Camp Fire Camp El Tesoro
Camp El Tesoro Nature Day Camp is eight weeks of interactive, outdoor adventures that encourage children to flex their minds and muscles.
Unique weekly focus areas allow campers to discover our world from the natural (trees, bugs, bones and rocks) to the terrestrial (solar system) and ecological (recycling, going green). Art, science and good-old fashioned exploration will fill mornings while afternoons are a mix of swimming and adventure with archery, horseback riding, canoeing and more.
Be sure and join us for a special overnight option each week on Wednesday night! We’ll cook our dinner over a campfire, hike under the stars and stay in a cabin.
Week 1 – Animal Planet
Week 2 – Towering Trees and Pollinator Power
Week 3 – Earth, Wind, & Fire (and Water, too)
Week 4 – Wilderness Survival
Week 5 – Nature’s Builders and Explorers
Week 6 – Treasure Hunters
Week 7 – Backbone Not Required
Week 8 – Service Learning
“Camp El Tesoro is aware of the effects that the ongoing COVID-19 crisis will have on summer camp for the foreseeable future. Knowing that camper health and safety is of the utmost importance, Camp El Tesoro is constantly monitoring the developing public health situation and is in frequent communication with state and local public health officials, as well as with national organizations who provide data and guidelines for camps and similar industries, such as the American Camp Association (ACA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Safety of our campers, staff, and their families is our highest priority, so the current policies that are listed on this FAQs page and Day Camp Guide could change for summer 2021, and if so, the policies will be in line with the best practices that are recommended by the CDC, ACA, and state health department.”
“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 participate in three activities each morning, including Outdoor Education, Teambuilding, Nature Exploration, Science Experiments, Arts & Crafts, and more, along with a morning snack time. In the afternoons on Monday-Thursday, campers take part in ‘Taste of Camp,’ trying out one of four different activities (archery, kayaking, challenge course low ropes, and horseback), each afternoon. On Friday afternoons, day campers participate in a series of events called Color Wars.
After their Taste of Camp activity for the day and an afternoon snack, campers have free swim time each afternoon in our lower pool, followed by parent pick-up time.”
Day campers are grouped by grade level. Depending on the week, each age group tends to have between 12-15 campers.
Grade: Staff to Camper Ratio (Maximum number of campers per counselor):
K – 1st 1:6
2nd – 3rd 1:6
4th – 5th 1:8
“For the optional Wednesday Night Overnight, day campers stay in one of three screened-in cabins that are located right next to each other and near the lower pool and Main Lodge.
Space is limited for the optional overnight. Campers are grouped into cabins by gender, and a maximum of 7 campers are assigned to each cabin. Each camper is provided a twin-sized bed. Please see “”Wednesday Night Overnight”” for the recommended overnight packing list.
Each cabin has a minimum of 1 counselor assigned, and cabins with 5 or more campers have 2 counselors assigned.”
The camp store sells sports drinks, snacks and souvenirs. Campers can purchase merchandise and/or snacks daily, Monday-Friday.
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 in both our day camp and our resident camp, but this is not always acheived on the first day. Please be patient. Day Camp photos will be uploaded throughout the week.
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.”
A full refund of camp fees will be granted to those who cancel in writing two weeks prior to the session start date. A partial refund (50%) of camp fees will be granted to those who cancel after that date.
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 office Monday – Friday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm at 817-989-9004.
First Day: Please arrive at 7:30 a.m. for check-in and to meet the staff.
Remember to bring your signed Parent Consent form and a copy of your campers shot record if not already provided through CampBrain.
• Campers arrive between 7:30 and 8:00 a.m.
• Programs will begin at 8:00 a.m.
• Campers will be welcomed and signed in with a staff member in the parking lot area, then cross the swinging bridge to start their day!
Planned activities will end at 5:00 p.m. each day. Families are to cross the bridge and check campers out from the Louisa Haun Main Lodge.
• Check out begins at 5:00 p.m. All campers must be picked up by 5:45 p.m.
• Family members should be prepared to show their driver’s license at pick up.
• Arrangements for earlier pick up times should be made in advance with the camp staff.
• Arrangements for another adult picking up your camper should be made in advance with the camp staff. The adult must be named on the registration form and will be required to show their driver’s license before picking up your camper.
“Camp El Tesoro provides a healthy morning snack, a healthy afternoon snack, and lunch each day. Lunch includes 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 takes a turn and shares in this responsibility.
El Tesoro is a nut-free facility.
For the Wednesday Night Overnight, a cookout dinner is provided, as well as breakfast on Thursday morning.”
“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 can adapt to 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 snack time during the hottest part of the day and campers swim each afternoon. We require that each camper bring 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.”
“The Camp El Tesoro Jr. Counselor-in-Training Program (Jr. CIT) is a leadership/skills training opportunity for youth entering 6th or 7th grade. During this time, Jr. CIT’s are considered “campers” and not “camp staff”. The program includes training in skills related to working with children, camping, Thrive and the national Camp Fire program.
Jr. CITs will serve as counselors’ assistants and help lead groups of campers throughout the camp day. During this opportunity, the Jr. CITs assist with morning camp activities, such as daily nature lessons and leading camp songs. They will also assist with daily cleanup.
Spots are very limited, so those interested in participating in the Jr. CIT program must complete an application and provide references. To ask questions about the JR. CIT program or to apply, please contact the Camp Director at firstname.lastname@example.org”
“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 Act.
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 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.
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.
Every day, campers should wear close-toed shoes (flat, no heel) with socks and bring a small backpack to hold the following:
• Sunscreen (to reapply during the day)
• Swim suit (One-piece and tankinis allowed, NO bikini-style for girls. Traditional trunk-style for boys).
• Pool towel
• Change of clothes, socks (in large zip baggie)
• Large-mouth water bottle
• Insect repellent
• All-terrain sandals (optional)
Everything should be marked with the camper’s name. Your camper will be outside and active at camp. Please send older clothes, towels, etc. New items are not recommended.
Special items may be requested in advance for certain activities, but are not required every day:
• Aqua shoes for swimming pool/creek walking/canoeing
• Blue jeans and boots for horseback riding (Boots and jeans are available at the Equestrian Center if campers do not have their own.)
Please see “Wednesday Night Overnight” for the recommended packing list for the optional overnight.
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.
“Each afternoon (weather permitting), day campers get to participate in free swim.
The day camp pool is a zero-entry pool and maxes out at a depth of 5’. There is not a swim test for day camp, since there is no deep end. However, at parents’ request, campers can be required to wear a life jacket in the pool.
We utilize a buddy system, and we maintain a ratio of 1 certified lifeguard for every 25 swimmers, along with 1 staff watcher for every 10 people who are inside the pool gate.”
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 lunch in the form of a song. Campers participate in songs and watch skits in our outdoor Chapel some afternoons.
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.
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”
“Campers have an opportunity to get a taste of Overnight Camp on Wednesday night. All campers not staying for overnight will need to be picked up by 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Wednesday overnight campers must be registered and paid through CampBrain by Tuesday at noon. The cost for the optional overnight is $25. A minimum number of campers must be registered by Tuesday at noon for the optional Overnight to take place.
Campers staying overnight should pack their backpack for the day as well as a second small overnight bag. This overnight bag will be carried to the cabins on Wednesday morning and will not be available during the day. As it is just one night, we are not scheduling to take showers at camp.
Please pack only the following items in the overnight bag:
• Mess kit and dunk bag (heavy plastic plate and fork in a small mesh bag/lingerie net bag for cookout)
• Toothbrush and toothpaste
• Comb or brush
• Small hand towel
• Full change of clothes
• Flashlight (check batteries)
• Blanket and sheets for twin size bed/sleeping bag
• Pillow and pillow case
• Battery Operated Fan (Optional)”
I don’t get stuck because I can always come back to the growth mindset that I learned from Camp Fire…
Jakob D., College Senior; Camp Fire Alum, Former Counselor
My time as a Camp Fire camp counselor is something I’m especially proud of. I learned to never give up, to always keep trying…what I learned from Camp Fire has helped me of live my life with forward momentum. I keep trying to learn new skill sets. I don’t get stuck because I can always come back to the growth mindset that I learned from Camp Fire, and from my elders.
I saw some spark come back to my son, and I am a grateful mama.
My son had many difficulties in 3rd grade, and he was so defeated by the end of the school year. He wasn’t excited about a new camp, but quickly changed his mind after the first day. He also won a Leadership Award, and for the kid that didn’t win anything all school year, it was so very meaningful. I saw some spark come back to my son, and I am a grateful mama.