Challenge Grant Brings Camp Fire Campaign for El Tesoro Closer to Completion

$250,000 challenge grant from the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation

Posted on: 06/23/2014   |   Category: Grants & Donations

Fort Worth, Texas (June 23, 2014) - Camp Fire First Texas was notified in May that the "Campaign for El Tesoro" had received a $250,000 challenge grant from the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation. To receive the grant, Camp Fire supporters must raise $785,859 by April 1, 2015. The "Campaign for El Tesoro" has a goal of $10.7 million and has raised $8.6 million. Successfully meeting this challenge grant brings the organization closer to reaching that goal.


"We embarked on this journey because the resounding voice of the communities we serve said that youth and families need a traditional camp that is affordable and accessible to the everyday kid," said Tod Miller, chairman of the capital campaign steering committee. "The generous outpouring of support has demonstrated that commitment to the goals of Camp Fire and the campaign. Today, we are reaching out to our communities to help take another big step forward."


Camp Fire has been raising funds since 2010 to renovate and update Camp El Tesoro, the camp owned and operated by the organization for 81 years. The 223-acre camp has been the summer home for more than four generations of campers. This amounts to hundreds of thousands of campers, including campers with special needs and youth who have experienced the death of a loved one through a week-long grief recovery camp program. But it's much more than a summer destination. Camp El Tesoro welcomes families at camping weekends, groups and businesses who rent the facility and thousands of elementary school students who learn from their experiences through Camp Fire's unique outdoor education program and curriculum.

The Campaign for El Tesoro has completed the first phase of renovations, including a new challenge course, 12,500 square foot covered riding arena and equestrian center, dining hall (WoHeLo Lodge), health house, office, store ,multi-purpose sports court, and renovations to Horizon Lodge. The second phase began with the addition of eight cabins that opened to campers this summer. Remaining projects include adding 12 more cabins, repurposing the Louisa Haun Lodge for a Welcome and Outdoor Education Center, creating an Arts Village, adding staff housing, pool renovations and improving infrastructure.

"Camp El Tesoro is one of the oldest non-profit camps in north Texas and the only Camp Fire owned camp still operating in the entire state of Texas. Now is the time for our families, supporters and all lovers of the outdoors to show their financial support of this project," said Zem Neill, President/CEO of Camp Fire First Texas. "Every contribution makes a difference and ensures that the organization has quality facilities to continue providing meaningful year-round outdoor experiences to youth and families."


This is the second challenge grant the Camp Fire Campaign for El Tesoro has received from the J.E and L.E. Mabee Foundation. The first, received in 2012, surpassed the challenge goal and raised $1.498 million.


To help the Campaign for El Tesoro meet their challenge grant goals, make a contribution online at or call 817-831-2111.



Camp Fire
Camp Fire is one of the nation's leading nonprofit youth development organizations, serving youth, teens, and families in communities across the United States. Camp Fire programs are research-based, delivered where youth and families are via out-of-school time, environmental and camp, and teen service, and leadership programs. Because youth want to shape the world, Camp Fire's focus is giving youth and teens the opportunity to find their sparks, lift their voice, and discover who they are. Camp Fire programs are proven to develop young peoples' skills now so they can reach their full potential. Learn more about the history of how this vital organization has continued to serve children and those that teach them throughout the last century by visiting

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