Saturday, December 24, 2011

Zach, Santa and Mrs. Clause Say "Merry Christmas!"

Monday, November 21, 2011

Camp Thanksgiving!

Why would Kathryn Taylor be dressed up like a pilgrim?  Why would Stephanie Smalling dress up as a Native American?  Why because of the Camp Balcones Springs Thanksgiving Dinner.  Actually, they came from a YoungLife function, but that is beside the point. 

Thanksgiving always brings to mind the idea that we all have so much to be thankful for.  I personally am thankful for good health, great family and friends, and that I get to work at such an amazing place.  One of the things we all share in common and can be thankful for is how much of a wonderful impact camp has been in our lives.  On Tuesday, November 15, camp and several University of Texas students got together to have dinner, reconnect and enjoy each other’s company.  It truly was a group effort bringing this wonderful event together.  We had our gracious hosts (Christine Baskin and Mac Baskin), our head chefs (Martin Ramirez and Teddy James), and the sous chefs (Adrienne, Kelli, Joe and Todd) all come together to put on this tasty dinner.  The dinner included your more traditional Thanksgiving fare, Turkey, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy as well as some not so traditional (Teddy made a watermelon and tomato salad of some sort….hahaha). 

We all know that what truly makes camp the great experience it is, goes beyond the beautiful surroundings, fun activities, pranks, and Todd Darby (j/k people)!  It truly is one of the greatest experiences b/c of the people who come into our lives.  I know all of my fondest memories of camp have all been associated with my various camp buddies.  That night as we were all enjoying good food and great conversation, will be added to my favorite memories of camp.

It made me wonder about all of you out there that we didn’t have the pleasure of seeing that night.  What are the things that you are most thankful for?  Do you guys have any Thanksgiving traditions?  And one of the most crucial questions of all….Will you be returning for Summer 2012 to add to your camp memories?

#CampLove - Todd

To keep the #CampLove coming your way, Follow us on Twitter, and Like us on Facebook

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Hiney Writes and Counselor Reapplications

This was a great weekend for camp. We had so many fun things all rolled up into a short period of time, we almost forgot this is our job!

Congratulations to Lauren Rocco, one of our former campers, who got married here this weekend. It was a blast for the four old campers who came back out to camp for the weekend wedding. Check out a picture of the Gridiron during her reception. Beautiful hill country wedding today! on Twitpic, Courtesy of Caroline Fontenot

Sunday we had a camper reunion party at Mangia's Pizza in Austin, and it was so fun to see Marrietta, Drew Korba, David Williams, Jackson & Carter, Cory Kittleman, Mary Russell Keane, and a handful of others that made for an awesome afternoon.

Then today the quarterly Hiney Write went out to all of the counselors from this last summer, along with the Re-App for Summer 2012. Download both and remember all of the great memories and #camplove from this summer and find out what has been going on this fall.

And we are in the process of updating our website with some phun new projects and changes for next summer. Stay on the look out!

Adrienne and Martin will be in Dallas this weekend, so catch up with them while they are in town! Email them at and to meet up with them.

Miss you all lots, and can't wait to see you soon!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween! The Best of CBS Costumes

@meagan_talley: What type of shoes do ghost from Texas wear? BOOts! #muahahaMonday #HappyHalloween @rgleitman thanks @nance871
I have loved getting to read all of these bad jokes before Tuesday! It just makes Halloween that much better. 
Enjoy a slideshow of some of the best costumes we've seen in the last 5 years or so...some are a blast from the past! Thanks to all of you who posted these on facebook for our viewing pleasure!
Be safe Trick-Or-Treating tonight, and be on the lookout for new costume ideas for next year's theme nights!
For more camp news and updates, Follow us on Twitter and "Like" us on Facebook 

Monday, October 10, 2011


Sometimes I get writer’s block. I sat in front of the computer last week and artfully spent a couple hours to write the title and first sentence of several blog posts-to-be (keep checking back though, since I still want to write about them!). But, as I was stumbling around the @BalconesSprings Twitter this morning, there were several—significantly more than normal—tweets and conversations between camp folks sharing memories of Camp, joking around, and just saying how much they miss and love each other:

From @Jillyanne: @beccabeccag @ladykrell @Annabellegwine can we just time travel back? #Chickeninabiscuit

From @sydneymaeh: @annabellegwine Oh heavens you are precious! A week ago, I mayyy have been telling people it was Meow Monday…love you!

From @Jocelynamg: RT @annalynncarroll She knows in her quiet center where God dwells that he finds her beautiful, has deemed her worthy, and in him, she is enough.- Stasi Elridge. Love that and love you!!

And those are just a handful from this morning!

But it was Robyn Hammond’s tweet this morning that inspired me out of writer’s block. It was encouraging Aggies on campus today to come check out being a camp counselor at CBS while Todd, Martin, and Adrienne were set up at Koldus, but she ended it with the Hashtag that summed up my feelings from this morning:

I’ve tried to resist using twitter-speak to describe real life, but it just fits so perfectly. #CampLove is different from #NormalLove because it encompasses so much more. It conjures up feelings of sitting on the B-Compound (or D-Compound) porch, talking and laughing with your best friends. It reminds you of how you feel on the first day when your crazy counselor, who you didn’t even know then, tackles you when you get off of the bus with a huge smile and welcomes you to camp. It prompts your memory of when you split a whole flowerpot of “dirt” with one other person at Women’s dinner. That is #CampLove!

It may be October, it's finally raining here at camp(!), and school has started for many of you, but take a study break this week to look at pictures from camp, or call a CBS friend, or go on the Camp BalconesSprings facebook, or yell a “Five Bullets” everytime the Rangers score a Home Run—but be sure to tell someone that you #CampLove them!

As part of CBS’s fall recruiting and traveling schedule, Adrienne, Todd, and Martin have been visiting campers in Houston and counselors at Texas A&M the past few days with plans to see more of you all in the coming weeks! Checkout our website for more updates on when we will be near you!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Video of Todd as a Child!

Alright folks, cheers to the weekend! If you find yourself with a few minutes of downtime between sleeping in and not doing homework, take a peek at what Todd looked like eating baby food when he as a child:
 (You might have to rotate your head to the side to see it better!)

Oh wait...that was at the Baby Shower for Karime in the kitchen earlier this week!

Have a great weekend!

Be sure to check us out on Facebook and to follow us on Twitter for more CAMP updates!

Monday, September 19, 2011


Overheard from CBS-ers this weekend...

@kminz Kristin Minzenmayer

@schatzlemnatzle Emily Schatzle
Since I was 14, I've dreamt of seeing @coldplay in concert. Tonight, 8 years later, that dream came true at #ACL. Such an amazing show!!!

@ellspears Ellie Spears
ACL 2011!!!!! #tenyears

The 10th Austin City Limits Music Festival was the place to see your new favorite bands…and your old camp friends?!

Zilker Park became an impromptu Camp Balcones Springs reunion for so many of us who were lucky enough to have tickets to the weekend music festival. Despite the record-breaking crowds that flooded the park this year, Katy Harvey and Jaime Buchsbaum managed to tackle me within minutes of my entering the gates! Everywhere we went, we saw more camp people: Mac Baskin, Alex Timmerman, Catherine Walters, Ellie Spears, Gigi Simmons, Jessy Davis, Owen Miller, Phil Jackson, and tons of others who had all seen more CBS-ers we hadn’t seen yet!

Although the bands were incredible this year (especially Young The Giant, my new fav!) the best part about this weekend was getting to see so many of our out of town camp folks many of whom flew or drove in just to see their camp friends. We got to meet up with a huge group of Baylor and A&M counselors including Wes Jones, Becca Guindi, and Megan Talley who just came to Austin to hang out with camp people…how cool is that?!

So, next year in late September/early October, make plans now to hang out with us for the 11th year of ACL and mini-camp reunion—hopefully we wont have to make any decisions between Kanye and Coldplay again!

Be sure to follow us on Twitter and to Like us on Facebook for more updates from CBS!

And Check out the CBS website,

And here is a cool slideshow of pictures we borrowed from your Facebooks!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Closing Time

Despite the fact we still have people coming through our gates for Retreat Season, it still seems quiet around here. The blob isn’t quite as busy, the Rio is a little calmer, and there are fewer people at our evening dance parties. In short, WE MISS YOU!
There is nothing like summer camp, and especially nothing like CBS. Where else can you stand up on your table at dinner and yell “Five Bullets Baby!” or wear head-to-toe purple clothing and no one thinks twice about it? How about you try yelling “pick it up!” in the cafeteria at school and see how people respond…actually, probably don’t try that. Where is it acceptable to pie someone in the face? Where can you see your best friends year after year after year? That’s what I thought, nowhere else but CBS!
Even though camp is over, it does not mean the phun times are forgotten or the friendships are on hold until next summer. Your camp friends are just a text message, phone call, facebook chat, or tweet away! Make the effort to keep up with each other, meet up and chat over a corn dog and a cold glass of Squincher, and create more phun for yourselves. Throw up a casual "Tatonka" when y'all are together and get a pick-up game of O-Ball going!
Campers: We couldn’t do camp without you—literally! Your passion to continue coming back, dancing wildly, and playing hard for your teams makes this place what it is. Never lose touch with the friends you made here, they are going to be your friends  for years to come!
Counselors: Thank you for making this one of the best summers of Camp yet! Your commitment to bettering the lives of our campers is admirable and unmatched in camping. You poured out love on these kids when you were fresh 1st term and when you were exhausted 4th term, and you still continue to do it by keeping in touch with them. You make camp great. 

Be sure to Follow us on Facebook and on Twitter to find out when we’ll be stopping by near you!
Look for news and tell your friends to check us out on our website at

This is never goodbye, this is only See You Next Summer!

Thank You Allison Rushing for letting us use your pictures!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Sometimes I wake up in the mornings to the sound of Sweet Pea, the camp donkey, braying and he-hawing so loudly, it resonates through the steel walls of Hunter's and my Barn Apartment. Some folks might find the thought of having a donkey, a pair of llamas, a duo of mini-horses, and 14 horses as neighbors somewhat unnerving or even bothersome--but this is my home!

I talk to people a lot about camp, thats just kind of how it goes with this place. Honestly, how many of your stories start with "this one time at camp..." But some of the most common things I hear from campers, counselors, and everyone really who has ever been a part of camp are "I feel like I can be myself here," "I feel safe here," "I'm totally different at camp than I am at school," "Camp is like a home for me!" If someone asks me about about camp, I tell them these things. I think it speaks volumes more than any amount of stories I could tell.

For the last 8 summers, Camp Balcones Springs has been so much more than a summer camp to me, it has been a second home. Even before I came to camp, I got a taste of the family CBS promises. Martin Ramirez and Dean Martinez oftentimes showed up at my tennis tournaments in Dallas along with other camp folks just to cheer me on and to hang out with me afterwards. They weren't trying to sell me anything or convince me I needed to come to camp--no, they just wanted to be my friend.

When I actually decided to go to Camp 4th term in 2004, I remember getting on the bus from Dallas and driving away from Northpark mall and heading towards camp sitting next to Ellie Hansen who had convinced me to come. I wasn't necessarily nervous, but is there anyone on earth who doesn't wonder if they are going to fit in to a new community!? However, almost as soon as the bus started down I-35, Arden Johnston, the most friendly 9 year-old on the bus, came up and told me that when I got to camp I was going to be a Rough Rider, and then proceeded to teach me all of the Silver Spur cheers even if she couldn't remember exactly how they went. Three hours later, I remember getting off the bus to the sight of an exuberant Marietta smiling at us, greeting us all with open arms, announcing our entry to all of camp, and then sending each of us off into Camp's traditional "tunnel of love." When it came my turn to run down the tunnel, I hopped off the bus only to be outright tackled to the ground by who was soon to be one of the greatest influences in my life, my Senior Camper counselor, Casey Millsap!

The experience of Camp never fades for me. The friends I made, the relationships I built, and the growth I had in Christ continued to compound on one another every year I came back, and I give thanks everyday for how camp has made me into who I am today. Even now, after 8 summers, chills still run up my back and my heart races when I drive down 1431 towards Camp on opening day, not anymore because I'm nervous, but because I'm excited to be coming HOME!

Keep some tissues nearby, you might want them after watching this video!

How has camp become your second home? Tell us in the comments below or through Facebook/Twitter!

Like us on Facebook
Follow Us on Twitter
See Our Website

Friday, April 8, 2011

Bring this to summer camp...and you might survive! Part 4/7

No. 4 A Cow Suit

Especially in light of the formal(ish) "Black and White Bash" event happening this summer at Camp, you really ought to invest in an appropriate evening suit...a cow suit of course!

The history of the cow suit at Camp Balcones Springs carries with it a long legacy of camp greats all doing great things. No one is really sure where or how the trend began, what with the udderly ridiculous amount of imposters claiming to be the original, but its place among Camp tradition is without question. These suits can be spotted in CBS pictures from many of the last 19 summers, or even branded into your memory if you were lucky enough to be here for the terms when Marty Scott wore his cow suit to every single theme night that summer.

Trying to COWer in the back row
Though the last few summers the number of cow suits has dropped from a record high in 2008, I foresee a comeback this summer if the herd will rally and come together in force! So calling all cow suit owners and future owners, milk it for all its worth, and we'll see you this summer for a mooo-ving celebration!

Monday, April 4, 2011

April Fools!

I'm sure our avid readers have been feeling all sorts of different emotions over the weekend in regards to the supposed "new teams" joining the ranks this summer--worry yourselves not! No matter how much pleading, prodding, or even the Rachel Gleitman actually creating new cheers (we love you Rachel!), no team cold ever join the elite ranks of the Rough Riders, Texas Rangers, Lone Stars and Silver Spurs!

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Coroneles and the Yellow Roses

Longstanding rumors have finally come to fruit here at Camp Balcones Springs--this summer will mark the beginning of a new era in Team Competition with the inclusion of two new teams, The Coroneles and the Yellow Roses. As acting heads of teams, the full-time camp staff arrived at the decision that the addition of two teams will bring a new element to one of camp's most memorable traditions.

In the effort of "shaking things up," our new Camp Director, Geoff Rich made the suggestion, and even offered to found and manage the Coroneles, the boys' team, for the first year or until he can comfortably hand off the tradition to a new member of leadership or full-time. In step, Christine Baskin enthusiastically agreed to found and manage the traditions of the Yellow Roses, the girls' team, until she too feels comfortable with the team's leadership under its senior members. Both Geoff and Christine have said they will return to their neutral status after handing off leadership of their new teams.

The Coroneles will have the symbol of a crown and their primary color is orange. They are descended from the Elite Infantry of the Texan Army during the Texas revolution from Mexico. Having overcome the several weaknesses of a fledgling country in revolt, the lone squadron of Coroneles was the key factor in the success in driving back the opposing Mexican army. Only days after the battle, the Coroneles had completely driven the invading armies from their borders at the battle of San Jacinto, and earning the new country the right to be formally known as the sovereign "Republic of Texas."

The Yellow Roses will take on the symbol of the Rose, and the primary color, yellow. The yellow rose traditionally symbolizes respect, and their respect for the earth and for nature earns them an esteemed place among the teams. They have an unbreakable bond of sisterhood established from a long tradition of passion for taking care of each other and the earth. They fight back earnestly against anything or anyone who would dare undergo any action that would harm the natural world they respect so deeply.

Thoughts from full-time staff:

"I'm excited for the change! It will throw old campers a curve ball, and add a new level of excitement for the new campers!" -Adrienne Grissom, Girl's Camp Director

"It's been in talks for a long time, but I'm thrilled we have finally pulled the idea through. Its just something new and different we can surprise our campers with. I know how important team competition is to Camp, and its an exciting time for a change! -Todd Darby, Boy's Camp Director

The Coroneles' Crown
The Yellow Roses' Rose

Friday, March 25, 2011

Bring this to summer camp...and you might survive! Part 3/7

Number 3: A strap-to-yo-head flashlight

Ok CAMP folks, lets talk here for a second. We have all been there: walking by the poorly-lit camp tennis courts on a warm Texas Hill Country night when Phillip Jackson thinks it's funny to jump out at you dressed in a gorilla suit...not funny Phil! Really though, we had to revive a mini horse from a heart attack after the gorilla suit scared the poor guy so badly--have you ever had to give a mini horse mouth-to-mouth?

Neither have I, it would be truly horrid if I had to. But, if it came down to it, "I am a lifeguard, I can help."

Nonetheless, the whole messy situation could have been avoided, which is why we recommend a "strap-to-yo-head flashlight," such as the one pictured above! Now, it is not necessary to purchase one quite so Derek Zoolander-esque and high-style, but we understand the importance of phun phashion at Camp Balcones Springs, so go all Blue Steel if you must.

After you find something in your wardrobe that will actually match the head lamp, put it to good use and engage the light feature and illuminate the path before well as blind anyone within a 100 yard radius around you with your 6000 watt fluorescent lamp! Never again will you look so good while keeping the mini-horses safe at Camp Balcones Springs!

Share us with your friends! Copy and Paste this link: CBS Blog on Facebook or twitter, or where ever else you care to share it!
Follow us on Facebook!
Follow us on Twitter!
Or if you are so far behind the times, or social media isn't your thing, Check out our website!

Photos courtesy of: Super Stock Photo,, and

Friday, March 18, 2011

Bring this to summer camp...and you might survive! Part 2/?

Number 2: An Electric Razor

     Near the end of every term at Camp Balcones Springs we celebrate the Texas tradition of two-stepping, root beer, and country music at Rodeo Round-Up. What happens when, at the end of a night filled with country dancing, you walk up to that special dance partner and lean in for a...nice conversation, and he/she is repulsed by the fact you have a three-week-long unshaved mustache?!

Is the idea really so shocking?! Not until it happens to you! Hence we here at Camp Balcones Springs highly recommend the use of an electric razor to ensure friendly interactions among all of those around you. In addition to improving your hygienic standards, it can also help you keep cooler in the vicious summer heat by removing that sweaty, unwanted insulation on your upper lip. Stay cool camp friends!

Additionally, if you are lucky enough to be signed up for the brand new Llama Styling major class, you can use your own razor to achieve greater accuracy and finer cuts of llama fur! Not only will your llama be the envy of all of your classmates, but your llama will feel better knowing it has been treated with the utmost care and respect. Please be sure to clean the razor after each llama fur design session and before using it again yourself!

Check back again soon for the next installment of "Bring this to summer camp...and you might survive!"

Check out our website in the mean time at
And follow us on Facebook or Twitter by clicking on the respective boxes on the right side!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Bring this to summer camp...and you might survive! Part 1/?

Hey boys and girls, here is the first part of a series describing what you need to survive this summer at Camp Balcones Springs! We'll explore the many uses for various sundries (not "sundresses," you don't need those here!) that you should throw in your trunk to have the best time ever!

Here we go with number 1!

1. Neoprene Wetsuit- perfect for Sunday swimming, The Ted 2,000, and sailing class

     Firstly, lets break this down into its base components, neoprene and wetsuit. "Neo-Prene", is a word formed from the latin "no" and "prune," hence, when you wear it, your skin won't get pruney. An added side-effect is that you likely won't have to spend too much time in the restroom! "We-Tsu-It" is derived from an ancient eastern Chinese phrase that roughly translates to "let us take action on this matter," probably referring to the practice of swimming with dolphins as was common in that area at that time.
     When you put the terms together, you can understand why you would need a Neoprene Wetsuit at Camp: "we will swim (with or without dolphins) and not get pruney!"
     Now, you ask yourself "Self, why would I need this at camp?" Why on Earth not?! With all of the phun you can have swimming in Lake Ted for hours upon precious hours during phunanza...and then you won't get pruney!? What a deal! You might even get rich if you can convince the river dolphins to swim to the bottom of the lake and pick up all of the watches, sunglasses, and camp rings Lake Ted has swallowed up over the years (yeah, I'm talking about y'all, Anna Drinkwitz and Dodge Carter, I know the stinging pain of loss!)

     Whether for deep-water treasure-hunting, light surface play on our aquatic landscape, or making up for lost time in the restroom, a Neoprene wetsuit is a must for this summer for camp boys and camp girls alike!

Dolphins + Treasure?

Stay tuned for No. 2 survival coming later this week!

Photos Courtesy of and

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Llamas are Published!

So camp friends, it appears our llamas are using their new laptop to write books under the false alias of "Anna Dewdney!" I was doing some light after-Christmas window shopping and saw this book:

Quite clearly there is a resemblance to the llamas who, it seems, are just trying to lay low, thinking we have no idea what they're up to!
I called the book's publisher, and found out they've been working on a whole series of these llama books...what sneaky little llamas! We'll keep you updated on their publishing career as we try to get some more information out the llamas...they've been unusually quiet lately...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Something is Happening

...Something peculiar has been happening at Camp the past few weeks. The llamas seem restless and unsatisfied with simply roaming around Camp and eating the soccer field. We gave them a laptop for Christmas to try and settle them down a little bit. I don't know though, they seem to be pretty shifty-eyed every time I see them...I think they're making plans for something big, but no one knows for what! We'll keep you updated on the status of their plans.

Until then, keep checking back for more information!

See! He's creepin' around the corners!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Camp Balcones Springs 2011

Hello to all of you! We hope you had a very enjoyable and relaxing holiday season. I can not believe are are only 5 months away from starting a brand new summer! We are working diligently to make summer 2011 the best Camp Balcones Springs has ever seen! Stay tuned for more info on our new theme and verse, evening programs, and maybe a few surprises.