Mission & History

Camp Aranzazu (pronounced Ah ran' zah zoo) is dedicated to enriching the lives of children and adults with chronic illnesses and special needs by providing unique camping, environmental education, and retreat experiences. Since opening our doors in 2006, Camp Aranzazu has served more than 22,000 campers and their support staff.  

Camping groups come from approximately 50 counties in Texas to enjoy our 104-acre, barrier-free facility on Copano Bay, near Rockport, Texas. Regardless of any physical or developmental limitations, everyone can fully participate in and enjoy all the typical camping activities at Camp Aranzazu, such as fishing, swimming, sailing, archery, arts and crafts, and more.

Aranzazu is a Basque term that means “a spiritual place requiring a difficult path to reach.” At Camp Aranzazu, our campers are able to leave behind the stresses of their physical, medical, and emotional challenges, and spend time outdoors, socializing and interacting with others who face similar challenges. 

From 1959 to 1996, part of the current property served as the Bishop Elliott Conference Center, an Episcopal Church retreat facility. Houstonians and camp founders Tom and Holly Forney purchased the first 20 acres in 1997.  After spending several years enjoying the property, they decided to share the historically and ecologically rich land with others.

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Quick Facts

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Our Facilities

Camp Aranzazu is located on 104 acres on Copano Bay near Rockport, Texas. On the inland side of camp, we have four guest cabins with a total of 135 beds, a dining hall that accommodates 350 people, an art center, two swimming pools, an archery range, Ropes Challenge Course, sanctuary, and two freshwater ponds. Our 27 acres on Copano Bay are accessible via a 600-foot bridge and feature a fishing pier, floating dock, nature education building, bird blind, boardwalks and firepit. We have a lot to explore!

Board of Directors

Bobby Hatcher, Chairman
President and CEO
Cockrell Interests Inc.
Houston, Texas
Fields Alexander
Beck Redden
Houston, Texas
Daryl Allen
UBS Financial Services, Inc.
Houston, Texas
Jim Anderson
Rockport, Texas
Traci McLester Arellano
Vice President, Public Finance
Frost Bank
Houston, Texas
Robin Floyd
Community Volunteer
Houston, Texas
Tom Forney, Founder
Chief Executive Officer
Forney Construction
Houston, Texas
John Guill
Associate, Private Banking
Houston, Texas
Shannon Gunn
Gunn Automotive
San Antonio, Texas
Denise Hazen
Creative Director
Aspire Accessories
Houston, Texas
Chip Jenkins
CEO, First State Bank
Louise, Texas
Jack Kins, Treasurer
Chief Financial Officer
Houston, Texas
Keith Little, Vice Chairman
VP of Business Development
Cheniere Energy
Houston, Texas
Bryan Phillips, Secretary
Ytterberg Deery Knull LLP
Houston, Texas
Ashley Rhodes Smith
Marketing Director
Navy Army Community Credit Union
Corpus Christi, Texas
Joanne Taylor
Community Volunteer
Rockport, Texas
John Watson
JMI Inc.
Houston, Texas


Advisory Board

Katie Mattingly Brass
Community Volunteer
Houston, Texas
Tom Flaherty
Business and Financial Consultant
Houston, Texas
Gloria Hicks
Partner, Ed Hicks Imports
Corpus Christi, Texas
Robin Floyd
Community Volunteer
Houston, Texas
Mark Kelly
Vinson & Elkins, LLP
Houston, Texas
Rob McClane
Managing Director and
Client Advisor,
Avalon Advisors
San Antonio, Texas
Alison Leland McKinney
Political Science Instructor,
University of Houston and
Texas Southern University
Houston, Texas
George Strickhausen, IV
Developer, The Preserve
Rockport, Texas
Linda Strickland
Community Volunteer
Houston, Texas
Rona Train
Swiff-Train Company
Corpus Christi, Texas

Our Staff

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Virginia Calton Ballard


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Ashley Balch MacKenna

Managing Director

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Lillian Anfosso

Finance and Administrative Director

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Amelia Haslam

Camp Director

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Kate Plouvier

Director of Development

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Amanda Praet

Program Manager

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Alexa Rosenblat

Program Manager

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Taylor Floyd

Facilities Supervisor

Aranzazu Anchor

Kristi Hilliard

Facilities Supervisor

Aranzazu Fish

Bianca Hernandez

Development Associate

Shared Stories

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Zazu Host Committee

Traci McLester Arellano

Darrell Atkins

Frank Bay

Robin and Jeff Floyd

Cindy and Larry Forney

Holly and Tom Forney

Melissa and Charles Hall

Gloria Hicks

Chip Jenkins

Robert Kelley

Scott Meares

Chris and David Nesloney

Bob Shockney

Britni and William Key

Bob Shockney

Ashley Rhodes Smith

Camp Aranzazu Reservation Inquiry

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Months/Dates Preferred:
Length of stay:
Activities You Are Interested In:

Thank you to our generous sponsors

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Newsletter Sign-up

Don't miss the latest updates, news and invitations from Camp Aranzazu!


We welcome your help, whether it's once a week or once a year. Below is a list of volunteer opportunities that are typically available. If you are interested in volunteering, please download the volunteer application and return to Bianca Hernandez at bhernandez@camparanzazu.org. Thank you for your interest!

Special Events Support

Camp Aranzazu holds several fundraising events throughout the year in Houston, Corpus Christi, San Antonio, and Rockport. Volunteers are always needed!

Maintenance of Facilities and Grounds

With 104 acres, we can always use help more maintaining our beautiful camp.

Front Office Support

In the summer, we need help answering the phones, greeting guests, and keeping the office organized and running smoothly.

Download Application

We currently do not have any job openings.

Thank you for your interest. Please check back!