90 years of camping in the Texas Hill Country!

Waldemar StoryA remarkable thing happened this week!  Campers arrived in the Texas Hill Country for another fabulous summer at Camp Waldemar for Girls, which has been operating continuously since 1926. (www.waldemar.com)

Ora Johnson, the first woman principal of a major co-educational high school in Texas, had a dream of establishing a summer camp for girls on the banks of the Guadalupe River near Hunt, Texas.  Named for a Scandinavian word, Waldemar, meaning “Sea of Woods,” the camp opened in the summer of 1926.  Since that time, thousands of girls have attended, creating life-long memories and friendships.

From Ora Johnson, to her niece Doris Johnson, to Marsha and Meg Elmore, the camp’s owners and directors, Camp Waldemar has established traditions and legacies that are now a part of fourth-generation camping families.

MBC’s family first connected with Camp Waldemar in the 1940s.  Her grandmother, Mary G. Kelley, recruited campers from her home in Alexandria, Louisiana, chaperoned campers from La. to camp, was a counselor to the youngest campers and taught bridge for more than 30 summers.  Her mother, Nancy Kelley Oliphint, attended as a camper in the 1940s and was also a counselor.  Several other family members, cousins and nieces, also attended.

MBC was also a camper and counselor, and helped start the short-term camp in 1991. To this day, she cherishes her Waldemar memories and friendships. And, she claims she was first introduced to armadillos at Camp Waldemar, which you can read all about in “Bluebonnet of the Texas Hill Country.” (Can you figure out which part of the story is based on a true incident MBC saw at camp involving an armadillo?!)

Bluebonnet of the Texas Hill Country

Bluebonnet of the Texas Hill Country


MBC also edited “The Waldemar Story: Camping in the Texas Hill Country,” written by her mentors Sue Van Noy Willett and Carolyn Carmichael Wheat. http://www.shop.campwaldemar.com/The-Waldemar-Story-Book4.htm

The book covers the first 70 years of Waldemar’s history; 20 years worth of tales have yet to be told.  And new memories are being made every day!

So, what is so special about summer camp? Former Waldemar camper, Sissy Goff eloquently describes the importance camp plays in a child’s development and formation in this blog:


MBC and I celebrate summertime and camping. We give thanks for our family’s long association with Camp Waldemar.  Here’s to 90 more years of camping in the Texas Hill Country!

Keep camping! Bluebonnet Armadillo