50 Years: Canyonview Camp grows into a place to dream big dreams

October 2016 Posted in Arts, Culture & History, Community, People
Young ladies at Canyonview Camp

Young ladies at Canyonview Camp

By Brenna Wiegand

When Ernie Campbell overlooked the 85-acre Drift Creek canyon near Silverton, he saw the fulfillment of a dream.

Seeking ways to reach people of all ages, he and wife, Fern, brought a diverse set of ministries there including a radio broadcast, seminary, printing press, horsemanship school and in 1966, a Christian camp.

In 1973, Campbell’s son-in-law Dale “Buzzard” Price, married to Ruby, joined the effort and a spark was ignited that, over the next 40 years, would see Canyonview grow into an institution that has changed the face of Christian ministry.

They built cabins, created lakes with a diving board and rope swing and started a day camp program that grew to include several types of camps over the past 35 years. Next came kayaks, canoes and water slides. Though horses were part of the program from the start, in 1994 Canyonview Equestrian College was established as a two-year multidisciplinary program where, along with the Bible, students learn every aspect of horsemanship: training, anatomy, facility design and herd management.

“They are highly sought after once they graduate; people from the Olympics have dialed up and asked for ‘one of your people,’” Associate Director Chris “Newt” Kinman said. “Meanwhile, they’re learning the Bible straight from the Greek.”

Kinman was 7 when he first came to Canyonview. His grandmother Florence Smith was attending a Bible conference.

Canyonview Banquet

Thursday, Nov. 3, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
The Oregon Garden, 879 W. Main St.
Reservations: 971-239-1347

“I stayed in her camper and went to day camp,” Kinman said. “Summers at Canyonview were probably the favorite part of my growing up years.”

His great uncle Milt “Mud Dauber” Seefeldt lived at the camp for 10 years as he built the utility bridge, covered bridge, changing areas, gym, bathrooms, shop and an indoor training arena.

Office Manager John Walker entered Canyonview Bible College 37 years ago and never left. He loves seeing kids start out as campers move up through the ranks in place at Canyonview – teen helpers, camp counselors, program directors, teachers, pastors and other endeavors.

“It’s really a place where you can put your faith into action,” Walker said.

Kinman added Canyonview is a place where campers can dream big and try dreams out.

“And if one thing doesn’t work, it’s OK; something else will,” Kinman said. “This is my dream job. I get to work on our website and marketing efforts and continue Dale’s legacy of making Canyonview a part of the community.”

The camp’s primary sources of income are day camps, the equestrian college, outdoor school and donations. Last year’s collaboration banquet brought in more than ever – $43,000 after expenses.

“Financially we are stronger than we’ve been in a long time,” Kinman said. “Our director Jim Krieg and I have seen some tremendous development in getting out of the red into the black.”

Through the volunteerism of individuals and organizations the camp’s amenities keep increasing – a zipline, “double helix” ropes course, bouldering wall, a paintball course and an 18-hole disc golf course “not for the faint of heart,” Kinman said.

Upon his passing April 16, 2011, Dale Price’s son Joshua summed up the spirit and power of Canyonview Camp and the 40-year influence of “an extremely busy man who was never too busy”:

“It was so amazing growing up at Canyonview, surrounded by nature, singing praise and worship songs around the campfire, Dad on the guitar,” he said. “And that’s exactly what we were doing when he died. We were all gathered together and spent the whole day praying and singing praise songs – and there were guitars.”

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