The Canton YMCA conducted the first boy’s camp in Canton. It was operated for the first time in the summer of 1906, with about thirty boys attending. During those early years, the location changed several times. By 1911 however, a piece of property came into existence on Mud Lake, later called Turkeyfoot, and some permanent fixtures were made possible by Mrs. Elizabeth Harter in 1916. She accepted the lease on a one acre site there called Camp Inawendewin. An important step forward in the boys camp at Turkeyfoot occurred in 1927 when W.H. "Boss" Hoover contributed $5,000 exercising the option to purchase the site. At this time, permanent facilities were added to the camp including a waterfront area, docks, and picnic pavilions.
Further expansion of the camp took place in 1934, when adjacent property became available. A gift of $10,000 from H.W. Hoover, president of the Canton YMCA enabled the camp to purchase the property. Under the chairmanship of George H. Deuble, the camp improved the grounds, installed a new sewage system, a new athletic field, and added bunks for the cabins. In 1938 Ed Myers, Camp Director, took a tragic fall on the ice, causing serious injury to his right leg, which resulted in amputation. While recovering in the hospital, H.W.Hoover visited Mr. Myers and presented him with a check to build the dining hall. Through the years, the camp program grew and developed. More boys attended and gradually exceeded the capacity of the camp. Programs were added in the fall and spring on weekends for groups to attend Turkeyfoot Lake.
The loss of the adjacent Crouse woods precipitated the need for a new camp site. The land value for the lake front lots was far above the ability of the YMCA to pay, leaving only 2 acres of land, and unsafe swimming conditions with speed lane for boats directly in front of the camp's docks.
A committee of the Camp Board of Managers was appointed in 1956-57 to investigate and select a suitable site not too far from Canton. The committee included Stewart Witham, Ben Burt, John Jacob, Charles Firestone, Joseph Sommer, Al Glossbrenner, and Gene Loomis. Through Gene Loomis' coal mining business contacts and talks with the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District, acreage was found on Lake Clendening that promised enough land for a camp to be built. Stewart Witham and Leonard Wilkening, with the aid of Muskingum Ranger and his boat, spent two days scouring the farm land surrounding the lake for a suitable site. All who viewed this rugged natural area were impressed with the development possibilities.
First contact was made with Roy Stewart, a well respected Washington Township trustee and owner of 2 tracts of 40 and 80 acres. He aided in the gathering of enough willing landowners to make the purchase viable. During the following 12 months, the Board made deals to close on the following tracts: Kinsey 168 acres, McKibben 76 acres, Baker 40 acres, and Simpson 110 acres. Donald Raley spent days in Cadiz finalizing title transfers on the various properties. The sale of the 2 acres of land on Turkeyfoot Lake provided enough funds to purchase the entire 515 acres and lay down one mile of new road to the present main lodge.
In 1957 a joint Canton Community fund raising project was begun with Knights of Columbus. Funds were raised for building and construction of the original camp including the lodge, 14 cabins, health center, crafts building, and director's house. After initial construction was completed the remaining debt was paid off by special gifts from the Timken Foundation, and Fellows Club.
During 1957-58 basic agreements were made with the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District for waterfront access, cabin construction and land use. An early land use plan dedicates Lake Clendening to fishing and youth camping. Through this provision long term leases were enacted between the camp and the conservancy.
In 1965, the PL Stewart farm of 75 acres of adjacent land became available. The property had a lake front, some buildings and a better water supply. Until this time, water had to be shipped in to supply the camp with enough for showers and restrooms. Les Meridith, who worked with a major oil company, had supplied a clean tanker to ship water each morning at four am for the first few summers. Joe Sommer and Gene Loomis concluded the deal through Roy Stewart for the property at $25,000. A loan in this amount was given by Carlton Coen interest free for 15 years with semi-annual payments. On January 15, 1966 the deal was completed and was given the name C-Bar-T Ranch.
The Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District was interested in the waterfront acreage of the PL Stewart farm and so an agreement was worked out to exchange 13.42 acres of land where the Unit 1 cabin sits for the same amount of waterfront property. This exchange put the cabins on our property and cancelled a portion of our lease saving $800 per year.
Throughout the mid 1960's under the leadership of the Camp Director Dan Farch, more buildings were added as programs grew. A new barn, the Lazy-T Ranch Bunkhouse, the Caretakers home, and the Adirondack shelters were added. Special funds from George H. Deuble and the Deuble Foundation through the years have made possible many new buildings. A second large barn was added to the C-Bar-T ranch in 1973. With a total acreage of over 600 acres, access to adjacent Muskingum lands and over 20 buildings, we have an excellent YMCA camping facility in a beautiful natural setting
To pre-register a new camper, please call 330-499-2587