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Camp Legends

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Si Ragsdale with a few of his adoring fans

Texas camps recently honored 17 Camp Legends.

I am lucky enough to have been personally influenced by a number of them, most especially my dad Si Ragsdale, Frank and Inez Harrison, and Kitty Magee.

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Inez and Frank Harrison on Chapel Hill at Camp Mystic

My dad shaped me not only as an attentive father, but also as a camp director. I soaked up every word, every gesture—and the motions to all the songs.

Frank and Iney were our kind surrogate parents on the occasions that our parents were out of town without us, and Iney in word and example lived out her convictions.

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Kitty Magee on a 1978 visit to The Heart at Closing

Kitty became my mentor after we bought “The Heart,” when I was a freshman at TWU. She would show up at camp, to work with me after everyone else had left on break, and often gently shared her thoughtful and expert observations on how we could improve things large and small.

I have wonderful memories and some stories to tell about others: Carl Hawkins, Freddie Hawkins, Doris Johnson, Tex Robertson, and Peggy Rotzler.

Others among the Legends were always friendly, supportive, and famous in their own right. I believe those whose lives were touched or formed by camp directors probably stand convicted that each one was the greatest figurehead who ever walked the earth, that their camp was and still is the best ever! And each of them is absolutely right.

In conjunction with the American Camp Association’s national convention in Dallas, the CAMP (Camping Association for Mutual Progress, which is mostly a Texas organization) put together that special dinner to honor Camp Legends.

There were many underwriters: Camp TV, which produced a wonderful video presentation of the Legends, ACA Texoma, Ben E. Keith Food Service, CAMP, Friends of Organized Camping, Labatt Food Service, and also the Kudrna and Monaghan families. Camp John Marc’s director Vance Gilmore, and his office staff put in untold hours.

Many thanks to all of those listed for helping us celebrate our camp heritage and its heros!

About the Author

Jane Ragsdale

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Jane Ragsdale (Mrs. Dick Howell) is the director of Heart O’ the Hills. She was a Heart camper and counselor, and served as program director from 1978-87. She has been one of the owners since 1976, and director since 1988.

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