Camp Texas Welcomes Record Numbers

Camp Texas Grows in Size and Impact

Camp Texas, the Texas Exes’ three-day summer camp for incoming UT freshmen, is having a very big summer. All five of its 2013 sessions are now full for a total of 850 campers, and each one has a waiting list.

“I hope the sign that we filled up so quickly this year … means we are on the path for growth,” says Nicole Brammer, a UT senior and member of the Camp Texas Executive Leadership Team.

At Camp Texas, the newest Longhorns get to know other students, learn University traditions, and develop mentor relationships with camp counselors and professors. Kym Filip of the executive team says the camp helps freshmen get a headstart on finding their own UT family, which is key at such a large, and often overwhelming, university.

“I think it’s really important to come because it gives [freshmen] a sense of confidence coming into the University,” Filip says.

In summer 2009, Texas Exes reduced the number of sessions from three to two, and in 2010, it considered postponing it for a year due to a budget crunch. But after an outpouring of support from former campers and counselors, the Association decided to go ahead with the camp—and it’s been growing ever since.

In 2012, Camp Texas went from offering two sessions to five. Filling up all of the 2012 sessions was somewhat unrealistic, says executive team member Matt Taraba, because one issue they’d faced in the past was a lack of awareness that the camp even existed. But the members of the exec team were confident camp could meet capacity this year if they stepped up their recruitment efforts, which they accomplished by establishing a much more active presence on social media. Brammer and Hillary Ann Plocheck, the team’s communication chairs, headed the effort.

“Hillary and Nicole did a fantastic job both by updating our social media presence and keeping a blog regularly,” Taraba says. “They had to play a role in our success.”

This year’s exceptional registration numbers prove that the program is worth supporting, Taraba continues, and that a lot more students would attend if they knew about it.

“We provide a value that freshmen are desiring, and I think the fact that we filled up this year is one more data point that we can point to,” Taraba says. “It’s my hope that someday we will be able to have a camp that is large enough to accommodate anybody in the freshman class who wants to come.”

Connect with Camp Texas on Facebook and Twitter.

A group of 2012 campers after the “Camp Texas Color War.” Photo by Hilary Ann Plocheck, courtesy Kelsey Roberts.


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