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Since 1966, Camp Fire Central Texas has been a hands-on organization committed to building healthy, resilient, responsible youth through active learning, outdoor experiences, service to the community.

We chose the theme of "Under One Moon" for this event to remind us that throughout the past year, with all of the distance, obstacles, and uncertainty, we remain part of a community that's dedicated to making the future brighter through youth education. 

Through your support, it is our hope to expand our existing programs like summer camps, after-school programs, self-reliance courses and outdoor hiking clubs, and offer additional opportunities for family and community events for years to come. With a "return to normal" in sight, it is our hope to transition back to in-person programming as it is safe to do so and aim to serve as many children in the Central Texas area as our resources allow. 

Although Camp Fire Central Texas agilely transitioned to virtual programming in response to COVID-19, we weren't as lucky during the Central Texas "Snowpocalypse" in February 2021. Our office, located in a building at the Austin State Supported Living Center, had shuttered its doors at the beginning of the pandemic. Unfortunately, during the winter storm, a pipe burst above our office, and we expect the contents inside the office will be a total loss. 

This last year has been hard on every individual, business, and non-profit in this country. With increased demand and restricted supply of paid community services, after-school programs, summer camp, and fundraising opportunities, we are asking for your financial support. Every contribution made to Camp Fire Central Texas will help us continue to build healthy, resilient, and responsible youth through active learning and outdoor experiences. 


Make a donation to Camp Fire Central Texas today.


Our Programs

Over the last five years, more than 9,300 children, youth, and families participated in our programs including afterschool, summer camp, Family Nature and Outdoor Clubs, and Play-to-Learn classes. Our programs aim to reach diverse communities throughout the Central Texas area. We were honored to be recently recognized by the Texas Parks and Wildlife for our Citizen Science and Stewardship Program that provided 150 female and minority participants the opportunity to visit multiple state parks for a variety of environmental education activities, outdoor skills, and service projects. 

Our hope is for local youth to be connected to, committed to, and capable of preserving the natural environment. Camp Fire helps children feel at home in an outdoor setting, grow to be confident and caring leaders, and achieve their fullest potential as lifelong learners and positive influences in their homes, schools, neighborhoods, and communities.

Summer Camps

Explore, learn, and grow with Camp Balcones, our weekly STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) summer camp hosted at Emma Long Metropolitan Park. Each week features a nature or science theme in addition to traditional camp activities like swimming, hiking, archery, canoeing, and crafts, creative expression, and other fun-filled, hands-on, and project-based activities. Campers explore nature, identify plants and animals, and have fun with unstructured play in a safe environment with new friends and camp instructors.

This year, we will be limiting participation to 24 campers a week in accordance with CDC and the American Camping Association. However, with your donations, Camp Fire Central Texas aims to expand our summer camps to additional locations and increase our numbers to provide these activities for as many children as possible across the area. 

Afterschool Programs

Camp Fire also provides after-school care in elementary schools across Austin. These programs use the Thive{ology} methodology. Our hope is to expand our after-school care to a larger portion of the community, but we need your help to make this goal a reality! 

Thrive{ology} is our research-based program framework founded on the pillars of Social Emotional Learning (SEL). Our intention is to allow a child to discover their spark, gain self-confidence, and learn life-changing life skills to thrive now. Our afterschool programs aim to cultivate skills that will serve the children for the rest of their lives by focusing on the following ideals: 

  • Sparks are the things that make you come alive! What excites you, gives you energy, motivation, and purpose? It can be an activity or a cause.
  • Learn to push past obstacles, take risks, believe you can learn a new skill at any time, and don’t give up. Kids and adults with a growth mindset are more successful in life. 
  • Learn Goal Management: Decide what you want to strive for and determine how to get there. Learn to adjust your plan if needed or what kind of support and accountability you want. 
  • Take time to Reflect. Find your “aha moments,” whether it’s learning from a mistake or failure, realizing why you were successful, what you like or don’t like, what you want, what you’re proud of… 

Play to Learn

Camp Fire Central Texas also provides Play to Learn (PTL) virtual educational classes to low-income families across greater Austin. Classes teach a variety of skills, including fine and gross motor skills, language development, emotional regulation, and numeracy.  PTL provides tablets to children and parents free of charge to use during the classes. In an effort to close the "digital divide" that is even more apparent during the pandemic, this program allows families to keep to those tablets upon coursework completion. The tablets are loaded with children's books, songs, apps, PBS videos, and bookmarked websites with parenting resources to foster the child's development. 

"Young people want to shape the world. 

Camp Fire provides the opportunity to find their spark, lift their voice, and discover who they are.

In Camp Fire, it begins now. Light the fire within." 



To support our programs, please purchase a ticket or make a donation.

Award Winners

The purpose of Camp Fire's annual awards is to recognize community leaders who work to connect children with nature, provide hands-on youth development, or further expand Camp Fire's reach and impact. We selected four community leaders to receive awards at our 2021 Under One Moon event. You can read about our awards and the amazing people who will be recognized this year. 


Promise to Children Award

The Promise to Children Award recognizes someone who exemplifies our Promise to Children, which states that young people want to shape the world and in Camp Fire we help them find their Spark and discover who they are. As our promise ends with, “In Camp Fire, it begins now,” this award honors action, advocacy, and service to the community.

Melody Alcazar

Melody Alcazar joined the City of Austin - Parks & Recreation Department in July 2018 as the new permanent, full-time coordinator of the Cities Connecting Children to Nature (CCCN) initiative in Austin. She has over a decade of experience working to connecting children and families to nature and serves on the Children in Nature Collaborative of Austin and Texas Children in Nature leadership teams. Melody previously worked

She received her M.S. in Environmental Science from the University of New Haven and B.S. of Zoology from Auburn University t Keep Texas Beautiful, the Dallas Zoo, and the San Antonio Zoo managing nature-based family programming and exhibits. Melody was born and raised in Austin, but left Texas to earn her B.S. in Zoology from Auburn University and her M.S. in Environmental Science from the University of New Haven. She is glad to be back in Texas and lives in Buda with her husband and daughter.



Legacy Award

The Legacy Award recognizes individuals who have made a lasting contribution to Camp Fire, both on a local and national level. Leaving a legacy in Camp Fire means seeing the bigger picture and acting to ensure the sustainability of our vision and mission.

Kay and Leon Whitney



A few words from the Whitneys


Our first contact with Camp Fire was the year our older daughter entered the second grade. Kay realized that Camp Fire Blue Birds had a superior program and that the Whitneys would have a lot of fun. Kay's co-leader was Harriet nagel, a creative and easygoing lady, and the club got off to a flying start. Field trips, crafts, picnics at Zilker Park with the whole council, earning badges, overnights with the other clubs and trying out the special cakes that were bid on at the end of the big picnics. The club was active during the grade school years and was followed by another Blue Bird club of which Kay's and Harriet's younger daughters were members.  

                                                           

Kay continued her involvement with Camp Fire via the Board where she served as president twice. She worked with the fall recruitment program which was via the public schools and involved the other youth organizations. We also recruited where else we could get our foot in the door. 


Leon's work with our Council was on the relocation committee which spent their efforts in securing locations for our Council's office. 

Camp Fire is still a superior program and has been a wonderful organization for many young people who have been blessed to be a part of a "blowing and going" group!



Thrive Award

The Thrive Award recognizes individuals who have contributed time and effort behind the scenes to get a program started or bring a program to a new community. Since Thriving is all about having a Growth Mindset and looking for the opportunity in every new challenge, the Thrive Award honors innovation, perseverance, and creative problem-solving.


Diana Wheeler

Diana Wheeler has lived in Austin since 1998 and she has served on the Board of Camp Fire Central Texas from 2003 to the present. Diana received Master’s degree in Environmental Science from Yale with a concentration in environmental education. She taught at Outdoor/Experiential schools in Chesapeake Bay, MD and Albuquerque, NM, for elementary and middle school kids. Since being in Austin she has worked in IT, but her passion remains working on programs that facilitate a love and appreciation of nature. She currently works for Austin Energy as an IT Manager. Diana feels fortunate that both her kids have been able to participate in many of Camp Fire’s programs, like several years of summer camps and Backpacking club trips (including the Heifer Ranch ‘international village’ experience In Arkansas).





Kay and Leon Whitney Award for Service

The Kay & Leon Whitney Award for Service recognizes individuals who have given service to the causes of youth development and environmental stewardship. Giving service means being a champion for youth and education, listening to the community, and helping to forge a path forward for future generations.

Granville and Reba Ott

Reba was raised on a farm north of Waco. She went to UT in 1956 paying her way working in the registrar’s office receiving a BA in 1961.

Granville was born in San Angelo, and raised by his grandparents in Corpus Christi and northwest Arkansas. He went to UT in 1954 and spent 10 years completing his BE, MS, and PhD in Electrical Engineering. He paid his way working at an engineering and the Defense Research Labs. He finished in 1964. 

They were married in December 1963 then Granville went to work at Texas Instruments in Houston where Cynthia and Christopher were born. In 1968, Granville became a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri where they became active with Camp Fire. In 1976 Granville Returned to TI to work on the home computer in Lubbock, Texas. They continued with Camp Fire and Granville and Christopher started with Boy Scouts. Granville has been a scoutmaster for the past 40 years with over 30 eagles.

Reba’s activities – When Cynthia was 6 years old we joined Camp Fire and she received her WoHeLo medallion. We have been in four councils in Columbia, Missouri; Lubbock, Texas; Richardson, Texas; and Austin, Texas. Reba has worn different hats as a club leader, day and summer camp staff, and story teller. She has been at Camp Monakiwa, New Mexico as craft cabin director emphasizing nature, and then nature director and was named “Mother Nature.” She also cared for the hummingbirds. Our Chris was in the first boy group staying in Buzzards Roost bunk house in camp.

At Camp Monakiwa, Reba saw horses come and go, fire evacuations, a snow storm, girls roofing the main lodge, and a bear opening the sliding door of the garbage van. Most of all, she is thankful for the two camp nurses who had been earlier campers. They told her “Mother Nature stand still” as they used their stethoscopes when they heard she had a pain. They sent her to Santa Fe’s wonderful hospital for a stent.

Along the way she became a storyteller and continues storytelling at our senior living center.

You gotta love Camp Fire,

WoHeLo



Keynote Speaker


Monica Lopez Magee

Our Partners

Camp Fire Central Texas Partners


United Way of Greater Austin

Texas Parks & Wildlife

Austin Parks & Recreation Department

Texas Children in Nature

Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center

Austin ISD

Del Valle ISD

Hays ISD

Leander ISD

Eanes ISD

Round Rock ISD

Manor ISD

Marble Falls ISD

KLRU

City of Austin

Austin State Supported Living Center

St. Davids Foundation 


Friends of Camp Fire Central Texas


Burdine Johnson Family Foundation

Lola Wright Foundation

Southeast Health & Wellness Center

NatureRocks Austin

Susan Vaughan

HEB Tournament Of Champions

Jacob & Therese Hershey Foundation

Austin Film Society

Circuit of the Americas

Dell Diamond

City of Austin Bright Green Futures

Yard Bar

Whole Earth Provision

Live Oak Brewery

Keep Austin Beautiful

YETI

Junior League of Austin

New York Life

Tito's Vodka

MSW Vitamin Lounge

Zulu Nyala Game Lodge 




Camp Fire Central Texas is a charitable organization as described in §501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; EIN#: 74-1552713, registered in the state of Texas. In accordance with the Internal Revenue Service guidelines, Camp Fire Central Texas maintains discretion and sole control over the use of all donated funds. All donations are non-refundable. In practice, Camp Fire Central Texas honors the giving preferences for any of our previously approved programs and projects whenever possible. In rare cases, when that is not possible, gifts will be used where needed. Therefore, donors explicitly release Camp Fire Central Texas from any restrictions on how those funds are spent. No goods or services were provided in return for any contribution. Contributions are tax-deductible to the limit allowed by law if the donor itemizes. Donors who donate more than $249.99 in any given year will be mailed a statement for all their donations by January of the following year. If you have any questions regarding your donation(s) or Camp Fire Central Texas or you need a receipt or a statement of any of your contributions, please feel free to contact us HERE.

Financial statements and other information about Camp Fire Central Texas's purpose, programs, and activities can be obtained on ECFA.org and Guidestar.org or by contacting Camp Fire Central Texas at acooper@camp-fire.org.