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Vol. 1, Issue 3

September 2013

There Are Sounds of Laughter in the Woods Again YMCA Camp Cullen has come alive again. The once silent camp is now full of sounds of campers laughing and playing in the woods as they participate in activities, form new

friendships and make lifetime memories together. Camper Emma Clint enjoyed Camp Cullen because she did things she never had before. “Camp is really fun and extremely interesting,” said Emma, age 12. “I’ve made friends, which is cool, and have never experienced anything like this. It’s a blast.” From archery to the zipline, waterskiing and horseback riding, campers participate in a plethora of activities.

“It’s been a really great experience working at Camp Cullen,” said Luis Silva, a counselor originally from Brazil. “It’s always rewarding to make new friends and change kids’ lives.”

Nanci Rutledge, Vice President of Development for the YMCA of Greater Houston, said that once kids come to camp, no matter what their family’s socio-economic status, “I’ve made friends, which is cool, they get to experience a place like no other. and have never experienced

anything like this. It’s a blast.” - Camper Emma Clint

They stay in air-conditioned cabins with their friends and eat in a state-of-the-art dining hall each day. Each group of kids is supervised by camp counselors, who also enjoy their time at Camp Cullen as well.

“They all come from different walks of life and you get them to camp, and they see each other as equals,” Rutledge said. “It doesn’t matter—they’re all just kids. They are from all over Houston, and get to spend a week at Camp Cullen, where they are inspired and build character. They’re having the time of their lives there.”

Camper friendship bracelet

Longtime Donor Praises Camp Cullen’s Reopening Rededication and Blessing took place on May 21

Cullen in the 1970s. Duncan also knows that not all families are financially able to send their children to camp. He praises the annual fundraising campaign, which provides financial assistance to families who cannot afford to pay the regular camp fees. “It really gives all of us who worked on the project a warm and fuzzy feeling,” Duncan said. “Through the collective hard work of all the YMCA staff, donors and volunteers, we have made it possible for the YMCA to offer a camping experience. Thousands of children and families can now enjoy this new $24 million facility for years and years to come.”

John Duncan, Sr., who has been supportive of the YMCA of Greater Houston and Camp Cullen for more than 40 years, speaks at the Rededication and Blessing of YMCA Camp Cullen.

As Duncan looks back on the hard work by volunteers and staff to make the reopening possible, he is proud to call Camp Cullen the “best camp in the state of Texas.”

The reopening of YMCA Camp Cullen was a special day for John Duncan, Sr.

Duncan plans to hold a family reunion at Camp Cullen in the near future.

world,” he said. “Camp improves one’s athletic skills, social skills and curiosities, while at the same time improving one’s body and soul. Where For the past few years, Duncan has worked else can a person meet so many new friends and diligently with many others to raise the funds to be exposed to so many new activities in such reopen the camp after a disastrous fire closed a relatively short the camp in 2010. He period of time, except “It really gives all of us who worked on believes all kids should the project a warm and fuzzy feeling.” through camping?” have the opportunity to experience overnight camping. “Camping removes a person from his or her everyday life and literally opens one’s mind to the beauties of nature and the wonders of the

Duncan, a native Houstonian, has served as a volunteer and leader for the YMCA of Greater Houston for more than 40 years, including raising funds for the original Camp

- John Duncan

Snapshots from the YMCA Camp

Thomas Brown

Kenzie Peterson and Joel Harmon

Charlie Reed and Pam Stanton

YMCA Camping Services Board Members

Betty and Tom O’Connor

Nicholas, Byrd and Leslie Larberg

Ed Allday

Howard Tellepsen, YMCA Board Chair

Mike Tabert, Dennis Clark and Mary Pappas

Tommy Parker, Ed Jones, John “Scott” Arnoldy, Mike Logan, Beth Shea and Nanci Rutledge

Feeling Loved at Camp Ashley, 11, became her “best self” after a week at YMCA Camp Cullen. Initially, she was unable to attend camp because she had just lost her mother to a terminal illness.

and doing fun activities, she felt a sense of normalcy and belonging again.

Ashley was also thrilled to However, thanks to caring donors, Ashley received financial celebrate her assistance to attend Camp Cullen. birthday while there. The week at camp enriched her Her time at camp served as a life dramatically and helped her springboard to move forward gain self-confidence. with her life. “I loved every part of camp,” Ashley’s scholarship to camp was Ashley said. “I felt so loved.” one of the greatest gifts that The counselors and her cabin she has ever received, and she is mates quickly became her family. thankful for the generous donors Through making new friends who made it possible.

Cullen Blessing and Rededication

John and Nan Willett

Ed Randall IV and Ed Randall III stand next to the Randall Family Flagpole dedicated in their family name.

Bob, Dick and David Weekley

John “Scott” Arnoldy, Ed Randall IV and Ed Randall III

Louis and Lynne Paine

Clark Baker, President and CEO of YMCA of Greater Houston

John and Brenda Duncan

Willis Johnson and Troy Derouen

Arts and Sciences Center

Beth Shea and Ed Jones

Lille T. and Beth Robertson

Thank You On May 21, YMCA Camp Cullen reopened. To say it was a special day would be an understatement.

The vision for Phase 2 of YMCA Camp Cullen is to develop and encourage the next generation of scientists, educators, engineers, artists and thinkers. Exposing campers to science, technology, engineering and math, as well as arts programs, will inspire them to explore these areas in their homes and schools.

The Arts and Sciences Center will: • Have a stage for full-scale theater productions • Include four classrooms to explore theater, opera, ballet, drawing and painting

• Create collaboration opportunities with organizations such as Theatre Under the Stars, The Children’s Museum of Houston and the Houston Grand Opera

For more than two and a half years, the YMCA of Greater Houston was unable to offer overnight camping. Camp Cullen wasn’t entirely quiet during this time– bulldozers, hammers and dump trucks filled the air as construction ensued. After its completion, camp became an even more exceptional place. And now, you can hear all of the usual Camp Cullen sounds – children laughing, splashing water, crickets chirping and, of course, prayers of thanks for people like you. Thank you for your generous gifts to Camp Cullen to ensure campers can return to an even better camp that will continue to enrich the lives of thousands of children from all walks of life.

Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage


Houston, TX Permit No. 2456

YMCA OF THE GREATER HOUSTON AREA P.O. Box 3007 Houston, Texas 77253-3007


About the Y The YMCA’s mission is to put Judeo-Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all. Everyone is welcome. text YMCAHouston to 41411

Camp Cullen Donor Newsletter- 9/13  

This newsletter went out to donors who provided generous donations toward the YMCA of Greater Houston's Camp Cullen.

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