Camp Aranzazu
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Camp Aranzazu

5 Minutes with our Development Director

Kate joined the Camp Aranzazu staff in April 2018 after starting her development career at Houston Habitat for Humanity and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. She works out of the Houston office, visiting San Antonio and the Coastal Bend as needed. A busy mom of two children, Emily and Julian, she enjoys traveling, cooking and baking, and yoga.

From left — Lillian, Kate, Mandy stand under a Camp Aranzazu logo in front of a wall of greenery

Let’s start at the beginning. Why Camp Aranzazu?

As a mom, I try to curate life experiences for my children that will help them achieve their potential and become good world citizens. Part of that journey is creating moments for them to (safely) test their own boundaries, discover independence, and practice interpersonal interactions. Summer camp is a huge stepping stone on that journey from youth to adulthood. I am grateful that they do not experience any health challenges, so they can choose which camp they want to attend. However, I recognize that not all families and children have that ability. I am glad each day that Camp Aranzazu exists — to offer that same experience to people with special needs and their families.

What’s the best part of your job?

I really enjoy getting to connect with our donors. Whether eating lunch together or whizzing around the Camp in a golf cart, those moments are always marked with gratitude for the many ways they want to help our campers. It is a beautiful and humbling position to be in, when you can help someone else do good in the world.

Kate stands at the bayfront with two long-time supporters of camp. Campers and other camp staff roam around in the background

What is your favorite memory at Camp Aranzazu?

There are so many! One of my favorite memories is watching a nearly blind camper sail on Copano Bay. Even from a distance, I could feel her excitement to have a new sensory experience — the salty air, the cawing seagulls, and the warming sunshine.

The Camp has had highs and lows, especially recently. What’s the toughest challenge you’ve faced since starting at Camp Aranzazu?

I am amazed at the resiliency of the staff and board. In just the last five years, they have surmounted a devastating hurricane, conclusion of a capital campaign’s construction, and a global pandemic. I started after Hurricane Harvey, so I would have to say that the onset of the pandemic was the most challenging time for me. In what felt like the blink of an eye, summer camp was cancelled and we were wrapped in uncertainty. I remember asking myself if we could continue to fundraise when campers weren’t staying on site, and if we could host our fall events, and if philanthropy would be able to help us close the gap in camper fee revenue. The one thing I never questioned was if we would stay open, though. I knew without a doubt that our board would guide us through those challenges and that our donors would help us as much as they could. Both instincts proved right.

What is the Houston office like?

I may be biased, but I think our two-person sublease is fun! Kurt and I office in a design firm in the Upper Kirby area of Houston. My office has a beautiful view of the Texas Medical Center and plenty of natural light. Add in the design firms swoon-worthy Jura coffee maker and Kurt’s hilarious antics — and it’s easy to see why I enjoy coming to work!

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Camp Aranzazu

Camp Aranzazu

Regardless of any physical or developmental limitations, everyone can fully participate in and enjoy all the typical camping activities at Camp Aranzazu.