Evie Garrett has a mission—a clearer mission than most high school freshmen. But she came to it the hard way.
In 2016 Garrett developed a serious bone infection. Numerous surgeries, frightening developments, and a relapse kept her in the hospital for most of the summer, with nurses as her main source of company. The hospital gave her a teddy bear donated by local students through a nonprofit—a rare moment of cheer in a scary time.
Garrett left that summer with a scar on her calf: a reminder to her entire family of the close call and how much they have to be grateful for.
Every time he sees it, her father Bubba Garrett says, “It brings tears to my eyes.”
Evie Garrett knew she wanted to help kids who, like her, were spending a long stretch of childhood hooked up to monitors and IVs, surrounded by more beeping and intercoms than laughter. But she was a shy kid.
Two years after the infection, she visited the Canyon on an overnight retreat with her school, B. T. Wilson 6th Grade School in Kerrville ISD. There something happened, a quirky twist in her unique origin story.
The shy 12-year-old put on a monster onesie, danced, and sang in front of all her peers. Specifically, she sang a song about ticks to the tune of Baby Shark.
“I was just really confident. I was never that confident before,” Garrett said.
Something changed for her that night. She was ready to put her mission into action.
She thought back to the teddy bear, the one from the local students. It was, she thought, the perfect way to pay forward the comfort and encouragement she had received. To raise money, however, would mean pitching her idea to church groups, civic clubs, and individual donors. It would mean speaking confidently to adults and strangers.
If she could sing a silly song in her pajamas in front of her middle school peers … she could do that.
Evie’s Bears for Boo Boos is now in its fourth year and distributes between 800 and 900 stuffed bears to children in hospitals each year.
“She’s just always attacking life, out there trying to make the most of it,” Bubba Garrett said. “She doesn’t take much for granted anymore.”
B. T. Wilson has been coming out to the Canyon for decades as part of the Foundation Camp program. Foundation Camp allows groups of all kinds—churches, schools, and other nonprofits—to use facilities in the Canyon free-of-charge. The bulk of the groups wouldn’t be able to afford camp otherwise. They stay in the cabins and bring in their own food to eat in the dining halls. While every group is expected to have a character-strengthening curriculum, they are given a good deal of freedom to program the three-day retreats to meet their group’s unique needs. Some groups opt for lots of free time, while others structure the day around team building and organized outdoor experiences.