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Christian Camping International (1950-) | Archival Collections at Wheaton College

Name: Christian Camping International (1950-)


Historical Note:

Christian Camping International (CCI) traces it beginnings to a meeting of 13 camp/conference center directors at Mount Hermon Conference Center in California in November 1950. They were called together by Dr. Fulton Lytle, Dr. Walter Warkentin and Graham Tinning to discuss mutual concerns for Christ-centered camping. Because of increased interest, in 1951 at Hume Lake, California, Western Conference and Camp Association (WCCA) was formed.

The Western Conference and Camp Association grew to be the largest association, even producing a bi-monthly magazine, Camp Life, with a circulation of 5,000, and an annual yearbook. WCCA's membership rolls included camps in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Latin America.

At the same time, other groups of camp leaders were forming across the U.S. and Canada, the oldest being the Association of Bible Conferences and Camps (ABCC), initiated by Gordon Purdy. Purdy, director of Park-of-the-Palms in Florida, drew representatives from many camps and conference centers to his annual meetings held each February.

The Evangelical Camping Association (ECA), led by Carl H. Gunn and Robert E. Nordstrom, and the Fellowship of Christian Camps in Canada (FCCC), led by W.E. Brown, saw the opportunity to expand and strengthen Christian camping by merging with the larger WCCA, which occurred in 1960. In 1961 the Midwest Camp and Conference Fellowship (MCCF), led by Justin H. Dix and Don Carpenter, also joined the WCCA.

In order to form a more representative organization, to portray more accurately the 450 member camps and conference centers, a founder's convention was held in early 1961 in Chicago. Later in October, at the annual meeting of the WCCA, its name was changed to Christian Camp and Conference Association (CCCA), serving as a California based worldwide organization, in order to better reflect its constituents.

In February 1962 the ABCC disbanded and encouraged it members to join the new international CCCA, whose executive director was Graham Tinning (who provided the organizational impetus). The value of an international fellowship became increasingly evident, and in February 1963, when CCCA incorporated the word "International" was added to its name. In 1968 Christian Camp and Conference Association International was shortened to Christian Camping International (CCI). In 1970, through a generous gift, 108 acres of land on the lower Fox River in Illinois was received for the building of a headquarters and model camp. This site was named Dickson Valley in honor of its donors, Homer and Alice Dickson of Yorkville, Illinois.

March 1963 brought the first international conference at George Williams College in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, attracting 524 delegates. These conferences were held bi-annually as international conferences until 1979.

With an ever-growing organization, changes were necessary in the structure of CCI. As other associations from other nations joined CCI the role of the U.S. organization was diminishing. Therefore, the structure of CCI became nationally oriented, thus making the U.S. organization one among many with equal standing among other national associations. The national groups, formally called divisions and recognized as autonomous associations, and an Associations Representatives Forum was established to govern CCI. As these changes brought modifications for the U.S. association, it was necessary for an Illinois not-for-profit corporation to be established to hold the international property. Dickson Valley Corporation was formed in February 1988, to manage the camp/conference center to honor its commitment to the Dicksons to establish a local camping ministry. CCI trustees transferred incorporation of CCI to the U.S. association, to facilitate autonomy, in 1989. The overhaul of the CCI structure has brought pleasing results, according to motions presented at meetings in 1988 and 1990.

Note Author: Wheaton College Archives & Special Collections staff






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