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Canyon Camp Spotlight

Updated: Dec 10, 2020

Over the next few weeks, we will be featuring important members of Canyon Camp. From the Founders to the Scouts who come to camp each year and the staff that serves them.

Twice a week we will share a few aspects of a person and ask that you guess who they may be. Each of these individuals has built upon the Spirit of Canyon Camp. Chime in on our Facebook Page with your best guess and see how well you know your Canyon Camp History! We will update this page with the name(s) and future posts every few days.


Today's #TBT Canyon Camp spotlight was a 33 year staff member. As a friend and spiritual adviser to all, he had the ability to learn the names of every scout by Tuesday morning each week and was one of the best at helping Scouts work through their first experience away from home.

He has an awesome sense of humor that is infectious, and many nicknames including "Padre" and "Father" although both are for good reasons! His famous phrase after prayers was "Bon Appétit, Boys!" -today it'd likely be "Bon Appétit, Scouts!"

Do you know this staff alumnus?


6/25/2020- Dave Fetty

Today’s #TBT Canyon Camp spotlight is a 28 year staff member alumnus. He worked in the kitchen, Scoutcraft, aquatics, and First Class. He is also the longest serving program director in camp's history (More than 15 years!). He created and has influenced many of the long-standing traditions that program directors follow today and Scouts experience each year. As an Eagle Scout from Chicagoland, this individual’s troop always always pitched tents in the old Ford campsite that currently houses our nature center.

For folks who have worked on staff with him, one of his most notable contributions to camp are his world renowned “Fetty-cakes.” His pancakes are AWESOME!

Bonus points if you can name a few of the additional Canyon Camp alumni in these photos as well!


6/22/2020- Jason Buss

Today’s Canyon Camp Spotlight is someone who is from Freeport, IL and served on the Canyon Camp Staff for 8 summers. He was well-known for being a very hard worker and earned the endearing nickname “J-Bird”. He worked in Aquatics and on Ranger Staff for many years, and even helped teach National Camping School!

Who is this Staff Alumnus?


6/18/2020- Lyle Novinski

Our next #TBT Canyon Camp Spotlight is a man who served as Camp Director in the 1950s, and currently resides in Irving, TX after retiring as an Art professor from the University of Dallas.

His biggest influence at Canyon Camp was helping to shape Denny Pratt as a young Staff member, who would go on to serve as Camp Director for 37 years and build the traditions that we know and cherish, such as ‘The Spirit of Canyon Camp’. This former Staff member has come back to visit Canyon Camp many times over the years, sharing many stories and history from ‘the good ole days’ with members and alumni of the Camp Staff.

Who is this Staff Alumnus? Let us know!


6/15/2020 - Sean Nadeau

Today’s Canyon Camp Spotlight is someone who served on the Canyon Camp Staff for 8 years in mostly just one program area - Aquatics! This Staffer was very popular around camp, being very personable with each of the Scouts and Scouters he met. He had a wicked sense of humor, a contagious and iconic laugh, and is very deep with his faith. Since his time at Canyon Camp, he has continued his service to Scouting as a District Executive for Three Fires Council, and has even served as Camp Director at Camp Freeland Leslie!

Who is this Staff Alumnus?


6/11/2020- Norma Arnold

Serving MANY years as our Camp Cook, this individual not only made delicious meals but created strong friendships with many Scouts, leaders, and her beloved staff. If she had something she was thinking about, you knew it and it would be smart to make it right as soon as possible! She always felt it important to be a camp mom and would help both the youngest and even the wisest (oldest) staff members grow.

A proud Jo Daviess native and still lives in the region- give her a shout-out below! Bonus if you can name this awesome alumnus with her.


6/8/2020- Michael Moore Our next Canyon Camp Spotlight is someone who served on the Canyon Camp Staff for 12 years! He worked in Shooting Sports and Nature, but is best known for serving as Health Officer for most of his summers. He has had two brothers work on the Canyon Camp Staff, one of which was his twin brother! Who is this Staff Alumnus? We’re even offering bonus points if you can name both of his brothers!


6/4/2020- Mark Schmidt, Eric Plantenberg, and Kevin Schmidt

OWL, and Ranger, and Program Director- oh my!

This week's #TBT Canyon Camp Spotlight is on these three staff alumni. Drop their name(s) and a memory in the comments if you know them.

A family legacy in Iowa brought two of these alumni to staff for a combined 20+ years in areas ranging from Scoutcraft to Ranger to Camp Chaplain. This photo from 2005 shows them along with another long-time staffer, this one from the great state of Wisconsin, who spent more than ten summers at Canyon Camp including two years as program director. Let us know who they are if you know!


6/1/2020- Josh Ehlers

Today’s Canyon Camp Spotlight is a guy who served for a full decade on the Canyon Camp Staff, from 2000 to 2010. He served in positions ranging from Program Director to Handicraft Director to Scoutcraft/First Class Emphasis Director throughout this time. He also has been the artist that has created many of the Canyon Camp summer designs that we all know and love, including the iconic 2009 Thunderbird design. He now serves as a middle school history teacher, teaching many of the Scouts who walk through the front gates of camp each summer! Tell us who you think it is!


5/28/2020- Denny Pratt

Today's #TBT Canyon Camp Spotlight is someone foundational to everyone who knows camp as it is today. If you know this staff alumnus, share his name, and a story if you have one, in the comments below!

This Staff Member worked on Canyon Camp staff for 42 years. Known as ‘Duff’, he spent camp director for 37 years after his time in aquatics and the kitchen.

He was known for his hearty laugh and dedication to education for all. He instilled the Spirit of Canyon Camp with every scout and leader he worked with. His service went beyond camp as he was a dedicated volunteer to the Boy Scouts of America in service to the Region for National Camping School and beyond. He was a vigil honor member of the OA and a recipient of the esteemed Silver Antelope.


5/25/2020- Alex Semenchuk

Our first Canyon Camp Staff Alumnus that we want to spotlight is ALEX SEMENCHUK!

This Scouter last served during the summer of 2016 as our Program Director. He worked in many areas including the Kitchen, OWL, Trading Post, and Scoutcraft, where he taught the Hiking Merit Badge to the only Scout who took it all summer in 2009. All of the required hikes were done together over the course of just that 1 week! This Staffer was very involved in the Order of the Arrow, serving as our Summer Chief and Lodge Chief. He also helped build and design our Canyon Camp website, which you can find here:

Can you tell us who this Staff Member is?

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