Ceta Canyon Camp and Retreat Center

Sitting eastward between Happy and Canyon, TX, about 40 miles from Amarillo, is a retreat center located in a beautiful canyon part of the Palo Duro Canyon system. The gorgeous scenery encompassing the center is great for church groups looking to host retreats, those wanting to attend summer camp, schools wanting to educate their students through a hands-on experience, and so much more. The retreat centers webpage says the center is also a great place to have family reunions, seminars, one-day getaways, and leadership retreats. The land the center is located on is also home to a stream fed waterfall.

Summer camps in this stunning nature scene began being held in 1918 by Mrs. T.C. Delaney, the conference director for Youth Work at the time. She came from Memphis, TX with her two young girls as well as a group of Methodist women to hold a faith-based summer camp. The center’s website states that during their retreat, ice blocks were brought to the camp every two weeks, the women slept in tents, ate food cooked over a campfire, and used lanterns to see when it was dark. Mrs. Delaney adopted the phrase “OTHERS” during her camp and charged a fee of $1.00 per head.

Seven years after Mrs. Delaney sought out this land to take her group on a camping retreat, the Northwest Texas Conference purchased 316 acres of the area encompassed by the canyon and began developing it. After undergoing improvements and such, a tabernacle was built on the premises in 1928 due to the Women’s Missionary Conference’s generosity. Subsequently, brochures were developed to advertise girls summer camps at the center reading “Jubilee Summer Conference with the Young Peoples.” Attendees of the center were graced with a natural spring that served as the very first swimming pool on site.

The year of 1939 brought about even more evolution and expansion for the center. At this time in the center’s history, there was an undeveloped golf course containing nine holes and sandgreens, no fairways, and an almost unusable rough. The Board of Trustees were asking for an additional $2,000 to cover the cost of improvements made that year. The following year, 1940, telephone lines were installed as well as a man-made, concrete swimming pool, and electricity was finally made available to the center in 1946. This pool was replaced and rebuilt in 1960 alongside the Ceta Lodge that contained rooms that could sleep 80 to 100 campers.

A second dining hall was constructed in 1950, three years after 15 army barracks were ushered into the center to be used as cabins for the time being. The center had an undoubtedly Christian agenda and aimed to convert as many people to Christianity as possible. This was seen when 4,484 attendees visited and participated in camps held by the center in 1950 and 59 of those people converted to Christianity.

The center focused on developing their first interracial program which had no religious purpose for mentally handicapped guests. This would go on to be named Camp New Dawn. Real cabins were finally built for campers to sleep in circa 1987 as well as the activity center, and in 1992, under the instruction of Ms. Madeline Hegi, a chapel was constructed so she would have a “quiet place to go and pray with a camper.”

If you are interested in visiting Ceta Canyon Camp and Retreat Center, visit their website to check out what programs they offer.

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Map from Ceta Canyon Camp and Retreat Center to Panhandle Blasting & Restoration:

Map from Ceta Canyon Camp and Retreat Center to Rolling Hills Riding Club: