Photos & News

November 15, 2017

Rockport Pilot: Camp Aranzazu bridge construction connects campers to fishing, sailing

Alexandria Rodriguez, Corpus Christi Caller-Times
Published 3:00 p.m. CT June 4, 2018 | Updated 3:22 p.m. CT June 4, 2018
Original article:

The new bridge is valued at more than $11 million. Campers at Camp Aranzazu, which is for children and adults with special needs and disabilities, will have access to fishing and sailing by safely crossing Loop 1781. Alexandria Rodriguez/Corpus Christi Caller-Times

Officials and campers take part in the opening ceremonies for Camp Aranzazu's new bridge on Monday, June 4, 2018, in Rockport.
(Photo: Casey Jackson/Caller-Times)

ROCKPORT — Aiden Prado sweated as he walked over to Rockport Patrol Cmdr. Larry Sinclair.

The 9-year-old boy, wearing a Superman shirt, looked up at  Sinclair and squinted as he asked if he could get into his police car. 

Aiden hopped in the SUV that was parked just off Loop 1781, near State Highway 35.

Aiden and other children at Camp Aranzazu from Driscoll Children's Hospital had just crossed the camp's newest addition: a bridge. 

The bridge, which is valued at more than $11 million, has been in the works since September 2015. The project even held tough against Hurricane Harvey in August. 

"We serve children and adults with special needs and chronic illnesses," said Virginia Ballard, president of Camp Aranzazu. "The waterfront and being able to access it is something we have been working on for years and years."

More: Driscoll patients play at Stripes Child Life Carnival

More: Find a camp for the kids during Spring Break 2018

To kids like Aiden, who is attending the camp for the first time, the bridge connects them to new things, including fishing and sailing. 

Campers from Driscoll Children's Hospital's Renal Department march across Camp Aranzazu's new bridge on Monday, June 4, 2018, in Rockport.  (Photo: Casey Jackson/Caller-Times)

"He's loved the water stuff, like kayaking," said Aiden's father Matt Prado, adding that Aiden had a kidney transplant seven years ago. "This is the first year he could (come to camp)."

Campers were the first group of kids to cross the bridge after a ribbon cutting ceremony. They also were treated to sno-cones on the other side of the bridge. 

Camp Aranzazu opened in 2006 and expects to serve more than 1,600 campers this year. Ballard said the bridge was built as an in-kind contribution. 

Officials and campers take part in the opening ceremonies for Camp Aranzazu's new bridge on Monday, June 4, 2018, in Rockport.  (Photo: Casey Jackson/Caller-Times)

The contractor working on the new causeway used land from the camp. 

"In exchange they built our bridge," Ballard said. "In the end they also built a pier and it was valued at at least $1.5 million."

More: Corpus Christi, Port Aransas or Rockport children nature camp, birding festivals and more


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