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Hey Camp Silver Creek!

Join the Camp Silver Creek Alumni Association to support, preserve, and strengthen YMCA camping at Camp Silver Creek. If you were a camper, staff, or contributor to YMCA Camp Silver Creek and are eighteen years or older, you are considered alumni and members of the Association. If you haven't yet signed up to receive news and zoom links to meetings and events, request to join here

Keep in Touch

Join the official mailing list for news and events 
Email the current CSCAA chairperson
Instagram - coming soon
For camp-related questions, please contact the Camp Director or the Youth and Camping Services Director

2023-2024 Calendar 

Board Meetings and events are open to all members of the CSCAA. Details will be posted here and on social media and sent by email.  

Wednesday, August 2, 2023 - Annual Meeting Notes
Wednesday, November 15, 2023 - Board Meeting 6:30pm at the Withnell Family YMCA - Capitol Room - Meeting Minutes
Thursday, February 15, 2024 - Board Meeting
Wednesday, May 15, 2024 - Board Meeting
June, 2024 - Work Party
July, 2024 - 27th Annual CSCAA John Mistkawi Golf Tournament NOW AT CREEKSIDE GOLF COURSE
August, 2024 - Annual Meeting


CSCAA November Newsletter

Ground-Breaking Work Party, June 3, 2023

More than 60 Camp Silver Creek staff and alumni, camp volunteers, friends, parents, missionaries, Y Service Club members, park staff, and our own Salem YMCA Branch Director showed up to clear miles of trails, restore the ENTIRE chapel, scrape the pool, and power-wash buildings. A very special thanks to Kevin McLain of the Park Service and to alumni Vic Lippert, Johanna Burgess, Erin Chambers, and Cliff Lawrence for recruiting and supervising volunteers. Photos are available for viewing, download, and sharing

2024 CSCAA John Mistkawi Memorial Golf Tournament - NOW AT CREEKSIDE GOLF COURSE

Golfers, mark your calendars now! The 2024 CSCAA John Mistkawi Memorial Golf Tournament will be held on July 29th, 2024. This year, we are moving the tournament to Creekside Golf Course, so get ready to experience a new and exciting environment. 

This last summer, we raised over $40,000 to help children of all backgrounds experience the joy that is Camp Silver Creek. Thanks to everyone who participated. 


Camp Wishlist

Please consider donating items on our wishlist. Items you order will be delivered directly to camp, which ends on August 26. 

Our History

From 1929 to 1940, the Salem YMCA hosted Oceanside camp, a residential camp for older boys located near Tillamook. “All campers and leaders slept in tents and usually we had two or three big storms when tents blew down and everything got very wet” according to Gus Moore, who directed the camp for 5 years.

The winds of fortune began to change when the National Parks Service approached him and Claude Kells, then Executive Secretary of the Salem YMCA, about collaborating on a youth camp that the Works Progress Administration was building in a new national park east of Salem. Kells persuaded Ted Chambers, chairman of the camp committee, to join them for a visit.

What they found was a spectacular forested wilderness dotted with waterfalls, gentle creeks, and flowering meadows. The proposed youth camp “had a beautiful, big log dining hall, screened log cabins in different areas of the woods for campers and leaders, large playing field, and stream for fishing and swimming. This was a great change from Oceanside!” he later wrote. According to John Mistkawi, who became the YMCA CEO, “The spectacular natural setting deep in the park, ancient trees, and hand-built log structures with stone fireplaces convinced the three of them that this would provide an extraordinary opportunity for the youth of the mid-Willamette valley.” They had a harder time convincing the board of directors, but “after much discussion and a lengthy debate, the Board of the Y agreed to try it out before signing a long term lease.”

In 1938, Moore served as the first Camp Director for the new camp, which supplemented the old Oceanside camp.  In 1947, the National Parks Service transferred ownership of the park to the State of Oregon. To this day, the YMCA and the Oregon State Parks work together to make this unparalleled outdoor experience possible.

In 1955, with financial help from the Salem Rotary Club, the YMCA constructed the existing swimming pool.

Since 1939, boys had several weeks at camp alone and girls had one or two weeks depending on enrollment. Sometimes girls camp was at Silver Creek and sometimes at Smith Creek, the current site of the Silver Falls conference center.

In 1973, Mike Smith introduced co-ed camp, a dramatic departure from our traditional Boys camp and Girls camp. This caused quite a “stir”. The camp committee deliberated for several weeks about the advisability and the implications of a co-ed camp and finally agreed to a one-week trial session. It was a resounding success with 120 campers enrolled. Several years later, the camp committee agreed to have coed units, with boys and girls in separate cabins as we presently have.

Camp Silver Creek was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002, protecting its signature log structures for future generations.

Campers love the incomparable setting, the fun, well-organized activities, and the friendships they form. They love the traditions, such as polar-bearing, Ragger ceremonies, and Capture the Flag that Gus and Bea brought from Camp Oceanside. Parents love the safety, healthy break from screen time, fresh air and exercise, and the maturity their kids gain during their weeks at camp.

The non-denominational chapel, flag, ragger, and candlelight ceremonies invite campers to explore their own moral and spiritual foundations. Each year, staff stage elaborate games that turn the whole camp into a giant Alien Hunt or Quidditch pitch. Campers return changed, more independent, with an identity in a special world. They return to camp as counselors, come back after college to volunteer, hold weddings there, and return for Family Camp.

Camp Silver Creek Alumni Association

Camp Silver

Camp Silver

Camp Silver