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

Work Party

Saturday, June 6, 2021, 9 a.m. at Camp Silver Creek

All alumni, current staff, family, and friends are welcome! Please help us prepare camp for the incoming campers and staff. 

RSVP WITH THIS LINK: https://forms.gle/jeEmhWTLvwh3V8Mv5 

Signing up secures your lunch and helps us place volunteers. So even if you have already signed up on paper, please also fill out the form above :) 

Crystal Cram (Pretzel)
CSCAA Vice President


24th Annual Golf Tournament

Monday, August 16, 2021, at Salem Golf Club
Join us in helping support the legacy of YMCA camping at Camp Silver Creek. Register now!

Registration includes:

  • Greens fees and electric cart for 18 holes
  • Unlimited complimentary range balls
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Prizes
  • A charitable tax donation
  • Scramble Net/Gross format


Annual Meeting

Wednesday, August 4, 2021, in the Rec Hall


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



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.


Board of Directors

Pat Schrader, President
Crystal Cram, Vice President
Megan Crane, Secretary 
Jeremiah Rasca, Treasurer      
Nick Benavidez           
Mark Bradley                
Meredith Connolly                             
Matt Hagan                   
Amanda Hampton  
Jo Jablo        
Mariah Fairman              
Becca LaFramboise       
Jeff Lewis                      
Sam Lewis                     
Leslie McCollom            
Joe Rasca                       
Emily Roemeling             
Asher Roemeling            
Connie Strong                 
Joel Woodcock               
Allison Wyatt              

Camp Directors

Boys Camp Directors

Gus Moore 1938-1939

Fred Smith 1940-1941

Carl Greider 1942

Harold Davis 1943-1946

John Gardner 1947-1949

Roth Holtz 1950-1951

Scotty Washburn 1952-1956

Bill Cornell 1957

Byron Haley 1958-1960

Jack Hazelett 1961-1962

Roy Horine 196

Carl Greider 1964

Richard Simpson 1965-1972

Mike Smith 1973 — one week trial of coed camp 

Carl Greider 1974-1976

Kris Russom 1977

Randy Rabenstein 1978-1985

Girls Camp Directors

Bea Moore 

Barbara Smith

Dorothy Barlow

Ruby Bergsvick

Gertrude Ayres

Lyn Horine 1965-1972

1973 — one week trial of coed camp

Mary Ann Siddoway 1974-1975

Beula Maus 1977

Betty Trupika 1978

Lynn Rabenstein 1986-1988



Coed Camp Directors

Mike Smith 1973 — one week trial of coed camp 

Randy Rabenstein 1989

Forrest LaBarre 1990-1994

Kevin Couey 1995-1998

Matt Sampson 1999-2002

Pat Schrader 2003-2006

Nick Benevidez 2007-2012

Jeff Lewis 2013

Katie Noel 2014-2015

Jeff Lewis 2016-2018

Crystal Cram 2019-2020

Mariah Fairman 2021