Our History


During the Association meeting of the Central Dakota-Montana Association on June 19, 1954 in Napoleon, North Dakota, the Resolutions Committee presented the following resolution:

“…that this association together with the Northern Association establish a fund of $400 each to be used in establishing a Christian youth camp; this camp to be used as a central meeting place for the three Assemblies of our area.”

The resolution was adopted. “A motion was made, seconded and passed that Rev. Ed Oster be the representative for this Association in the investigation of such a camp project.”


In early August, 1954, Rev. Oster called a meeting of the representatives on the search committee. The committee met at Crystal Springs, North Dakota to “look at available land around the town site,” and to see the swimming lake one half mile west of the town. There was a possibility that about seven acres of land would be donated for the camp site by Mr. E. R. Wolt. The committee looked into securing additional land adjacent to Mr. Wolt’s land, but legal difficulties prevented this.


On September 13, 1954 the committee met again to view the land on the eastern edge of Crystal Springs Lake, about 2 miles east of the town of Crystal Springs. One member of the group recalls the hill by the lake was covered with a poor crop of barley. After much prayer, the site on the east shore of Crystal Springs Lake was selected for the camp. That very same day the men drove to Jamestown to make a down payment on the land.

The Articles of Incorporation for Crystal Springs Baptist Youth Camp, Inc. were signed on September 13, 1954. The signatures of the original appointed Camp Board members appear on the document. The original appointed board members and their place of residence in 1954 were as follows:

  • Rev. Ed Oster, Hettinger, North Dakota
  • Rev. Arthur Fischer, Linton, North Dakota
  • Mr. Victor Bettger, Bismarck, North Dakota
  • Rev. Irvin Schmuland, Goodrich, North Dakota
  • Rev. Herbert Vetter, Isabel, South Dakota
  • Rev. John Engel, Martin, North Dakota
  • Mr. Leo Friesz, McLaughlin, South Dakota
  • Mr. William Heitman, Harvey, North Dakota


Two hundred eleven (211) acres of land were purchased for the campsite at the cost of $2,000. The land was owned by Judge Kneelan of Jamestown.


At a General Meeting in March of 1955 in Bismarck, N.D. the first elected Board of Directors of Crystal Springs Baptist Youth Camp was formed. Elected for one-year terms were Aaron Bertsch, Orrin Enockson, John Walker, Herbert Schauer and Irvin Schmuland. Two-year term electees were Donald Schimke, Rudy Fiedler, Emil Fuchs, Arthur Fischer and E. Buenning. Those elected to three-year terms were Dave Tessman, Leo Friesz, Victor Bettger, Ed Oster and Herbert Vetter. Board members elected to the one-year terms would serve until the first annual corporation meeting on November 7, 1955.


July 24, 1955 was the day when the Crystal Springs Baptist Youth Campgrounds and facilities were dedicated to the Lord’s use. Rev. George Breitkreuz spoke during the morning session. Dr. Ralph Powell was the speaker during the dedicatory service in the afternoon. Rev. Ed Oster spoke at the evening session.

First Camping Program

All the planning and labors of 1954 and the spring of 1955 grew into the first camping season during the summer of 1955. Three camps were held that first season, and each ran for one week – Monday evening through Monday noon.

Sr. Camp began on July 11, 1955 and was attended by those youth who had completed grades 10, 11, and 12. The Central Assembly was responsible for planning the program for the first Sr. Camp. Intermediate Camp (7th, 8th and 9th graders) followed Sr. Camp and was planned by the Badlands Assembly. Last camp of the summer was Junior Camp, for 4th, 5th and 6th graders. This camp was the responsibility of the Northern Assembly.

Camp fees were established by the Camp Board. Sr. Campers paid $10. Intermediate Camp cost was $9. Junior campers got a bargain at $5. Rates were also established for those visiting camp. A bed rental of 25c was charged for overnight visitors, and rates for an occasional meal were set at 25c for breakfast, 75c for dinner and 50c for supper.

Camp Board minutes show that cooks for the first camping sessions were paid $2 per day, or $15 for a full week. The first nurse was paid $30 for three weeks of service. The first camp caretaker was paid $100 a month.

Rental camp rates were set at $12 per camper for camps with 40 campers or less.

A report of camp finances in the Camp Board minutes dated November 19, 1955 shows that over $6,000 was taken in during the first camping season. After expenses, the camp showed a profit of over $1,000. Records show that offerings totaled over $1,400 for the 1955 camp season.

Role of the South Dakota Association

In the late 1960’s the South Dakota Association asked to join with Crystal Springs Baptisit Youth Camp on a trial basis. Campers from that Association began to attend Crystal Springs Camp and many came by chartered bus. On October 2, 1970 the South Dakota Association was accepted as a partner in Crystal Springs Baptist Youth Camp on two years probation, and on November 6, 1972 they were accepted as full partners. At the annual Corporation Meeting in the fall of 1973 the first board members from the South Dakota Association were elected, which gave their association equal representation in the corporation.

We've Come a Long Way

From three camps in 1955 to over 60 camps and events each year. From two dorms and outhouses, to nearly 350 bed capacity, modern washroom facilities, a new administrative building/dining hall, new girls and boys dorms, and a renovated chapel. Nearly 4,000 campers & staff attended camp each year. Numbers and facilities aren’t everything. But it is the goal of the camp to reach more people with the Gospel and in even more effective ways. We’ve come a long way, yet we have a long way to go and many people to reach for Jesus Christ.

Something for Everyone

Thank you! Thank you!! Thank you – to each man, woman, boy and girl who has been a part of the vision and ministry of Crystal Springs Baptist Youth Camp over the past 70 years. Without you, the campers, camp leaders, summer staff, work crews, cleaning crews, board members, counselors, contributors, caretakers, prayer partners and camp promoters, Crystal Spring Camp would not be possible. You are Crystal Springs Camp! You are important! You are appreciated! Take pride in your accomplishments through Crystal Springs Baptist Youth Camp in partnership with God. Take hold of the challenge of ever-widening ministry to a needy world without Christ.