Frequently Asked Questions

Prospective campers have many options for their summers, and here are some reasons our girls “get hooked on The Heart”.
The Heart is a small camp, limiting enrollment to about 150 girls per session. The intimate size and two- to four-week sessions allow for a friendly atmosphere, where campers can know each other—and be known—in the first few days of camp.
All Heart girls contribute to their tribes by earning points in every aspect of camp—from tooth-brushing to tennis. You don’t have to be a star to make the team and join into the competition because everyone participates. There is no chance to develop “spectatoritis” in our non-traditional games and events, which promote healthy competition and goal setting through teamwork. Nobody is left on the sidelines to cheer every time.
Building lifetime skills and making lifetime friends are part of our philosophy. Campers come to camp to have fun, and they come back because camp is a place where they feel good, make lasting friendships, where their contributions count, where they are asked to speak out, where good things are rewarded. Fun is something that happens every day, and goal setting, group living skills, leadership abilities and character building are the natural spin-off of that safe environment for self expression.
One of the best! The Heart is accredited and licensed by the proper agencies, is a member of Camping Association for Mutual Progress, is licensed by the state health department, and is accredited by American Camp Association. The Heart has been selected as one of the nation’s Top 50 camps (one of only four in Texas).
We have a registered nurse who lives on camp, a pediatrician who sees our campers when needed, and we make an effort to certify all counselors in CPR and first aid—plus some each summer who are training for health careers.
In addition, our low ratio of campers to counselor provides supervision and extra-safe instructional environments.
It’s better than national standards. This low ratio carries through from tepee (living units) to activities. All aspects of The Heart are geared toward personal attention to your girl.
We pride ourselves on our home-style, healthy meals, and our top-flight, international kitchen staff. Fresh fruits and vegetables are served daily, and home-baked breads are the norm, not to mention our tradition of homemade ice cream after lunch each day! Each afternoon the campers receive a snack, and each evening before bed, we have milk line.
Our schedule is vigorous and campers are physically active, so we limit candy and non-nutritious snacks or “empty calories”. Parents are asked to cooperate with us in this philosophy. In the interest of your girls, we ask you to send “care packages” with no food, candy, or gum. P.S. The campers do indulge in a soft drink and candy bar on movie nights!
Campers are not allowed to bring electronics of any kind. You may call us any time you would like a status check on your camper. Take advantage of our intimate atmosphere—speak to the director, the counselor, the nurse, or any number of staff members who have direct day-to-day contact with your camper.
Parents may schedule a phone call home midway through camp during our four-week terms. Phone appointments insure your camper won’t miss any meals, activities, overnights, or so forth. Many campers choose to not talk to home at all.
It’s a Heart tradition for the girls to send a letter home at least once a week. We also pride ourselves on the thorough reports we send each 10 days, with details from the counselor on what your camper is up to, a newsletter from the director, and comments from the nurse.
We post photos, menus, Thought for the Day, and other tidbits of news on our web site daily, password protected, and a link to camper-produced daily news cast for family members to enjoy a peek “under the tent”.
We have found that homesickness is better defined as adjustment to a new environment–a normal experience for anyone. “Homesickness” often occurs when a camper needs someone to turn to, and doesn’t know just whom yet. The best cure is to stay busy, a natural for camp, and a good explanation for why most bouts of “adjustment” come during siesta or right at bedtime. Meanwhile, the counselor attempts to discern if there is a precise problem, such as a fear of the horses or of the river, so that we can help the camper with that aspect of her adjustment.
Campers are kept busy every day, experiencing new and exciting things, and are surrounded by others who have much in common, plus caring, role model counselors who will soon have your camper feeling she has a special home away from home.
The Heart is such a friendly place that she is assured of finding new friends within moments! Plus, one of the many values of going to camp is earning the confidence which comes by learning to reach out to a new support group.
Please rest assured that this is an environment tailor-made for girls, friendships, and memory making. A great start for a new camper is to ride a charter bus to camp on opening day, to come to a Heart multimedia presentation in your city to meet current campers and families, to come tour The Heart to create familiarity with her new environment, or request a Heart pen pal for your new camper.
Our counselors have a year of college or more, with a number holding a bachelor’s and master’s degrees. We look for counselors that your girls will want to be with, who are role models, energetic, motivated to work with children, and fun to be around! About a third of our counselors are former campers, and many more are referred by them.
All counselors go through our stringent hiring process – a four-page application, including essay questions, three confidential references, an interview and background check.
All counselors are required to attend our extensive pre-camp orientation, which includes how to initiate good behavior through positive reinforcement, how to be a camper’s best friend and group leader, what to do in case of an emergency, a review of expectations and appropriate activities for each age group in general and your girl in particular, storytelling, leadership training, skills training or certification, and much more!
During the last two weeks of May, we dedicate our efforts to educational clinics which are free to our staff, in order to certify them in American Red Cross First Aid and CPR, Lifeguard Training, Water Safety Instruction, National Rifle Association rifle instructor certification, horseback instructor training certification, training in archery, canoeing, or climbing. All staff undergo a state-mandated sexual abuse prevention course.
Campers and counselors tell us that camp birthdays are the greatest! All camp birthday girls have a special day – including a large cake with ice cream at lunch, to share with tepee and table mates. Parents can send or leave presents to be held for the special day.
The tuition covers everything she will need–all supplies for activities, snacks, and laundry. You may wish to leave a Trading Post deposit, which they can charge against for any need that arises.  We sell toiletries, post cards and stamps, plus other small items.
Her laundry, optional linen rental, yearbook and other personal items are not charged for. Campers are not charged for snacks, and there are no charges for activities. Your camper need not bring cash with her to camp.
We have more of a dress code than a uniform. All campers and staff wear whites on Sunday – white shirt, white shorts, white tennis shoes and white socks. On certain occasions, the campers wear tribe uniforms, which are sold in our Trading Post. At other times, the camp dress code is any shirt from our Trading Post, with solid red, white, blue, or green shorts. All clothing sold in our Trading Post is acceptable.
All new campers are welcomed on the first night of camp in a ceremony, when we read the Legend of the Guadalupe, and new campers draw from a hat to determine whether they’ll become a Pawnee or Shawnee for the rest of their lives!
Camp is an investment. The lifetime skills girls develop and friendships that are planted are worth the sacrifices that many families make to send their girls to The Heart.
What do you get for your investment?
Of course you get the tangibles – horseback riding, swimming, dance, tennis, and art lessons, plus the great food and entertainment, not to mention the gorgeous, healthful setting.
Then there are the intangibles – the invaluable socialization, emotional growth, experiences in group living and exposure to role models! We do offer early payment discounts and can work with parents on a pay-out program, too.
There are some hidden surprises that The Heart can offer. It has provided:
A bonding for cousins, step-sisters, former camper moms or grandmoms with their daughters, some “space” for sisters who are too close at home,  an opportunity for friends who have moved apart to be together again, a place to call home for children who are frequently relocated, rural children a wider circle of friends, city girls, a view of the Milky Way, the fireflies and the great outdoors, a traditional Texas experience to transplanted Texans, confidence and initiatives that will lead girls to a successful college experience, opportunity to meet new friends from other states and nations.