“We considered a name for our camp. Here it was, located in Ceta Canyon, a tributary of the main Palo Duro system. The word Ceta, or Cita, is a Spanish word meaning a ‘coming together’… And now civilized man is to perpetuate a ‘coming together’.”
In 2006, Ceta Canyon Camp acquired the neighboring Ceta Glen campground, whose entrance sits, quite literally, right across the road from our main office.The words above are those of Mrs. C. L. Neelley, wife of Claud Neelley, from her memoir entitled The Eternal Hills. The Neelley’s established Ceta Glen – which we now affectionately refer to as “the Glen side” – in 1936 after working a financial loopty-loop with a creditor in Canyon and the Baptist preacher, Reverend John Hicks.
The Neelley’s built a summer home in the canyon years before when, according to Mrs. Neelley, “The Camp Ground was in its infancy” (14). (This was the Canyon side of our modern campground.) They had suffered several tribulations, which Mrs. Neelley leaves unspecified, and sought solace in the “towering hills,” “questing stream,” and “shady groves” of the Methodist campground in Ceta Canyon (9).
Mrs. Neelley recalls that she and her husband, upon discovering they could build a home in this place that had become their refuge, “now turn[ed] to [the Methodist Church] as a parent,” looking for comfort and care. Ceta Canyon was the warm arms of the Church hugging its hurting members.
Under the Neelley’s, Ceta Glen became a place for all sorts of people to gather. Those who visited the grounds included Baptists, the Boy Scouts, Episcopalians, Lutherans, and even a group of bikers! The camp truly was a place where people, despite their differences from the Methodist couple, were welcome to come together.
After all the work the Neelley’s did, it seems appropriate that the Canyon and the Glen finally had a ceta, a “coming together,” as the united body of Christ.