Our First 30 Years of Summer Camps
First Arkansas-Louisiana Summer Camp in 1935
The Arkansas-Louisiana Conference hosted its first summer camp program in 1935. The educational superintendent, Sabbath School and youth director, Elder Adam F. Ruf, organized and planned the event. An ideal place was found for swimming, hiking, and other recreation, seven miles from Hot Springs on Highway 270. The camp was beside a spring-fed lake across from a “stately, towering mountain” and the use of the property was donated. The boys’ camp was held June 16 – 23, and the girls’ camp was June 23 – 30. What should they bring? “You will need only two blankets and a sheet. If you are in the habit of sleeping on a pillow bring one. As to clothes, bring what you have. No extra uniforms are needed. Bring your bathing suit and a towel or two.” The camp program was for ages ten to sixteen with a minimum requirement of twenty campers signed up for each week (Ruf, 1935). To attend, the boys and girls were asked to send a postcard with their name and address to Elder Ruf at the conference office in Little Rock, and he would send them an application blank to be filled out and returned with $1.00. The cost to attend the camp was $7.00, which included the application fee (Record, 1935).
Joining Texas for Summer Camps
In 1936 and again in 1937, the Arkansas-Louisiana and Texas conferences held a joint camp at Camp Wisdom near Dallas, Texas (Bement, 1937). About seventy-five boys and girls attended, even though some had to travel 600 miles. The children were asked to bring “a sheet, blanket, swimming suit, pocket knife, your Junior Handbook, Bible, Morning Watch calendar, a mirror, and a comb.” Classes offered were Leather Craft and Weaving (Ruf, 1936).
Our Own Summer Camps Again
In 1941, a ten-day Arkansas-Louisiana junior camp was held at the Y.M.C.A. camp at the east end of Petit Jean State Park. Children were given a much longer list of items to bring — “[A]t least two blankets, besides sheets for a single bed, suitable clothing for camp and hikes, as well as for Sabbath wear. Bring your raincoat and rubbers, and especially remember to bring comfortable shoes for hiking. Bring Bible, Junior Song Book, notebook and pencil, toilet articles such as: toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, brush, towels, soap, etc., pajamas, several handkerchiefs, flashlight, and if you have them, bring a camera and films, and a field or spy glass for bird study.” The cost this year was $8.00 and classes offered for the children to earn honor badges included Photography, Leather Craft, Sewing, Weaving, Bird Study, Flower Study, and Tree Study (Ross, 1941).
1942 Summer Camp Canceled
Summer camp was canceled for the summer of 1942 because the Missionary Volunteer Secretary (the equivalent of a youth director today) took a call to the Union at the beginning of May 1942 (Minutes, 1942).
Summer Camp Uniform and Choir
In the summer of 1944, as many boys and girls as possible were expected to wear the “junior camp uniforms and regalia.” These first uniforms were entirely forest green both for the girls’ dresses and for the boys’ slacks and shirts. A girls’ uniform cost $4.75 ready-made or fabric could be purchased for sixty-five cents a yard and Simplicity pattern No. 3445 used to make a uniform. Boys’ slacks were $3.25 each, shirts were $2.00 or $2.55 depending on the type of fabric, and overseas caps for both boys and girls were $1.50. The boys were also expected to wear a black tie (Carter, 1944). Also that summer, there was going to be music at summer camp. Those who played an instrument were asked to bring it to be in an orchestra. There would also be a choir. “We plan that this choir will function at Junior Camp and at camp meeting. We’ll practice at camp and be ready to really surprise our parents and friends at camp meeting” wrote Mrs. T. R. Gardner. Those attending the camp were asked to start learning ten songs including Fairest Lord Jesus, How Firm a Foundation, Faith of Our Fathers, and other similar hymns (Gardner, 1944).
In 1947, the summer camp program was given the name “Camp Junolarka.” This name stood “for the camp of the juniors of Louisiana and Arkansas.” Other conferences had similar names for their camps such as Mo-jun in the Missouri conference and Oklajumivo in the Oklahoma conference. From 1947 to 1950, Camp Junolarka met at Chemin-A-Haut State Park near Bastrop, Louisiana (Olsen, 1947). In 1950, Camp Junolarka had an attendance of 106 boys and girls, with thirty-four of them taking their stand for Christ, “signifying their desire to unite with God’s people” (Whitehead, 1950).
The 1951 Camp Junolarka was held in Hot Springs (Record, 1951), and in 1952, two camps were held for the first time (Haas, 1952). In 1953, two camps were again held — one at Camp Clearfork near Hot Springs, Arkansas, and another at Chicot State Park in Ville Platte, Louisiana (Haas, 1954a). A new feature in 1953 was a free t-shirt given to every child with their application. The t-shirt was touted to have “the most unusual design ever to appear!” (Record, 1953). It was also noted that “a growing appreciation for the [summer camp] program is also being expressed by the parents who are deeply concerned over the spiritual growth of their children, and they are well pleased as they observe the change for the better that comes into these little lives as a result of attending the soul-winning summer camps. This well-proven program is in great demand. Many parents would not think of allowing anything to interfere with having their children at summer camp” (Haas, 1953). In 1959, twenty-four young people were baptized as a result of attending one of the summer camps that year (Winger, 1959).
In 1954, the problem of a desirable and large enough site for summer camp was discussed by the conference executive committee. Elder Haas urged the conference to purchase a permanent campsite to be used for summer camp and eventually for camp meeting. It was voted to start looking for something suitable near the geographical center of the conference (Minutes, 1954). For the summer of 1956, a plan was presented to the conference committee to conduct a Welfare Camp in Louisiana for under-privileged boys, with a total cost estimated at $600.00. It was approved to hold the camp that summer (Minutes, 1956).
Camp Junolarka Moves to Lake Bistineau State Park
The number of young people attending Camp Junolarka continued to grow and various locations were found, but it was becoming increasingly difficult to find a good place to host the camp each summer. Some locations were only available for one week. Elder Winger finally settled on Lake Bistineau State Park near Shreveport, which was almost centrally located in the conference. Camp Junolarka was held there from 1961 to 1965.
The largest camp in the history of the Arkansas-Louisiana Conference up until this time was in 1961 at Lake Bistineau State Park, Louisiana, with 183 persons, counting young people and staff members. “Each day the campers participated in varied recreational activities such as horseback riding, boating, archery, and games of every kind. They also enjoyed swimming twice a day, nature classes and hikes, good food, a daily rest period, various camp duties which included dish washing, camp council talks, flag raising and lowering ceremonies, good music, personal and cabin inspection, plus campfires in the evenings” (Winger, 1961b).
First Senior Youth Camp
In 1963, the Arkansas-Louisiana conference held its first Senior Youth Camp for ages sixteen to thirty. It was advertised as Camp Larka-Senyo. The young adults camped on the shores of Lake Bailey on Petit Jean mountain in Arkansas (Winger, 1963).
Last year of Camp Junolarka
The last Camp Junolarka was at Lake Bistineau State Park from June 27 to July 4, 1965 (Record, 1965).
Camp Yorktown Bay
The Story Behind the Camp
December 11, 1958, was the first organizational meeting for the Hot Springs Navy League Council (hereinafter “Navy League”), part of a national organization of men voluntarily seeking to keep the American public informed of our Navy’s needs, included veterans of the various military services, and non-veterans, too (Sanders, 2017). The original idea for the camp began when the Navy League needed a base on Lake Ouachita for training its Sea Cadets. This program, the Naval Sea Cadet Corps (NSCC) was for boys ages fourteen to seventeen. Also included, the Navy League Cadet Corps (NLCC), was for boys ages twelve to thirteen, to promote interest and skill in naval disciplines while instilling strong moral character and life skills through leadership and technical programs modeled after the Navy’s professional development system (Corps, 2005). Peter Dierks Joers, president of the Navy League and vice-president of Dierks Forests, Inc., offered to donate sixty acres of land for the project, and the U. S. Corps of Engineers, which has jurisdiction over lakeshore property, agreed to lease the remaining fifty-three acres to the Navy League, which was a non-profit organization, giving them a 113 acre site on which to build the camp. The name Camp Yorktown Bay was chosen, named for the second U. S. Aircraft Carrier Yorktown, bombed by the Japanese in late 1944 off Okinawa during World War II, and for the town of Yorktown, Virginia, which was the scene of a major naval battle during the American Revolution. The president, Peter D. Joers and George Earnshaw, secretary at the time the idea for the camp was conceived, had both been officers on the carrier, Yorktown (Council, 1962).
In 1960 the Navy League sponsored a Navy Day celebration with the theme “Arkansas Salutes the Navy.” Top brass from all parts of the country were in attendance. Leading the celebration were L to R: Honorable John L. McClellan, U.S. Senator from Arkansas; Commander Peter D. Joers, Navy League President; and Brigadier General J. C. Munn, USMC Assistant Commandant.
Photo courtesy of the Navy League.
Recipe for 10,000 Chocolate Chip Cookies
The USS Yorktown carried a complement of 2,600 men, so this recipe made enough for three to four cookies per person.
112 pounds of chocolate chips
165 pounds of flour
100 pounds of white granulated sugar
87 pounds of shortening
75 pounds of brown sugar
12 pounds of butter
3 pounds of salt
3 cups of vanilla
4 cups of water
1 1/2 pounds of baking soda
Cream white sugar and brown sugar with
shortening and butter. Add eggs, mixing.
Incorporate flour, water, salt, and baking
soda. Add vanilla and chocolate chips. Drop
by measured scoops on greased cookie sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees 12 to 15 minutes.
Posted in the USS Yorktown Naval Museum in Charleston, S.C.
Navy League Camp Construction Begins
As the Navy League began work on the camp, the idea of the project grew to not only serve the Sea Cadets, but hundreds of other Garland County youth as well. The first project was to put in a three-and-a-half mile gravel road joining the access road from Hwy. 270 to Ouachita State Park. By 1962, the Council had cleared two large areas. On one area they had built a 27′ by 90′ mess hall and five 20′ by 20′ cabins. On the other, an administration building had been built and they had plans to build five additional cabins. Pressure treated lumber was used on all the buildings and they all had concrete floors. When completed, the camp would include an office, mess hall, ships store, sick bay, amphitheater with open-air chapel, waterfront development, program equipment and camp water system. Electrical power lines were being installed and telephone service was added shortly. Later, the Navy League planned to construct three-sided Adirondack shelters for year-round camping, and clear trails over the area (Council, 1962). The camp motto was, “He stands the straightest who stoops to help a child.”
Navy League Camp Dedication
On Friday and Saturday, June 15 and 16, 1962, a special dedication for the camp was held, with the actual dedication ceremony taking place at Camp Yorktown Bay on Saturday afternoon. Many naval officers and dignitaries from around the United States were invited to attend and forty-five of these distinguished guests and spouses came for the dedication. Many of these men had served on the USS Yorktown.
Photo courtesy of the Navy League.
Navy League Youth Program begins
Camp Yorktown Bay opened its doors under the direction of the Navy League to young people during the summer of 1962 and beginning July 2, ran three twelve-day camps for boys and one for girls (Sentinel-Record, 1962). Because of the naval aspect of the camp’s origin, there were classes in seamanship, basic navigation, and naval terms along with the swimming, boating, hiking, nature study, first aid, softball, archery, and other sports. At first the camp could accommodate seventy campers plus the necessary staff per week. That number could double when the remaining cabins they hoped to build were completed, for total accommodations of 840 campers and staff each summer (Council, 1962). In the summer of 1963, the Navy League expanded the program to twelve sessions with ten for boys and two for girls. They also donated 192 scholarships for young people to attend (Sentinel-Record, 1963).
Corporal Missile Presented to the Camp
Flyer Advertising the Navy League Youth Camp
Navy League signs five-Year Lease with the Arkansas Boys Club
The Navy League never felt that they were doing an adequate job of operating the summer camp program so in June 1964, the Navy League and the Arkansas Boys Club officials signed an agreement turning control of Camp Yorktown Bay over to the Boys Club for a period of five years, effective January 1, 1965 (Sentinel-Record, 1964). The Boys Club operated a summer camp program in 1965 (Abilene Reporter-News, 1965) but news that the Boys Club members were not taking care of the camp nor upholding the values and high standards upon which the camp had been founded soon reached the Navy League and they rescinded the lease after the first year.
Dream for Our Own Camp
The Arkansas-Louisiana Conference had never owned a youth camp, but had dreams of having one that would be well-suited to their needs. In 1965, the youth director, Elder Wally D. Welch, stopped at the Meyers Realty Company in Hot Springs and asked if they could show him some property on the lake that might be used for a camp facility. The owner, Lawrence Meyers, spent most of the day with Wally looking at various lake properties. The properties were very expensive and the conference didn’t have any money to invest in a youth camp—they had just completed a new girls’ dorm and were starting to build the gymnasium at Ozark Academy. At the end of the day Wally explained this to Mr. Meyers and Mr. Meyers asked, “Well, let’s just say you had some property on the lake somewhere; what would you do with it?” So Wally explained to him the kind of youth camp we would like to have, if and when we had the funds to buy such a facility (Welch, 1968).
Mr. Meyers thoughtfully said, “Well there is only one camp like that in this whole country and that’s Camp Yorktown Bay out on Lake Ouachita.” He continued, “But you couldn’t touch that at all because a group of men who were formerly in the Navy built this camp and they have invested a whole lot of money in it. Several of those men served on the aircraft carrier, the Yorktown, so that’s why they call their camp ‘Camp Yorktown Bay.’” But Meyers said he would go talk to Peter Joers, vice-president of Dierks Forestry, and also president of the Navy League. Dierks Forestry owned some lake property and Meyers thought they might be willing to give the Arkansas-Louisiana conference a long-term lease on it (Sherrill, n.d.).
When Meyers went to see Peter Joers he asked, “Peter, how is your camp doing?” Peter replied, “Not any good at all.” He went on to explain that they had money and a dream, but didn’t know anything about running a camp. They had tried it for three years without any success, so they finally gave up on it and leased it out to the Arkansas Boys Club. They hadn’t taken care of the camp and Peter said, “I don’t know what we’re going to do with it.” Mr. Meyers replied, “Why don’t you give it to the Seventh-day Adventists?” Peter’s grandmother, LaDesha Dierks Joers, had been a Seventh-day Adventist for many years, living near Union College, so Peter knew quite a bit about Adventists. Meyers proceeded to tell Peter all that he knew about the Seventh-day Adventists’ dream for a youth camp. When Meyers finished, Peter said, “Tell those people to come see me. If they are half as good as you say they are, I think we will give it to them” (Sherrill, n.d.).
Navy League Gives Lease to Seventh-day Adventists
Meyers called the Conference office saying, “I think they are going to give you this Camp Yorktown Bay on Lake Ouachita, lock, stock, and barrel, no strings attached.” When they met with Peter he said, “As far as I am concerned, you can have the camp. About a hundred of us have invested in this camp property and it is now administered by a board of twelve, of which I am chairman. They usually take my recommendation. I don’t know if they will this time or not, but I’m going to recommend to them we give you the camp.” When Peter told the board all he knew about Seventh-day Adventists and the work they do, the board voted unanimously to give the twenty-year lease of Camp Yorktown Bay to the Arkansas-Louisiana Conference and have them come and take it over (Sherrill, n.d.). Three of the provisions given by the Hot Springs Navy League when they assigned the lease to the conference were that: 1) We provide camping facilities for under-privileged children each year, along with camps for our own members; 2) Should we ever cease to be interested in the operation of the camp, that it be returned to the members of the Board of the Hot Springs Navy League; and 3) That we retain the name Camp Yorktown Bay (Agreement, 1965).
Transfer of Lease on September 15, 1965
On September 15, 1965, a formal ceremony was held and the U. S. Corps of Engineers’ lease of the fifty-three acres of waterfront property of Camp Yorktown Bay to the Hot Springs Navy League Council was sublet to the Arkansas Conference Association of Seventh-day Adventists (Beeler, 1996). At this time, the camp included a small office building, a one-bedroom caretaker’s home, an open-air covered dining hall and enclosed kitchen with $25,000 worth of stainless steel appliances and fixtures, five 20′ x 20′ screened cabins, a restroom facility, an open-air pavilion/basketball court, horseshoes area, ball field with backstop and softball equipment still in the cellophane, a pickup truck, a motor boat, a rowboat, a canoe rack with several canoes, a roped-off swimming area, and separate boating area. The camp and facilities were valued at about $250,000 (Sherrill, n.d.). In addition to the 113 acres of camp property, there were two small islands about a quarter mile from the swimming and canoeing area. The larger island, about one acre, was the Peter Joers Island and the smaller island, about half an acre, became known as PIN Island, possibly named for Paul Irving (“P. I.”) Nosworthy, who was the conference treasurer during this time (Ray, 1979; cf. 1966 plans below). An open house for the camp was held on October 17, 1965, with about 200 in attendance (Wright, 1965). On May 21, 1968, the sixty acres of adjoining Dierks Forestry land that had been donated to the Navy League by Peter D. Joers was donated to the Conference (Warranty, 1968).
Our First Summer Camp at Camp Yorktown Bay
The first Seventh-day Adventist summer camp held at Camp Yorktown Bay was in July 1966 (Green, 1966; cf. Welch, 1966). Since there were only five duplex cabins, the camps for girls and boys were held separately, July 3-10 for girls, and July 10-17 for boys. The cost was $18.50 for the week (Welch, 1966).
Plans to Develop the Camp
First Camporee At the Camp
It was voted for the Missionary Volunteer department of the conference to conduct a Missionary Volunteer Camporee at Camp Yorktown Bay from May 5 – 7, 1967 (Minutes, 1966).
Camp Improvements 1967-1968
When the camp was given to the conference there was sufficient eating, sleeping, and meeting space for eighty campers at a time. By June 1967, several improvements had been completed to handle up to 160 campers at the camp: 1) Five new duplex cabins were added to accommodate mixed groups. The cabins had large screened windows to allow fresh air, with shutters that could be lifted to provide shade and keep out rain, or lowered to add warmth and privacy; 2) Two piers and docks were built in the swim area; and 3) To accommodate the growing numbers of youth attending our summer camps, the dining hall at Camp Yorktown bay was enlarged by fifty per cent. A large rock fireplace was added to the dining hall to add a place for indoor campfires (Record, 1967a); 4) An additional bathhouse was added; 5) New boating equipment was purchased (Welch, 1967). As a result of the new cabins, 1967 was the first year the camp program was divided by age instead of gender. June 18-25 was for ages nine to thirteen; June 25-July 2 was for ages twelve to sixteen, with twelve and thirteen year-olds allowed to go to either or both camps (Record, 1967b).
Tragedy at the Camp
The only death in over eighty years of summer camp history in our conference, occurred at Camp Yorktown Bay on Monday, June 19, 1967, in the ski area. Staff and campers alike still distinctly recall this tragic incident that took place over fifty years ago. Two campers, Stephen Burton and Lewis Cox, clearly remember their first summer camp experience. On their first day of camp activities, they looked out the back window of their cabin and saw the flashing lights of an ambulance (Burton, 2019). They were shocked to learn that a young girl, Connie Theriot, had apparently collapsed while water skiing (Dyer, 1967). Thirty-six year old Jerry Wynne, the spotter in the boat, witnessed her fall, and the boat driver, Alvin Castania, also thirty-six, turned around to pick her up. Witnesses told the Garland County sheriff that Connie was already unconscious by then (Gazette, 1967). The camp nurse attempted to revive her with artificial respiration and oxygen. Connie was taken to a Hot Springs hospital where she was pronounced dead on arrival. Connie’s father, Roy Theriot, said that “she was known to have a slight heart murmur, but the advice of all doctors had always been that she not be restricted in her physical activities.” Connie’s twin brother, Donnie, had died of a similar heart condition five years before (Banner-Tribune, 1967).
By July 1968, a large staff building directly across the road from the dining hall had just been completed. This facility provided a headquarters for the camp so that the camp director could live closer to the camping area. There was also room for a nurse’s office, camp store, and additional guest rooms. A beautiful stone fireplace was in the lobby to offer warmth in cooler seasons (Voss, 1968). Paul Irving Nosworthy had served as the conference secretary-treasurer for seventeen years and at the time of his retirement August 31, 1974, the staff building was named Nosworthy Lodge.
By the summer of 1969, our conference was running three weeks of summer camp, which included one week of Friendship Camp. This was a week that donations were given so under-privileged children could attend free of charge, as promised to the Navy League.
Summer Camp Schedule
The 1971 summer camp schedule included a week of blind camp to make the camp program four weeks:
Friendship Camp — (ages 10-16) — June 21-27
Summer Camp No. I — (ages 9-13) — June 27-July 4
Summer Camp No. II — (ages 12-16) — July 4-11
Camp for the Blind — July 11-16
New Nature Building in 1972
In 1971, Peter D. Joers donated the money for a nature and craft building. Elder Sherrill organized a work bee at the camp to construct what was named the Peter Dierks Joers Nature Building (often referred to as Town Hall). The foundation and floor made of concrete was poured in the rain on a Sunday by volunteer help from men in the Bonnerdale, DeQueen, and Hot Springs churches. The pouring of the floor 30′ x 100′ was quite a task. Three giant eight-yard concrete trucks got stuck and had to be winched out. One truck had to be unloaded before it could be gotten out. Elder Sherrill met with the pastors from Arkansas and three from Louisiana along with his departmental men at Camp Yorktown Bay on the following Sunday. Work started at 1:00 p.m. that afternoon and by noon on Thursday, the exterior of the building was almost completed. The front of the building was covered with polished native stones and petrified wood. Before long, the interior was finished as well, with display cabinets completed and ready for materials to be displayed in them (Sherrill, 1972).
Pioneers and Indians
In 1972, covered wagons had been added for “Schooner Circle” where the campers took turns sleeping overnight. Also, three teepees and a native-American-style hogan were added to the large island in Lake Ouachita near Camp Yorktown Bay. Campers and counselors took turns canoeing over to the island to spend an interesting night out in nature. Both of these overnight experiences were very much enjoyed by the campers (Bendall, 1972a).
Groundbreaking for Camp Motel in 1972
By 1972, the number of individuals using Camp Yorktown Bay had more than doubled since 1968, and the need for additional housing had become urgent. For some time, the conference had been wanting to provide more housing but funds were not available. Then, at an Arkansas-Louisiana medical retreat in September 1971, the doctors worked out a plan whereby the laymen of the conference would furnish the finances so a twelve-unit building could be constructed. Each room had carpeting and a private bath. Individual heating/air conditioning units were installed. Four of the rooms had kitchenettes. They ended up building a sixteen-unit building with laundry facilities. The motel helped to alleviate the crowded room problems at workers’ meetings, lay congresses, and summer camps (Bendall, 1972b).
Ski Shed and Boat Dock
Horses Added to the Camp in 1975
February 9 – 12, 1975, the Arkansas ministers met at the camp to construct a twelve-foot addition along the whole length of the cafeteria. This addition was winterized and air-conditioned, with room for a bakery and laundry facilities (Eccles, 1975). Probably the greatest single attraction that was added to the camp in 1975 was the horses. Dr. Bryant of Tennessee, gave four beautiful Appaloosa horses to the camp, then Stan and Punky Garret of New Orleans gave a quarter horse that was ready to foal in a few months. In addition, Holmes Goslee loaned four horses to the camp for the duration of the summer. Of course, the horses required a corral and stable which, thanks to the Good News Singers, were built in record time, since the horses were enroute to the camp. A temporary barn and stable were built during the winter of 1975-1976 by the camp superintendent, Ron Becker (Herman, 1976). Later, saddles were purchased for the horses and a permanent barn was built in 1978.
CYB Summer Camp Staff 1976
CYB SUMMER CAMP STAFF 1977
CYB SUMMER CAMP STAFF 1978
CYB SUMMER CAMP STAFF 1979
Steps to the Swim Dock in 1980
The path leading from the dining hall to the swim dock was rather steep and loose rocks made it easy to slip. During camp in 1980, Rene Zambrano and the interim ranger, Stephen Burton, built steps going down the hill, using railroad ties and fill dirt to create a terraced walkway. That summer, camp staff lined the edges of the walkway with rocks to help prevent erosion.
CYB SUMMER CAMP STAFF 1980
By 1980, there were ten weeks of summer camp programs, including several specialty camps (Rust, 1980). For the first time in the history of our conference, over 1,000 campers attended camp in one summer (Elder, 1981).
Photo courtesy of the Southwestern Union Record.
CYB SUMMER CAMP STAFF 1981
CYB SUMMER CAMP STAFF 1982
CYB SUMMER CAMP STAFF 1983
CYB SUMMER CAMP STAFF 1984
Milestones in 1985
September 15, 1985, marked the twentieth anniversary of the Adventists’ use of Camp Yorktown Bay. The Navy League, who had originally leased the land from the Corps of Engineers, had arranged for us to sublease the land belonging to the Corps. Also in 1985, Camp Yorktown Bay went through its toughest evaluations in its twenty-year history. It was inspected by the Arkansas State Health Department, Gencon Insurance Company, the Corps of Engineers, the Garland County Fire Department, The Arkansas American Diabetic Association, and the American Camping Association and came through with flying colors. At that time, Camp Yorktown Bay was one of only four Adventist camps that were accredited by the American Camping Association. (Record, 1986).
CYB SUMMER CAMP STAFF 1985
New 25 Year Lease
As the lease for the waterfront property came due for renewal on October 31, 1985, the conference treasurer, Marshall Chase, negotiated with the Navy League and the Corps of Engineers to have the new lease drawn up in the name of the Arkansas-Louisiana Conference rather than going through the Navy League. The Corps advised Elder Chase that under the new Government Austerity Program they might have to charge as much as $1500 a year for the lease. Elder Chase and Ron Whitehead, conference youth director, pointed out the many community oriented programs operated by Camp Yorktown Bay such as Blind Camp, Diabetic Camp, and Friendship Camp. On February 12, 1986, conference president, Bill Woodruff, and Marshall Chase met Bill Miller from the Corps of Engineers in the office of Judge Henry Britt in Hot Springs. Judge Britt represented the Navy League. A new twenty-five-year lease was signed in the name of the conference with the Corps of Engineers at a total cost of $10 per year — only $250 for the entire lease period, which ran from January 1, 1986, to December 31, 2011 (Lease, 1986).
CYB SUMMER CAMP STAFF 1986
CYB SUMMER CAMP STAFF 1987
A Year in the Life of Camp Yorktown Bay
CYB SUMMER CAMP STAFF 1988
CYB SUMMER CAMP STAFF 1989
CYB SUMMER CAMP STAFF 1990
1990 Ski Team
Summer of 1990
During the summer of 1990, a total of 730 campers attended one of the following camps at CYB: Cub, Junior I, Junior II, Teen, Diabetic, Blind, Family, Waterski, Horsemanship, Scuba, or Half-Marathon. A six-person pyramid was a new feature of the weekly ski show by the Camp Yorktown Bay Ski Team (Kostenko, 1990).
Camp Yorktown Bay Operating Board Begins
A Camp Yorktown Bay Study Committee was formed in 1990 with their first meeting held September 23 and 24 at the camp. Their purpose was to create a mission statement for the camp and to plan and recommend ways to maintain, operate, and market the camp. The committee did a walk-through of the camp, inspecting it for needed maintenance and repairs. The committee recommended to the conference executive committee that the rocket (corporal missile) be painted and the plane (jet trainer) removed (Committee, 1990). This study committee, with the addition of one more member, became the first Camp Yorktown Bay Operating Board for the camp (Minutes, 1990).
Celebration of 25 Years
Elder Frank Sherrill and Elder Richard Bendall were the featured guests at the anniversary celebration banquet on Sabbath evening, September 29, 1990, held in the Camp Yorktown Bay cafeteria. It had been twenty-five years since the camp had been donated to the conference on September 15, 1965. The celebration was part of the annual Pastor/Elder’s Retreat and a group of more than 100 persons enjoyed an inspirational review of the Lord’s leading in providing this beautiful camp for our conference (Minutes, 1990).
CYB SUMMER CAMP STAFF 1991
A Forty Acre Gift from the Navy League
At the end of 1991, the Arkansas-Louisiana conference accepted a generous offer from the Navy League of Hot Springs to give them forty acres of land near the main camp area. The Navy League indicated that its desire to present this gift was based on its large satisfaction with the program our church had carried on at Camp Yorktown Bay since they had passed the operation over to the conference (Minutes, 1991; cf. Quitclaim, 1992).
CYB SUMMER CAMP STAFF 1992
The Future of the U.S. Navy Jet Trainer
When the Jet Trainer was first donated to the camp it was completely intact except that the engine had been removed. Campers loved to slide back the glass and climb into the cockpit, work the controls, and crawl across the wings. Over the years the controls quit working, the glass over the cockpit had broken out and some metal had worn to become sharp. Eventually it became obvious that the trainer would need to be restored or removed. In May 1993, the Camp Yorktown Bay Board voted to retain the jet trainer plane, rather than donate it to the Naval Air Museum in Pensacola, Florida. The plane was to be restored by the time of the first CYB Board meeting in 1994 (Minutes, 1993). However, the restoration did not take place and the plane was donated to the Naval Air Museum.
A New Dining Hall in 1993
The original food service building was destroyed by fire on March 12, 1991 (Daniel, 1991). One side of the gym was enclosed to house a temporary kitchen. A new building that included the kitchen, dining area, restrooms, two offices, the camp store, and an infirmary was ready for the 1993 summer camp season. The paved surface in front of the building was paid for with funds raised by the camp staff during a 1993 phone-a-thon campaign, which raised $8,500 from 352 donors. The camp staff themselves pledged $500. The new dining building was dedicated on May 15, 1994, with representatives from the Navy League, the American Camping Association, the Arkansas-Louisiana conference, and from Hot Springs and Mountain Pine who came together to celebrate not only the dedication of the building but also the history of the camp (Record, 1994).
CYB SUMMER CAMP STAFF 1993
1993 Ski Team
CYB SUMMER CAMP STAFF 1994
CYB SUMMER CAMP STAFF 1995
Christian Camping International Membership
In 1995, Camp Yorktown Bay became a member of Christian Camping International/USA (CCI/USA), an association of more than 750 camps, conference centers, and retreat centers located throughout the United States. This new membership linked the Camp Yorktown Bay board and staff with more than 5,000 peer professionals in Christian camping and with the CCI/USA national office in Colorado Springs, which sponsored numerous training events designed to promote excellence in camping leaders. The result of this connection with CCI/USA was that members became better equipped in their task of shaping the lives of youth (Record, 1995).
CYB SUMMER CAMP STAFF 1996
CYB SUMMER CAMP STAFF 1997
CYB SUMMER CAMP STAFF 1998
CYB SUMMER CAMP STAFF 1999
CYB SUMMER CAMP STAFF 2000
New 25 Year Lease
January 9, 2001, Elder James Gilley, conference president, received a letter from the Department of the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers granting a new twenty-five year lease for the waterfront property of Camp Yorktown Bay, effective January 1, 2001, and ending December 31, 2025. The annual rental of the Corps of Engineers property is now $375 per year (Torrey, 2001).
CYB SUMMER CAMP STAFF 2001
CYB SUMMER CAMP STAFF 2002
G50 ThunderStorm Hits Camp
On Friday, July 12, 2002, a G50 thunderstorm with winds of 58 mph, hit Camp Yorktown Bay during Tween Camp. The ski boat dock blew across the cove with damage to several boats and the dock structure, the brand new water trampoline/miniature blob ripped into the trees, the swim dock was pushed onto the shoreline with major damage caused to the dock itself, paddle boats, wave-runners and sailboats were flipped over or blown onto shore, a tree crashed through the sound shed at the campfire bowl, and numerous trees and large limbs were knocked down with other minor damage throughout the camp. A staff member, Kevin Burton, looking out the window of the camp store, saw a red streak fly past, but had no idea what it was until he later saw one of the canoes had blown into the trees at the top of the hill by the dining hall. Volunteers were called together for a work bee on Sunday, July 14, and managed to get much of the damage repaired and things back in place for the start of Teen Camp that afternoon.
From 2000 to 2003, Jan and Gary Manly spent countless hours, mostly volunteer, doing things to help the camp in various ways. Gary renovated the camp motel and lodge with new beds and furniture. Using his expertise in plumbing and construction he put new doors on the boys’ cabins, and on the motel, and put new bathroom sinks and tile throughout the motel. Jan worked as the camp cook during those years and also cooked for many church retreat weekends. The Manly’s two sons, Gary Jr. and Jeff helped around the camp as well. Gary Jr. repainted all the CYB logos on the boys’ cabins and the well house (Taylor, 2003).
New Campfire Bowl Stage in 2003
In 2003, the eighth grade class at Ozark Adventist School in Gentry raised about $2,500 for a Camp Yorktown Bay (CYB) mission trip. They used the money not only for their expenses but also to pay for the lumber, wiring and other materials needed for their project. The eighth graders spent six days at CYB remodeling the stage at the campfire bowl. This included rewiring for new lights and power outlets. In addition to the stage, many smaller projects were completed. The leaves were raked, trails repaired, handrails installed, gravel replaced, benches and the sound building painted, and the horseshoe pits were redone. There was still time for play each afternoon. The kids enjoyed wake-boarding, tubing, and sunbathing (Burton, 2003).
In January 2003, the roads from the flagpole to the dining hall, around the front of the boys’ cabins, and from the dining hall to the top of the hill was paved with new asphalt. There was a gift to the camp that made this possible (Minutes, 2003).
CYB SUMMER CAMP STAFF 2003
CYB SUMMER CAMP STAFF 2004
New Dining Hall Deck in 2004 and 2005
The purpose of Ozark Adventist School’s eighth-grade class mission trips in 2004 and 2005, was to build a large deck out the back of the dining hall at Camp Yorktown Bay. In 2004, Stephen Burton, along with his daughter and son-in-law, Julie and Rodney Bowes, spent spring break at the camp putting in posts and framing the deck floor for the large octagon portion of the deck. When the eighth-graders arrived for their mission trip, they installed the floor-boards, the railings, and the steps to the ground on this part of the deck. In 2005, the eighth-grade class put in the floor joists, the flooring, railings of the upper level of the deck and added steps connecting the upper deck to the lower deck.
CYB SUMMER CAMP STAFF 2005
New Septic System
Paperwork for permits to install a new septic system began in 2006. As plans were being made to replace the thirty-five year old cabins, the consulting engineer, Jerry Williams, determined that the new cabins, which would have toilet and shower facilities, could not be connected to the old septic field leach systems. The proposed project consisted of constructing a new sewer collection and treatment facility that included two 3,000 gallon pump tanks, one 3,000 gallon grease trap tank, three steel septic tanks of 35,000 gallons total, in addition to the sand filters, chlorine tank, meters, and lines needed (Williams, 2008).
CYB SUMMER CAMP STAFF 2008
CYB SUMMER CAMP STAFF 2010
New Cabins in 2010
During 2009-2010, new cabins were built at the camp. Five duplex cabins were built for the girls and five for the boys, with heating and air conditioning in addition to restrooms and showers in each side. The girls’ cabins were completed in time for outdoor school but the boys’ cabins were not ready until camp started. Wood walkways and decks were added as well.
New Swim Docks In 2012
Between the summers of 2011 and 2012, the old wood and steel swimming docks that had become rusty and unsafe were removed and all-new swim docks with lifetime decks and flotation, and new diving boards were put in. Volunteers spent countless hours constructing the docks on the ball field before transporting them to the lake in time for summer camp. This made the swim area a much safer and fun place for campers (House, 2012). Another new feature for the summer of 2012 that was very popular was a gaga pit. Ray House, youth director, had the concept and he and Stephen Burton built it during outdoor school in May 2012.
CYB SUMMER CAMP STAFF 2013
CYB SUMMER CAMP STAFF 2014
Renovation of the Lodge
In 2014, the work of renovating the lodge began. Eric and Linda Bray, the camp rangers, did the demolition of the interior. In a few days, they had torn down walls, removed carpet, linoleum, and tile from the kitchen, bathrooms, and bedrooms. When the renovations were completed, the kitchen was larger with new cabinets and appliances, the bedrooms were enlarged, and there was a handicap-accessible bathroom (Villegas, 2014).
Motel Renovated in 2015
In 2014 – 2015, the motel was gutted down to the studs and each room completely renovated. Two rooms were redesigned to be handicap-accessible.
Celebration of 50 Years
June 4-7, 2015, Camp Yorktown Bay hosted a fifty-year anniversary of the donation of the camp from the Hot Springs Navy League to the Arkansas-Louisiana conference on September 15, 1965. Activities were planned for all day Friday and for Sabbath. Previous camp directors and staff were especially invited to attend (Record, 2015).
CYB SUMMER CAMP STAFF 2015
Town Hall Renovated in 2016
In February 2016, plans were approved to remodel the town hall building. It was gutted down to the studs and completely renovated. Rooms were reconfigured to create space for much-needed restrooms in the building, in addition to the renovations made throughout the rest of the building.
The roads were improved in 2016 by adding cement to the s-curves coming down the hill into the camp and in 2017 the roads within the camp were repaved. This included paving the area in front of the gym, adding parking spaces, the road to the horse barn and by the town hall, which would finalize the project started in fourteen years before, in 2003 (Minutes, 2017).
CYB Summer Camp Staff 2016
Camp of the Year Award
In the summer of 2016, Camp Yorktown Bay received the North American Division Norm Middag Award as Camp of the Year with a commemorative plaque and a check for $2,500. Eric and Linda Bray, Camp Manager and Food Service/Hospitality Services Director, as well as Jeff Villegas who was the Conference Youth Director at the time, provided outstanding service and a commitment to excellence. This was demonstrated in three significant ways: safety provisions, hospitality and care of campers, and facility upgrades (Orian, 2017; cf. Minutes, 2017).
CYB Summer Camp Staff 2017
CYB SUMMER CAMP STAFF 2018
CYB SUMMER CAMP STAFF 2019
CYB SUMMER CAMP STAFF 2020
2020 CYB Virtual Summer Camp
What happens to summer camp when you have a pandemic and are required to use social distancing? Welcome to a virtual summer camp!
United States Navy Loan
Lake Ouachita at Beautiful Camp Yorktown Bay
(1935, May 1). Southwestern Union Record, p. 4.
(1942, Apr. 28). Executive Committee Minutes. Shreveport, LA: Arkansas-Louisiana Conference of SDA.
(1950, May 10). Ibid.
(1951, May 23). Ibid.
(1953, May 27). Ibid.
(1954, Jan. 25). Ibid.
(1956, Jun. 8). Ibid.
(1962, Jun. 16). Camp Yorktown Bay. Sentinel-Record, p. 3.
(1962, Dec. 6). Corporal Missile Presented to Camp Yorktown Bay Youth Camp. Ibid., p. 12.
(1963, Jun. 27). Youngsters Fire Military Guns as Camp Yorktown Bay Feature. Ibid., p. 12.
(1963, Oct. 31). 1964 State Chamber Officers. Baxter Bulletin, p. 20.
(1964, Jun. 26). Camp Yorktown Bay Control to Pass to Boys’ Club Next Year. Sentinel-Record, p. 16.
(1964, Jul. 17). Facility Donated by Navy League to Boys’ Club. The El Dorado Times, p. 2.
(1965, Apr. 28). Southwestern Union Record, p. 5.
(1965, Jul. 28). Roscoe Youth Back From Camp. Abilene Reporter-News, p. 2.
(1965, Sep. 1). Agreement of Assignment, Garland County Deed Records, Book 621 pp. 442-445.
(1966, Nov. 16). Executive Committee Minutes. Shreveport, LA: Arkansas-Louisiana Conference of SDA.
(1967a, May 13). Southwestern Union Record, p. 6.
(1967, Jun. 20). Girl Collapses, Dies While Water Skiing. Arkansas Gazette, p. 22.
(1967, Jun. 21). Centerville girl dies at Arkansas camp Mon. St. Mary and Franklin Banner-Tribune, p. 1.
(1967b, Jul. 8). Southwestern Union Record, p. 4.
(1968, May 21). Warranty Deed. Garland County Deed Records, Book 622, pp. 432, 433.
(1986, Jan. 29). Lease No. DACW38-1-86-3. Lease between the Secretary of the Army and the Arkansas-Louisiana Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
(1986, Apr. 11). Southwestern Union Record, p. 3.
(1990, Sep. 23, 24). Camp Yorktown Bay Study Committee. Shreveport, LA: Arkansas-Louisiana Conference of SDA.
(1990, Oct. 18). Executive Committee Minutes. Shreveport, LA: Arkansas-Louisiana Conference of SDA, p. 2.
(1991, Nov. 1). Quitclaim Deed. Garland County Deed Records, Book 493, p. 290.
(1991, Dec. 1). Executive Committee Minutes. Shreveport, LA: Arkansas-Louisiana Conference of SDA, p. 3.
(1993, May 20). Ibid., p. 4.
(1994 Jul. 1). Southwestern Union Record, p. 10.
(1995, Dec. 1). Ibid., p. 11.
(2003, Feb. 13). Executive Committee Minutes. Shreveport, LA: Arkansas-Louisiana Conference of SDA.
(2015, Apr. 1). Southwestern Union Record, p. 18.
(2017, Mar. 9). Executive Committee Minutes. Shreveport, LA: Arkansas-Louisiana Conference of SDA.
(2017, Apr. 3). Ibid.
Beeler, Charles R. (1996). A History of Seventh-day Adventists in Arkansas and Louisiana 1888-1996. Keene: Arkansas-Louisiana Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. p. 162.
Bement, W. E. (1937, Apr. 28). Southwestern Union Record, p. 2.
Bendall, Richard W. (1969, Mar. 8). Ibid., p. 7.
Ibid. (1969, May 24). p. 7
Ibid. (1972a, Jul. 8). p. 11.
Ibid. (1972b, Sep. 9). p. 9.
Britt, Judge Henry M. (1991, Nov. 5). Camp Yorktown Bay. Letter from Judge Britt.
Burton, Stephen. (2003, Jul. 1). Newsletter, Arkansas-Louisiana Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, p. 11.
Ibid. (2019, Aug. 12). Personal interview.
Carter, Lee. (1944, Apr. 12). Ibid., p. 1.
Daniel, Ray F. (1991, Mar. 13). Letter to the Executive Committee.
Davis, Dan. (2014, Mar. 25). Ruins of College Lodge. Retrieved from flickr.com.
Eccles, Floyd W. (1975, Apr. 12). Southwestern Union Record, p. 7.
Elder, W. H. (1981, Mar. 5). Ibid., p. 5.
Gardner, Mrs. T. R. (1944, Apr. 26). Ibid., p. 4.
Green, George. (1966, Jan. 19). Ibid., p. 2.
Haas, Harold E. (1952, Aug. 7). Ibid., p. 2.
Ibid. (1953, May 20). p. 5.
Ibid. (1954a, Jun. 16). p. 4.
Ibid. (1954b, Jul. 7). p. 6. (Photo shows the Brownie Six-20 Camera model D made from 1953-1957.)
Herman, Jim. (1976, May 8). Southwestern Union Record, p. 5.
House, Ray. (2012, Jul. 1). Youth Ministry Update. Arkansas-Louisiana Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Newsletter, p. 6.
Kostenko, Peter A. (1990, Dec. 1). Southwestern Union Record, p. 7.
Naval Sea Cadet Corps. (2005). Who We Are. Retrieved from seacadets.org.
Olsen, Boyd E. (1947, Jun. 11). Southwestern Union Record, p. 4.
Orian, Stephen J. (2017, Mar. 1). Ibid. p. 10.
Ray, Ronel D. (1979, Fall). The History and Development of Camp Yorktown Bay, p. 6.
Ross, James B. (1941, Jun. 9). Southwestern Union Record, pp. 1, 2.
Ruf, A. F. (1935, Apr. 24). Ibid., p. 4.
Ibid. (1936, Aug. 19). pp. 3, 4.
Rust, Gary. (1980, May 29). Ibid., p. 6.
Sanders, Ben. (2017). Camp Yorktown Bay – Lake Ouachita. Retrieved from lakeouachita.org.
Sherrill, E. Frank. (1972, Sep. 9). Southwestern Union Record, p. 8.
Ibid. (no date). History of Camp Yorktown Bay. Unpublished.
Taylor, John E. (2003, Oct. 1). Ibid., p. 7.
The Hot Springs Council – Navy League of the U. S. (1962, Jun. 16). Camp Yorktown Bay, p. 2.
Torrey, Burke S. (Jan. 4, 2001). Lake Ouachita, Arkansas, Lease No. DACW38-1-01-18, Camp Yorktown Bay. Letter from the Department of the Army, Vicksburg District, Corps of Engineers, Real Estate Division to James W. Gilley, Arkansas-Louisiana Conference President.
U.S. Navy. (1937, Jul. 21). Yorktown (CV5). Starboard bow, underway. Retrieved from catalog.archives.gov.
U.S. Navy. (1940, Jul. 1). USS Yorktown (CV-5) embarking aircraft at Naval Air Station North Island, in June 1940. Retrieved from history.navy.mil.
Voss, H. H. (1968, Jul. 27). Southwestern Union Record, p. 3.
Welch, W. D. (1966, May 28). Ibid., p. 9.
Ibid. (1967, Apr. 22). p. 11.
Whitehead, Mrs. Hensen. (1950, Jul. 26). Ibid., pp. 3, 4.
Williams, Marvin (Jerry). (2008, Jan. 8). Camp Yorktown Bay Wastewater System Improvements. Letter from Engineers, Inc. to the Department of Arkansas Heritage Historic Preservation Program.
Winger, D. M. (1959, Sep. 30). Southwestern Union Record, p. 4.
Ibid. (1961a, May 31). p. 3.
Ibid. (1961b, Jul. 19). p. 5.
Ibid. (1963, Jun. 5). p. 8.
Wright, O. D. (1965, Nov. 10). Ibid., p. 4.