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YMCA Camp Ocoee Ocoee, TN
July 8-13, 2018

Many kids and adults over the years have made many special memories at the Christian Camp for the Deaf. This scrapbook section is where we are collecting many of those memories for others to enjoy.

Attention! If you have any old history about camp such as camp reports, old pictures, movies or video tapes, a list of the first staff and campers, or anything else that is connected with the camp from the beginning in 1957 through today, please let Frank Rushing know. Frank would like to borrow your items so he can make copies that can be placed on the camp web site. Even if you don't have any materials, but do have a good recollection of your memories from camp, please write Frank and share with us your memories from camp.

You can reach Frank by mail at 1325 Winthorne Drive, Nashville, TN 37217-2412 or by e-mail at frankrushing1@comcast.net.


Pictures and Stories


(Click on a picture to enlarge it)

2016 - Camp Ocoee / NDCW Workshop, Tennessee


2015 - Camp Ocoee / NDCW Workshop, Tennessee


2014 - Camp Ocoee, Tennessee


2013 - Camp Ocoee, Tennessee


2012 - Camp Ocoee, Tennessee


2011 - Camp Ocoee, Tennessee


2010 - Camp Ocoee, Tennessee


2009 - Camp Ney-A-Ti, Alabama


2008 - Camp Ney-A-Ti, Alabama


2007 - Camp Ney-A-Ti, Alabama
50th Anniversary Session


2006 - Camp Ney-A-Ti, Alabama


2005 - Camp Ney-A-Ti, Alabama


2004 - Camp Ney-A-Ti, Alabama


2003 - Camp Ney-A-Ti, Alabama


2002 - Camp Ney-A-Ti, Alabama


2001 - Camp Ney-A-Ti, Alabama


2000 - Camp Ney-A-Ti, Alabama


1999 - Camp Ney-A-Ti, Alabama


1998 - Camp Ney-A-Ti, Alabama


1957 - Camp Wyldewood, Arkansas


1957 Girls - Camp Wyldewood, Arkansas

My Alt


Camp Logbook

This logbook reveals the top secret adventures, skills, lessons, and thrills received at the Christian Camp for the Deaf.


The first workshop for the deaf was conducted in the church building of the deaf congregation on Newton Street in Austin, Texas on July 9-11, 1957. There were about 30 to 40 in the daily services. During this time, Gary Blake, a junior at Harding College, suggested beginning a Christian Camp for the Deaf at Camp Wyldewood in Searcy, Arkansas . The first camp session of Christian Camp for the Deaf was held at Camp Wyldewood in Searcy, Arkansas on August 18-23, 1957. Gary Blake also suggested having the next Deaf workshop at the end of the camp session on August 28-30, 1958.

The participants at the 1958 camp sessions included the following:

Five deaf evangelists:

Earl Lee Birdwell of Houston, TX
Gordon Crocker of Birmingham, AL
Leander Moore of Knoxville, TN
Gordon Allen of Houston, TX
Loyd Williams of Dallas, TX

Five hearing evangelists who worked with the deaf:

Bob Anderson of Indianapolis, IN
Gary Blake of Searcy, AR
Ben Holland of Austin, TX
Hollis Maynard of Louisville, KY
Sam G. Roach of Detroit, MI

Four interpreters and teachers:

Gwen Chancellor of Austin, TX
Gladys Holland of Austin, TX
Mary Blake of Searcy, AR
Richard Hawkins of Searcy, AR

Six deaf workers:

Jimmy Bailey of Little Rock, AR
Billy Board, of Dallas, TX
Joy Gibson of Humble, TX
Ruth Howery of Austin, TX
Laurel Scott of Indianapolis, IN
Sister Hocker of Indianapolis, IN
Barbara Williams of Dallas, TX

Five hearing workers and supporters:

Bernice and Clyde Harcrow of Austin, TX
Ruth Roach of Detroit, MI
Grace Hewitt of Georgetown, IL (Ruth's mother)
Mrs. Harkins of Searcy, AR

All of the above were the ones involved with the beginning of two weeks of Christian Camp for the Deaf at Camp Wyldewood.

Directors at Christian Camp for the Deaf

Ben Holland served as the first director of the camp from 1957 through 1959. Richard Hawkins served as director in 1960. Bob Anderson served in 1961 and 1962.

In 1963 the camp was moved from Wyldewood to camp Haiayaka, located in Shelby Forest just north of Memphis, TN. Richard Hawkins again served as director in 1963 and 1964. Sam Roach served as director in 1965 and perhaps 1966. Richard Hawkins again served as director from 1967 through 1971. Clayton McCray took over as director in 1972 and continued through 1973. Afterwards, Camp Haiayaka was sold by the Jackson Avenue Church of Christ to the owner of a Memphis cotton company. As a result the camp for 1974 was moved to Camp Ney-A-Ti, just north of Guntersville, AL and remained there for 36 years. In 2011 the camp was moved to the YMCA Camp Ocoee in Ocoee, Tennessee.

Clayton McCray served as director of the camp during the 1974 session. Frank Rushing took over as Director in 1975. Frank has continously served as Director to this day.

The camp began with a two-week session. This continued in Memphis after the move from Searcy. But the board of directors agreed that this was becoming a financial burden. So they agreed to reduce the length of the camp session to one week. This was done while the camp was still in Memphis.

Formerly the camp met from Sunday through Saturday, but due to cost increases, the camp schedule was changed to end on Friday.

Thanks to all who have provided historical information (Billy Leavell, Marty Leavell, Sam Roach, and Frank Rushing). If you see something here that is incorrect or something you would like to add, please email us so we can make updates.