Summer Camp Memories: Camp Idlewilde in Comfort

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Tony Maples Photography


The Texas Hill Country has been home to hundreds of summer camps throughout the years. Ranging from overnight tent camps with dinner made over a fire with a stick to established buildings and activities for campers staying weeks at a time, the fresh air, flowing water, and natural beauties set a true summer scene. The YMCA runs nine camps in Texas alone and over 234 camps across the county and world. One site which is no longer open to the public, but remains in many memories, was YWCA’s Camp Idlewilde, near Comfort.

Summer Camp Memories: Camp Idlewilde in Comfort

Photo: @PrincessOfCamelot via Twenty20

First built in 1902 of longleaf yellow pine with cypress siding and millwork, the Idlewilde Lodge was originally utilized as a health sanitarium by Dr. C.H. Wilkinson from Galveston. In 1906, the property was sold to E. Hugo, who operated Camp Reliance until 1912, when Robert Wilke bought the land and changed the name to Camp Good Times. Then, in 1917, the site and building became part of Camp Idlewilde, a YWCA summer camp for girls that operated for 65 years. Campers at Camp Idlewilde stayed for two week periods and participated in canoeing, horseback riding, swimming, and tennis, among other activities for health and development. Weekly devotions were also held. The Hobo Convention was quite the event, and winter weekends were also fun times at camp.

Summer Camp Memories: Camp Idlewilde in Comfort

Photo: @5m3photos via Twenty20

Shortly after being sold by the YWCA to a private buyer, the building became a Recorded Texas Historical Landmark in 1982 and is now also on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, the land and restored lodge are privately owned and not available for tours. However, several other summer camps remain in the area and are going strong today. These include kid-orientated sites in Comfort, Center Point, Bandera, and Kerrville. The tradition of enjoying Hill Country nature when school is out and the sun is high continues!