Camp Store NEW!
Past Summer Pics (2002-2008)
Camp Arrowhead gave me more than I could ever return. It is a place where an awkward girl can come to and find acceptance from her peers that did not exist in her daily life at home. It is a place of magic, dreams, memories and scores of friends that last a lifetime. The traditions and events held at camp bond girls together and give them a strong sense of self, strength and family.
I was very grateful that Camp Arrowhead was still around in 2002 when I decided to send my oldest daughter Shelby (age 10) to camp. She was going through the same typical awkward stage that girls go through (like mother, like daughter). Camp helped her to overcome her shyness and define herself as a strong young woman. I will forever be in debt to Camp Arrowhead for helping her to discover who she could be and find her areas of strength deep inside of herself. She is not a shy little girl anymore that is afraid to try new things and her self confidence has improved remarkably. Shelby has been a camper since 2002 and in 2008, she became a CIT and was looking forward to becoming a counselor one day.
My younger daughter, Kirby, enjoys life to the fullest. So much so, that it is hard to keep her occupied, especially during the summer. Camp provided her with a vast amount of activities on a daily basis. She would write me letters from camp, "Mom, having too much fun - no time to write. Love ya." It was true. Kirby loved every minute of camp. She makes friends quickly and age is of no consequence. She gets along with everyone from the very young to adults. She started camp at age 7 was upset with me when I didn't send her at age 6. Knowing how strong Kirby is, I probably should have started her at age 6.
The one defining quality, (and they possess so many incredible qualities) that sets Kelli and Rob Bartell above all others in the camp industry, is that they run their camp as if every child is theirs. It is a wonderful feeling to send your child off to camp and when you come to pick them up, they don't want to go home. They give each child individual care and attention. Both of my children came home with nicknames that Rob had given to them. They love their nicknames "Salad Bar" for Shelby and "Salad Dressing" for Kirby. They tell everyone about these nicknames and use them at home. Kelli is the only director that I have ever heard of giving "Mommy hugs". Every night, she goes around to each cabin and every girl gets a "Mommy hug". According to my girls, she will even come back to your cabin if she missed giving you a hug when she was at your cabin previously. She makes sure every girl goes to sleep with a "Mommy hug". I don't know a single camper that did not love this new tradition that Kelli started. My girls love their camp mommy and her "Mommy hugs". I am also so very impressed with the vast amount of knowledge that Kelli and Rob are able to learn and maintain about every girl. They pay attention to the details, which is quite incredible. They can tell me what each of my daughters' likes and dislikes are regarding food, activities and who their best friends at camp. They are truly loving and incredible people. My girls consider them their second set of parents. My daughter Shelby will even ask me, "can I call Rob, I just want to talk to him". She feels very connected to Rob and can communicate with him much easier than with her own father. Also, her dad is a police officer and works graveyard shift hours and is not always available to her. I love that my girls feel that they have another set of adults and parents to confide in. Not always are you confortable talking directly with your own parents. I am glad that Kelli and Rob are there for my children.
I loved Camp Arrowhead in my day, however, I was just a number. I was a virtual unknown to the director and counselors, other than those in my cabin and in my classes. Today, Kelli and Rob make sure that not only do they pay close attention to every girl, they make sure that their counselors and staff have the sameknowledge of every child. It makes a difference and thus sets Camp Arrowhead apart from others in the camping industry.
With Much Appreciation and Love,
Mary (Pawnee '76-'77 & mother of Shelby (2nd generation Pawnee '02-'05, '07, CIT '08) & Kirby (2nd generation Pawnee '04-'08)
received the letter about camp being forced to close...............so many tears
came out that I could not keep on reading the letter. It is really a very sad
situation. I never imagined that something like this could happen. Marieliza my
daughter was already making plans to go this summer, she has being saving money
for it. It is going to be a very sad news to her also. At least she had the
chance to go once, but I have another daughter who is 6 years old and was
willing to go when she got a little bit older..........
Im sooooo crushed to see that Camp Arrowhead is coming to an end. It would be a miracle if the camp was saved. My favorite memories were at Camp Arrowhead, and I wish that I could have more these coming years. I would give all my money to save camp arrowhead (isn't that much though). I hope someone will save us.
Here are hugs to my past counselors and cabin mates (and everyone else at Camp Arrowhead)
Ellie (Kickapoo '05-'08)
I'll hope and pray Camp A finds a way back by next summer? I am really sorry to hear about the Camp and the family strife. This cannot be easy for you on any number of levels. When I told Maddy and Claire the camp had to be sold, the first thing they said is NOT what will we do in the summer BUT "where is the family going to go, their house is right there at Camp."
We'll be thinking of you and watching "Save Camp Arrowhead" closely on Facebook. I don't know if any investors can be found, but you never know.
Liz (mother of Maddy, Kickapoo '08 & Claire, Pawnee '08)
I went to one summer session back in 1968 or 1969 and loved it! My horse was named "Rowdy." I recently heard about a Mother / Daughter weekend event and registered myself and my 10 year old daughter. I was so looking forward to sharing Camp Arrowhead with her and hoped she might go there for a summer session some day too! I am so sad that the camp is closing...
Betty Downes McCreary (Kickapoo Ď68)
Let me first say that I am so sorry for what you and your family are going through. If it was in our financial power we would not hesitate to buy out Robs siblings so the camp could continue Ė if only. I cannot even imagine the grief and loss that you must be experiencing. The news of course was a shock and have Kim and I stunned. I actually saw the website when you posted it and waited until we received your letter to share the news with Kim. Kim has been upset and is even considering not going to camp at all.
This is very sad because she has worked so hard in school this year to ensure her ability to attend camp after not having the grades to go last year. Camp is how we have motivated her to try so hard as school does not come easy to her and so far this year she has all Aís and two Bís Ė amazing. We actually signed Kim up to volunteer at a local summer camp last year for underprivileged 5-10 year olds and she really enjoyed the experience but also appreciated that she could have went to Camp Arrowhead if she had just studied a little harder.
Thanks for all your help and you and your family are in our prayers.
Kathy (mother of Kim, Pawnee '04, '06-'07)
I'm NEVER going to forget the amazing summers I've spent there. I met some of the best friends that I've ever had, and I don't know where I'd be without them. Its where I got my love for archery, and just being able to appreciate all the beautiful things around me. You never know how pretty all the stars really are until you've seen them from the Camp Arrowhead tennis courts in the middle of the night. From 'Mommy Hugs' every night to all the awesome evening activities planned, it was the best part of my year. I still wear my Big Chief bracelet almost everywhere I go. I even got a dangle ring made out of my Kickapoo charm that we get every year. It's my home away from home. Miracles DO happen, and I'm never going to stop believing. :)
Morgan (Kickapoo '06-'08) & former Big Chief
Camp Arrowhead was where I made some of the greatest friends i ever had and I am sick that it is closing! Though I only worked there one summer I have memories that last a life-time like cabin 12 before cabin night. It was already pretty hot inside and then all the girls would have their hair dryers and straighteners out at rest hour and obsessing about what to wear on the off chance there might be boys there! Or that one unforgettable cabin night where we tubed down the river!!!! Then there was all the fun times i spent with the other counselors, mainly Gaby, Meredith, Ana and Jessica just having fun, the Walmart trips or just hanging out at the waterfront or kayaking to the dinosaur tracks! I mostly upset that there won't be the opportunity for other girls like me to work there and have similar experiences, because I know I will cherish my summer there for the rest of my life! Camp was great when things were going on and the girls were there but I also enjoyed the weekends in between terms and all of us would go to Mamacita's. I'll miss the kiss the deer song, the waterfront, the counselor cabin and of course Mommy Hugs!!!
Erica (Blackfoot '06)
I am so saddened by the news of Arrowhead closing. I had always dreamed that my daughter would be a 2nd generation Pawnee when she was old enough...my thoughts and prayers go out to everyone at Arrowhead!
Diane (80' Pawnee alumnae)
I am just completely heart broken to her about camp closing. Now that Iím homeschooled camp was the only place where I could see my friends. But now I am determined to help in any way I can! I am wondering if there is any chance that all the girls could help, too? My mom is a real people person and loves to help for a cause. Even if all the campers and past campers could donate 100 dollars each and ask Mr. Rob's siblings if we could keep camp going. I WILL NOT let this happen!! It is just so sad, I am writing this with tears rolling down my cheeks, just tell me what I can do.
I love you all with my heart!
Ayden (Pawnee '07-'08)
I just want to offer my support in your cause. I am truly praying for a miracle. I can't understand how those two could not find some way to allow the camp to continue. It is mind-boggling. And truly heartbreaking. You and Rob give your all and you were truly born to do this work. That camp is so incredibly beautiful. It has been the tradition of Holly's childhood.
You and Rob mean so much to me and Holly. We support you. I am still hoping for a miracle so that the camp can go on. We're both very sad with you. I hope you know how much you mean to us and how wonderful you have made Camp Arrowhead.
Lugene (mother of Holly, Pawnee '02-'08)
I miss you so much! I just want to thank you for everything you've done and I hope you know how great Camp Arrowhead was. It's so weird saying that camp "was" something because it still IS something to me and always will be. I have the best memories of my life at camp all thanks to you. :) I can't thank you enough for what you've done for me and all the girls that have gone to Camp Arrowhead. You, Rob, Carli, Connor, and everyone are in my prayers. I love you, Kelli!
When I opened the
letter, I cried. It looked like I may not have been able to go this year due to
just troubles all around. But my hopes were still high, and I started saving my
babysitting money if I didnít get a for sure.
Ok Kelli, I
simply refuse to stay with crossed arms and see this happen to everybody who
cares about Camp Arrowhead. I'm sure you've done everything you could, but I
have to say that I do believe in the power of people (and by that I mean, lots
of people) and there certainly are lots of people who want to do something.
There are some ideas we've had and we haven't done anything yet, because we were
waiting for you to spread the news and to see if you agree.
Gaby (Pawnee '90s, counselor '07-'08)
stories about camp wont bring camp back. I could write a twenty page essay
from all the wonderful cabin 12 memories to the awesome I repeat AWESOME
counselors I have had the privilege of meeting every year. I have read from both
sides and you all have your opinions and beliefs. What you believe is a thing
that no one can say is wrong or right. This year I got my first real chance to
be a counselor and I couldn't agree more with Gaby and say camp isn't for us,
its for the girls. I should know I was one of them. My parents had recently
divorced and camp became my security blanket as Katie would say, our safe haven.
I'm not telling my story to prove people right or wrong I'm telling it so
everyone can understand for some girls camp is all they have. We were there to
be positive influences someone they didn't have at home. When I would see a girl
from my cabin have a smile that stretched from ear to ear, that's all that
mattered to me. Some girls don't get half the love or support from there family
members as of what Kelli, Rob, fellow counselors as well as my friends have
shown me. just for one second put the negativity aside and think of the girls
and what we can do if anything to help THEM cope with this devastating
This is Katie Walker I am so sorry, I have just received the letter. My parents handed it to me and when I read it I was about to cry. This weekend we were going to sign me up for this summer. I am still in shock right now, camp arrowhead made me feel like a kid again, a little kid. I turned 14 yesterday I am waiting for the usual birthday card, like the one you sent me last year. I was really hoping for when I reached 16 to start training to be a counselor, and have that be my first job. I will never forget the mommy hugs from you and the big sister hugs I did every night. It was camp arrowhead that I made a lot of friends and I am still close to some of them. I can for sure you I will never forget the times I had there, I mean who could. I am deeply sorry that this has come upon you but I will never forget you or the camp. When I grow up and have kids of my own I now have wonderful memories to tell them and the amazing owner (you) and the great, caring counselors and everybody who was kind and always had a hand to give. But please message me back when you get the chance I know this must be hectic so just whenever you get the chance.
Katelyn (Kickapoo '07-'08)
P.S. I hope you never forget the memories of me rolling around in the mud 2 years ago. That one always comes up in past stories hahaha
Dear Kelli and Rob,
This is Kendall and Regan. We are so sad that camp will be closing. That is
such a sad story to hear. My Momís Grandpa owns 280 acres of land in Oklahoma. He is dead now so it belongs to her we would be happy for you to put Camp Arrowhead on that land it may take a couple years but we can still carry on the tradition. You wonít have to pay for the land you can partially own it. We will let you put the camp on the land for free. This is a very special camp to us and we want it to keep going. There is a creek that runs through it, but I donít think big enough to swim in. We hope you will accept this.
Kendall (Kickapoo '07-'08) and Regan (Pawnee '07-'08)
Dear Mr. Michael Eisner,
In 2006, after recalling an interview you had done on GMA promoting your book Camp, I had made the decision to gift my niece, Kendall the opportunities you had experienced and detailed in your book.
That fall, I began the research process and choose Camp Arrowhead for Girls in Hunt, located in the beautifulTexas Hill country. In the summer of 2007, my then 8 year old niece attended summer camp for the first time. She left as an awkward, shy, introverted only child and came back an outgoing, self-assured, happy little girl who had found untapped skills/abilities and a lifelong sisterhood.
Today, I just received a letter from Camp Arrowhead owners, Kelli & Rob Bartell advising that due to sibling conflict, Camp Arrowhead is being forced to close. Rob owns only 1/3 of the 650 acre ranch and his brother and sister have decided to sell their portion of this property that was established 75 years ago by their grandparents, Ewing and Martha Gillis in 1934.
This camp is in danger of closing but not because of Kelli and Rob's mismanagement, neglect, or lack of interest in the social and self development of girls going through the most challenging time in their young lives.
I am contacting you in hopes you can help Kelli and Rob KEEP CAMP ARROWHEAD operating with whatever resources, informational or financial, you have. I realize your interests are stated for California, but could you please, look to the east, and upon the Lone Star State.
In closing, I want to thank you for your time and consideration as I take a proactive start to SAVE CAMP ARROWHEAD
I would also appreciate if you could take a moment to look at Camp Arrowhead's web site,www.camparrowhead.com , for more information such as the history of Camp Arrowhead, the full announcement of the closing, activities, and beautiful pictures of the girls (Pawnees & Kickapoos) whose lives will be affected by this devastating decision.
Cori Ann (Aunt of Kendall, Pawnee '07-'08)
I got your letter today regarding the closure of your camp. I couldn't believe what I was reading. I am so sad and sick inside. I know that Megan only went one summer but we loved it each time we came to stay for the weekend. I am so sorry and feel horrible for you, Rob and your staff. We will definitely miss you this summer.
With love in my heart for you and your family,
Kim (mother of Megan, Kickapoo '08)
It is with a sad sigh that I write this to you. I received your letter in the mail today about the closure of Camp Arrowhead. After receiving the news, my daughter, Alexia, ran to her room crying. She had only attended Camp Arrowhead in Summer 2008 but you all made such a wonderful impact on her. She remembers the birthday party that you gave her and tells of the fun stories of her days at Arrowhead. She was so looking forward to going back this summer and has since refused to attend another camp.
I too, wish that there was more that could be done to keep this amazing camp going for many years to come. Please know that you and all the girls from Camp Arrowhead will always be a part of our family in memory and in heart.
May God Bless you always
Della (mother of Lexi, short term 2008)
We are so sad that Camp Arrowhead is closing. Like we talked about on the phone Rob, we really want to help if there is way to keep the Camp running. I am completely willing to talk to other parents and folks that might be willing to pitch in and make an investment to keep the Camp going. Camp Arrowhead has been a great experience for our kids that I can't just sit by and watch it close without trying to do something.
Susan (mother of 2nd generation, Louisa (Kickapoo '06-'08), Audrey (Pawnee '06-'08), Marlena (Pawnee '07-'08))
Please accept my hearty thank you for all you do to make summer camp a positive and lasting experience for Madalyn. It's hard to believe that this was already her fifth summer at Arrowhead. I'm sure she's not alone dreaming of her friends and returning to the special place along the Guadalupe months before camp begins each year. When we finally drive down Arrowhead Road and enter the gates, it's her tradition to get out and reunite with the counselors with big hugs as they greet campers and their families.
Camp Arrowhead is the place where she can be herself, where she is encouraged to be a leader, try new activities and improve in those she enjoys already. I know other camps offer similar experiences, but since 1976 Arrowhead has held that special place in my heart, and it seems fitting that my daughter follows that tradition. She sure wouldn't have it any other way!
It was your leadership at Arrowhead that reunited me with my best camp friend, Mary. Now we keep in touch regularly and what a charming and devoted friend she is.
More than anything I thank you for keeping Madalyn safe and happy while she is in your care. You all seem to do whatever it takes to make camp the best place to be for a growing young woman. You have my deepest respect and appreciation for that. Thank you for your enduring stewardship that keeps Arrowhead and its many distinctive attributes alive. That means a lot to me and so many others.
Alicia (Pawnee '76 & mother of Madalyn (2nd generation Pawnee '03-'08)
This summer, I attended Camp Arrowhead for my 8th year in a row.
It's hard to describe the experiences I have had at Camp Arrowhead over the past
7 years with Rob and Kelli. Every year, as the school year comes closer and
closer to ending, my excitement to go to camp grows. Generally this starts in
February. Spending a month of my summer every year with Rob and Kelli truly has
given me some of my favorite memories. Never have I felt uncomfortable or uneasy
during my 7 stays at camp. Going to camp has provided me with friendships with
girls that will last a lifetime, and I know I have Rob and Kelli to thank for
that. My only wish is that I may continue to attend Arrowhead each summer, and
when my days as a camper end, I will gladly come back as a counselor, because
the thought of leaving Arrowhead actually makes me want to cry. Rob and Kelli
and all of my friends and all the girls that go, are my Arrowhead family, and I
wouldn't change any of that, ever.
I just wanted to let you know that Jennie and I just had lunch and all she could talk about was what an impact Camp Arrowhead has had on her life. She went all the way back to when she first went there 5 years ago. That was such a trying and difficult time in her life as well as our entire family; with her dad and I going through a divorce. I remember hesitating about sending her to camp for a month, but my mother insisted that it would be best thing for her to be away when all of the divorce proceedings were going on.
I do remember she was a bit homesick for the first week and 1/2, but after that she felt like she had a new mom & dad and a whole lot of sisters. I don't know if you remember or not, but she was the last one that left camp that year other than the counselors. After I finally pulled her into the car to leave, she cried all the way to Kerrville and then slept all the way home. (by the way, she does that every year....I always know what to expect).
After that first year, when Jennie came home after being gone for a month, my entire family noticed a HUGE change in her life. Prior to camp she was very dependent and needy. When she got home we all noticed a sense of independence and self confidence. And, I have to say too that that was the beginning of some lifetime friends. Every year she travels to Nevada to visit Chelsea in the Winter and Chelsea comes to South Padre Island every summer. To this day, she has established relationships not only with the campers, but the counselors, and both of you. Jennie always calls you, Kelli, her 2nd mom and Rob.....I have to say, you are the closests man to a father figure she's had. Thank you for that. Jennie has not had a dad for 5 years. He never calls her, he never sees her and he lives in the same town. How sad is that. But what is so wonderful is that you both have taken the time to get to know Jennie and you have made such a positive impact on her life and helped her learn to cope with everyday life, as well as learn a whole lot of responsibility. Jennie watches everything you do and say and you are both very consistent in your everyday walk with the counselors and campers.
The other thing I wanted to share with you is when Jennie became a Counselor in training, she grew a whole lot more. She loved the responsibility that came with and she began feeling more like an adult. One of her comments to me while she was at camp last month was "mom, I finally realize that camp is not all about me, it's about all of the other girls who need help and guidance." I think Jennie has learned not only how to be a camper, but she has learned how to treat others. So many of the counselors that you have hired over the years have had such a positive impact on her.
The reason I say all of this is because to this day, Jennie feels that Camp Arrowhead is her 2nd home. Yes, she loves home and her family, but she also has an extended family at Camp Arrowhead that will last forever.
Jennie is already talking about going to Shriner's College in Kerrville. She wants to go there because it's close to "home" (camp) and she also talks about being a counselor FOREVER!!!
I just wanted to THANK YOU for all that you have done for Jennie and our family.
Many Blessings to you and your family,
Lorie (mother of Jennie, Pawnee '04-'06', CIT '07-'08)
My daughters Cailee and Ellie were campers since 2002 when Cailee started. We are heartsick about the circumstances and hope that a "miracle" does occur. We'll put out the few "feelers" that we have for an angel investor. We hope everyone else does the same.
Love and hugs to all,
Lisa (mother of Cailee, Kickapoo '02-'07 & Ellie, Kickapoo '05-'08)
I don't know what to say. When my Linda called me with the news I was shocked. We will always have a special place in our heart for you & your camp family & everyone at Arrowhead. You meant so very much to Linda, and we had so many hopes in regards to many future summers there with you. I for one will be praying for that miracle. I told Linda that I would inquire about getting her some kind of mailing list for the girls from her group, so that she could try to stay in touch with as many of them as possible. (I know that there may be some privacy concerns, etc..but perhaps, at the very least, we could come down for a visit and Linda could obtain the addresses for the girls she's hoping to contact, like the girls in Germany.) Well,..I am so sorry. We wish you all well. We'll be praying for you and all the Arrowhead family, during this un-believeable time.
Mark (father of Linda, Pawnee '06-'08)
I would never think this would ever happen!!! I've been looking at other camps but they don't look near as wonderful as Camp Arrowhead is. I don't know what to do now that camp is closed its miserable! At least I got to come here for more than one year. I'm so lucky to be able to have "family" members like you guys. LOVE YOU ALL!!!
The Little Mermaid aka Ariel (Kickapoo '06-'08)
My heart is breaking at this terrible news. My Carly loves Arrowhead. She talks about going back from the moment we pick her up. Your love and encouragement over the past two summers has given her confidence and poise. She excitedly tried activities that she never would have attempted without the safe and positive environment created by the Arrowhead family. If there is anything that my family can do to help keep Arrowhead open we will be at the ready.
Mommy hugs to both of you,
Shellie (mother of Carly, Pawnee '07 '08)
We are all very saddened by the letter received regarding Camp Arrowhead closing. Although last year was Angeliqueís first year, we just cannot believe it is going to be closed after being open since 1934. We wanted to start sending Angelique each summer and eventually become a counselor. She even had about three new recruits for this summer. We are fortunate that she did have one opportunity to attend and one she will never forget! Thank you for that special summer and if there is anything that we can do, please let us know.
Cindy Sanchez (Angelique, short term í08)