Worthy of Your Investment: Camp Fire First Texas Receives CNM Certified Prime 2023, a Camp Fire First Texas blog

Fort Worth, Texas (July 18, 2023) – Camp Fire First Texas’ grief camp program helps kids mourn the death of a loved one.

To the child who lives in anger over a murdered parent, the grandchild who has anxiety about visiting hospitals, and the sibling who sleeps with their sister’s shirt because it still smells like her – Camp Fire Camp El Tesoro de la Vida offers hope and normalization. At Camp El Tesoro de la Vida (ETDLV), children escape the suffering of grief and enter a world of healing and peace with other children like them. A week-long co-ed overnight camp planned with 90% fun and 10% counseling awaits North Texas children ages six to 17 who have experienced the death of a loved one.

Camp El Tesoro de la Vida, Spanish for “The Treasure of Life,” was founded in 1988 to offer grieving children a supportive atmosphere to deal with the loss of a loved one, as well as a place to have fun. The innovative program was the creation of Joan Katz, Maurie Reynolds, and Lisa Flores in partnership with then Camp Fire First Texas President/CEO Zem Neill. The program started with just 30 campers and has served more than 2,000 grieving youth over five decades.

2023 CAMPER DATA: 119 Campers (65 girls, 54 boys)

Brian Miller, M.S., LPC, current Camp Fire interim president/CEO, first attended ETDLV as a student volunteer in the early 1990s. He said, “What I saw there not only changed the course of my career but the course of my life. In 20 subsequent years of clinical practice, I have not seen a more effective therapeutic modality.”

“Youth arrive at ETDLV sometimes afraid to speak openly about their loss and leave with tools to navigate their grief, the knowledge that they aren’t alone, and friendships that can last a lifetime,” Miller explained.

Summer 2023 kicks off on Sunday, July 23, with 119 registered campers supported by 75 volunteers organized by Volunteer Camp Director Denis Cranford. Their days are filled with camp activities like horseback riding, canoeing, archery, high-ropes challenge course, creek walking, songs, campfires, swimming, and group therapy. Cranford has been a volunteer since 1993 and served as camp director for 27 years.

“There are other grief camps around, but what makes this one unique is that it is week-long and provides grief therapy with licensed professional counselors. This is the first year we have had more campers than we can accommodate, with 12 on a waitlist. The need is just so great to help these children connect, find a safe place to feel all of their feelings while taking a deep breath to experience the joys of childhood at summer camp,” said Cranford, retired JPMorgan Chase Bank vice president.

Camp El Tesoro de la Vida is made possible in part through the generosity of many community individuals, foundations, and organizations. In 2022, 87% of the campers attended on a scholarship. Campers are referred by North Texas organizations, including The WARM Place, Cook Children’s Health Care System, private counselors, and school staff, as well as friends and family.

The program ends with a closing ceremony on July 29, where campers place hand-painted rocks in memory of their loved one at the base of a newly planted tree and return to their families a little stronger, filled with laughter and camp memories.

WHEN: Sunday, July 23 – Saturday, July 29, 2023

WHERE: Camp Fire Camp El Tesoro, 7710 Fall Creek Hwy, Granbury, TX 76049

ASSETS: Photos available on request | YouTube El Tesoro de la Vida Grief Camp Playlist

MEDIA: If you would like to interview staff, volunteers, campers, or visit camp, don’t hesitate to contact Sara Mitchell, Director of Marketing, at 817.806.5450 or [email protected].


About Camp Fire First Texas

Camp Fire First Texas invests in North Texas communities by providing out-of-school time and outdoor learning programs for children and youth while also offering workforce development programs for the educators who care for them.

Our programs stand out as they are uniquely focused on the two periods of greatest brain growth and development: early childhood and early adolescence; leverage the impact of the outdoor environment on the brain to educate and connect children to each other and the world around them; and maintain a continuous improvement loop to maximize community impact.

We envision a community in which every child has equitable access to quality learning opportunities that cultivate the skills they need to succeed and thrive in a rapidly changing world.