The Mays Family Scout Ranch (MFSR) was originally envisioned and designed to be a place where families with minimal previous exposure to camping could come out and have a great time in the wilderness. The enable that, the camp was designed with built in permanent tents and cots for campers to use, so that a family could come with as little as a blanket and a pillow and be able to spend the night comfortably. In the original phase of the camp, a total of 84 tents and platforms were built spread out among 6 ‘homesteads’. At the time, each platform was outfitted with the latest and sturdiest tents available.
The tents were supposed to be able to last in good condition for many years, but the south Texas sun and heat proved to be just too much for them in the long run. After one round of warranty replacements and specially designed weather covers, it became clear that a new solution would be needed in order to ensure a quality camping experience for our new families. As of late May, the last of the old tents had to be taken down and retired.
Enter the ‘casita’
For replacement options, many ideas were considered in order to try to maintain the camp feel while ensuring longevity, cost effectiveness, and comfort. In the end, the design selected is one called, the ‘casita’. The casita is designed to fit onto the existing tent platforms, be able to be quickly pre-fabricated over time by our onsite Camp Ranger Adam, and then quickly assembled by volunteer work crews on scheduled work days. Additionally, the materials and design are such that repairs will be quick and easy when needed.
As with the tents, each casita will hold up to 6 campers on 3 bunks. The casitas were designed with the hot summer weather of south Texas in mind and are well ventilated. The prototype has been tested to be actually cooler inside than outside during the heat of the day. Each casita is being built with a locking metal door, closable shutters for inclement weather, and a small covered porch area for sitting and taking in the beautiful Mays Ranch sunsets.
If you have been to MFSR in the past several months, you may have noticed the prototype taking shape in Homestead 1. The prototype is now complete thanks to a generous donation, from past Council President, Mike Crownover, and a donation of labor and materials for the roof from board member, Gary Cram of Cram Roofing. Now, thanks to their donations and others including Allen & Allen Co. and donors to the annual ‘Give the Adventure’ campaign, we are ready to begin work on the first 27 casitas, which will finish out homesteads 1 and 2 at the ranch. Depending on when volunteer labor can be marshalled, the hope is to be able to have these amazing structures available for use as early as the end of the summer this year. Once those are built, work will begin on building out the remaining 56 casitas. At a cost of roughly $2100 per casita, the Alamo Area Council is going to need the support of many new donors in order to make these casitas a reality, but, once completed, they will be a showpiece for this gem of a property on the southside of San Antonio.