Camp Texas Director Gears Up for Big Year

John Warder still remembers his days as a camper at Camp Texas, where he first sang “The Eyes of Texas” alongside fellow wide-eyed incoming students almost four years ago.

A lot has changed since then. Warder is now a UT senior and the executive director of Camp Texas, and the program has more than doubled in size in recent years.

Interest in the camp is at an all-time high for both potential campers and counselors. Last year, the camp expanded from two to five sessions to accommodate the high volume of students hoping to attend; this year, the Camp Texas executive team received a record number of counselor applications (236), a 36 percent jump from last year’s total.

And it’s not just the campers and counselors who are getting excited—Warder and the executive board are already coordinating the upcoming summer sessions, combing through the counselor applications, and planning activities for what they hope will be the largest group of Camp Texas campers to date.

“We’re the final stepping stone for these kids before college,” says Warder, a radio-television-film major. “We want them to come into school and feel comfortable coming because of Camp Texas.”

Camp Texas, now entering its 21st year, is an introductory camp where incoming students travel northwest of Austin to Camp Balcones Springs for two and a half days of camaraderie, team-building exercises, and guest lectures.

This is Warder’s fourth consecutive year to be involved with Camp Texas. He began as a camper the summer before his freshman year  and was instantly hooked. After serving as a counselor the following summer, Warder joined the executive board, where he’s remained ever since.

“This is a program I really do believe in at UT,” he says. “I think that it grows our future leaders here, and it’s proven because I see them around campus taking on leadership roles.”

Photo by Matt Portillo.


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