Category: Summer Camps

Your son could be the bravest, most independent child you’ve ever met, yet still the concept of overnight Texas camps might terrify him. Homesickness doesn’t just afflict the children who developed an extreme dependence on their parents; the confident kids may be hit the hardest, because their confidence often stems from knowing their environment well. Once they’re pulled out of school, home, and little league, the unknowns of an overnight camp can overwhelm any young boy. The first time they go, kids often want at least one familiar element. If they’ve never used a security blanket, having a close friend go too can be the key to a great camp experience.

Probably the greatest benefit of overnight Texas camps is the unexpected friendships campers form while working, eating, and playing together. It’s a perfect opportunity to gain social skills, but the loneliness of the first day remains incredibly daunting. Having a friend already there relieves a lot of the terror, and with one friendship already settled, forming new relationships comes much easier.

That said, overcoming the initial fears of overnight Texas camps can prove enriching and developmental in itself. Whether it’s college or moving to a new city, we all experience times that require social courage. Many parents like to coordinate their children’s camp plans, but others intentionally send their kids to an overnight camp alone. Most kids end up thriving in both situations, which proves that going to camp with old friends isn’t necessary. For some kids, though, it certainly helps.

Westerns gave Texas the reputation for being full of cacti, rattlesnakes, and for the sole purpose of transportation, horses. It was a land only suited for ranchers, outlaws, and the few lawmen lonely and crazy enough to keep them all at peace. Despite the fact that it’s now the second most populous state in America, for many people it retains that barren reputation. Anyone who lives in the state knows that the geographical climate between Galveston and Lubbock is about as diverse as naturally possible, but many Texans don’t know much about the flora and fauna in their own backyards. There’s certainly more to be seen than tumbleweeds and armadillos: you just have to know what animals to look for at San Antonio summer camp.

The ecosystem surrounding San Antonio could roughly be classified as a desert. Vegetation grows, but there aren’t many prairies. The grass is hard and the trees are often too few to clump into forests. Every children’s book on deserts, though, emphasizes the diversity and hidden life of these climates. In even the rockiest portions of the hill country life abounds; some of it may resemble Mars, but the land around a San Antonio summer camp still teems with varied and fascinating species of plants and animals.

Because they rely more heavily on water than birds and reptiles, people expect drier climates to lack many mammals—or at least, large mammals. Deer, wild pigs, and the mischievous opposable-thumbed raccoons tend to be some of the most commonly seen animals at San Antonio summer camp. Decades ago, a food shortage caused malnutrition among the local white tailed deer; their growth is permanently stunted, but the animals survived and once again thrive in the local area. It might seem dry, but the region contains many hidden springs and underground bodies of water that allow these and other creatures to remain hydrated. With numerous caves, too, on many nights bats are spotted circling the skies just after sunset. Cougars have been seen, and coyotes are often heard howling throughout the night, but they’re much less common than herbivores.

The water that allows the presence of deer and javelina also holds species that seem much better suited for swampland. Under rocks and vegetation around creeks, campers sometimes find salamanders and cricket frogs. Amphibians require constant moisture to live, and the springs and ponds in Texas are just enough to sustain them through the intense months of heat. They’re a surprising addition to the animals found near San Antonio summer camp, which is mainly due to the lifeless reputation Texas geography has acquired.

Bird watchers love the region for its blue and green-backed herons and gorgeous kingfishers, and campers with arachnophobia need to be wary of the tarantulas that occasionally cross hiking paths. San Antonio summer camp counselors should warn hikers of the snakes to avoid, but on the whole, the land isn’t the brutal, dangerous climate that John Wayne films made it out to be.  The geography around San Antonio might seem stereotypically “Texas,” but it holds a captivating array of species to encounter during your time at camp.

Unless you’re in a FEMA bunker a mile underground, the common cold virus can reach you. Wherever two humans are sharing the same air, bacteria and viruses can be exchanged, so it’s no huge surprise that even the most remote regions encounter sickness. Summer camp in Texas is a pretty secluded place, but illnesses can get there, so campers and moms alike need to be prepared. Understanding the risks while trusting the institution can make summer camp in Texas a little safer and more carefree.

For Parents:

Just the idea of having sick kids away from home goes against all maternal and paternal instincts. At Deer Creek Camp, we realize all of our campers are someone’s children. We understand how hard it is to leave your loved ones in the care of others, so we take our role very seriously. Our staff is trained in emergencies, and though even the common cold isn’t common, we’re prepared and experienced enough to ensure your son or daughter recuperates fully and quickly.

For Kids:

Germs are everywhere. Daycares and airplanes are notorious for spreading viruses because they’re confined and crowded spaces. A lot of summer camp in Texas is outdoors, but cabins create the same environment as a plane. It’s less of a risk, but sanitary precautions should be taken. Washing hands isn’t just something to appease parents and teachers; it’s a powerful preventative method of contracting an illness. Enjoy the outdoors, but wash regularly in the cabin and before meals—and when you’re eating, even if a whole cup of punch is going to waste, never eat or drink after your friends. These little rules might sound silly, but they’ll keep you safe, which will keep your camp experience as fun as possible!

If it wasn’t great to be a camp counselor in Texas, no one would do it, because on paper the job isn’t the most appealing. Long hours, unhappy campers, and a pretty modest paycheck don’t add up to the best job. People, though, continue to return to the position, year after year, because it’s also one of the most fun and fulfilling things you can do with your summer. An internship at a major accounting firm might inflate your bank account, but investing in the lives of kids and being paid to create friendships make for one of the best jobs in the world. Making money by being social is an extrovert’s dream, but it still requires a bit of patience to be a camp counselor in Texas.

Every job requires a lot of empathy. Understanding where a customer’s frustration lies, reconciling contradictory opinions among coworkers, adapting communication skills for different personalities: all lines of work need empathetic people. Camp counseling is no exception. To really excel at the work, you have to communicate with campers at their level. Some nights you might not get much sleep, might have a poison ivy outbreak, might have to clean the sheets of a kid who had a scary dream. Things go awry, but through it all, patience is required to be a camp counselor in Texas. Your main job is to ensure kids have a great time, which means you need to stay composed and upbeat in even the most aggravating situations. It’s not a role just anyone can fill, but if you’re capable of being patient, it’s a truly amazing job.

Just being away from the city, house-cleaning duties, and the standard pressures of the world makes retreats special enough on their own. Something about escape fosters good things. Retreats are by their definition a kind of escape, a withdrawing from the normal routine of life. They create a weekend of fellowship, peace, and fun—joys that elude most people too much of the time. Whatever church or organization you’re with, a Texas group retreat can become all the more special when you bring in an outside speaker. It makes sense why. If you’re setting your attendees apart from the normal routine of their lives, that wonderful sense of escape only increases if you invite a new, exciting speaker too.

God blesses all speakers and pastors with a unique perspective and wisdom no one else possesses. Through their individual experiences and studies, they have a wealth of knowledge to share with everyone. Because of that, a Texas group retreat is one of the best places to host a pastor or author from another church or city. Churches allow guest speakers all of the time, but their congregants only get to hear a 45-minute sermon from them, at best. Especially if they’ve flown in from another state, these men and women should be able to share a whole lot more. A Texas group retreat allows them to relay much more of their wisdom. After a whole weekend listening to these speakers, attendees leave with a fuller grasp of their knowledge. The presence of these guest speakers not only furthers the sense of retreat, but it allows people the time to glean and absorb much more of their wisdom.

Professional athletes often devote their whole summers to personal training: adhering to a strict regimen of exercise either on their own or with a trainer. Many members of the military do something similar before they serve on active duty. Really, any participant in a physically strenuous pursuit will prepare himself beforehand. Preparation for wilderness ventures might not be as intense as athletic or military training, but it never hurts to be a bit experienced and ready.

Wilderness ventures probably sound more extreme than they actually are. It’s a vague term that could describe anything from nature walks to something that resembles Man v. Wild. In a camp setting, these ventures usually fall somewhere safely in between. True naturalists believe that the world and nature can’t be sufficiently appreciated unless they expend a lot of effort expended to see it. They hike miles into a desert to witness a perfect sunrise, or tread through endless acres of swamp to photograph a rare flower. God has made a violent and beautiful planet, and experiencing it really does become much more real with a little effort. Hikes and bouldering provide a visceral encounter with His creation—something a nature book or National Geographic Special can’t recreate. Wilderness ventures, then, allow participants to more fully appreciate and enjoy Creation. They require a bit of sweat and some cardiovascular activity, but their reward is great. Preparing for them hardly means anything more than conditioning yourself to walk long distances, and sometimes at elevation. You don’t have to go to boot camp to be ready, but they’re better enjoyed if you’re in sufficient shape to hike and explore.

Even if you don’t have student loans to start paying off, having a summer job helps provide a little extra spending cash during the school year. Most college students, though, can only commit to a temporary position, which few businesses offer. With the time invested in interviewing and training, managers and business owners want more permanent employees. If school prevents you from working beyond August, there are a number of reasons to try and land a Texas summer camp job.

  1. Time commitment. Unless you have a high school employer to return to year after year, it’s almost impossible to find work that lasts exactly as long as your school’s break. A Texas summer camp job is exactly what it sounds like: a job that only occurs during the summer. You can start soon after you finish finals and leave before heading back to school, a time frame few jobs offer.
  1. Experience. A lot of summer jobs are just a means to make some extra cash, but working at a Texas summer camp provides real world, marketable experience. It requires leadership, ingenuity, and hard work. You might encounter some stress working as a restaurant host, but the challenges of camp life can be adapted and used in a real professional environment.
  1. Fun. Every job involves work, but the responsibilities and duties of camp life are intrinsically fun. Leading campers on adventures, bonding with other counselors, and experiencing the great outdoors are as much a pleasure as a job. So if you’re looking for something practical and fulfilling, working at a camp is one of the best jobs you can find.

For some parents it’s liberating, for others terrifying, but either way overnight summer camp readies every parent for an empty nest. If your son or daughter is just in elementary school, this might be a difficult thing to hear, but every parent knows, deep down, that leaving home is an inevitable part of raising children. They might not like to remember it, but they know it, and camp can be a good time to prepare them for the sensation of a house without kids.

Caring for newborns can feel interminable: endless nights of insufficient sleep, imagining you’ll be changing diapers and spoon-feeding forever. Once that passes, though, time can fly. Preschool and kindergarten flash by in an instant; grades seem to last just a month. After pottytraining, parenthood sometimes feels like careening down a highway, with high school (or college) graduation standing as a brick wall in the middle of the road. So: it’s natural to suppress and ignore the inevitable, but having your kids go to an overnight summer camp makes the inevitable a bit less painful.

Some people would argue you never control your kids at all, but everyone agrees you can’t control them forever. That’s certainly the case with overnight summer camp: the things they eat, the friends they make, the thoroughness of their hygiene. It’s a time where they really have to fend for themselves, and you just have to let go. That’s hard, but the peace comes from seeing them return, alive, all fingers and most clothes accounted for. It’s the relief every parent needs, because it’s probably the cause of most empty nest anxiety. Of course it’s hard to let go, to know your son or daughter won’t be trooping into the kitchen every morning, but they’ll be okay. They might not shower as much as they should, but they’ll survive—at camp, and in life.

The Lone Star state retains its rugged, cowboy reputation of old Westerns, but really, it doesn’t possess many more dangers than other places in America. The outdoors just about everywhere will have similar risks: harsh weather, rough terrain, and snakes. Though common, these reptiles probably instill more fear in more people than any other animal. Fortunately, not many of them can actually hurt you. If you’re going to camp in Texas, you should know there are only a handful of venomous snakes in the whole state, which makes them easy to avoid.

  1. One species of coral snake does live in Texas, but it’s very rare. They have small mouths, are rarely aggressive, but pose a danger if encountered. They’re identifiable by the macabre little rhyme: “red and yellow kill a fellow,” because of their red, yellow, and black bands.
  1. Copperheads look like military personnel out in combat: their color patterning serves as perfect camouflage for blending into leaves. They rest in foliage, so care should be taken when rummaging through leaves or picking up old logs.
  1. Black, aggressive, and large, the cottonmouth is a water dweller, which can terrorize swimmers. Thankfully, they’re generally contained to areas around ponds, lakes, and rivers, but people should be on guard when swimming or hiking around marshes and bodies of water.
  1. So infamous that just about everyone can identify them, nine rattlesnakes are native to Texas, so they’re probably the most common venomous snakes to come across at a camp in Texas. Generally nocturnal, they’re most often encountered sunbathing and lethargic. Like all snakes, they avoid conflict if at all possible, so if you hear the characteristic “rattle,” consider it a fair warning and get away as fast as possible.

Your kids might have loved their experience at summer camp in Texas, but that doesn’t mean the cost was any easier for your household. With today’s economy still recovering (slowly) from the recession, budgets remain tight, and vacations, even positive Christian ones, have been cut by a lot of parents. If prospects for next year are already looking a little dire for summer camp expenses, you don’t have to completely rule it out. No matter how old your children are, it’s not impractical or cruel to make them responsible for raising the money. They’ve got a lot of months before applications are due again. Even without jobs, most kids can probably save enough to cover all of the expenses—but a better idea is to teach them the value of fundraising.

Fundraising is actually a pretty critical life skill these days. In high school and college, if they ever have the opportunity to go on a mission trip, often participants are expected to pay their whole way, and that’s often done through fundraising. Professionally, it’s a growing industry, though it’s usually called “development.” Colleges, non-profits, and school boards are all expected to conjure up fundraising ideas and then implement them. If kids have the experience of raising money to attend summer camp in Texas, those more significant fundraising opportunities (or responsibilities) will seem much less daunting.

Like “encouraging” them to do chores, the biggest hurdle to overcome is motivation. Telling your kids that fundraising for a summer camp in Texas will ready them for a job in development probably won’t work as a selling point. If they’re teenagers, they have a social life, extracurricular activities, and possibly a part-time job. If that’s the case, encouraging saving might be your best approach. If they’re very young and simply financially unmotivated, though, most kids respond well to immediate goals and rewards: not just the faraway promise of camp again.

The best fundraising ideas for summer camp in Texas are fun activities that don’t require a lot of obvious work. Traditional things like bake sales and car washes can sometimes be effective, but they’re a bit overused and require a lot more planning on the parents’ part. Scheme up with your kids to think of some practical means to raise money—usually things they can do independently. Offering neighborhood dog washes is a creative and easy opportunity to make a few dollars; just about every pet owner needs it, and no one likes doing it. Create a seasonal strategy for yard work; advertise general services in case friends or neighbors need help with a random chore; just think outside the box! It’s probably fine to cheat a bit too: telling grandparents and other relatives to give a check towards camp instead of a Christmas present.

As a parent, you can help encourage their progress with some rewards. Set benchmarks, goals for them to reach gradually, and offer them larger and larger prizes for raising the money. Camp supplies are an obvious and fun choice: a new Bible for their first $50 raised, a headlamp or sleeping bag for the final goal. You might not be able to afford to pay their whole way through summer camp in Texas, but small, incremental prizes can get them to pay for everything themselves.