Frequently Asked Questions
WHO IS THIS FOR?
Boys age 10-16, with a standard sports/athletics physical.
WHERE IS THIS HELD?
2019 sessions are held at Dinosaur Valley State Park, Texas, with camping in primitive campsite areas.
HOW MANY SESSIONS DO YOU ATTEND?
However many you want — all prices are per one session. Some campers may want to return for a second session; if so, we do offer discounts for return campers.
IS CAMPING EXPERIENCE REQUIRED? HOW HARD IS IT?
No! But some physical conditioning prior to attending is required so campers can deal with the heat, and they must be motivated. Our average attrition rate is 20% and we have no problem letting them call home for parents to come get them. We will not drag unmotivated kids around that have no business hiking and camping overnight.
ARE THERE BUGS?
Yes, but not too much. The Texas hill country is not that bad for bugs, and we also take precautions to prevent the few that are around from being an issue.
IS THERE A PACKING LIST?
Yes, see gear details here.
IS A TENT REQUIRED?
No, we provide tarps and train campers how to build shelters with them. You can view photos of this in our gallery.
HOW BIG ARE THE SESSIONS?
Each session consists of ten to twenty boys and a cadre of four to six veterans and ROTC cadets. Father & son sessions consist of five to ten sets of father/son.
WHAT IS THE MISSION?
Our mission is to equip young men with the skills to become confident leaders by allowing them to practice leadership basics in the outdoors.
IS THIS A BOOT CAMP?
No, Squad STX is a fun but challenging course for young men that want to practice outdoor leadership and learn or refresh some basic wilderness skills. It is for motivated boys that are not there because their parents are making them! We are not in the business of straightening out delinquent kids. Campers must want to be here!
WHAT IS THIS CAMP ABOUT?
Squad STX allows young men to practice hands-on leadership using time-tested concepts used in the military such as squad competitions, assigning roles and duties that rotate daily, and a focus on personnel and equipment accountability. Instructors draw on years of experience designing squad competitions in the US Army that have been adapted to this setting to provide a fun and adventurous experience. The result is a mix of “self-directed” and instructor-led training that allows students to engage in meaningful leadership experiences while learning the basics of getting around in the wilderness and accomplishing tasks themselves.
WHAT DOES “STX” MEAN?
Situational training exercises (STX) are scenario-driven, mission-oriented exercises designed to train one collective task or a group of related tasks.
CAN YOU BRING A FRIEND?
Refer a friend and you will both receive a 10% discount and you will both be put in the same squad if requested. See more discount information here.
MY SON HAS A SPECIAL MEDICAL CONDITION. CAN HE PARTICIPATE?
We may not be able to accommodate special medical conditions based on the nature of the physical activity required by each participant. Please contact us if you have questions.
MY SON HAS SPECIAL DIETARY RESTRICTIONS. CAN YOU ACCOMMODATE THEM?
Probably not but maybe so. Please contact us if you have questions about our menu.
IS IT OKAY TO BRING SOME SNACKS?
Outside snacks are not necessary or permitted. We have plenty of protein for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Several parts of the lunch (military MREs) can be snacked on throughout the rest of the day.
ARE SCREENS OR DEVICES ALLOWED?
WILL I RECEIVE NEWS FROM MY SON?
Although instructors will always maintain the ability to call a camper's emergency contact with our phones and/or the park facilities, parents should not expect any communications during the program.
HOW PHYSICALLY DEMANDING IS THIS CAMP?
Campers will hike five to ten miles a day and 30-45 miles total through a state park trails carrying 10-30 pounds in potentially very hot or very wet weather.
HOW HOT CAN IT GET?
Almost every month of the year it can get very hot in Texas, and especially so in the summer. Campers must condition their body for hot weather prior to camp, regardless of the season. This means getting outdoors five to ten days before the session in the hottest part of the day for at least an hour a day, if not more. We have absolutely no intention of "breaking" people in our program, but there is no way to avoid the fact that a 100% outdoor camping event in the middle of Texas is hot almost any time of year. Campers must be prepared for this. Start properly hydrating yourself now instead of waiting until camp begins!
We also strongly encourage campers to avoid soda and sweets prior to camp. We closely monitor everyone and do our best to prevent heat injuries, but if you show up without any preparation, you will not enjoy yourself and possibly injure yourself!
IS A SPORTS PHYSICAL REQUIRED?
Yes, we require a typical sports/athletics physical for campers to attend. It must be uploaded to our site or emailed within seven (7) days of camp. If you already have a sports/athletics physical dated within the year, we will accept that too. We reserve the right to deny any registered participant an approval to participate if deemed to be physically unfit for the course. See physical form details here.
WHAT SAFETY MEASURES ARE IN PLACE TO PROTECT CAMPERS?
Squad STX cadre are former US Army officers that have worked with adolescents a minimum of four years, undergone thorough background checks, and are trained in wilderness first aid. All activities are conducted inside Texas state parks in coordination with park safety protocols. As former military officers and cadets, Squad STX cadre take campers' safety extremely seriously.
WHAT IS THE REFUND POLICY?
Refunds will be given for cancellations made within two (2) weeks of the start date, minus a $100 deposit. 24-hour grace periods are given for registrations made within two weeks of a session, also minus the deposit. If a session is cancelled for low attendance, a full refund will be given.
Refunds are not given for boys that leave due to heat stress or heat exhaustion — conditioning is required — or for home sickness. And although sending a camper home for disciplinary reasons is rare, if a boy's behavior is abusive towards other campers or staff or if his actions pose a threat to the safety of others or himself, his contacts will be called to come pick him up without refund.
If significant thunderstorm activity is forecasted, session may be cancelled for a full refund. Rain and lightening activity alone is not grounds for cancellation. In the event of non-threatening storms, activities may be modified.