important announcement summer 2020

UPDATED Announcement 5.19.2020

We are deeply grateful for all of the support that parents, campers, and alums have shown since our announcement of the cancellation of this summer’s programs at Camp El Tesoro, realizing how disappointed we all are. 

While our governor has announced that camps can open this summer under some strict conditions, Camp Fire First Texas remains committed to our decision to not open overnight or day camps at El Tesoro for summer 2020. As we shared, camp is inherently a social experience and a community based on hugs, pats on the back, high fives, and helping each other. We recognize that what campers long for is the kind of camp experience that was provided in 2019 and in previous years.

The safety and health of our campers and staff remains our priority.

While it’s not the same as being at El Tesoro, we encourage all campers to enjoy the activities on our website blog in June.

We look forward to seeing you again at Camp El Tesoro when this current health crisis is past. Thank you.

Oringal Announcement 5.1.2020

Dear El Tesoro Campers and Camp Parents,

For the last six weeks, we have all faced a great deal of uncertainty and unease as our country has been battling the COVID-19 crisis, saddened by the loss of life for so many, and coping with the challenges of social distancing, remote schooling and working, and for many, loss of jobs.

At the same time, those of us here at Camp Fire First Texas and Camp El Tesoro have been researching how we might be able to carry on safely with a summer camp program in a whole different manner.

Camp is inherently a social experience; it’s a community designed for children, youth and adults who live together, play together, learn together, and laugh together. Camp is a community based on hugs, pats on the back, high fives, and helping each other. The very essence of camp is incompatible with the strict form of social distancing, which at this time is our only weapon in fighting COVID-19.

The safety and health of our campers is, and always has been, of utmost importance. It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that our Board of Directors, at the recommendation of the leadership staff, has made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s overnight camp and day camp at El Tesoro.

We recognize that you as camp parents – and especially your children – will be very disappointed. For some boys and girls, 2020 would have been their final year as a camper; for others, their third year, eagerly looking forward to receiving an El Tesoro walking staff. Still others would have been attending for the first time, excited about the opportunity to stay overnight, ride horses, fish, swim, and make new friends – just as their moms or dads or grandmothers did in previous years.

We share your disappointment. Camp Fire has had overnight camping every summer since 1922, before we purchased the land that would become El Tesoro. We’ve held camp when the country has been at war, when flooding washed away the swinging bridge, and even when the temperatures reached 114 in the shade. Each year, the benefits of a summer camping experience have enabled tens of thousands of girls and boys to grow in the out-of-doors, become independent, and truly discover who they are at El Tesoro.

Along with the disappointment of not having camp comes numerous questions:

  • Will you be issuing refunds?
  • Will my child still receive a walking staff?
  • What about the CIT program?
  • What about next year?

We’ve prepared a Q&A page that will answer these questions. Please check the Q & A and let us know what you want us to do with the funds you have already paid for camp this year.

If you have additional questions, please email the vice president of outdoor, Brian Miller, and he will get back with you as soon as possible. Our office is closed and most staff are working remotely from their homes, so please bear with us – but we will respond.

While nothing can replace the joy and excitement that come from physically being at camp with friends, in the coming weeks we will be sharing activities and other camp specific games and videos to connect us while we are apart.

Thank you for your support, patience and loyalty. Until we can all cross the swinging bridge into “ET, our second home”, we wish you health and happiness all year long.


Jake Yarbrough
Chair, Camp Fire First Texas Board of Directors

Ann Sheets
President/CEO, Camp Fire First Texas

Brian Miller
Vice President, Outdoor

Jacob Summer
Camp El Tesoro Camp Director