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The Mission of the Camp Silver Creek Alumni Association

To support, preserve, and strengthen YMCA camping at Camp Silver Creek


  • Wednesday, May 18, 2022 - RSVP to Jo Jablo

Meeting Minutes

Special Events

Thank you for supporting the 24th Annual Golf Tournament!

Canyon Campers

Together, the YMCA and the Camp Silver Creek Alumni Association are committed to providing a healing environment to the youth who were affected by the Canyon fires. More information here.

Watch the KGW News video on YouTube

Successful Work Party June 6, 2021

Special thanks to Crystal Cram and Jeremiah Rasca for leading this. The team also included Mark Bradley, Erin Chambers, Jeff Dickmann, Michelle Gee, Greg Garrett, Guy & Nancy Greider, Sarah Hardy, Jo Jablo, Bill and McKenzie Messer, Dan Moore, Dylan Murphy, Emily & Asher Roemeling, Jeremiah Rasca, Connie Strong, and 24 missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. 

Volunteers cleaned all the cabins and lodges, top to bottom, in every unit, cleaned the dining hall and kitchen, wiped down every table and bench, cleared overgrown trails, cleared weeds and blackberries from the pool area, de-mossed the pool deck and trough, built a stone bridge, pulled piles of driftwood out of the lake, organized materials, and evicted two years worth of bugs, rodents, dirt, and ash from last year’s forest fire. 

Nemo, Pretzel, T-Bone, and Bambi came back a week later and painted the pool. 

Please see the CSCAA Facebook page for photos.

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