Camp Fire First Texas

Light the fire within

Fort Worth, TX   |


Camp Fire First Texas invests in North Texas communities by providing out-of-school time and outdoor learning programs for children and youth while also offering workforce development programs for early childhood educators. We envision a community in which every child has equitable access to quality learning opportunities that cultivate the skills they need to succeed and thrive in a rapidly changing world.

Ruling year info



Lauren Richard

Main address

2700 Meacham Blvd

Fort Worth, TX 76137 USA

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Formerly known as

First Texas Council of Camp Fire, Inc.

Camp Fire USA First Texas Council



NTEE code info

Camp Fire (O43)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

Citizenship Programs, Youth Development (O54)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Children and youth need meaningful connections with other youth, with caring adults and with the outdoors. Many children are not prepared to learn when they begin kindergarten and by third grade, too many cannot read at grade level. Caregivers need professional development so they can deliver high quality care. Parents need a safe place for children to stay after school and youth of all ages struggle to thrive. Camp Fire addresses these problems by providing: • a safe place for youth to stay after school, helping them find their spark and learn to get along together; • recreational and educational experiences in the outdoors, preparing youth to care for the environment, learn life-long skills, and participate successfully with a small group; • an outlet for teens to learn key skills of thriving, such as goal setting and evaluation; and • opportunities for childcare professionals to enhance their skills, improving the quality of care for children and their readiness to learn.

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?

Early Childhood Workforce Development

Camp Fire is the sponsor of the first U.S. Department of Labor registered early education apprenticeship program in the state of Texas. The apprenticeship program is focused on increasing the effectiveness of early childhood educators, increasing their marketable value, improving child outcomes, and building the early learning workforce.

Camp Fire First Texas is recognized in North Texas as a leader in offering a variety of early education professional development courses for child care professionals and an early literacy and school readiness program that year after year proves that children attending a Camp Fire supported child care center enter school better prepared to learn and succeed in school.

Population(s) Served
Infants and toddlers
Low-income people
Working poor

Camp Fire was founded on the core value of respect for the environment and the value of outdoor experiences. First Texas offers outdoor programs at Camp El Tesoro, our 223-acre camp in Hood County, founded in 1934: summer overnight and day camps; Camp El Tesoro de la Vida, a special grief support camp offered for children who have suffered the death of a loved one; outdoor education programs for school-age children; family camping programs; and community use of the facilities at El Tesoro.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Camp Fire fosters the development of appropriate social skills and competencies in children and youth and helps those who are vulnerable become self-reliant community builders. Programs in this division include: out-of-school programs with a STEAM focus in Fort Worth and Aledo, and Teens in Action, a youth leadership, college and career readiness program for middle school and high school students in underserved neighborhoods of Fort Worth.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Where we work


Finalist Medium Business - Best Workplaces for Women 2011

Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce

CFO of the Year – Non-Profit 2012

Fort Worth Business Press

Finalist - Collaboration of the Year 2021

D-CEO Magazine

Affiliations & memberships

American Camp Association - Member 1953

Association of Fundraising Professionals - Member 1978

National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) 1983

Affiliate/Chapter of National Organization (i.e. Girl Scouts of the USA, American Red Cross, etc.) - Affiliate/chapter 1914

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of children who have the ability to seek help from and respond appropriately to adults

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, Multiracial people, People of African descent, People of Latin American descent, Caregivers

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context Notes

School and child care center closures due to the pandemic negatively impacted participation in out-of-school time and early education professional development programs.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

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

Charting impact

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

 Development: To ensure long-term viability by cultivating new / retaining current donors while reimaging our signature fundraiser to engage new audiences
 Cultivate new donor demographics (“next generation supporters”)
 Create Donor Loyalty Program (CFFT being one of donor’s top charities) through Engagement, Retention & Reengagement Strategies
 Utilize most effective technology to increase fundraising/streamline operations
 Continue to grow and strengthen volunteer committees
 Marketing: To solidify our position as a leader in professional development and direct service programs by implementing new organizational identity messaging while supporting enrollment efforts across the agency
 Track ROI for marketing budgets (both standalone and program integrated)
 Develop implementation plan for distributing identity messaging
 Enroll 690 full pay campers in Residential Camp at El Tesoro
 Enroll 155 attendees in 2021 Early Childhood Conference
 Operations: To mitigate organizational risk while implementing critical technology and facilities updates
 Update council & program risk management plans which will include a system for auditing compliance
 Ensure all council computers are running Windows 10. This will require the purchase of new computers (El Tesoro Foundation)
 Renovate pool house & pump room at Camp El Tesoro Upper Pool (to be ready summer 2021).
 Complete Arts Village Project at Camp El Tesoro
 Financial Management: To maximize available financial resources while curtailing operational and interest expenses to operate at zero deficit by end of fiscal year
 Complete clean audit
 Minimize interest expense by paying down line of credit when funds available
 Ensure we take advantage of all funding available through the Consolidated Appropriations Act
 Manage our expenses and income to the Board-approved budget
 Programs: To achieve the highest quality of budgeted participation levels in all programs while increasing our footprint in outdoor education, afterschool programming and early education career pathways
 Increase number of overnight campers attending Camp in Fall
 Secure partnership with Granbury ISD in which all 5 elementary schools attend Camp El Tesoro for Outdoor Education
 Increase number of students moving along an early childhood career pathway
 Secure agreement to provide after school programming at 2 new schools in Fall 2021

Our programs stand out for three key reasons:
1. We are uniquely focused on the two periods of greatest brain growth and development: early childhood and early adolescence.

2. We leverage the impact of the outdoor environment on the brain to educate and connect children to each other and the world around them.

3. We intentionally maintain a continuous improvement loop through the Camp Fire Program Quality Assessment to maximize community impact.

Camp Fire has a team of highly credentialed instructors (most with a Master’s degree) teaching professional development courses included in the Early Education Apprenticeship and School Readiness Programs. These instructors are recognized throughout the profession as experts in early childhood professional development. They are experienced and knowledgeable instructors who have been in the field of early childhood for several decades. In addition to demonstrated effectiveness in delivering instruction, the instructors are experienced with the administrative and evaluation components of conducting professional development.

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.
  • 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

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

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection


Camp Fire First Texas

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


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

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

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Camp Fire First Texas

Board of directors
as of 05/18/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Anne Carvalho

Community Volunteer

Term: 2020 - 2023

Clay Hooper

American Airlines

Donna James Harvey


Lisa Mares

City of Dallas, Section Chief, Economic & Community Development, General Counsel Division

Drenda Williams Witt

Community Volunteer

Katie Briggs

Community Volunteer

Anne Carvalho

Community Volunteer

Michelle Clark

Texas Christian University

Jason Helton

Charles Schwab

Jay Jackson

Tarrant County

Derrick Thomas

Fort Worth Fire Dept

Carlos Walker

Fort Worth ISD

Kimberly D'Avignon

Tarrant County DA's Office

Robert Pike

Whitley Penn, LLP

Will Jung

Bank of Texas

Dava Kaitala


Aileen Milton

Burt Ladner Real Estate and Maxben Homes

Miranda Plusnick


Doug White

University of North Texas Health Science Center

Teresa Ayala

Tarrant County College

Christi Buell

Arlington ISD

Michelle Clark

Texas Christian University

Michelle Crim

Dynamic Development Strategies

Erma Lee

Cook Children's Health Care System

Jason McMillan

JP Morgan Private Bank

Mayra Olivares-Urueta

Tarrant County College

Devin Sanders

Community Volunteer

Drew Ruiz

BNSF Railway

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? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 5/18/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation

No data


No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 09/03/2019

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.