Washington Family Ranch, home to two world-class Young Life camps, is going into a next phase of development thanks a generous contribution of $20 million from the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation. The gift puts Young Life over halfway to raising the $35 million needed for the continued development of what is already a stunningly beautiful and exciting camp property.
Washington Family Ranch Legacy
Originally, the 64,000 acre ranch and facilities were donated to Young Life by Dennis and Phyllis Washington in 1998, along with $2 million to remodel the one-of-a-kind 88,000 square foot sports center. Washington Family Ranch is the largest of Young Life’s 37 camping properties worldwide. It provides an ideal location in Oregon’s high desert for young people throughout the Northwest United States to experience adventure and friendship in a setting that has transformed lives for years.
The property is unique in that, each week during the summer, two concurrent camps are running. Canyon Camp for high school youth offers zip lines, a pool, giant swing, skate part, and climbing walls and serves over 500 high school students each week throughout the camping season. Since its opening in 1999, Canyon has welcomed almost 4,000 kids each summer.
Creekside Camp for middle school youth opened in 2011 after another generous gift of $30 million from Dennis and Phyllis Washington. Aimed at creating a camp specifically for middle school students, Creekside serves almost 400 middle school youth each week and welcomes over 4,000 kids each summer. Creekside provides an exceptional experience for young people with a first-class waterpark on the property.
The two camps have already hosted over 90,000 summer campers since 1999, and well over twice that figure with weekend camps throughout the school year. Volunteers have logged almost 2 million hours as support and program staff – offsetting camp costs while learning firsthand how to serve and care for others.
“Both Phyllis and I strongly believe in Young Life’s mission to inspire and empower youth to meet the many challenges they will face in their lives,” said Dennis Washington. “Since 1999, Young Life’s Washington Family Ranch has welcomed over 200,000 young people to enjoy ‘the Best Week of Their Lives’ and experience, through deep fellowship with other campers and leaders, God’s love for them. Our goal with this new investment is to continue the legacy of Washington Family Ranch as the crown jewel of Young Life camping ministries throughout the U.S. and the world.”
Vision and Commitment
This extraordinary legacy – already Young Life’s largest camp, with thrilling activities to create bonds between campers and leaders through adventure – will continue with the next phase of construction. State of the art improvements are planned at Canyon and Creekside, including an exciting new adventure ride that will help ensure campers continue to experience a week unlike any other.
“We are deeply grateful for Dennis and Phyllis Washington and for their faithful partnership with Young Life,” said Newt Crenshaw, president of Young Life. “Their latest gift, spearheading the next phase of development at Washington Family Ranch, will impact thousands of lives as it helps adolescents experience God’s love for years to come.”
This next stage of development will create a strong foundation for the property’s continued legacy. Infrastructure improvements to the water system, dam, road, new dorm and new Canyon Hotel will promote efficiency and sustainability, guaranteeing the long-term impact of Washington Family Ranch.
“Over the years, Dennis and Phyllis Washington have expressed great vision and commitment to the mission of Young Life—helping teenagers overcome obstacles, meet new challenges, and stand up for what they believe—by experiencing God’s unconditional love,” said Ken Tankersley, field senior vice president for Young Life in the Northwest. “The Washington Family Ranch, because of the acreage available, will give Young Life room to grow and meet the needs of young people so that many more youth can experience the ‘best week of their lives.'”
Impacting Young People
The Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation was founded in 1988 with the mission of “investing in people to improve the quality of their lives.” Since its inception, Foundation giving and the Washington Family’s personal contributions to charitable causes total more than $224 million with a special emphasis on undergraduate and graduate scholarships to underprivileged youth. The Foundation also awards grants in the areas of Education, Arts & Culture, Community Service and Health & Human Services. More information about the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation can be found at www.dpwfoundation.org.
Young Life is a non-profit Christian youth organization committed to impacting teens’ lives and preparing them for the future. Founded in 1941, Young Life strives to build positive relationships with young people and share the good news of God’s love in an unstable and confusing world.
Active in all 50 states and over 100 countries, Young Life reaches nearly two million teenagers each year, including suburban, urban and multicultural kids, kids with disabilities and teenage mothers. Young Life leaders bring more than 200,000 kids each year to one of our 37 camping properties worldwide.