Camping in Houston has had a long history, only rarely interrupted. Two such interruptions have happened in our recent history. Once, in 2010, when YMCA Camp Cullen suffered a devastating fire, closing our facility for 2 years, and again in 2020, due to COVID-19 concerns. During these two forced closures, the extended Camp Cullen family rallied to save camp and we launched out the other side stronger than ever.
Houston YMCA camps were itinerant during the Y’s early years. Records show that as early as 1910 arrangements were made to use a site for a summer camp on the Bolivar Peninsula on Galveston Bay, called YMCA Camp Rollover. Later, YMCA Camp Sandy Hook was located in San Leon, followed by a camp on Lake McCormick near Humble and YMCA Camp Mays located near Spring. The first YMCA owned camp was YMCA Camp Ross Sterling, Jr., about nine miles east of Baytown on Trinity Bay, beginning in 1924. A second camp, the Houston YMCA Boys Camp, was acquired on the Blanco River near Wimberley, Texas, in 1950. YMCA Camp Holden, Camp Pine Tree, Camp Hamman Ranch, and Camp Cullen have all been part of the Y’s more recent camping history. YMCA Camp Cullen which began in 1974 continues to serve individuals of all ages, carrying on the legacy and impact of YMCA Camping.
Did you know that for more than three decades, every Houston ISD 5th grader had the unique opportunity to visit camp as part of its Outdoor Education program? This means that generations of Houston youth have a YMCA Camp Cullen story to tell. Check out our Alumni page to get in touch!