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Summer camp volunteer pictured smiling with camper. Camper wearing lifejacket smiles and swims up to a partner staff member using a pool noodle.
Photo by: Beyond Memory Photography Campers and camp staff watch friends scale the rockwall while wearing helmets and harnesses.
Photo by: Beyond Memory Photography Camper cheering on friend who is climbing the rockwall.
Photo by: Beyond Memory Photography

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    March 29, 2021

    How has Camp Aranzazu impacted students at The Tuttle School at Briarwood?

    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. I want to share a piece Cindy Thomas, a teacher at The Tuttle School at Briarwood and long-time camp partner, wrote for our staff to use as a way to show the importance of camp and the changes she’s witnessed in students who spend time at Camp Aranzazu. In a letter to camp president, Virginia Ballard, Cindy writes:

    The special needs students and their teachers of the Tuttle School at Briarwood have been blessed to attend Camp Aranzazu since it opened in 2006. The teachers of the Tuttle School are passionate about taking our students to camp for a number of reasons. The reasons are as numerous and varied as the students we teach. One of them was Thomas, a tall and handsome, non-verbal, autistic young man who enjoyed the climbing wall so much his parents hung a picture of him on it in his bedroom. They told me he smiles every time he sees it.

    Wisdom was another young man, who climbed to the top of the tower on his first visit to camp. He was hesitant to come down the zip line, though. No problem! At camp, everyone does what he or she feels comfortable with: we call it Challenge by Choice. Well, the next year Wisdom came back to camp after mentally preparing himself by watching zip-lining videos. After climbing the wall he came joyfully down the zip line.

    His words were “Mrs. Thomas, I have conquered my fears.” I saw this confidence carry over into every area of his life.

    I could go on and on with stories like these, as well as the many comments that the parents of some of these wonderful kids have had to say about camp, and what it has meant to their children and families:

    Caroline’s mother writes ~ For Caroline it has been gaining independence — socially and emotionally. Plus, she loves being with her friends. It’s like a long sleep over for her, which she really never gets to do at home. She gets to be a typical teenager, which is so important!

    Alayna’s mother writes ~ Camp has been the best thing ever for Alayna and our family. It has allowed her to feel independent and enjoy the fun things that other typical kids get to enjoy. It has given her parents (us) a nice break. Last summer, she had such a blast that she said she wants to go for a longer period this summer. We are so thankful for Camp Aranzazu for offering such a wonderful program for Alayna. She gets to experience things that she has never been able to in the past.

    Noah’s mom says ~ Noah starts asking about going to Camp Aranzazu soon after just finishing! It has been on his calendar for several years because he’s so engaged in and by the friendly, inclusive, active, and for him, magical experience. His enthusiasm for Camp Aranzazu is infectious; like a warm laugh, it engages all of us! Pick-up day is bittersweet because even in the few hours we’re there, we experience the warmth that makes leaving hard. So, we know why he soon starts asking about next year!

    That same thought is echoed by the teachers who go to camp with their students:

    “I have been in camp environments for years, from going to camp as a kid, to being a camp counselor in college, but Camp Aranzazu has completely blown my camp experience out of the water. The staff and counselors are the definition of present. The way they love our students encourages me to love them harder, too. Our week at camp in Rockport is one of the highlights of my entire year. Cheers to you, Camp Aranzazu!”
    Ruth Wilson
    “Camp Aranzazu is like home away from home. Everyone makes you feel like family. After they meet you one time they remember your name and go out of their way to always make you feel special. From the time you arrive until the time you leave you get this warm feeling in your heart that stays a lifetime.”
    Erica Harris
    “There are so many great things to say about Camp Aranzazu. It is an unbelievably beautiful place, with fun to be had at every turn. The activities are unique and inclusive, with something to offer for everyone. As lovely as the setting is, and as exciting as the adventures are, the thing that makes Camp Aranzazu so special is the staff. From the moment we arrive at Camp Aranzazu, my campers know they are in a place where they are loved and celebrated by everyone around them. The staff at Aranzazu have a genuine passion for what they do, and it shows in the way they interact with each camper. Whether it is sitting down at the lunch table to chat about a favorite singer or movie, playing backup dancer in the talent show, or shouting words of encouragement from the bottom of the rock wall, the Aranzazu staff radiates positivity and kindness at all times. Campers leave with a sense of confidence and accomplishment, and also great anticipation for next year---when they can come back again to see their “camp family” at Aranzazu!”
    Jessica Rivas

    Needless to say, missing in-person camp due to Covid-19 was heartbreaking for us all. Students, teachers, and parents alike are thrilled for our group to go back (with many precautions in place) in the summer of 2021! The difference Camp Aranzazu has made in so many lives is immeasurable, and can only be expressed in the joy that it has brought to all of us.

    Sincerely,

    Cindy Thomas

    Like Cindy said, we are THRILLED to welcome back the students and teachers from the Tuttle School at Briarwood this summer after having to cancel last year’s in-person summer camping season!

    To our Camp SOAR friends — we’ll see you all soon!

    The Tuttle School at Briarwood is a school for children with intellectual disabilities. You can learn more about The Tuttle School here.

     

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    In Other News

    Camp Aranzazu Aerial Dining Hall

    Monday, March 15, 2021

    We are starting this blog to, hopefully, give you a better insight into what happens every day at Camp Aranzazu and share even more stories about our campers and camp staff. I hope you can join in on the fun and learn more about Camp Aranzazu from the comfort of your own home!

    read more
    Three Camp Aranzazu activity leaders transporting supplies in golf cart.
Photo by: Beyond Memory Photography

    Monday, March 15, 2021

    Every year, our programming team seeks 20 college aged individuals with varying skill sets to work as Activity Leaders from mid-May to mid-August. If you’re wondering whether or not you might be a good fit for the position or wanting to learn more about the role, just keep reading!

    read more

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    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 email the completed form to our development associate, Bianca Hernandez. Thank you for your interest!


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

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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.

    Job Description Application Reference Form


    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. 

    Job Description


    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