Old School Flour Bluff


Our oldest operating program, H. E. Butt Foundation Camp, stewards some of our oldest and deepest relationships, like Flour Bluff Independent School District. John Kerr, Director of Foundation Camp, says Flour Bluff is one of two groups that have been coming to the Canyon since the ‘50s.

According to John, most children from Flour Bluff have a relative that has been to Foundation Camp. Their annual Camp outing has come to mean more than just a field trip to the students of Flour Bluff: it’s a generational experience that has lasted 63 years.

“It’s ingrained in every Flour Bluff student,” explains Amanda Jensen, an 8th grade teacher and director of Girl’s Camp with the district. The H. E. Butt Foundation Camp “is something they talk about for years to come and want their children to experience later on in life.”



Deep relationships leave behind artifacts, and the Foundation archive is filled with three generations of registration forms and correspondence from the small school district near Corpus Christi. One of the earliest known records—silent Super 8mm film footage from a 1955 trip to “Singing Hill”—is available online from the Texas State Archives. In the film, campers feed animals, swim in the Frio, dance the bunny-hop on the dining hall back porch, and chip wood that would become benches for the Foundation’s use.

To ensure all students have this opportunity, the school district has connected with local businesses to offer scholarships. Foundation Camp charges no fees, but schools must still arrange for food, transportation, and other real costs. The district works hard to guarantee all students who wish to attend are able to do so.

Flour Bluff’s motto for the annual trip: Always leave camp better than you found it. In addition to service opportunities, students from Flour Bluff learn teamwork and patience as they help navigate different situations in the Canyon.

“While at camp, our students learn life lessons such as selfless service,” said Amanda Jensen. Students clean their cabins daily, perform assigned kitchen duties and help around camp at all times to make the trip successful.

Flour Bluff is also dedicated to outdoor education. Students learn about local flora and fauna and discover practical skills like cooking with a Dutch oven.

“Some of our kids have never picked up a mop before,” Amanda said, “so even if the lesson is small, it adds to their development as humans.”

Article by Marcus Goodyear. mgoodyear@hebfdn.org

More from this issue

Soul + Food

In the Echo Valley kitchen, Wylie Shellhouse keeps menus and delivery schedules posted alongside church bulletins and an Orthodox icon printed on wood.

Summer Guest Musicians

Live music has long been a touchstone here in the Frio River Canyon—from guitar-and-cajón camp songs at Roundup to spirited performances at Laity Lodge’s Cody Center...

Rebooting Creativity Week

When Laity Lodge decided to relaunch Creativity Week after an 8-year hiatus, two truths guide the week: Everyone is creative, and everyone is welcome.

The Pioneer of Texas Outdoor Education

You can’t properly tell the story of outdoor education in the Canyon—or in the state of Texas—without talking about Irma Lewis, a P.E. teacher from Seguin.