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    November 15, 2017

    Mack Brown, Gene Stallings look to win big for special-needs camp

    By Suzanne Garofalo April 6, 2018 Updated: April 6, 2018 5:17pm
    Original article: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/life/article/Mack-Brown-Gene-Stallings-look-to-win-big-for-12811826.php

    When burnt orange and maroon meet, you can expect great passion. On a football field, it means an old rivalry, a clash of giants. But in a swanky new Houston hotel, it means something else entirely.

    Mack Brown and Gene Stallings are well known for inspiring young men to push their boundaries on the gridiron. Now the former college coaching greats are helping youths they’ve never met to embrace challenges and triumphs in a different arena.

    They will talk about their storied careers and helping others at Huddle Up, a fundraiser April 24 at the Post Oak Hotel at Uptown Houston, benefiting Camp Aranzazu. The nonprofit camp offers therapeutic recreation to children and adults with disabilities and chronic illnesses at its 104-acre site on Copano Bay in Rockport.

    Brown led the Texas Longhorns to a national championship in 2005 and later this year will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame; Stallings coached at alma mater Texas A&M University, led the University of Alabama to the national title in 1992 and already is in the Hall of Fame. Charity and community are important to both men.

    Stallings and wife Ruth Ann’s son, John Mark “Johnny” Stallings, was born with Down syndrome and a heart defect. He died in 2008 at 46. Stallings chronicled his relationship with Johnny in his book “Another Season: A Coach’s Story of Raising an Exceptional Son.”

    “My life wouldn’t have been nearly as rich if Ruth Ann and I hadn’t raised a child with special needs,” Stallings, 83, said. “He brought our family such joy. He was an unselfish individual, and he remembered everyone’s names. He held down two jobs, at the Bryant Museum at the University of Alabama and at a funeral home here in Paris (Texas). … Even though he had a disability, he didn’t know it.”

    “Johnny was born while I was at Alabama. He was a major part of everywhere I’ve ever been,” he added. “The players loved to see Johnny come to practice because if I was being hard, he’d come and my disposition changed.”

    Wishing more early-education programs for children of all abilities had existed when Johnny was a boy, Stallings advocated for expanding the Rise School at the University of Alabama. He later enlisted his friend Brown and wife Sally to support the start of a Rise program in Austin. It opened its doors in 2003. Seven Rise schools now operate, including one in Houston.

    “He’s helped lots of children, and I think that might be more important to him than winning football games,” Stallings said of Brown, 66, who won the Stallings Award honoring humanitarian coaches in 2012.

    Indeed, Brown said, “You want to give back. Good things have happened to me because of football. I’ve been fortunate to be around so many healthy kids.”

    The pressures families of children with special needs face can be “much more difficult than winning football games,” added Brown, who has an adult niece with autism.

    Huddle Up organizers hope to raise $300,000 for Camp Aranzazu, which expects 750 children and young adults with physical, developmental and intellectual disabilities to attend this summer. Twenty percent of campers hail from Greater Houston. The camp operates year-round, but summer is its busy season.

    Camp Aranzazu underwrites most of the costs for therapists, counselors and other expenses “to remove financial barriers for families,” president Virginia Ballard said. Campers fish, climb rock walls, swim, practice archery, paint and more.

    “Even five days (at camp) can be transformational,” Ballard said. “There are things they can’t get in school or clinical settings. Maybe they see they aren’t the odd man out. They aren’t the only one to bring an insulin kit to lunch. For once, they’re just like everyone else.”

    “A Special World” relates programs and experiences by and for the disabled community in Greater Houston.

    suzanne.garofalo@chron.com

     

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    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!

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    Activity Leader Summer 2019 Job Opportunity​​

    Every year, Camp Aranzazu hires roughly 20 college aged individuals with varying skill sets to work as Activity Leaders from mid-May to mid-August. Activity Leaders have the fun and impactful job of enriching the lives of our campers with special needs through unique camping, environmental studies and retreat experiences.

    Activity Leaders facilitate a variety of activities including, but not limited to arts and crafts, archery, high and low challenge courses, sports and games, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, fishing, sailing, swimming, nature sessions and more!

    Benefits of this paid position include room and board and the potential to satisfy fieldwork and internship requirements in various fields of study. The buttons below include the additional documentation you will need to apply for the Activity Leader position. Email your completed application, resume and two unique and completed reference forms to our Camp Director, Amelia Haslam, and prepare for the summer camp experience of a lifetime!

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    Part-Time Receptionist

    Are you looking for a part-time job opportunity that allows you to be surrounded by nature in a supportive work environment? Camp Aranzazu currently has an opening for a part-time receptionist position on our staff. This opportunity will allow you to support our mission of enriching the lives of children and adults with special needs and chronic illnesses. To learn more about the position, click the job description below. 

    The Receptionist is responsible for overseeing functions related to the front office. The Receptionist also assists with special projects and provides some administrative support for all staff. If you are interested in the position and have any questions, please contact Lillian Anfosso, our Finance and Administative Director at lanfosso@camparanzazu.org. 

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    Camp Aranzazu seeks someone with strong sailing experience to supervise our summer sailing program from mid-May through August 2019. The Sailing Supervisor will ensure that Camp Aranzazu provides a safe environment for children with special medical, physical, emotional, social or financial needs to experience sailing. Camp sessions include day camp sessions, as well as residential sessions that last from one to six nights. If you have any questions, contact our Camp Director, Amelia Haslam, at ahaslam@camparanzazu.org.

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    Summer Art Instructor

    Do you have a passion for providing fine arts education and working with a committed staff of people dedicated to enriching the lives of children and adults with special needs and chronic illnesses?

    Camp Aranzazu seeks someone with art teaching experience to supervise our summer fine arts program from mid-May through mid-August 2019. The Art Instructor will ensure that Camp Aranzazu provides an intentional, expressive, and safe environment for children with special medical, physical, emotional, and/or social needs to create and experience fine arts. Camp session include day camp sessions, as well as residential sessions that last from one to six nights. If you have any questions, contact our Camp Director, Amelia Haslam, at ahaslam@camparanzazu.org.

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