Camp Texas Celebrates 20th Year [Watch]

On Tuesday, Harley Clark told 170 UT freshmen how he popularized the Hook ’em Horns sign in 1955.

“The Aggies had that Gig ’em thing for years, and we needed our own symbol,” Clark likes to say when he tells the story of how he introduced the sign at a pep rally. The new students rose to their feet, clapping and cheering (and, of course, hooking ’em) for the Texas legend whose creativity grew into one of the most beloved school symbols in history.

Like Clark, BA ’57, MA ’60, LLB ’62, Life Member, the founders of Camp Texas—the Texas Exes’ summer orientation camp for incoming freshmen—also dared to believe in a fresh idea that sprang from competition with Texas A&M.

When Sean Petrie, BS ’93, and Allison Weinstock, BA ’93, heard about A&M’s ever-popular Fish Camp, they decided UT needed an even better orientation program. So—with help from former Vice President for Student Affairs Jim Vick—they started the first-ever Camp Texas, carpooling with about 50 new campers.

That vision has grown far bigger than the founders ever imagined (watch the video, above, for their memorable reaction to the camp’s current size). This week, nearly 800 students are participating in five sessions of Camp Texas, now held at Camp Balcones Springs in Marble Falls.

They learn school cheers over lunch on picnic tables in the sunny cafeteria. They build friendships through games and team-building activities. And they soak up knowledge from professors and administrators on how to succeed at the University.

The camp also offers leadership training to students, who can return as peer counselors. Several counselors have already lost their voices from so much boisterous cheering—and camp is only half over.

Camp Texas 2011. Photo by Matt Portillo.


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