|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. ;)