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Camp Wichita Committees and Planning

Committee organizers are needed to plan and develop a youth camp, tentatively named Camp Wichita.

Committee organizers will help plan and implement a strategy to establish the camp. This may involve a continuation of the camps described below, or a permanent site, also described below. It may be possible to achieve both goals simultaneously, but organizers should consider the best, most impactful goals and priorities.

There are multiple potential uses and benefits associated with establishment of a permanent site, including:

-More efficient operation of youth camps (see Background below)
-Involvement and/or opportunity for use by other organizations
-Support for a key hospitality or visitor site on the Link Trail
-Use of the camp by active committee organizers and supporters

It is hoped that Camp Wichita Committees will grow to function as one or more Chapter Organizations of the Mile Zero Trail Association.

Learn more about committee and Chapter Organization volunteers, and send a message to chapters [at] mile0.org if you are interested to join this provident and innovative effort.
See NOTE 1 below.


Above photo: A spectacular sunset was captured by a student during Camp Dos Cabezas.


Background

Organization members produced youth camps in the Chiricahua Mountains, Cochise County and other locations in and southeast Arizona (Camp Dos Cabezas), the Zuni Mountains and edge of the Colorado Plateau (Camp La Ventana), and Chaco Culture and Mesa Verde National Park (Camp Chaco). The Black Hills and Yellowstone National Park were also considered and tested.

The weeklong camps were highly successful and rewarding for students and adult volunteers, but there were complications and drawbacks. Travel time and distance was an issue, though not because of the camp group members' excitement and need for patience during travel. The two-day transit required a stopping point at the end of the first day, which was usually a hotel and added significantly to the camp expense. Another challenge was reserving the group camp site in national parks, which limited the weeks the summer camps were offered.

An obvious solution is to offer a camp nearer to Texas cities, reducing travel time to one day (or less) and reducing the cost of the camp. Owning the land for the camp would also eliminate the complications in scheduling and allow for the camp to be more fully utilized. But it is important that the camp offer a dynamic environment to inspire imagination, as well as extraordinary activities interesting subjects.

The Wichita Mountains of southwest Oklahoma are a great potential attraction for camp students. They are dramatic and impressive, certainly to students who may have never seen or climbed mountains. Walking or driving to the tops of the Wichita Mountains offers views of the Great Plains and surrounding lakes. Trails and wildlife viewing are available in the Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge and other parks. There are good educational resources and extensive recreational opportunities in the area (generally, Comanche and Kiowa counties). Travel times are about 3 hours from Dallas-Fort Worth and 7 hours from Houston.

Another advantage is that the location would make an excellent stopover point for advanced scholarship camps that may travel to northern New Mexico, southern Colorado, and even South Dakota and Wyoming.

View photos of past camps and learn more about the organization's goals for future youth camps.

Also, read Airel's Journal (with her photos) about her experience at Camp Chaco.



An American bison on the Great Plains is an awesome sight.


Involvement

A Grassroots Effort

While committee leaders will need to help form the strategy, an important goal is to keep this part of MZTA activities small and easily manageable. Based on success in organizing and funding camps in the past, the effort a committee leader might undertake will likely involve organizing one or two small fundraisers per year, involving about 5-10 people (though some fundraisers may be larger).

A successful event model utilized in the past was an informal meal presented as "Camp Dinner". The $500 (typically, as an average) raised during each event enabled a student to attend camp. The goal for Camp Wichita over the next two to three years will likely be to purchase land, rather than organize camp student groups.

Fundraising goals will likely remain the same. (Note: over the decade-long course of funding and operating youth camps, it was determined that the cost of one to two camps could actually buy land needed for a permanent base camp, but the mission at the time was to continue offering camps in order to keep refining aspects like itinerary, transportation, curriculum, etc.).

The camp that will likely develop in the early stage is a primitive site that is accessible and central to good natural and educational resources. The planned operation is to utilize existing parks and education resources, rather than to develop them. The camp location is needed for meals and sleeping quarters (tents and/or cabins), as well as storage of supplies. Tent pads and a shelter for inclement weather, along with outdoor cooking and picnic-style dining, are the necessary essentials.

More amenities may develop later, but in a dramatic setting, the basics are all most young camp participants require to have an adventurous and memorable camp experience that will inspire productive aspirations in their future.

As a youth camp, it would be complicated to offer the grounds for use by hikers and cyclists on the Link Trail, but its presence should make it possible to establish and manage a site in close proximity for recreation travelers. And, the camp will develop a shared use policy to serve as a benefit for committee leaders and major contributors in the offseason or while it is not reserved for hosting student groups. Committee organizers will consider and determine this and relevant policies.

Learn more about committee and Chapter Organization volunteers, and send a message to chapters [at] mile0.org if you are interested to join this provident and innovative effort.
See NOTE 1 below.

Connections

Additional Information

Connect on Social Media

Mile Zero Trail Association launched a Meetup group based in Richardson, Texas on April 1, 2018, but it may be joined by people from most anywhere. As the organization grows, its activities will expand to wider regions and more cities. Its internet address is: www.meetup.com/Mile-Zero-Trail-Association

Learn more about MZTA use of Social Media.




Additional notes

NOTE 1: Send a message for the purpose of committee and Chapter Organization planning only. It is not a newsletter signup. General or periodic information about MZTA will not be provided to the general public or media through this email. It is for direct committee and Chapter Organization communication and planning only. Spam will be reported and blocked. MZTA will be in contact with those who inquire about committee and Chapter Organization planning and will not share your email with any people or businesses, except in the possible case where a person has a coincidental interest to organize a committee and Chapter Organization in the same town, city or close geographic area. (Example: For the purpose of local organizing, MZTA will facilitate communication with more than one individual in a region by communicating as a group or sharing email addresses for this limited purpose if each in the group agree.)



Camp Dos Cabezas - Mile Zero Trail Association
Young scholars and camp chaperones set out for a hike in the Chiricahua Mountains.



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