s and 30s. This expansion called for a new organizational structure, logo, and mission - all of which was adopted in December 2008 by the Board of Directors.
NCYAMA continues to gather biennially for a National Leadership Forum. Recent Forums have taken and will take place in the following years and locations:
In addition to the National Forums, NCYAMA has also co-sponsored the National Symposium on Campus & Young Adult Ministry at the University of Notre Dame in 2007 and again in 2010; it also participated in the Encuentro National Gathering (also at Notre Dame) in 2006. In addition, NCYAMA was one of the major partners to sponsor the National Ministry Summit in April 2008 in Orlando, Florida, as part of the Emerging Models of Pastoral Leadership Project.
Today, NCYAMA is led by the Executive Director working closely with the Board of Directors and an emerging National Leadership Council, made up of regional representatives from all across the United States - in parishes, dioceses, universities, and Catholic organizations.