Our History:

In 1950, the original parcels of land just outside of Brownstown that would become Pyoca were purchased to create a camp owned by the Synod of Indiana. In addition to the camp and retreat operations at Pyoca, the synod was also operating Camp Kosciusco at Winona Lake. Due to deteriorating facilities, Kosciusco was sold in the early ‘60s. Through a restructuring of the Presbyterian Church and its polity, Pyoca was turned over from the former Synod of Indiana to Whitewater Valley Presbytery and Ohio Valley Presbytery in 1977. The facility was owned by Whitewater Valley Presbytery, situated within Ohio Valley Presbytery, and operated through a joint agreement between the two presbyteries until 2022.

Pyoca was originally named the “Presbyterian Youth Camp of Brownstown, Indiana.” The name was shortened to the acronym “Pyoca,” also historically spelled fully capitalized as “PYOCA.” This name came from a group of junior high girls counseled by Mrs. Irene Johns during the very first summer of camp in 1952. The acronym was formed from the phrase “Presbyterian youth camp” = PYOCA. Mrs. Johns and her campers also wrote the Pyoca camp song, set to the tune of The Ash Grove, or Llwyn Onn, a traditional Welsh folk song.

In 2022 Pyoca became an independent non-profit corporation. While the camp now operates independently, Pyoca remains committed to full missional alignment with the Presbyterian Church (USA) and works in partnership with our presbyteries and synod to serve our connectional church and ecumenical partners.

Today Pyoca operates as a year-round facility with a full-time Executive Director, Program Director, Assistant Program Director, as well as part-time kitchen and housekeeping staff. The core of our mission lies with our youth and summer camp programs, which has grown to 18 summer staff, plus numerous committed volunteers that make each week an incredible and unique experience. Our programs and retreat services have grown over the last 70+ years to provide ecumenical opportunities for people of all backgrounds.

Camp Song:

“Pyoca, Pyoca your memories will linger of worship and laughter, the things that we love.
Whenever we think of the days that we spend here we think of a spirit and a love that is dear.
Pyoca, Pyoca the lake and the cabins, the Lodge and the Chapel are all parts of thee!
Pyoca, Pyoca thy name duly honored, we’ll always remember P-Y-O-C-A!”