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Novinski Family Spirit Scholarship Created

Updated: Sep 27, 2021

As the Spirit Scholarship Endowment Fund quickly approaches fully funded status, the alumni group and key supporters of the fund were able to create the eighth named scholarship for staff members. Read below to learn more about the honor bestowed upon the Novinski Family for the many years of tireless service and love for Canyon Camp.

85th Anniversary of Canyon Camp

Spirit Scholarship Presentation

Staff Reunion- JULY 24, 2021

Ron Spielman

I appreciate the opportunity to share information with you tonight regarding the Spirit Scholarship Program. In the summer of 1992, with the strong encouragement of Denny Pratt, a number of individuals created and implemented Spirit Scholarships in support of members of the Canyon Camp Staff.

Staff members do not apply for a scholarship. Not all eligible members of the staff receive a scholarship. Recognition is not automatic. The original documentation submitted to the Council established the basic selection criteria: “The Spirit Scholarships are intended to recognize those staff members who most unselfishly have shared their experience, time and skills to make the summer a positive experience for the scouts, scouters and staff members with whom they’ve worked. In essence - a recipient is recognized for having and for sharing with others, THE SPIRIT OF CANYON CAMP.” Recipients are selected by the Camp Directors and camp leadership.

Immediately in 1992 fund raising was undertaken and sufficient funds were raised to award 4 scholarships of $200 each. The early years were all about raising as much money as possible and then giving it all away at the next staff dinner. Twenty-five years ago Mike & Theresa Beeth were married and they asked their wedding guests to consider gifts to an endowment being established to perpetually support Spirit Scholarships.

At recent staff dinners as many as 11 scholarships have been awarded. This year in excess of $5,000 will be distributed. Through the 2019 season 164 scholarships have been awarded totaling $56,125.

In more recent years Artist Elaine Bethke of Monroe created ten different Pen & Ink scenes of Canyon Camp in support of the Spirit Scholarship program. Spirit Prints have been created and are available for purchase. Over the years, these prints have added thousands of dollars to our endowment. Today our endowment is close to $140,000 and efforts continue to grow the base. As our endowment balance grew we have began to name particular endowed scholarships beginning with the Troy Larson Spirit Scholarship in 2005. Additional endowed scholarships have been named for Dennis Pratt, Lee Binkley, Ron Spielman, Michael Beeth, Gene Nott & Richard Reynolds.



Tonight we want to use this opportunity to name a new Spirit Scholarship. As a young scout in the 1940’s Lyle Novinski began his camping adventures at Canyon Camp. Barely a decade after this land was purchased and about the same time as the Hess Farmstead became a part of the summer camp. In 1951 Lyle was preparing to be the next Handicraft Director and extra funds from the 1950 Jamboree were used to purchase a “kit” of Cedar logs for the construction of the first Jamboree Cabin. Lyle worked side by side with Scout Executive Wendell Stribley and Lyle’s father Ray Novinski who was an experienced barn builder. Working with his father, Lyle observed and absorbed the special skills required for the construction of the cabin. Lyle observed and noted the skills being shared by his father as a volunteer in cheerful service in support of his son who would be using the cabin and in support of thousands of unknown scouts who would benefit from the shelter of the cabin.

Lyle honed his Scouting Skills on staff and honed his leadership skills as Assistant Camp Director. Then in November of 1953 Lyle followed his brother Dennis for service in the Army in Korea. Upon his return from Korea Lyle again began providing camp leadership including years as Camp Director. In the late 50’s Lyle hired Denny Pratt, Ed Laughlin, Roy Prange, Chuck Kranz Bill Determan, Ron Spielman and numerous other teenagers…..generating future decades of leadership influence at Canyon Camp and subsequently in many communities. In 1960….the 50th Anniversary of Scouting……Lyle returned for his final year as Camp Director and brought with him his young wife Sybil…..Another Novinski experiencing the evolving Spirit of Canyon Camp. When Lyle & Sybil departed they headed to Texas to establish Canyon Camp of the West at the University of Dallas.

While Pratt, Kranz & Prange spent the next decades at Canyon Camp sharing and enhancing what they had learned from Lyle and others, the Novinski family was growing in Texas. Then, in 1987 Michael Novinski became the third generation serving camp…..this time at Shooting Sports. Over a period of eight years Mike, David & Stefan Novinski absorbed and enhanced The Spirit of Canyon Camp. Stefan is here tonight…..I would note that Stefan honed many of his skills as a thespian standing in the center of this Theater in the Round …….our Dining Hall….. and honed his creative and leadership skills during two summers as O.W.L. Director. We offer great gratitude to generations of the Novinski Family for their service to Canyon Camp.

Monday night at the Staff Dinner Lee & Dick will be announcing the first ever……NOVINSKI FAMILY SPIRIT SCHOLARSHIP.

Stefan please stand with Lee & Dick to receive a Scholarship Certificate to take home to Lyle & Sybil.




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