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!

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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