Camp Aranzazu

Rockport, TX   |  www.camparanzazu.org

Mission

Camp Aranzazu is dedicated to enriching the lives of children and adults with special needs and chronic illnesses by providing unique camping, environmental education, and retreat experiences. The camp’s name was adopted from a Basque term Aranzazu, which means “a spiritual place requiring a difficult path to reach.” No matter the challenge faced, all who come to Camp can enjoy being in a natural environment away from the stresses of their physical, medical, and emotional concerns. Camp Aranzazu is one of only three camps in Texas, and the only one on the Texas Gulf Coast, that serves as a host facility for children and adults with special needs and chronic illnesses.

Ruling year info

2003

President

Mr. Kurt R. Podeszwa

Main address

5420 Loop 1781

Rockport, TX 78382 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

74-3032285

NTEE code info

Services to Promote the Independence of Specific Populations (P80)

Recreational and Sporting Camps (Day, Overnight, etc.) (N20)

Patient Services - Entertainment, Recreation (E86)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Attending camp can have numerous benefits for those with special needs and chronic illnesses, including increased interest in social activities, confidence, self-esteem, and sense of belonging. Camp provides a unique opportunity for our campers to finally be just like everyone else. For once, these children and adults are not the only one who is “different.” According to a study by the Yale Child Study Center, not only does camp afford children a positive respite from the daily reminders of their illnesses, it may also build children’s capacities for resilience. Developing a resilient spirit is especially important to those facing illnesses and other special needs, as they experience challenges vastly different from the normal childhood and teen challenges.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Therapeutic Recreation

Helping children and adults with special needs and chronic illnesses gain self-confidence and self-esteem by allowing them a safe place to challenge themselves through camp activities.

Population(s) Served
People with disabilities
Children and youth

Where we work

Accreditations

American Camp Association - Accreditation 2006

Texas Department of Health 2006

American Camping Association (ACA) - Accreditation 2017

Awards

Community Leadership Award 2008

Mental Health Mental Retardation Organization

Chamber Business of the Month 2009

Rockport Chamber of Commerce

Thomas Jefferson Award-Tom Forney 2010

Jefferson Awards for Public Service

Certified Wildlife Habitat 2011

National Wildlife Federation

Workplace Safety First Award 2015

Markel Insurance Company

Affiliations & memberships

Children's Oncology Camping Association - COCA 2006

ACT American Challenge Course Training 2008

Association of Fundraising Professionals 2009

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Camp Aranzazu developed a unique approach called “intentional camping,” which is the purposeful design of a camping experience to nurture the physical, social, emotional, and mental development of each child. In short, every activity is designed with a specific goal in mind. We seek to do the following:
1. Challenge campers’ beliefs about themselves and their capabilities;
2. Help campers gain confidence, have fun, and explore exciting new activities; and
3. Give campers the opportunity to develop a social support network.

Each year, Camp Aranzazu partners with dozens of non-profit organizations throughout Texas to provide our unique form of recreational therapy to almost 2,000 children and adults. Approximately 52% of our campers come from the Coastal Bend, 28% from the San Antonio area, and the remaining 20% come from the Houston area.

Camp Aranzazu serves as a host facility, providing meals and lodging; customizing each camping experience to meet our partners’ goals and objectives; and facilitating all activities under the guidance of our three Certified Recreational Therapy Specialists. Our camping partners bring the campers, as well medical and other support staff as needed.

If it weren’t for Camp Aranzazu, many of the children and adults we serve would never be able to attend c however, our highly skilled and experienced staff, barrier-free campus, and on-site health center make it possible for everyone to enjoy all the traditional camping activities, plus waterfront activities like sailing, birding, and saltwater fishing.

The Unlimited Horizons Capital Campaign, completed in June 2018, expanded the camp's facilities. We now have 135 beds, plus an additional 20 beds for staff, as well as a state-of-the-art health center and a dining hall that seats 350 people. In addition, we have two pools, a dedicated art center, sanctuary, Ropes Challenge Course, archery range, kayaking and fishing ponds, and an open air pavilion for activities. The most unique feature of the camp, however, is our 27 acres of waterfront and wetlands on Copano Bay that are accessible via a bridge from the main campus. This area includes a nature education center, boardwalks, bird blind, sailing dock, and fishing pier.

The camp has nine full-time staff. Each member of our program staff has a bachelor's degree: two are Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists and one is a Kinesiology major with advanced coursework in special education. In the summer, we hire 18 activity leaders from various universities, as well as six kitchen staff.

Our collaboration with The University of Texas Marine Science Institute, The Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, the Texas State Aquarium, and the Coastal Conservation Association helps us to create programs that allow campers to not only spend time in nature, but to develop an appreciation of the plants and animals inhabiting the Texas Gulf Coast.

Currently, our highest priority is to serve more of the children and adults with special needs and chronic illnesses who could benefit from our services. With approximately 385,000 school-age children in Texas who have some type of disability, Texas has the second-largest number of individuals with disabilities, at approximately 12% of the general population.

While there is a significant demand for the unique form of recreational therapy we provide, the people who know us best and who value us the most – our campers and their families – are often the least able to afford camp. Thus, in order to ensure that as many children and adults as possible can attend camp, we underwrite as much as two-thirds of the actual cost of camp. We seek support from the community to underwrite this amount, which continues to grow as we seek to serve more campers.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    In a regular operating year, we serve approximately 1,600 children and young adults facing a variety of challenges, including epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, Down syndrome, autism, cancer, asthma, cerebral palsy, diabetes, kidney disease, head and spinal cord injuries, developmental and neurological differences, and hearing and sight impairments, among others. Camping groups come from more than 55 counties across Texas. Forty-five percent of our campers hail from the Coastal Bend, 35% come from San Antonio, and the remaining 20% come from the Houston area.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Paper surveys, Debrief meetings (virtual and in person) with partners,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    As a result of the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey, Camp Aranzazu lost close to 50% of the beautiful oaks around the property which previous provided much needed shade for campers and partner staff members during the summer months. Based on the feedback we received in the summers following the hurricane, we were able to create a plan to address the need for other shade structures. Thankfully, Camp Aranzazu received funding from generous supporters for new shade structures around our ropes course and a new "Cool Deck" surface around our older pool at Camp Aranzazu.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback,

Financials

Camp Aranzazu
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Camp Aranzazu

Board of directors
as of 04/07/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Keith Little

Retired Energy Industry Executive

Daryl Allen

Atlantic Trust Private Wealth

Tom Forney

Forney Construction

Robert Hatcher

Cockrell Interests, Inc.

Joanne Taylor

PDR Corporation

Bryan Phillips

Ytterberg Deery Knull LLP

Fields Alexander

Beck Redden

Traci Arellano

Frost Bank

John Guill

CADENCE Bank

Denise Hazen

Aspire Accessories

Keith Little

Cheniere Energy

Blake Finger

Hazel Smyth Jewelry

Casey Cullen

Cullen, Carsner, Seerden & Cullen, LLP

Hunter Hawkins

Marsh Wortham

Greg Watson

McNair Interests

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No