Bettye Ricks Lights Sparks and Spirits
When classes started this past fall, over 1,100 children made their way back to a long-standing Camp Fire afterschool program.
Camp Fire North Texas has been around for 100 years, and for nearly half of that time, Executive Director Bettye Ricks has been at the helm of the council. For her decades of dedication, she was recently honored with the Spirit of Texoma Award. The youth and families of Camp Fire, and many others in the community, know her as “Miss Bettye.”
Bettye said, “I have been around so long, I have seen so many of the children grow up and turn out to be such wonderful, contributing citizens of the community.” She continued by explaining, “Through Camp Fire, children learn their brain is actually a muscle that can grow. They develop not a fixed mindset, but a mindset that assures them they can accomplish a lot of things. I think the youth we work with really care about what they are doing. There is so much need in this world, and our lives are so short—if you can do anything to help others, I just think it is the most important thing.” Which is why, according to Bettye and her team of Camp Fire leaders, they have made it their mission to inspire these future givers. “What we are trying to do is teach the children about their communities and the needs out there and help them get started on giving back,” said Bettye. “It is amazing what our children have thought through and thought of. For instance, this summer the older kids helped deliver Meals on Wheels while they were at camp. Most important, they had a wonderful time doing it. I can see what Camp Fire does in their lives. It really does help them to reach their full potential.” Bettye said the job she took “what seems like a lifetime ago,” has become her life’s passion and one that has allowed her to share her spirit of Texoma for nearly 50 years. “I was just a little kid—like 22, out of college—and I had no idea what I was going to do in life, and God has blessed me and let me be with Camp Fire practically my whole life.” And Camp Fire has been blessed by Bettye.