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Our History

It was Labor Day 1937. Five men were looking for a place to establish a Christian Youth Camp. They were attending a bible conference at the Kiwanis Camp beside the neighboring Boy Scout Camp. The men were walking over some territory and stopped under a shade tree to break for lunch. As they were sitting there, one of the men said, “I feel that we should pray right here.” As they prayed, another gentleman said, “I feel that we should inquire about purchasing this land.” The camp they established, formerly known as Camp El Har or “Hill of God,” was founded in 1937 by this exact group of Christian leaders who were praying under the tree on a hill at this location. From there, the legacy of their vision for camp began. This camp is beautifully nestled on 54 acres of wooded hills near Joe Pool Lake in Southwest Dallas.  It is like a magical village that has all one needs to be inspired, empowered, and rejuvenated.

Present/Future of Ascend

Today the facility is owned and operated by Ascend. Ascend is a business that sees itself as an extension of Camp El Har rather than an interruption. We are a business with a heart and soul that provides a life-changing experience for our campers. As a facility, we would like to continue to host educational, community, corporate events, and faith groups that embrace the positive youth and community development framework of Ascend. Our camp aims to provide three important aspects to our campers:


Inspiration: Through our wide variety of activities and programs such as personal empowerment, leadership, and personal development skills. We serve to encourage our youth participants to strive for improving and challenging themselves beyond their perceived limitations to make a positive impact for their future. 


Recreation: Ascend will continue to offer essential elements that challenge the body and the mind through recreational activities such as All-Terrain Vehicle experiences, Archery/Archery Tag, Basketball, Bubble Soccer, Challenge Course, Disc Golf, Flag Football, Horseback Riding, Miniature Golf, Paintball, Swimming, Team Building, Tether ball, Volleyball, and so much more!


Education: Learning is what prepares people for meaningful citizenship, employment, and active participation in our society. For this reason, Ascend offers a wide range of knowledge building opportunities such as Horsemanship Skills, Live Animal Presentations, Petting Zoo Interactions, Educational Seminars and Workshops.


Who we are is in our name – Ascend. We are focused on the idea and purpose of helping people rise to their full potential while reminding them of the many gifts that we are blessed with. We help drive our groups towards a bright future by helping them understand their sense of purpose and belonging, while creating positive and beneficial experiences. Ascend Camp & Retreat Center provides participants with guidance through positive role models, recreational challenges, and educational experiences with nature and creatures.


  • Quality: Offers high quality services that are family-oriented, innovative, and affordable

  • Education: Promotes Development through education by offering a multidisciplinary and team-oriented learning environment that is supportive, caring, responsive, and fun


  • Integrity, honesty, and respect


  • Community: Builds positive relationships and supporting ongoing partnerships in the community that strengthen our effectiveness and outreach


  • Relationship: Builds Relationships through Engagement

  • Leadership: Fosters leadership through experiences


  • Diversity: Embraces Diversity through Inclusion

What a beautiful place! The staff are amazing and very supportive! In fact the whole camp is superb. Would definitionally come back.

Alex Kennedy

Amazing experience here. Visited from Massachusetts and really enjoyed it. Can't say more.

Michael Priston

Everything was as planned. Very friendly staff and management. Food was awesome, excellent facilities, activities, and service. We would really love to come back.   

John Doe

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