COVID-19 and Overnight Camp: What you need to know

Camp Fire Camp El Tesoro will be taking many safety precautions for summer 2021. These include, but not limited to, establishing and maintaining cabin “Family Groups”, social distancing, hand washing, wearing of masks at key times, eating meals in shifts, group activity selection and frequent sanitization of shared spaces.  We will also have smaller cabin ratios and be adjusting the floor plan within cabins. As to be expected, some events will need to be modified including “all camp” activities. Parents should also expect changes during drop off of campers which will be done from the car and will include health screenings for campers.  

Yes. At Camper check-in, families will be assigned a window of time to drop off campers. All family members in the vehicle will need to be screened. After the screening, only the camper/s will be permitted to leave the vehicle. Campers who are showing symptoms or whose family members are showing symptoms, will not be able to attend camp.  

Masks will only be required at certain times, such as during drop off, when multiple cabins of campers will be in close proximity to one another (ex: when cabins are entering the dining hall), and in certain activities where close proximity to staff members is essential for their safety (ex: horseback, high ropes course) 

Cabins will still be assigned by grade that campers are entering in Fall 2021. Each cabin will have a maximum of 10 cambers and a minimum of 2 counselors. Some may also have a Counselor –in-Training assigned to their cabin.  Each cabin will be treated as a “Family Group,” meaning that all members of the cabin (campers and staff) will not be required to socially distance from one another, but each cabin will socially distance from other cabins. 

Activities will look different this year.  Instead of individualized activity schedules chosen by the camper, like previous years, each CABIN of campers will have a schedule the whole cabin follows. Each cabin will sign up for activities together on Sunday evening after dinner and will travel together throughout the week to their activities

The cabin counselors will lead the majority of the activities, with a few exceptions that require staff with specialized certifications (ex: high ropes course, horseback, waterfront activities). We are working diligently to ensure campers get to experience a wide range of activities 

There will be multiple mealtimes and units of camp will have assigned mealtimes to limit the number of campers and staff in the dining hall at any given time and each cabin will have an assigned table which will be socially distanced from other cabins eating at the same time. Additionally, we will not serve “family style meals, there will be no self-serve items, and all meals will be served by trained camp kitchen staff, following strict cleaning and serving protocols. 

It is not required to self-isolate prior to arriving to camp, but we strongly recommend that families do so, if possible.  

All staff members will be required to arrive at camp at least 10 days prior to camper arrival. Staff will self-quarantine and undergo repeated health screenings before campers arrive. Once staff members arrive at camp, they will be required to stay on site for the duration of the summer. 

If anyone begins to exhibit symptoms while at camp, protocols established in line with recommendations and guidelines from the CDC, the health department and the American Camp Association will be enacted, which include isolating the camper/staff member and their cabin until they are able to safely leave camp, notifying the health department, and then beginning contact tracing and a communication chain in partnership with the health department. 

If a confirmed case is reported for a camper or staff member or a recent confirmed exposure is learned of while someone is attending camp, we will follow the recommendations and requirements from the health department in determining if and how much of camp will need to be closed (i.e. just the cabin, the unit, or the entire camp) 

If you have a credit in your account from your 2020 cancelled registration, that balance will automatically appear in your cart during checkout.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Overnight Camper Guide

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
6th 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.

The camp store sells sports drinks, snacks and souvenirs. Campers can purchase merchandise once per week and can purchase snacks daily, Monday-Thursday.

Camp Fire Camp El Tesoro partners with FunFangle to manage our Camp Store. After you register, you will be sent an invitation to create a FunFangle log in to access your camper’s store fund. If you already have an account, you will be sent the invitation as a reminder to update or add money to your camper account. You can log back in to your FunFangle account at https://campfirefw.funfangle.camp/signin.
Cash is not accepted at Camp El Tesoro.

Although there is no required amount, most parents deposit $20-$40. Any unused money over the amount of $5 can be refunded at the end of the summer or it will be donated to the Camp El Tesoro scholarship fund. A refund must be requested in writing to Refunds@CampFireFW.org within 30 days of the end of your child’s camp session. Store balances remaining from early bird or other special store credit are not eligible for refunds.

See the following list for a price range of store items:
– T-shirts: $7-$12
– Other apparel: $4-$30 for bandanas, 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 blankets, hammocks
– 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. Please note, our camp photographer works hard to capture images of every child but this is not always achieved on the first day. Please be patient. Photos will be uploaded three times per week – on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and on Saturday morning, in addition to cabin photos being uploaded by mid-morning on Monday (weather permitting).

You can find the link and password for the current camp season in your 2-week prior reminder email and in an email you receive on the Monday of your camper’s session.

Read our blog Cheese! Let’s Talk About Those Camp Photos.

Your $150 deposit is non-refundable. A request for a refund of your additional payments can be made, in writing to CampET@CampFireFW.org, 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.

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.

You can request up to two “cabin buddies” when you register. Requests must be the same gender, in the same age-ranges of camp and mutually requested. We try our best to accommodate cabin buddy requests. Cabin assignments are made the week prior to your child arriving at camp.

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.

Drop-Off

On the first day of your child’s camp session, check-in occurs from 3:00 – 4:30 p.m.
Staff will be available to assist with luggage.

WHAT TO WEAR & BRING ON ARRIVAL
• Please have your child arrive in a white shirt and black or blue (non-denim) shorts, with their swimsuit on underneath their clothes. Boys can arrive in their swim trunks but should have their black or blue shorts in their backpacks for cabin photos following swim tests.
• 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
• Swim shoes (optional)
• ANY and ALL medications must be in ORIGINAL containers inside a sealable plastic bag labeled with your camper’s name.
• ARRIVAL AT EQUESTRIAN WEEK For Equestrian Sessions, campers should arrive wearing jeans and boots, and should have their navy blue or black shorts, white shirt, towel and swimsuit in their backpack.

Pick-Up
Please note the day and date that your child’s camp session ends. All families are invited to attend their camper’s closing ceremony. Closing ceremonies will begin at 6:30 p.m. and will conclude at approximately 7:15 p.m.

Any individuals picking up campers must bring a photo ID with them for camp staff to verify.

If you need assistance crossing the swinging bridge or loading your luggage, please contact camp before arriving, so that we can assist you as needed. Please leave all four-legged friends at home.

Limited El Tesoro Camperships are available for families who qualify. Award amounts vary, but each family is expected to pay a minimum of $150 per camper.

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.

Camp El Tesoro provides three meals a day. For breakfast we offer a hot meal line as well as a variety of cereal and fruit. Lunch and dinner include a hot meal served family-style and a salad bar. 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. 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.

El Tesoro is a nut-free facility.

There is a licensed health-care provider living on-site during each week of camp. Parents will be contacted by the camp in case of illness or injury.

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!

As one of the nation’s leading youth development organizations, Camp Fire takes pride in its long-standing commitment to providing programs and services to all youth and families.

Camp Fire recognizes the dignity and worth of each individual and to seeks to eliminate human barriers based on all assumptions which prejudge individuals. Our program standards are designed and implemented to reduce sexual, racial, religious, and cultural stereotypes and to foster positive intercultural relationships. In Camp Fire, everyone is welcome.

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.

Yes, we encourage you to send mail and packages! There is nothing like a letter from home, so please write your camper regularly. You may want to mail a letter before your child leaves for camp so that it will arrive at the beginning of the week or bring letters and packages with you to drop off.

Please do not send any food to campers. Food in cabins invites unwelcome visitors (animals!). Additionally, camp is a nut-free zone. Any food or candy containing peanuts or processed in a facility with peanuts will be taken and returned at the end of camp. Packages received after the camper’s session has ended will be returned. The last day campers receive mail is 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.
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.

Mail and CabinNotes emails will be distributed everyday at lunchtime.

Camp address:
Camper’s Name
Camp Session (example: A, B, BC – look at your registration for the letter)
Camp El Tesoro
7710 Fall Creek Hwy.
Granbury, TX 76049

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.

2021 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 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.

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), 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.

During summer camp, the campers are very busy with activities and making new friends. We ask that you do not visit camp during this time. If there is an emergency and you need to pick up your camper, please contact the Camp Director before arriving at camp.

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