The written history of Camp JYC is only a small part of the larger story.
The larger story is found in the beautiful lawn and woods:
"When thru the woods and forest glades I wander
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees,
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur
And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze,
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee;
How great Thou Art!"
It is crafted into the buildings by labor of loving hands; it is told and retold each year through the dedicated lives of staff and counselors; it is supported by the generous gifts of the church family; and above all, "it is written, not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, and not on stone tablets but on human hearts."
(2 Corinthians 3:3)
Thus, the history of Camp JYC is "His Story", and we tell it and live it at camp and at church, wherever we may be, "in order that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through your faith in Him you may have life." (John 20:31)
1951 - A Youth Club of boys and girls grades 4 through 8 called Junior Youth Club was organized in October. They met each
Friday evening after school and supper was served by the ladies of the church at the price of 20 cents each. From this
club, plans were made for a camping program at Allegany State Park.
1952 - The church rented Camp Carlton in Allegany State park, and the first camp was held August 16-23rd. It was called Ja-Y
Cee, and had about 40 campers in attendance, besides staff and workers.
1958 - A vote was held to accept land of about 160 acres on Trowbridge Road as a gift from Mr. William Clark of West Falls.
1960 - The first day camp was held on the grounds with 40 boys and girls and 26 staff members in attendance. A large tent was
erected for shelter and a smaller tent was used for storage. Projects carried out by the campers included the erection of a
flagpole, sign for the paths on the grounds and a log seat chapel. JYC came to stand for Jesus Your Comrade.
1962 - In May a vote passed to put up a 26 by 50 foot cement block building on the property and to purchase
four tents for camp use.
1963 - A cement floor was put in the lodge and it was wired for electricity.
A pond 100 by 300 feet was constructed for a future swimming center for Camp.
1964 - The first overnight camp was held for the older youth. A seven-foot fireplace was built in the lodge to separate the
kitchen and dining area, with stones carried from the camp ground by the youth. Well water was piped into the kitchen
and to spigots on the outside south wall for hand washing and drinking. The east side of the pond was cleared and sand
was hauled in to make a nice beach.
1965 - The first full-time overnight camp was held for grades 4th through 12th. Cupboards and a hot water tank were installed
in the kitchen. The recreation area was laid out with a softball field, basketball court, and badminton court.
1968 - The first cabin was erected.
1970 - A second cabin was finished and a third started.
1975 - Ground was bulldozed for a building for shower and flush toilet facilities.
Also, a set of dishes of 100 place settings was purchased for Camp JYC in memory of Debbie Morrison.
1976 - The new showers and toilets were completed and usable for Camp.
1977 - Another cabin was built.
1978 - Yet another cabin was built. Also, a John Deere tractor was purchased for Camp use.
1979 - An addition to the lodge, the log cabin wing of 30 by 60 feet was started.
1981 - The addition to the lodge was entirely finished, complete with the fireplace area.
1982 - A new cabin was built.
1985 - The first age-divided, two-week camp was held.
1988 - Three weeks of camp were held: Elementary, Senior High, and a Sports and Music Week that was very successful.
1989 - By this time, at least four other groups were using Camp's facilities.
1990 - The new infirmary, office, and kitchen expansion to the lodge was built and dedicated to the memory of Rick Songster.
1992 - The first "Leadership Training" Week was held, and it was the first year ever
that campers were turned away due to lack of space.
1993 - The Hatch cabin collapsed under the weight of winter's snow, and was rebuilt and enlarged to hold 16 campers. A new
amphitheater, campfire and stage area located off the end of the main lodge was built. All work was completed by
members of our church.
1999 - A modern bathhouse facility and septic system were built by our church family.
2000 - The 20' X 40' inground pool was built and made possible by a matching grant.
2002 - A large building was built by our church to house the tractors and other
maintenance equipment. Also, a new John Deere tractor was bought for mowing.
This was purchased in memory of Barb Bigham, and was therefore given
the nickname "Barb's Buggy".
2003 - A large covered picnic shelter was built in memory of Richard Burton by his family.
2006 - An ice machine and salad bar were purchased for our kitchen/serving area.
We also had the property logged to raise funds for camp's continued operating expenses.
2008 - The end of the log lodge was taken off and replaced with new windows
and log siding by several members of our church.
2009 - The windows in the original part of the lodge were all replaced with used ones donated by the Blount Library during
their remodeling and restoration project. Also, a full-size basketball court was completed with two new regulation
basketball goals. This was done in honor of the Songster family. We purchased a walk-in cooler and freezer unit for
the pantry. A propane gas fireplace was donated by a member of our church and installed in the log wing of the lodge.
Nine camper sites were added with gravel and 30/20 amp electrical service. Several wooden bunks were added to the
Brant, Searle, Green, & Blue cabins to accomodate the overflow of campers.
2010 - Camp JYC's fiftieth anniversary was celebrated with a "Year of Jubilee".
2014 - We replaced our entrance sign with a new one featuring
our updated logo. Additional countertops and lighting
were added to the kitchen by our staff.
2015 - The programming format changed to include Teen Camp,
Discovery Camp, and Adventure Camp. Our water heating
system was upgraded to a commercial tankless system by
church members. Both John Deere tractors were sold and
Kubota commercial zero-turn mower and Mahindra utility
tractor were purchased. The road to the pond was widened
and improved as part of a larger pond improvement project.
The work was completed by members of our church. A
hayride wagon was built and donated by members of the
church and greatly enjoyed by campers and staff alike.
2010 - A new front entry roof was added to the Clark Lodge by members of the church. Cabinets and countertop workstations
were added to the kitchen in memory of Agnes Cornell. A paddleboat was purchased in memory of Matt Ryan. Our
multipurpose sports field was leveled and improved by our church family.
2011 - A shed was purchased for storage at the pond with funds provided by the WNY Maple Festival Committee.
2012 - We purchased a new finish mower to replace our old, worn-out one.
Bradford Forest Products logged our property to raise funds for
2013 - A new game, "Ga-ga Ball" was introduced to Camp JYC,
and a "Ga-ga pit" constructed by church members.
2019 - Work on the new "Grace Cabin" was completed in memory of Russell D. and Betty B. Hatch and their son Martin R.
Hatch. (Watch a video of our "Raise the Roof!" day.) The campers and counselors who were assigned this cabin enjoyed
a Camp JYC experience like none other! A grant through the Cattaraugus County Youth Bureau provided brand new
archery equipment, which allowed the return of a favorite activity following a break of several years. Northwoods
Structures donated a beautiful swing/play set which our younger campers and many of our rental groups thoroughly
enjoyed. Kless Boys donated a storage shed provided by Northwoods Structures to house the archery equipment.
2020 & 2021 -
2016 - A Leadership Development Program was introduced to include a reinstated Counselor-in-Training program. The
crumbling foursquare courts were removed and replaced with a single concrete court by friends of camp. A seventh
cabin, the Vrooman Cabin, was added for staff housing. This project was funded in large part by the family of Rita
Vrooman, and the work was done by members of our church family.
2016 - A picnic pavilion dedicated to the memory of Charles "Gene" Sweet was built at the pond, as part of an improvement
project that included enlarging and deepening the pond, cutting back the woods around the perimeter of the pond, and
adding a large concrete charcoal barbeque. This project was funded by the Sweet family and completed by our church
2017 - Another busy season saw the donation and installation of a dock at the pond by Kless Boys. Our "Refill The Pool"
fundraising campaign allowed to replace the damaged pool liner and perform additional necessary repairs to the pool
and deck. The "Adopt A Table" campaign provided 14 new picnic tables to fill both pavilions and replace rotten and
damaged tables. We partnered with Water is Basic in their work in South Sudan to reinforce our "Jesus is Our Living
Water" theme. Our campers and their families raised $830! We also upgraded to LED lighting across most of our
facilities. Teens from the Lifeway Youth Center in Belfast, NY performed some service projects for us as well.
2018 - During the off-season, the kitchen area of the Clark Lodge suffered massive water
damage, necessitating gutting and rebuilding the kitchen, and performing mold and
water damage abatement throughout the Infirmary wing. As a result, we updated
and reconfigured the kitchen for increased capacity and efficiency. We added
insulation and heat to the lodge as well, allowing for year-round use for the first
time ever! God's plans are a mystery to us, but our dreams of one day winterizing
our facilities were realized through this seeming catastrophe. We completed a timber
sale of over 500 trees from the property which allowed us to reinvest in our property
and facilities for the future. Due to exceeding our electrical capacity, we were
required to upgrade our main electrical service, which also positions us well for
future growth. We were able to restock our pond with largemouth bass, bluegill,
minnows, and crayfish, bringing fishing back to Camp JYC after a several-year
absence. An outdoor barbeque/fireplace was installed at the Burton Pavilion in
memory of Donald Bentley Sr. through generous gifts in his honor. The Houghton
College baseball team joined us for our first "cabin-raising" event during which the
walls, porch posts, and beams of our newest cabins were installed in one day.