Ahh, summer camp: the sunburns, the campfires, and the fellowship. Every family has its favorite camp — many classics are out of state such as Kanakuk and Camp Ozark — but we’ve taken a peek at a few of Texas’ favorite summer camps to learn what makes each one special.
Sky Ranchers, rejoice! The summer camp is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year with a “remember, rejoice, and respond” campaign. The faith-based camp started with 66 campers its first summer and now boasts more than 60,000 — split up among Texas, Oklahoma, and Colorado locations, of course.
According to the website, the idea for Sky Ranch got started when Mel and Winkie Brewer were exchanging letters during Mel’s military service in World War II. They independently wrote to each other about a vision for a Christian children’s camp, and when they received one another’s letters, they knew it was fate. An anniversary luncheon will be held at the Omni Hotel Dallas on Oct. 23.
Many a girl has built memories at “the camp on the Guadalupe River” since its founding in 1926 by a University of Texas coach. Campers are famously split up into Kiowa and Tonkawa tribes, marked by their blue and red colors respectively.
The camp began with only one session per summer, but eventually grew to three. It’s been in continuous operation except for 1943-1945, when the federal government leased it as a rehabilitation and recovery camp for army air corps veterans, Mystic counselor and SMU graduate Sydni Hagens said. The camp is now in its third generation of operation.
Tex and Pat Robertson founded Camp Longhorn in Burnet in 1939. Campers are filled with “attawaytogo” spirit and told that “everybody is somebody.”
The camp opened a second location in 1975 and plans to open a third in 2016. All attendees can choose from more than 30 activities, but we have one question … who can tell us what pickleball is?
Camp Balcones Springs
This camp nestled away in Marble Falls is one of the younger ones, with its founding year of 1993. But it’s already established traditions in that short amount of time.
This co-ed, faith-based camp splits boys up into two groups, the Texas Rangers and the Rough Riders, and girls are split up into Silver Spurs or Lone Stars. Like many camps, Balcones Springs ends each night with activities including round-ups and movies nights, and even some novelties such as “I Love the 90s” — guaranteed to make campers’ older siblings feel old. Oh, to be young again.