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For 100 years, Camp Fire First Texas has shaped caring, confident future leaders in Tarrant, Denton, Parker, Johnson, Hood and Wise counties. From the early days of Blue Birds and Camp Fire Girls, we’ve grown into one of the largest councils in the United States, with programs for boys and girls that include everything from camping to school readiness.

WoHeLo! Charlotte Gulick coined the term “WoHeLo” as the watchword of Camp Fire in 1910, pulling from the first two letters of the words work, health and love. This term remains a cornerstone of Camp Fire today.

In 1939, Eleanor Roosevelt served as chairman of the National Advisory Council of Camp Fire. She is seen here during one of her many radio broadcasts with a Camp Fire youth representative.


Luther Gulick, M.D., and his wife, Charlotte, found Camp Fire Girls in Maine. They choose the name in deference to campfires as the origin of community and domestic life. In 1914, Mrs. T.D. Pace organizes the first Camp Fire groups in Fort Worth.


In 1922, the Civitan Club funds the building of a two-story lodge on two acres of land at Lake Worth, which becomes the council’s first camp – Camp Civitan. Two weeks at camp costs $8. That same year, W.T. Ladd is elected as the first known president of the First Texas Council.

In Camp Fire, children and youth have always found a safe, fun and inclusive place – a place where they form lasting relationships, develop a sense of belonging and make positive contributions to the lives of their families and their community. Through three social impact areas, Camp Fire programming provides the opportunity for children and youth to explore their sparks, learn to make healthy choices, develop social skills, build new skills and have fun. The specific programs may have changed over the last century, but the bedrock values remain the same. Camping has always been an integral part of Camp Fire. Seen here, two campers work on leaf prints at camp in 1937.

Social Impact Areas: WoHeLo WOrk – encourage volunteerism, service learning and citizenship HEalth – develop the health and well-being of the “whole child” including physical, cognitive and social/emotional health LOve – foster a love of the outdoors and environmental stewardship

Camp Fire is open to everyone, embracing the uniqueness of all young people and their families. Our goal is to help children and youth chart a course for success that will carry through the rest of their lives and positively impact their communities. Beads play an important role in Camp Fire. Each is earned through demonstration of skill accomplishment and progression. Beads continue to be a valuable symbol recognized in the organization.


In 1932, an employee of Kellogg’s Home Economics Department develops the Rice Krispy Treat as a Camp Fire Girls fundraising item. In 1934, Camp Fire First Texas purchases 90 acres on the Brazos River near Granbury and establishes Camp El Tesoro. At the end of the decade, Shirley Temple joins Camp Fire Girls.


As the United States enters World War II, minimum wage is $.43 per hour and 55 percent of U.S. homes can boast indoor plumbing. The First Texas Council begins a movement for youth in Texas to collect aluminum for the war effort, collecting 200 pounds. In 1945, Camp El Tesoro adds 131 acres to its original site.

A Year of Celebrations Mar. 6-Oct. 12: “A Century of Sparking Discovery” Camp Fire Historical Exhibit Fort Worth Museum of Science and History May 7:

Rolling Town Hall with the Mayor 8-10-mile bike ride with Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price 5:30 p.m. at Diamond Hill Station 2001 East Loraine Street, Fort Worth

Sept. 10:

Centennial Celebration Luncheon 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Fort Worth Convention Center

Nov. 1-2:

Project Daffodil Youth Service Project in partnership with Streams and Valleys 25,000 daffodils planted along the Trinity River bank

“A Century of Sparking Discovery” Exhibit Spanning 10 decades of Camp Fire First Texas’ positive impact on North Texas youth and their families, “A Century of Sparking Discovery” offers visitors the opportunity to experience both the history and the vision of Camp Fire. The centennial exhibit, showcasing a historic collection of Camp Fire First Texas artifacts and memorabilia dating back to the 1900s, is scheduled for display through Oct. 12.

“The tenets of Camp Fire taught me that you really can be a strong woman of moral fiber in a healthy body, and you can do the right thing for your community…When you’re a Camp Fire Girl, you can do anything!”

Betsy Price Mayor of Fort Worth


During this decade, Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat on an Alabama bus and Camp Fire First Texas constructs the swinging bridge over Fall Creek at Camp El Tesoro. Elvis Presley buys 20 boxes of Camp Fire Candy and Louisa Haun is named as the seventh executive director of the organization; the main lodge at El Tesoro is later named in her honor.


Camp Fire First Texas becomes the Fort Worth and Tarrant County Council of Camp Fire. In 1963, President John F. Kennedy delivers his last public speech outside the Hotel Texas in Fort Worth. As the decade closes, a club member’s uniform is no longer called a Camp Fire “costume.”

Centennial Luncheon Join the Centennial Host Committee and Presenting Underwriter Bank of Texas for a seated luncheon at the Fort Worth Convention Center Sept. 10 to celebrate 100 years of sparking discovery in the youth of North Texas. This signature event will highlight past successes and celebrate Camp Fire First Texas’ bright future. There are two ways to support Camp Fire: join the Centennial Host Committee or serve as a luncheon sponsor. Sponsorships for a table of 10 start at $500. Individual tickets will be available at beginning in July. Don’t wait. Seating is limited.

“My time at Camp El Tesoro helped shape who I am today. My leadership and organization skills developed – plus, being a city girl, I didn’t have a lot of opportunities to get outside and ‘camp.’ It was outside of my comfort zone, but it was good for me – and gave me a great appreciation for air conditioning!”

Dr. Marie Holliday Fort Worth Dentist and Entrepreneur

PROJECT DAFFODIL In partnership with Streams and Valleys, Project Daffodil provides an opportunity for Camp Fire supporters of every age to come together, dig in the dirt and become part of a beautiful legacy that will last for generations. Camp Fire program participants, alumni and community partners will join together on Nov. 1 and 2 to plant 25,000 daffodil bulbs on the banks of the Trinity River to provide an enduring site of beautification. It is reported that typical bulbs can bloom for more than 100 years! Be a part of the fun and legacy. Simply go to and fill out our Project Daffodil form to receive more detailed information. Then, we’ll invite everyone back in the spring of 2015 to see the blooms!


At the national level, Camp Fire begins encouraging boys to participate in all Camp Fire activities. Locally, Ann Sheets joins the First Texas Council in 1978 as El Tesoro camp director, and Zem Neill joins as the eighth, and current, executive director. In 1979, the first boys attend overnight camp at El Tesoro.


In 1983, a $1.5 million capital campaign moves the First Texas Council into its new building on Meacham Boulevard, and El Tesoro celebrates 50 years. An Artists’ Christmas raises $22,000 in 1985 during its first year, and in 1988, El Tesoro de la Vida is founded to offer support for children grieving the loss of a loved one.

How to Support Camp Fire First Texas Without the generosity of the local community, Camp Fire First Texas would not be able to fulfill its Promise of helping youth discover their sparks and light their fires within. Consider contributing in a manner that is best for you.

Ways to Give • Personal Contributions

• Stock Gifts

• Honoraria or Memorials

• In-Kind Contributions

• Matching Employer Gifts

• Special Events

• Planned Giving

to raise $10.7 million to renovate and upgrade Camp El Tesoro facilities

“I first became involved with Camp Fire at the age of 6 or 7 – my mother signed me up for the local club associated with our school. One of my favorite memories is my first camping trip. My dad went with me, and we had a great time – I had never slept in a cabin or really participated in any of the outdoor activities we did that weekend. Camp Fire was instrumental in teaching me invaluable lessons on life, friendship and community.”

so the camp can continue providing meaningful experiences that meet

Philip Gonzalez

the outdoor educational and recreational needs of children, families

Director of Marketing, Fort Worth Museum of Science and History

Please contact the Camp Fire First Texas development division at 817-831-2111 for more information on supporting Camp Fire programs.

Campaign for El Tesoro Camp Fire First Texas embarked on a capital campaign four years ago

and schools. This campaign is about preserving the camp we know as Camp Fire Camp El Tesoro; providing enhanced facilities in a treasured outdoor setting; and ensuring that future generations experience nature through camping – discovering that El Tesoro is, indeed, “where kids discover their world.” Learn more at


In 1992, the First Texas Council begins training child care providers. Later in the decade, Camp Fire and the nation celebrate the first-ever “Absolutely Incredible Kid Day” – a call for adults to communicate through letters their love and commitment to children. The First Texas Council closes the decade by launching its first website.

Funding Camp Fire First Texas is a non-profit organization. Funding is provided through grants and contributions from foundations, as


well as individuals, corporations and program fees.

PROMISE Young people want to shape the world. Camp Fire provides the opportunity to find their spark, lift their voice, and discover who they are. In Camp Fire, it begins now. Light the fire within

WoHeLo – Calling All Alumni! Join the Camp Fire Alumni Club for the most up-to-date information about exciting events and opportunities throughout our centennial year! Camp Fire Alumni are any of the following: • Former Camp Fire Girl

• Former and Current Day Camper

• Former Blue Bird

• Former and Current Child Development Center

• Former Spark

Parent or Child

• Former Camptivity Camper

• Current or Former Volunteers

• Former and Current Camp

• Current or Former Board and Committee

El Tesoro Camper


“The beauty of Camp Fire, to me, is its intentionality and its inclusiveness. It’s not about just finding things for kids to do. It’s about finding ways for young people to be resilient, no matter their circumstances… It’s about leadership, civic engagement, involvement. It’s about those three little words: ‘WoHeLo.’”

Liz Darling

Even if you participated in a Camp Fire program in another region, you are invited to join the Camp Fire First Texas Alumni Club. The goal is to reconnect Camp Fire Alumni living in North Texas to the Camp Fire Promise. If you participated in any of the above, we would love to hear from you. There is no fee for membership – visit to sign up today!

President/CEO, OneStar Foundation and Chair, Camp Fire National Board of Trustees

Meet other alumni gathered around our Camp Fire – and even share your own alumni experiences! Visit and click on Centennial Events.


El Tesoro enjoys significant pool, road and landscaping upgrades. By 2007, the First Texas Council is active on social media, and in 2008, Saudi Arabian Boy Scouts visit El Tesoro in collaboration with the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth. An Artists’ Christmas celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2009.


In 2011, the National Camping Association of Japan visits El Tesoro for guidance on planning and conducting camps for grieving children after the horrific tsunami. In 2013, El Tesoro dedicates the new WoHeLo Lodge. The same year, Camp Fire First Texas launches the Excel for Success school readiness program.

Project Daffodil Meta Alice Keith Bratten Foundation

Centennial Luncheon Presenting Underwriter Bank of Texas

Centennial Sponsors Ben E. Keith Foundation OmniAmerican Bank

Media Sponsors Fort Worth Business Press Fort Worth Texas Magazine 95.9 The Ranch/92.1 Hank FM

Parade Sponsor FTS International

“One of the things I love about Camp Fire First Texas is how it has stayed connected to the needs of our community. In particular, its efforts supporting childcare quality are so impressive – I’m blown away. Children in our community have options that never would have been possible without Camp Fire.”

Marilyn Gilbert Executive Vice President, Marketing Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce

Centennial Host Committee Fred W. Auld and Mary Ann Megan Auld Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Mrs. Evelyn H. Breaux Dr. Robert and Joyce Capper Louise Britt Carvey Marie and Brandon Chase Barbara and King Cook Malinda Murphey Cowan Elizabeth Darling Shirley and John Dean Kimberly and Joseph DeWoody Virginia Clay Dorman Karen Genovese Dozier Jane and Bob Ferguson Pat and Sylvia Fisher Vincent Genovese Memorial Foundation Marilyn Gilbert Lydia Goetz Kay Gunn David and Lauri Curtis Hadobas Michele and Eric Hahnfeld Terry and Harry Haney Anne Holland Terri and Rich Hollander Dr. Marie Holliday David J. and Linda S. Keller Corinne and Richard King Melissa and William Kirtley

Dr. and Mrs. Tom Leavens Patricia C. and William A. Massad Elise and Phil McConnell Pati and Bill Meadows Sara Hatch Mitchell Laura and Tod Miller Cheryl and Fred Moore Phyllis Jack and Bob Moore John and Kay Molyneaux Chuck Mooney III Dr. and Mrs. Willis H. Murphey, Jr. Zem Neill Elaine and Tim Petrus Mayor Betsy Price Jane F. Rector The Roach Foundation, In Memory of Carol Farmer Betty J. Sanders Ann and Jim Sheets Lynda and Grady Shropshire Liz and Rob Sisk Linda and Drew Springer Mary Lou and Malcolm Street Lynda and Eric Tiedtke Pat Vaughan Libby Watson Winn-Dunaway Foundation, Inc. Carol and Jim Dunaway Drenda and John Witt

Centennial Planning Committee Lynda Tiedtke, Chair Terry Haney Jerri O. Akers Adelaide Leavens Marilyn Gilbert Kay Mitchell

Evelyn H. Richardson Chuck Sheridan Linda Springer

Executive Leadership/Board of Directors Chair of the Board Brandon L. Chase 2014 Board Jerri O. Akers George W. Bean, Jr Brandon L. Chase Barbara B. Cook Heidi Coombs Kimberly DeWoody Dolores Garza Marilyn Gilbert Lauri Curtis Hadobas Michele Hahnfeld Terry Haney Dan Hansen

Nancy Hooper Edward C. Lange Brant C. Martin Bill McCoy Tod M. Miller John Molyneaux Cheryl Moore Steven W. Novak Judd Pritchard Evelyn H. Richardson Jenene Schaffer Roland Schafer

Chuck Sheridan Linda Springer John Strong Lynda Tiedtke Jared G. Vitemb Kelli Walter Kay L. West Lori West Drenda Williams Witt Jake Yarbrough

Nina Hutton Linda Jacobson

Drew Springer Patricia Vaughan

CEO / President Zem Neill 2014 Foundation Board Kevin Garman, Chair Daly R. Bales, Jr. Kenneth Barr


Executive Leadership Zem Neill, CEO/President Ann Sheets, Sr. Vice President Lisa Cook, VP Outdoor Programs Malinda Cowan, VP Development Jennifer Dobbs, Executive Assistant

Alicia Galloway, VP Group Services Christy R. Jones, VP Marketing & Communications Lyn Lucas, VP Work/Family Linda Ramoz, VP Finance & Human Resources Nikki Roe Cropp, Director of Program Quality

Camp Fire First Texas: A century of sparking discovery  
Camp Fire First Texas: A century of sparking discovery