Cat Camp gives new students an inside track to Texas State life
By Mindy Green
Instead of fearing the unknown about coming to college, freshmen can become acquainted with their peers and get ahead of the game when it comes to learning about being a Bobcat. Cat Camp, a two-day retreat offered every year, is Texas State University’s only spirit, pride and traditions summer camp.
Cat Camp’s main goal is to welcome new students into the Texas State family. By the end of each session, campers will bleed maroon and gold.
Gabriela Contreras, a counselor for the second time, recalls that she already felt like a Bobcat on the first day of school after attending the camp as a freshman. She says it “gives students an advantage” by introducing them to Texas State’s unique culture and giving them a sense of community so they never feel out of place.
This upcoming summer is extra special for her. “The place where it is located this year is the same place I went as a camper,” Contreras says. “I have come full circle.”
The counselors are a group of some of the most enthusiastic Bobcats on campus. They act as teachers and mentors to the new students. It is their job to teach our traditions such as the Alma Mater, the fight song and our “Eat ‘Em Up, Cats” and “Heart of Texas State” hand signs. New students also gain mentors that can help them throughout college. The counselors provide guidance and help the incoming students with any questions they may have leading up to their first day at Texas State.
Cat Camp director Karlton Wilson has many exciting goals in mind for these upcoming sessions. “Every year we incorporate more traditions,” Wilson says. For example, past years included a mock Riverfest and a Campus Organization Fair. Now they are adding a Moonlight Breakfast during the retreat — just like the one Texas State hosts the night before finals begin each semester. The purpose is to get new students to look forward to these events, he says.
Other activities campers can expect are small group discussions with their counselors, various games that help bond the Cat Camp family and a Ring Ceremony to symbolize graduating from Cat Camp, all of which generate Bobcat pride.
Cat Camp is utilizing multiple social media outlets to raise awareness about Cat Camp, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and a blog. “One of my biggest goals is to get more people to know about Cat Camp,” Wilson said.
New Texas State students are encouraged to apply. There are three sessions available: one in June and two in August. The June session will coincide with New Student Orientation and will be held on campus. The August sessions are located at Camp Young Judaea in Wimberley.
For registration and more information, click here.