Sunday, February 3, 2013

Summer Camp Synopsis

PLEASE:  If you have had an experience with any of the camps listed and would like to use my rating scale based on your personal experience, I know my readers and myself would appreciate your input. Email me at GirlScoutLeaderx2@gmail.com
I will include your rating below.

My council, GS-TOP (Girl Scout -Texas Oklahoma Plains) closed my daughters' favorite GS camp, Camp Timberlake, forcing me to look for "other" options this Summer.   Did you know your daughter can attend ANY GS-USA camp facility?  In fact you do not have to be a registered Girl Scout to attend a GS Camp.  Is your daughter visiting grandparents?  Consider sending her to an out-of-state Girl Scout Camp.  This would be a wonderful experience for your daughter to co-mingle with girls from a completely different part of the country, create new girl scouting experiences, develop new GS pen pals and offer grandparents a much needed break!  I call this a Win-Win situation!  Did you have a troop member move?  Maybe a few troop members would like to join her at camp this Summer in her new state or council.  I've decided to do a comparison of all the camps offered in and near Texas.  I have family in Houston and a lake house near Austin expanding the list of possibilities.  Bare in mind Cookie Bucks are NOT transferrable between councils which is a sad fact.  I would love to see GS-USA make all the camps more accessible to every Girl Scout, despite the council in which you reside.  I think this would force councils to improve their camps and give girls more opportunities. 

All of the information on Summer Camps was collected from GS Council web sites and additional sources that could be found on the internet.  Council web sites vary greatly on content, presentation and user friendliness. 

UPDATE:  Since I have written this post my girls have tried out 2 camps in Texas with GREAT results!  Please read my personal experience with Misty Meadows Camp in Conroe, TX, north of Houston (GS of San Jac) and Camp Texlake GS of Central TX), west of Austin.  I have created a rating scale to better quantify the camp's assets:  1 star being the least favorable and 5 stars being the most desirable.

Girl Scouts of Texas-Oklahoma Plains (GS-TOP)- My council recently closed Camp Timberlake in Azle, TX.  The closure of this camp leaves only 2 options for Summer Camps for the girls in this service unit.  The GS-TOP web site is user-friendly and stocked with good information including downlaoded and interactive forms.  The Summer Camp information on-line is limited however.
http://www.gs-top.org/camp

Camp Stevens Ranch (300 acres near Glen Rose, TX) located 75 niles southwest of Fort Worth.  This camp boasts a historic farm house that has been remodeled several times and a dining hall with award-winning architecture.  Camp features:
  • Horseback Riding
  • Archery
  • Crafts
  • Swimming

Camp Kiwanis (381 acres in the Texas Panhandle) located in Armarillo.  Formerly called Camp Amaryllis in 1928.  All cabins are made of stone and wood and are air-conditioned!
Camp features:
  • Horseback Riding
  • Archery
  • Ropes
  • Challenge Course
  • Cookouts
  • Hiking
  • Arts & Crafts
  • Sports
  • Star-gazing 
  • Swimming
Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas: Shares the Dallas council region and offers great Summer Camp alternatives to the GS-TOP council which are easily accessible from Dallas.  GS-NE Texas boasts 6 camp locations.
http://www.gsnetx.org/Default.aspx?tabid=113

Camp Bette Perot (1400 acres near Palestine, TX) located 115 miles Southeast of Dallas.  Home to the award-winning equestrian center and Teja Equestrian Riders.  Camp features:
  • Extensive Horseback Riding
  • Archery
  • Ropes
  • Challenge Course
  • Sports/Game area
  • Hiking
  • Extensive Nature Study Sites
  • Swimming 
Camp Gambill (wooded 54 acres near Sumner, TX) loctaed 115 miles northeast of Dallas near Paris, TX.  This camp has modern cabins.
Camp features:
  • Hiking
  • Sandy Waterfront Pond
  • Canoeing & Kayaking
  • Swimming
  • Sand Volleyball
  • Discover Marine Life
Camp K (Kadohadacho) (150 acres on Lake Texoma) located in Pottsboro & Camp Rocky Point (60 acres on Lake Texoma) located near Denison, both about 75 miles north of Dallas.  Used for troop camping ONLY.

Camp Whispering Cedars (60 acres) located 20 minutes from downtown Dallas.  Appears to be day-use ONLY camp with swimming pool, archery and nature study.


Girl Scouts of Central TX:  camps@gsctx.org

Camp Kachina (244 acres on Lake Belton) located 60 miles North of Austin on IH-35.  4 of the lodges are air conditioned.  Camp features:
  • Equestrian Center—for summer camp only 
  • Archery course—covered with protective screen
  • Girl-created nature center
  • Campfire Circle—center of camp with designated campfire space and benches for seating
  • Waterfront activites--kayaks, canoes, sailboats
  • Hiking Trails
Camp Texlake (455 acres on Lake Travis) located 35 miles northwest of Austin on Hwy 71. After $5 million in renovations, Texlake has a state-of-the-art dining hall with air conditioning available. **Personal Perks which I love:  Drive-up Pick Up (You don't even get out of your car, staff loads luggage**

Camp features:
  • Curiosity Cabin—Science and nature center
  • Teddy Boehm Swim Center—Junior Olympic-sized pool
  • Challenge Course
  • Boat Dock—Accommodates sailing, skiing and fishing activities
  • Starcke Lodge—Enclosed activity area accommodates 100
  • Feller Pavilion—Covered outdoor activity area with five picnic tables & restrooms
  • Archery Range
  • Sports Field and Covered Sports Court
  • Nature Trail & Orienteering Course
  • Camp Texlake Horse Program- Houses 10 council-owned horses

Camp Wood Lake (49 acres on Lake Brownwood) located 122 West of Waco, TX is the smallest of Austin's GS camps and the most primitive.  It appears the camp does not have A/C.  However, this location is more convenient to Dallas.  Camp features:
  • Arts Building—indoor program space
  • Archery Range—secluded archery range
  • Swimming Pool
  • Boating Area—contains a dock, 6 canoes and 3 paddleboats
Any questions regarding these camps or to register: (512) 264-1044 or e-mail:  carolinek@gsctx.org

GS Central Texas also maintains Girl Scout houses throughout 46 Central Texas counties. The Girl Scout houses are available for Girl Scout use by reservation throughout the year and are managed by Girl Scout volunteers.  Some Girl Scout houses are available for overnight stays. The Chamber of Commerce in each community can provide information on attractions and places to visit near by.  Looking for a place to stay?  These houses provide wonderful travel stops, camping and lodging possibilities for troops.  For a complete list and photos of these house please click here: http://www.gsctx.org/about/facilities/girl-scout-houses

GS Central Texas also offers Zilker Cabin a unique meeting and overnight facility only 5 minutes from downtown Austin.
http://www.gsctx.org/about/facilities/zilkercabin

Girl Scouts of the Desert Southwest - Southern New Mexico & West Texas (GS-Desert SW):
http://www.gsdsw.org/content/camps-a-properties/camps.html

Camp Mitre Peak located 150 miles Southwest of Odessa, TX.  Appears to be an old and primitive camp purchased by GS in 1947.  Snuggled in the beautiful landscape of the Davis Mountains.
Camp features (appear to be):
  • Equestrian Center
  • Archery Range
  • Swimming Pool
  • Hiking Trails
Camp Pioneer (22 acres in Upper Valley in El Paso) located just north of El Paso, TX.  One of the oldest GS owned camp since 1938.  Many 2nd and 3rd generation GS have camped here and shared memories.  Camp features:
  • Swimming Pool
  • Hiking Trails 
  • GS related activities
  • Camping
 Any questions regarding these camps or to register: (800) 238-7760

Girl Scout Diamonds of Arkansas, Oklahoma & Texas - has a fully interactive .pdf camp brochure.  The current 2013 Summer Camp brochure is ALREADY on-line.  An impressive display of technology, kuddos to the Diamonds!
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BxmKOgaq8OF7ODhrUmJ5VTFqclE/edit 
http://www.girlscoutsdiamonds.org/JoinToday/CampProperties/DiamondsProperties
 
Camp Cahinnio (400 acres near Booneville, AR) located 93 miles southeast of Fayetteville, Arkansas.  This camp boasts a 23 acre lake, air-conditioned dining facility, tree house lodging and tipi.  Camp features:
  • Water activities: canoes & sandpipers
  • Extensive Hiking Trails 
  • Archery Range
  • Camping
  • Arts & Crafts Pavilion 
Camp Taloha (165 wooded acres near Pine Bluff, AR) located 45 miles south of Little Rock.
Camp features:
  • Water activities
  • Hiking Trails 
  • Archery Range
  • Camping
  • Lakeside Pavilion with fireplace
Camp High Point (163 acres in the Ouachita Mountains) located West of Little Rock on the Arkansas Oklahoma border.  This camp is complete with 3 elevated sky or tree houses and butterfly gardens.  The camp includes an underground storm shelter that doubles as a large, cool indoor activity space.   Camper Cabins are made of stone and wood.  The pool is currently not operational.  Camp features:
  • Extensive Hiking Trails 
  • Archery Range

Camp Noark (300 acres nestled  in Ozark hills) located 25 miles east of Fayettteville, AR.  Air-conditioned Friendship.  Camp features:
  • Extensive Hiking Trails 
  • Large playing field
  • Arts & Crafts Pavilion  
  • Canoeing
Camp Crossed Arms (400 acres in Ozark hills along the Salado Creek near Floral, AR) located 100 miles north of Little Rock, AR.  Camp has woods and mountains, air-conditioned dining facility, craft pavilion and brand new pool.
Camp features:
  • Hiking Trails 
  • Horse Corrals and Pastures
  • Natural Rock Climbing
  • Canoeing
  • Creek Stomping
  • Archery
  • Crafts
Camp Kemp (40 acre property near Texarkana) is ideal for troop camping and is NOT open for Summer Camps.  The camp locted 180 miles east of Dallas boasts a pond, wildlife-viewing area and various hiking trails it is a great place for meetings, day events and overnights. The Kamba Hut is an open-air cabin with a small lavatory. The newest facility, the Conifer Clubhouse, has heat and air conditioning, a large open space, a caterer’s kitchen, and men’s and women’s restrooms. Camp Kemp’s close proximity to Texarkana along with the new Clubhouse facility and the Challenge Course make this property ideal for team building events.

Girl Scout of Greater South Texas - Council emcompassing Harlingen, Corpus Christi, McAllen, Laredo and Victoria TX.  This council offers 2 camps.
Camp Bayview (18 acres near Bayview, TX) located 250 miles south of Corpus Christi, TX near the ocen with a lush tropical setting.  The camp offers a large dining hall, recreation lodge, bungalows, outdoor amphihtheatre, covered pavilion, 2 conference rooms and swimming pools.  Camp features:
  • Hiking Trails 
  • Outdoor Skill Building
  • Arts & Crafts
  • Nature Crafts and Identification
  • Cook Outs
  • Conservation
  • Swimming
  • Sports & Games  
Camp Green Hill (wooded 50 acres near Mathis, TX on Lake Corpus Christi) located 40 miles NW of Corpus Christi.
  • Hiking Trails 
  • Outdoor Skill Building
  • Arts & Crafts
  • Nature Crafts and Identification
  • Cook Outs
  • Conservation
  • Sports & Games   
  • Primitive Camping
  • Swimming
  • Water Activities like canoeing
 To get more info. on these camps or to register call 1-800-477-2688 or email tcastillo@gsgst.org

Girl Scout of Greater South Texas - has 3 summer resident camps and 6 day and camping facilities.
http://www.gssjc.org/newsdata.cfm?n=241

Camp Arnold (479 acres near Conroe, TX) located 40 miles north of Houston.  Campers will enjoy a number of accommodations, including lodging near the water in a fishing village, up near the treetops in Treehouses or nestled in the middle of camp in tents, yurts or cabins. Camp features:
  • Hiking
  • Outdoor Cooking
  • Fishing
  • Crafts
  • Swimming 
Camp Misty Meadows (328 acres in Conroe) located 40 miles north of Houston.  The Robert and Janice McNair Equestrian Center includes four riding arenas and a herd of 40 horses waiting to be ridden, loved, hugged and groomed by summer campers.
**Personal Perks:  Kind, friendly staff, immaculate camp grounds**
Camp features:
  • Rifle Ranges
  • Archery
  • Horseback Riding
  • Swimming

Camp Casa Mare (43 acres on the ocean Galveston Bay) located near Seabrook, TX 35 miles south of Houston.  Often called "The Camp House by the Sea".  This precious land was purchased in 1957 for $100,00.  Camp features:
  • SAILING
  • Fencing
  • Drama
  • Crafts
  • Swimming

For more info.about San Jacinto's Resident Camps, visit www.gssjc.org/residentcamp or call (713) 292-0300.

For more information on day camps in or near Houston and great places to stay on Galveston Island:
http://www.gssjc.org/camp.cfm


Girl Scout of Southwest Texas
-  serves primarily the San Antonio region.  Information on camp features unavailable on GS-SW Texas web site.
https://www.girlscouts-swtx.org/the-program/sample-menu-2/2012-02-21-23-52-45/resident-camp.html

Camp La Jita (236 acres of Texas Hill Country land along the beautiful Sabinal River) located near Utopia, Texas 85 miles west of San Antonio. The John F. Camp family donated the land in 1946 for Camp La Jita. This camp is accredited by the American Camp Association (ACA), and received 100 percent satisfaction for the last four site visits, which take place every 3 years. Developed exclusively for the camp profession, this nationally recognized program focuses on program quality, health and safety issues, and requires us to review every facet of our operation. The display of the ACA logo is a privilege reserved for camps that have met the criteria.


Camp Mira Sol (47 acres near Guadalupe River) located near Comfort, TX 50 miles northwest of San Antonio.  This GS camp is nestled in the Texas Hill Country on a plateau overlooking the Guadalupe River. With a past rich in Native American history, it was designated an African American Girl Scout Camp in 1949.  It is the perfect place for beginner and experienced campers alike to enjoy the great outdoors.


For information on Oklahoma camps:
Eastern Council - http://www.girlscoutseastok.org/mecgs/Camp_Facilities.asp
Western Council - http://www.gswestok.org/pathways/camp-pathways/

Camp locations and addresses are not commonly listed on the internet as a safety precaution.  You will need to contact the GS council for directions.

GS owns a host of Girl Scout Houses, Cabins, Camp Grounds and Day Camps that would prove to be wonderful meeting places, traveling stops or inexpensive/free lodging on trips.  Keep GS camps in minid when planning your next GS Troop trip or excursion.

You can check out little known facts and archived, interesting newspaper articles on ssome of these camps on a Vintage Girl Scout Museum site.  This site has many interesting reads:  http://www.vintagegirlscout.com/campTX.html



4 comments:

  1. Camp Bette Perot: I'm a co-leader for a Daisy/Brownie Troop in the GSNETX council area. I just visited Bette Perot today on a Adult Training session. I can tell you that it is HUGE! They have added fishing to the line up this year, all of the lodges and cabins (numerous!) have air conditioning. When you say extensive equestrian center, you're not kidding! This place has like 60+ horses, and an extensive equestrian program for kids! The horses are cared for by the "Tejas Riders", which is a large group of "contracted" girl scouts that put in a certain amount of time (scheduled of course) with "Their Horse" per month, so all horses are extremely well cared for, friendly, and tame! There are trails that are ridden daily, and you can go as a troop on a "day camp" and ride the horses (with Tejas Riders as your guides), Brownie level up (Daisies are only lead lined in the round pen). It's like $25 per girl for an hour long trail ride through some absolutely gorgeous natural wooded trails! Older girls (Cadettes and up) have a very unique area they can stay in called the Treehouse. All of the cabins and lodging in this area are built off the ground on platforms, VERY COOL! We got to take a look at all of the cabin areas and lodging and they are very spacious and very well kept! The swimming pool is an olympic sized pool with diving boards. I know where my Brownie is going to camp this year ;)

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  2. Wow Terra thanks so much for your input. It is extremely helpful to hear first hand accounts of the camps! I am going to have to check this out! Love the idea of air conditioned cabins! And the treetop cabins sound spectacular! Who wouldn't love that camping experience?

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  4. Thank you for the encouragement Mark!

    ReplyDelete