Frequently Asked Questions
Pre-Camp Health Screens: Campers will be required to arrive with a completed 5-day pre-screen health log completed by their adult.
COVID Testing: A negative COVID-19 test is not required to attend camp, but it is recommended to self-test at home before arriving.
Camp El Tesoro offers age appropriate activities that develop social and emotional confidence in campers while they have fun in the outdoors and make new friends.
Campers entering grades 1-5 who are in their 1st or 2nd year of attending El Tesoro will participate in a ‘Taste of Camp’ on Monday-Wednesday, trying out nine* morning activities before selecting their three favorites to try again on Thursday and Friday.
Campers entering 6th grade and above or who have already completed two summers at El Tesoro, will select their three activities for the week when they arrive at camp on Sunday afternoon. We encourage campers to select their own activities to help develop the sense of independence they will experience while at camp.
Campers increase their skills by advancing through progression levels within each activity and are recognized on Friday by receiving honor beads.
Campers are grouped by grade level and gender.
|Grade: Staff to Camper Ratio (Maximum number of campers per counselor):||1st & 2nd 1:6|
|3rd – 5th||1:8|
|7th & 8th||1:10|
|9th & 10th||1:10|
Campers stay in modern, enclosed cabins set in three units in camp. Each clean, comfortable cabin has the capacity sleep ten campers and two counselors in twin-size beds. Each bed space has its own outlet for campers’ fans. All of our cabins have indoor bathrooms with two toilet stalls, three sinks and three private showers. All cabins are ADA accessible. Watch our virtual tour video.
Each camper will have the opportunity to purchase merchandise from the Camp Store once per week. Campers will be able to purchase snacks from the Camp Store every afternoon.
Add money to your campers’ store account by logging into your CampBrain account. Campers only need to give their name to access the funds you have deposited.
Although there is no required amount, most parents
deposit $20-$40. Campers that have a balance in their
store account greater than $5 may only request a refund
by submitting this form within 30 days of the end of
your child’s camp session. Unclaimed balances, and
those less than $5, will be donated to the Camp El Tesoro
CASH IS NOT ACCEPTED at Camp El Tesoro. Please
do not send your camper with any form of cash. All
purchases must be made through their camp store
See the following list for a price range of store items:
- T-shirts: $5-$14
- Other apparel: $4-$30 for bandannas, ball caps,
hoodies, rain jackets
- Essentials: $4-$12 for sunglasses, travel toothbrush,
water bottle, travel cutlery, etc.
- Cabin upgrades: $8-$30 for laundry bag, sweatshirt
- Snacks: $1-$4 for sports drinks, beef jerky, ice cream
bars, slushies, etc.
SmugMug offers camp parents and relatives a glimpse
into camp life by posting photos in a password-protected
online photo gallery. When your child is attending camp,
you can sort the pictures by session to see what kind of
fun they are having.
We love camp photos as much as you do but remember
this – the safety and well-being of your child is our
number one priority. No matter what. If it came down to
helping a child with an activity and stepping in to ensure
safety or taking a photo – we are going to pick safety
every single time. Sometimes even our photographers
put the camera down to help a child be more ‘in the
moment’. Photos might last forever, but so do memories
made at camp – and that’s something we’re committed
to building through personal interactions with our well-trained
Photo Gallery link and password will be communicated in email two
weeks prior to your camper’s session.
Read our blog Cheese! Let’s Talk About Those Camp Photos.
Campers will receive a printed 8×10″ cabin photo at the close of their session.
Your $150 deposit is non-refundable. A request for a refund of your additional payments can be made, in writing to [email protected], up to 14 days prior to the first day of your registered session. No refund will be made if you cancel after this time frame.
Sessions can be changed, depending on availability, at
no charge if done before May 1, 2022. After May 1, a fee
of $25 will be applied.
Camp Fire Camp El Tesoro’s Counselor in Training (CIT) program is a four week commitment for two consecutive summers for campers who have completed their sophomore year of high school. CITs learn and build on leadership, communication and program delivery skills. Previous summers at El Tesoro is not a pre-requisite. An application and interview process is required for admittance into the CIT program.
If you need to speak to the Camp Director or get a critical message to your child, please call the El Tesoro camp office 817.989.9004. If you have a need that concerns your account, please call the Camp Fire main office at 817.831.2111.
Arriving at camp is an exciting time! Review the following
check-in procedures to ensure a smooth drop-off.
Important: Please have your child arrive in a white shirt and any color shorts, with their swimsuit on underneath their clothes. Boys can arrive in their swim trunks but should have shorts in their backpacks for cabin photos following swim tests.
Arrival Health Screening
Upon arrival to camp, without exiting their vehicle, campers and any other individuals in the vehicle will be screened by the camp medical staff for any illness symptoms.
Upon arrival you will receive color coded luggage tags. Staff will be present to assist with tagging and unloading luggage. Please make sure camper’s name is on the outside of the footlocker/trunk and on any additional items, including fans, pillows and laundry bags.
Times & Days
Campers arrive on Sunday, the date their session begins, between 3:00 – 4:30 p.m.
We ask that campers do NOT arrive outside of the time frame without having first contacted the Camp Director to get approval. If you are delayed, please call 817.989.9004.
Forms Required at Check In at Camp
Bring completed hard copies to check in at Camp:
- Physician’s Form (annual physical signed by doctor) – Bring as a hard copy or upload online in CampBrain two weeks prior to arrival at camp
- 5-day Pre-Camp Health Screening Form – must bring as a hard copy to camp
Fill Out Online Two Weeks Prior
Fill out online two weeks prior to arrival at Camp:
- Health History Form, including Medication Information and Shot Records
- Parent Consent Form
What To Wear & Bring On Arrival
Please have your child arrive in a white shirt and any color shorts for cabin photos
- Be dressed in closed toe tennis shoes or light hiking boots
- Arrive with a backpack containing towel and swimsuit
- Water bottle – 32 oz heavy duty
- ANY and ALL medications must be in ORIGINAL containers inside a sealable plastic bag labeled with your camper’s name.
The Campership Application is part of our online registration system. Be sure to follow these steps and your campership application will be considered complete:
1. Register your child for your desired session.
2. Complete the Campership Application in the forms section.
3. Submit the supporting documentation in the Upload Paperwork section of your registration details after registering your child for camp.
When you get to the payment section of the online registration be sure to choose the option “”Applying for a Campership with my registration“” and it will not charge you a fee. The application deadline is February 1. Access registration and the Campership Application.
Our professional food service staff serve delicious, nutritious, well-balanced meals in our dining hall.
Camp El Tesoro provides three meals a day.
- For breakfast we offer a hot meal line as well as a variety of cereal, yogurt and fruit.
- Lunch and dinner include a hot meal served family-style by cabin and a salad bar.
Part of the camp experience is participating in meal set-up and clean-up. Every child in a cabin takes a turn and shares in this responsibility.
On Wednesday nights campers participate in Dessert Cookout after dinner in the dining hall – they learn to build a campfire, create their own treat and cook it over a campfire and enjoy it under the stars.
El Tesoro is a nut-free facility.
Even if it’s hot outside, camp is a great place to be! Campers easily adapt to living in the summer heat by staying hydrated, resting during the hottest part of the day and wearing cool cotton clothing. Camp staff are trained to recognize heat problems and take steps to minimize them. We plan quiet activities during the hottest part of the day and campers swim daily. We require that each camper bring a fan for inside the cabin and a water bottle with his or her name on it. We will see that it is always filled with water, which always makes the heat more bearable.
With years of experience, we’ve learned four things about homesickness: (1) by watching for early signs, homesickness is usually avoidable; (2) once parents/guardians are out of sight, counselors and other campers come into a child’s focus and the fun starts; (3) parents/guardians are usually more uneasy about leaving their children than children are in leaving their parents/guardians and, (4) the parent/guardian’s attitude about their child being away from home has a strong impact on children. Parents/guardians can help prevent homesickness prior to arrival at camp by speaking of the camp experience in a positive manner. NEVER tell your child that you may not make it without them or that you think they may miss home too much to stay away that long. Let them know how much you love them and want them to have a great experience in growing up!
Camp Fire believes in the dignity and the intrinsic worth of every human being. We welcome, affirm, and support young people and adults of all abilities and disabilities, experiences, races, ethnicities, socio-economic backgrounds, sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions, religion and non-religion, citizenship and immigration status, and any other category people use to define themselves or others. We strive to create safe and inclusive environments that celebrate diversity and foster positive relationships.
Camp Fire Camp El Tesoro meets the high standard set by Camp Fire and is licensed and operates in accordance with the Texas Youth Camp Safety and Health
Camp El Tesoro has been accredited by the ACA for more than 50 years. Every few years, the camp demonstrates to ACA visitors that we meet up to 300 standards in health care, food service, site and facilities, transportation, administration, emergency management, human resources, program quality, and safety for activities such as waterfront, horseback riding, challenge course, and more.
ACA Standards are recognized by courts of law and governments as the guiding standards in the camp community. Choosing an ACA Accredited camp means choosing a camp that believes in upholding best practices and has a commitment to safety.
For more information about the ACA or the accreditation process, visit their website.
Please do not send anything to camp that is irreplaceable. Learning to be responsible for your own items is a big lesson at summer camp. Campers can check Lost & Found throughout the week and parents can check Lost & Found before leaving on closing night. All unclaimed items will be held at camp until August 1.
Allow enough time for the mail to reach your camper before the end of their session.
Please do not send any food to campers. Food in cabins invites unwelcome visitors (animals!). Packages received after the camper’s session has ended will be returned. The last day campers receive mail is lunch on Friday.
When sending care packages, consider items such as: books, cards, address books, small stuffed animals, and/or items to share with the cabin. Check out our care package blog for fun ideas.
Packages & Mail at Drop Off
Care packages may be dropped off at arrival with the name of your camper, and the date you would like the package to be delivered.
Packages & Mail May Be Sent To
Camp Session (example: A, B, BC – look at your registration for the letter)
Camp El Tesoro
7710 Fall Creek Hwy.
Granbury, TX 76049
Cabin Notes Emails
This one-way communication is just like sending a letter except it will be delivered a bit quicker and no stamp or payment is required! It will help delivery if you know your camper’s SESSION and CABIN NAME.
Simply use this link and start typing! https://campfirefw.wufoo.com/forms/cabin-notes/
CabinNotes should NOT be sent before your camper arrives at camp. The last day campers receive Cabin Notes is lunch on Friday.
Mask use is welcomed.
If your camper has known allergies or will require any over-the-counter or prescription medications or vitamins, during camp, please follow the instructions in the Overnight Camp Parent Guide. The licensed Camp Nurse administers medications following the instructions that are outlined on the prescription.
Prior to your child’s arrival, let us know if your child has food allergies or special dietary needs so we can plan in advance for their stay at camp. Camp El Tesoro is a nut-free facility.
2023 Overnight Camp Packing List
We recommend packing a footlocker instead of a suitcase, and remember to label everything! Pack each day’s clothes in a separate plastic bag labeled with the day to help your child easily find everything they need. Send old clothes, towels and washcloths; we spend a lot of time outside so things tend to get dirty! Read our camp packing tips blog.
Upon arrival at El Tesoro you will receive color-coded luggage tags. Staff will be present to assist with tagging and unloading luggage. Please make sure the camper’s name is on the outside of the footlocker/trunk and on any additional items, including fans, pillows, and laundry bags.
Pets are not allowed. While Camp El Tesoro is a natural environment, please leave your pet at home regardless of size, temperament and breed to help ensure safety.
Try having your child spend the night with friends a few times before camp; this will get them used to saying away from home before staying at camp for a week. Have your child look for things in the house with a flashlight at night; this will prepare your child for getting up to go to the bathroom at night in their cabin. Have your child help pack for camp; this will let them know exactly what is in their footlocker and make it easier for them to pack when they go home. We only have showers at camp, so have your camper practice using a shower at home and send them with a shower caddy to help them keep up with their belongings.
While we recognize and are proud of our religiously-rooted historic beginnings, Camp Fire and Camp El Tesoro are not religiously affiliated; however, because of our strong belief in tradition and history, some aspects of camp may involve language that could be perceived as religious. For example, campers will say grace before every meal in the form of a song. Campers participate in songs and watch skits in our outdoor Chapel on Monday & Tuesday evenings. Two-week campers will attend a reflection service at our outdoor Chapel area on Sunday morning. During this time, campers are asked to reflect on their week and discuss how they can grow as leaders.
Camp El Tesoro can include up to five campers each week with mild intellectual or developmental disabilities to join the fun opportunities for personal growth at camp. Learn more about our Inclusion Programs.
Camp El Tesoro’s staff is dedicated to making your child’s camp experience memorable, fun and safe. All of our staff members are background checked on an annual basis through VeriFYI.org, which screens for Texas state records, multi-jurisdictional records, sex offender records, and verifies their identity through their Social Security number.
All of our new staff are interviewed, background checked, have their work history verified, and have at least 2 reference checks completed prior to being hired.
We also require counselors to be at least 18 years old and all of our activity directors are 21 or older.
Prior to campers arriving, all staff participate in an intensive week-long on-site training that includes risk management, emergency procedures, inclusive practices, positive behavior management and teaching activities. During this week, all staff receive Child Abuse and Sexual Molestation Prevention training through Alliance for Children, which is an approved Youth Camp & Campus Programs for Minors Sexual Abuse And Child Molestation Awareness Training And Examination as determined by the Texas Department of Health and Human Services. All staff are also certified in First Aid and CPR.
Activity facilitators for lifeguarding, challenge course, and archery receive an additional week of training specific to their program areas. Those program coordinators are certified in one or more of the following: lifeguarding, archery, canoe/kayak, challenge course and horseback riding.
A mandatory swim test is conducted immediately after check in. To pass the test, a camper must successfully complete two phases: Phase I: Swim across and back (the full width of the pool, 15 yards), without touching the bottom. Phase II: Tread water for one minute in the deep end, then swim one width of the pool. During the swim test, trained and certified lifeguards are on duty. Campers unable to pass the swim test are required to stay in the shallow end of the pool during free swim.
Campers that attend El Tesoro for three summers receive a walking staff at Closing Ceremony with their name carved into it and the start of our tenure tree. Each year they are encouraged to bring their staff back and have another line carved into it. After ten years (all the years that a child can be a camper) the tree is complete.
On Friday of each week, every camper is provided with a medallion (AKA a “wood cookie”) that says “Camp El Tesoro 2021” on it. As they attend their morning activities on Friday, they are given a medallion from each activity and 1-3 red beads that correspond with their skill level and level of participation in that activity. Many campers add these medallion strands to their walking staff.
We strive to ensure the health and safety of all campers. If your child is on an alternative vaccination schedule, we require they have a Texas vaccine exemption certificate from their doctor or place of worship.
The camp experience provides an opportunity for children to develop a greater sense of independence and connect to nature. Therefore, no phone is available for campers to routinely make or receive calls. A camp staff member will call you if any issues arise. We have a strict no cell phone policy at camp.
Camp El Tesoro believes your child’s camping experience should be a time for growth, just as much as it is a time for fun. Because of this, we do not allow parents to stay with their campers or on camp property. Camp El Tesoro offers free open-house Camp Preview events in the spring for parents and campers to be able to visit camp prior to registering for the summer
Have more questions?
Call us at 817.831.2111
As we get older we are told that there isn’t any magic in the world. That it doesn’t really exist. But I don’t think that’s true. Camp is magic. The things we do, the friends we make, the buildings and being close to nature – it’s special here. It makes me happy, and that’s magic.
My daughters have attended Camp El Tesoro 5 and 8 consecutive years, respectively. Every year they count the days until camp. And when I pick them up they are energized with tales of new friendships and adventure. What a wonderful program. Bravo.
I used to get homesick my first few years at camp. It never stopped me from having fun, though. Now, when I’m at home, I get camp sick. I miss being at El Tesoro when I’m not here.