November 2009

Welcome to the first issue of the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas Camps and Conferences e-newsletter.  We plan on regularly updating you on news and events about all the exciting and interesting things happening with the camping program of the Diocese.
If you are receiving this publication and do not wish to, you may unsubscribe by following the directions at the end of the newsletter.

Please feel free to contact me with your comments or suggestions on this publication.
Rob Watson, Director of Camps and Conferences
The Episcopal Diocese of West Texas
Camp CapersMustang Island Family Camp
Sr High Trip Camp, Duck LakeClergy Camp
Rob Watson - Big Changes for Camps and Conferences 2010
The summer of 2009 was a great success as many children, youth and adults experienced the love of God on the beach, in the Hill Country and in the beautiful mountains of Colorado.
Many thanks go out to all of you who responded to our Camp Capers evaluation survey. The information we got back was very helpful and we are using it to better serve you and your family. For instance, many of you commented in the survey about the burden of bringing to and picking up your camper during the middle of the week. In 2010, all of Capers' sessions will begin on Sunday and end on Saturday. Also, campers will draw from a lottery for their bunks rather than pick first-come-first-serve. This will eliminate the need for parents to arrive two hours early and sit in line in their cars outside the gate. Check-in will begin as soon as the gates are open, eliminating the wait under the Centrum. 
Our programs in Colorado last summer were a huge success. Every single participant - youth and adult alike - said that the experience was incredible. Therefore, this summer we are adding a week in the mountains for a total of four weeks - two for clergy and two for youth. Keep your eyes open for registration information because these weeks will fill up fast - we had waiting lists for all three weeks last summer.
For the rest of the story, click here.

Want to be a Counselor?  Here's how.
2009 Camp Capers Summer Staff The wonderful experiences of our campers are due in large part to the efforts and passion of the summer counselors and staff.  Every year we hire college-age young people to lead and care for the campers who attend Camp Capers and for the families attending Mustang Island Family Camp in the summer.  They serve as counselors, leaders of music, arts, activities, and even work crew.  These young people spend one to two weeks before camps start being trained as lifeguards and spiritual leaders, learning about developmental differences between age groups, bonding as a community, and more.  By the time the campers arrive, they are fired up and ready! 
Each summer staff is unique, and the Camp Capers 2009 Summer Staff was no exception. Many of our staff and counselors grew up going to Camp Capers, waiting for the day they could apply for summer staff.  Some had attended at an early age and suddenly felt the call to return as staff.  Others had attended and even served as counselors at other camps, but decided to give Camp Capers a try because of all the wonderful things they had heard from friends.  The unique twist for us this summer was the addition of international staff members.  We had four guy counselors from across the ocean - three from South Africa and one from England.  They all brought new perspectives and excitement to camp and to their campers' experiences.  Dan Martin, from England, says that "This has been the greatest summer of my life; I've seen God in a new light and met campers and staff I will never forget.  Thank you for these amazing memories."  His experience on staff is not due solely to the fact that he traveled overseas to get here.  Every one of the staff members will tell you that serving is a life-changing experience.  For the rest of the story please click here.
Camp Dean says, "Camp Capers is cool." by Rev. Lisa Mason

One hundred and forty voices singing,
praying, shrieking with excitement,
eager to make new friends and renew
old friendships.
Kayakers navigating the Guadalupe,
tubers floating down the shallow and
bumpy rapids,
echoing with unrestrained laughter.
Ice cream sandwiches and orange
dreamsicle pops lapped up
and washed off by a dunk in the pool!
A silent meditation walk,
ears listening and eyes looking attentively
for the presence of God in creation.
Hands laid on in prayer; nightly
devotions shared by all.
Clergy targeted by flying
icy cold sponges,
culminating in a massive game of shaving
cream and ice water tag.

Camp CapersFor the rest of the story, please click here.
In This Issue
News from Stacy on our Summer Staff and Counselors
Camp Capers By The Rev. Lisa Mason
Mustang Island by Leslie Mixson
Tyler Brown's Experience at Duck Lake
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 "For my family.....Mustang Island was truly a gift from God."  by Leslie Mixson
Family Camp Summer 2009"To be empowered in immeasurable ways," sounds a
bit grandiose. And I admit, prior to Family Camp, I had
not been immeasurably empowered by any family adventure
I had previously experienced. But for my family, our time at Mustang Island was truly a gift from God. Departing from the everyday routine of life is certainly a step to empowerment, but leaving it all behind, literally and figuratively, is not always so easy. Since this was our first time to attend
family camp, I was anxious to get the "what to bring" list. It arrived about a week before camp and included exactly sixteen items, and three simple words Don't Overpack, Simplify.

Eager to embrace this advice, I whittled down the list to 11 items, closed our suitcases, and didn't look back. If we thought we had forgotten anything, we hadn't. Everything we needed was on hand when we arrived. For the rest of the story, please click here.
Stunningly beautiful Duck Lake by Tyler Brown
Tyler Brown 17 year old high school student who attended the 2009 Sr. High Trip Camp at Duck Lake.
Senior High Trip Camp, Duck Lake
The backpacking trip to Colorado was amazing.  It was stunningly beautiful and more peaceful than I could have ever imagined, with the white snow-capped mountains and the green valleys speckled with crystal blue lakes.

Every day we hiked six to ten miles up and through the serene valleys.  Though it was an incredible challenge, it was well worth it.  The group who went on the trip worked amazingly together.  There wasn't one person who was left out.  The two leaders, Jody and Chris, were awesome people and a great inspiration. 

One day our trail was blocked by deep snow and we were forced to find another route. Everyone kept calm and worked together to find a different trail.  Thanks to Jody... we did!  While we were looking for the trail and feeling lost, it was one of my most incredible experiences, because there wasn't a single trace of people.  There were no footprints, no camp fires, nothing.  Out there, I was able to truly experience what nature really is. 
2010 Sr. High Duck Lake Camp Dates are July 27-July 3, and July 5-July 11.  For more information click here. You may also contact the Diocese at 210-824-5387 or email Rob Watson or Jean Beere.