Monday, October 22, 2012

CBS Election 2012: Politics Can Be Serious and Phun

As many of you might have noticed on the CBS Facebook page, there have been ongoing campaigns in an intense race to become the first Camp Balcones Spring President! The two official parties blazing the campaign trail are the Old School and New School parties, represented by our very own Teddy James and Jeremy Jenkins, respectively. Both party candidates have shown themselves worthy of the honor through their contributions to Camp, and are proud to be CBS-ers. I am sure it will be an exciting race that will go down to the wire, hopefully with no recounts.

Each candidate has his own platform for improving Camp Balcones Springs, and there’s no better example of a man who wants change than Jeremy Jenkins. Born in the swamplands of Louisiana and raised by alligators, Jenkins has plenty of experience dealing with ornery animals as well as unruly B-compounders. What he lacks in experience, he excels in problem solving.

Speaking of experience, there are few at CBS who are as tenured as Teddy James. The man has been around the block a few times, and knows the ins and outs of how to successfully lead Camp. His résumé includes a successful bout as Term 2 sponsor, multiple appearances as “Legend”, and a term as Secretary of the Department of High School Programs. Yet, will his age have any effect on the opinion of voters?

Careful consideration should be given to the topics and issues such as Llama rights, the Lake Travis drought, and the future of Campout. The candidates posses a wealth of knowledge on each subject, but differ in their opinions on how to address each topic. As a voter, consider your own judgment on how you would like Campout improved, or how to tackle the ongoing breach of Llama rights. It’s up to you, so make your vote count!

As we watch the CBS campaign videos and analyze the candidates, just remember that participating in an election is the best way to show your patriotism. Whether you go red or blue, New School or Old School, we still have the best “President” of all, and he resides in Heaven.

God bless the U.S.A and God bless C.B.S!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Wet Weather Finally Visits CBS


Interestingly enough, this past week we saw a mysterious liquid falling from the sky quite frequently. Could it be? Yes…it was RAIN! The sweet smell of Fall precipitation was in the air as our poor, dehydrated grass gulped as much water as its roots could hold. In fact, it rained five inches in less than 24 hours! The cooler weather also felt quite nice compared to the oppressive summer heat.

All this talk of rain makes me think back to the summer of 2007; the summer of the great flood of CBS. Those of you who were at camp that year know exactly what I’m talking about.

One fine day in June that summer, it began to rainand rain—and rain some more. It poured for two days straight and increased the lake levels by five feet! It just would not stop raining. By the end of the month we were beginning to wonder if we would ever see a full day of sunshine. Toward the end of the summer the city of Marble Falls had to evacuate citizens that were caught in the flooding down by the lake. The water had overflowed from Travis and came almost all the way up to the riflery range! Pretty hard to believe, right?

Needless to say, CBS has certainly had its fair share of extreme weather. But one thing remains constant: we always find ways to have as much PHUN as possible, no matter the circumstances. Whether its story time during water breaks or rainy day games in the gridiron, counselors never waiver in their commitment to build lasting relationships.

So when you have the rainy days blues, or when you’re tired of the unrelenting heat, always keep in mind how quickly the weather and your attitude can change. God has a way of turning a grey sky blue, and changing a boring day into a day to remember.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Summer Camp - How Sportsmanship is a Part of the Olympic Dream

CBS Celebrates Olympic Spirit with Kick Off of London Games
For former camper Adam Bull, the London Olympic Games (with 33 Texans representing the USA), hits especially close to home, having recently competed in the Olympic Trails in swimming. The Bull family has been a dedicated camp family, sending both Adam and sister, Lauren, to CBS for several years. As one of Adam’s biggest fan clubs, we have had the opportunity to watch his swimming career rise to the world stage. Adam currently holds the CBS record in the Ted 10 set in 2009 at 12 min. 38 sec. after having broken his own record from the previous year. At the Olympic Trails, where athletes vie to earn spots on the American team, Adam competed in the 400 IM, where he finished in 39th place, giving him incentives to look to future Olympics!

Adam’s success in the water is due to hard work, dedication and sportsmanship – lifelong skills we try to teach our kids at summer camp. For many Olympic athletes, summer camp was a special part of growing up, and some athletes go on to share stories about how they developed a passion for the sport that took them to the Olympics on sport courts, hiking trails, playing fields and lakes just like Lake Ted. 

At CBS, our mission is to change peoples' lives for the better through relationships, spiritual impact and fun and there is no better time to celebrate the spirit of respect and “sportsmanship” than the Olympic Games, which begin today. While we offer the traditional camp experience, teaching skills and values that will be with campers forever, we also strive to make competition fun, giving every camper a chance to compete in all of their favorite sports and activities.

Over the next two weeks, we will look for stories inspired by the summer camp experience, and join together to cheer on the USA team and especially our athletes from Texas!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Meet the Owner

Christine and her three children
(Katie, Annabelle and Mac)
We had the opportunity to talk with Camp Balcones Springs’ fabulous owner, Christine Baskin, to hear her feedback on camp’s background, her role as owner and why CBS is the amazing place it is today.

A graduate of Southern Methodist University and Ursuline Academy in Dallas, Christine is actively involved in every facet of Camp.  She helps with counselor recruitment from colleges and universities, in addition to adding her energy and talents to the entire programming taking place at Camp Balcones Springs.  Further, she helps to plan camper recruiting events  throughout Texas and beyond. 

When did you originate Camp Balcones Springs?

Camp Balcones Springs was established in 1993.  We plan on having our 20th birthday next summer!

What did you initially envision when deciding to build on your property?

I envisioned almost exactly what we are right now, and that is a premier summer camp that enjoys a dual use, converting at summer’s end to a Retreat/Event Center.  There are still a few works in progress.

Did you attend summer camp growing up?

I grew up in California and did not know of anybody who went to summer camp.  My siblings and I grew up going to my grandfather’s cabin outside of Lebec, California, and spent summers going to the beach in Santa Monica.  My family moved to Dallas, Texas, when I was in the middle of the 8th grade (my father’s company decided to open a southwest branch of his engineering company).  I attended Ursuline Academy in the 9th grade and was mesmerized by the stories of my soon-to-be-closest friend, Anne Wunderlick; she told countless stories of Term 3 at Camp Longhorn. I felt like I had been cheated out of a part of growing up.

What has CBS brought to your life?

I receive letters weekly from parents and from children who say that they could not imagine their lives without CBS and the impact that not only camp but Camp Balcones Springs has made upon them. 

What would you say makes CBS different from other summer camps?

Our staff, and the almost two weeks of training that staff receives. We spend more time and resources recruiting our Counselors than we do on any other area of Camp; that’s how important our staff is to us. We also focus on many areas of traditional summer camp that we feel are important in helping children succeed while here at Camp. For example, we provide air conditioning so that children can receive a good night’s sleep and be prepared, therefore, to tackle challenges every day. We have a talented and year-round culinary staff that is able to satisfy every dietary need. We spend almost twice as much on food as other summer camps; buying higher quality, fresh fruits and vegetables rather than the canned, processed, premade items purchased by many other camps (per John Gallimore, our Labatt representative).  Food, sleep, training, Counselors – and we set aside a period during the day for children to roam wherever they wish around Camp.  Of course, the entire property is supervised and carefully watched. They get to experience a bit of freedom and unscheduled leisure time, which is a direct response to the frantically overscheduled lives children deal with these days. Our year-round staff of 38 people provides a strong stability for our Camp, rather than having to rely on ‘summer-only’ staff that often does not return.

What is your favorite CBS memory?

Every day provides a new bit of stitchery to a wonderful memory-tapestry; choosing one is very difficult. 

Most recently, at “Team Initiation” this summer (a very solemn event conducted at the Team Hideouts, and there are four of them), I persuaded a young man, a favorite counselor here last summer, currently our inspirational Sunday speaker who is training to be a yell leader at A&M, to do the unprecedented – to come to the Girls-Only Team Initiation of new campers.  He was hidden in the shadows; however, most of the girls knew that he was there. One of the girls whispered to me that somehow, eight years ago, she had not been initiated as a new camper.  I whispered back to her that maybe we should have our guest perform a symbolic initiation.  At that point, the three girls standing with her said that they also had not been initiated!  They were kidding, of course. ;)

Friday, June 15, 2012

Our Counselors. Our Heroes.

A hero is an individual who exhibits bold, honorable and daring actions; he or she is willing to replace his or her own needs with the needs of others. A hero doesn’t have to have super powers or save the world in the nick of time. In fact, oftentimes a hero humbly steps back and does not seek recognition for his or her actions.

Here at CBS, we find these unique characteristics in our counselors daily. We could not operate our winning program or impact lives without our amazing counselors and cannot begin to tell you the endless praise we receive from parents and campers about their enthusiasm and charisma.

To make sure we bring on only the best counselors, we invest much of our off-season time searching for the most enthusiastic, fun-loving, tender-hearted counselors. We travel to universities across the country to find the young men and women who are passionate about spending their summer building into children and modeling a Christ-like lifestyle for our campers.

Our counselors encourage and inspire campers to grow in character and integrity. They touch the lives of campers in ways that change them forever and build relationships that last. They wake up every morning with a smile on their faces, push their personal needs and wants aside, and are ready to take on the craziness of camp! 

Thank you to all of who have ever served as a CBS counselor—all of you really are our heroes.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Why send your child to summer camp?

Parents, for those of you who attended summer camp growing up, it’s a no brainer. Camp was life. Some of you could even say camp defines who you are today. However, those without what we camp folk call an essential “life experience” may need some convincing.

Summer camp is more than sports, cabins and blow up lake toys (though our Blob is certainly a highlight of CBS J). Camp is a platform that gives children the opportunity to step out of their comfort zones, build confidence, create friendships and gain independence.

We have 5 reasons summer camp is a positive addition to a child’s life:

1. Drop the iPhone

Imagine a place where your child takes a break from his or her computer and electronic devices. Today, children can be so busy with texting, Facebook and YouTube that they forget how to communicate in real life and in real time. Without these distractions, a child is able to get outside, try new things and truly engage in meaningful conversations with his or her peers.

2. Build Confidence

Our camp counselors are trained to nudge their campers out of their comfort zones and try new things, whether a new activity or trying new foods! When campers are encouraged to try things on their own, they discover new and positive things about themselves, thereby building an inner-confidence. 

3. Develop New Skills

Camp Balcones Springs offers over 40 activities to choose from, and campers are given the opportunity to choose what they would like to participate in. It gives them a chance to step away from their usual sport activities and try new ones they would not normally get to do at home. Camp is a great way for children discover and develop new activity and personal skills.

4. Experience Diversity

Children are often only exposed to a core group of people including family friends, school friends, teachers, etc. Camp brings children in contact with children and counselors from different schools, communities and cultures. This encourages them to not only accept different types of people and customs, but gives them the opportunity to begin different types of friendships.

5. Create Lifelong Friendships

One of the most important things about camp is making new friends. Camp friends are a different kind of friend. The friendships a child creates at summer camp stem from a strong family-type bond. The experience, excitement and education of making new friends, learning to live together  and appreciating differences quickly transforms camp from just a group of peers into an ever-growing family unit.