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Camper smiling and holding a thumbs up while waiting to scale the rock wall. Group of campers kayaking for the first time since the COVID pandemic began in 2020.

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    April 19, 2021

    An Update from Camp President

    Dear Friends,

    It is an understatement to say that we are looking forward to providing a safe, fun, life-enriching experience to children and young adults with special needs and chronic illnesses this year. While “normal” may still be slightly out of reach, we recently hosted our first group of campers in over a year. The staff was relieved, ecstatic, and emotional to once again serve the children and adults who need and benefit from the unique services we provide.

    Even prior to the pandemic, however, safety was Camp Aranzazu’s highest priority. Shortly after opening our doors in 2006, we met the American Camp Association (ACA)’s rigorous standards for accreditation and have continued to do so ever since. I am grateful that the ACA now has provided Camp Aranzazu and thousands of other camps with detailed guidelines and comprehensive educational resources regarding how to operate safely in the current environment. We have used these guidelines to develop protocols and procedures specific to Camp Aranzazu and are excited that so many of our partners have signed up to return.

    While we have had numerous challenges over the years, this latest one made me realize just how uniquely vulnerable Camp Aranzazu is. There are the people we serve — almost all of whom have serious, life-threatening, chronic illnesses and conditions. Then there is our coastal location, which makes us vulnerable to hurricanes and tropical storms. Our commitment to underwriting much of the cost of camp also makes us vulnerable, as we are dependent on the communities we serve to help us raise approximately $1.2 million each year so that as many children and adults as possible can benefit from our unique form of therapy. And, lastly, there is the way in which we deliver our services. While it never would have been considered a vulnerability before last year, being in close proximity has always been part of the magic of camp — spending days together, sharing meals, laughs, sleeping quarters, sports equipment, everything.

    All that said — I also know that Camp Aranzazu is as resilient as it is vulnerable. Maybe it has something to do with our mission and the people we serve. The board and staff know how to practice what we preach. We bounce back. We see the challenges, agree on a path forward, and start moving in that direction.

    So in that light, Camp Aranzazu’s Board of Directors recently agreed to launch the Camp Aranzazu Resiliency Fund Campaign. The Resiliency Fund is a permanent endowment that will provide a stable, predictable source of revenue to support both the maintenance of the Camp’s facilities and the underwriting of camper fees. A very generous donor has pledged $1 million outright and has offered to match all gifts made to the Resiliency Fund by December 2022, up to $2.5 million. Our goal is to raise a total of $10 million by December 2024.

    While our goal is ambitious, reaching it will be transformational for the Camp. It will ensure that we always will be able to address the unmet social, emotional, and physical needs of children and adults with special needs and chronic illnesses, regardless of whatever new and unique challenges arise.

    If ever there were a time to ponder what matters most and to think about the legacy we each will leave behind, it is now. I look forward to working with you — our loyal and generous friends — to help make this big dream come true.

    With gratitude,

    Virginia C. Ballard, President

    For more information on Camp Aranzazu’s 2021 plans, you can check out our April Camp Connections newsletter.

     

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    In Other News

    Summer camp volunteer pictured smiling with camper.

    Monday, March 29, 2021

    While our staff understands the work we do and the need for our unique form of therapeutic recreation, our families and partners are the people who witness the impact of camp first hand for children and adults with special needs and chronic illnesses.

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    Monday, April 05, 2021

    Our fearless programming trio including Amelia Haslam Smith, Amanda Praet, and Carleigh Mitchell give life and purpose to every single activity our campers are exposed to at Camp Aranzazu.

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    Monday, April 12, 2021

    At the end of staff training, and before campers arrive, we close our training session with a ceremony to recognize how much our staff has accomplished and to get them in the mindset for what comes next, which is ultimately the best part, our campers!

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    Jennifer & Fields Alexander

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    Volunteer

    We welcome your help, whether it's once a week or once a year. Below is a list of volunteer opportunities that are typically available. If you are interested in volunteering, please download the volunteer application and return to Bianca Hernandez at bhernandez@camparanzazu.org. Thank you for your interest!


    Special Events Support

    Camp Aranzazu holds several fundraising events throughout the year in Houston, Corpus Christi, San Antonio, and Rockport. Volunteers are always needed!

    Maintenance of Facilities and Grounds

    With 104 acres, we can always use help more maintaining our beautiful camp.

    Front Office Support

    In the summer, we need help answering the phones, greeting guests, and keeping the office organized and running smoothly.

    Camp Care Days

    Join us for a day of volunteering, good food, and even better company at one of our volunteer work days this fall!

    • Saturday, April 4, 2020
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    Partner Camp Volunteer Opportunities

    Are you looking for ways to work directly with the children and adults with special needs and chronic illnesses that we serve? Check out our camping partners who are looking for volunteers for the coming camping season! 

    Camp Aspire

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    Activity Leader Summer 2019 Job Opportunity​​

    Every year, Camp Aranzazu hires roughly 20 college aged individuals with varying skill sets to work as Activity Leaders from mid-May to mid-August. Activity Leaders have the fun and impactful job of enriching the lives of our campers with special needs through unique camping, environmental studies and retreat experiences.

    Activity Leaders facilitate a variety of activities including, but not limited to arts and crafts, archery, high and low challenge courses, sports and games, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, fishing, sailing, swimming, nature sessions and more!

    Benefits of this paid position include room and board and the potential to satisfy fieldwork and internship requirements in various fields of study. The buttons below include the additional documentation you will need to apply for the Activity Leader position. Email your completed application, resume and two unique and completed reference forms to our Camp Director, Amelia Haslam, and prepare for the summer camp experience of a lifetime!

    If you have any questions, contact our Camp Director, Amelia Haslam, at ahaslam@camparanzazu.org.

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    Part-Time Receptionist

    Are you looking for a part-time job opportunity that allows you to be surrounded by nature in a supportive work environment? Camp Aranzazu currently has an opening for a part-time receptionist position on our staff. This opportunity will allow you to support our mission of enriching the lives of children and adults with special needs and chronic illnesses. To learn more about the position, click the job description below. 

    The Receptionist is responsible for overseeing functions related to the front office. The Receptionist also assists with special projects and provides some administrative support for all staff. If you are interested in the position and have any questions, please contact Lillian Anfosso, our Finance and Administative Director at lanfosso@camparanzazu.org. 

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    Sailing Supervisor

    Imagine a position that allows you to work with campers each day and have a beautiful view of Copano Bay along the Texas Gulf Coast.

    Camp Aranzazu seeks someone with strong sailing experience to supervise our summer sailing program from mid-May through August 2019. The Sailing Supervisor will ensure that Camp Aranzazu provides a safe environment for children with special medical, physical, emotional, social or financial needs to experience sailing. Camp sessions include day camp sessions, as well as residential sessions that last from one to six nights. If you have any questions, contact our Camp Director, Amelia Haslam, at ahaslam@camparanzazu.org.

    Make sure to check out the job description below. To apply, email your resume to Amelia Haslam. 


    Job Description


    Summer Art Instructor

    Do you have a passion for providing fine arts education and working with a committed staff of people dedicated to enriching the lives of children and adults with special needs and chronic illnesses?

    Camp Aranzazu seeks someone with art teaching experience to supervise our summer fine arts program from mid-May through mid-August 2019. The Art Instructor will ensure that Camp Aranzazu provides an intentional, expressive, and safe environment for children with special medical, physical, emotional, and/or social needs to create and experience fine arts. Camp session include day camp sessions, as well as residential sessions that last from one to six nights. If you have any questions, contact our Camp Director, Amelia Haslam, at ahaslam@camparanzazu.org.

    Make sure to check out the job description below. To apply, email your resume to Amelia Haslam. 

    Job Description