Silas B “Jeeper” Ragsdale III, Director, literally grew up at Stewart and experienced every facet of camp life from that of camper to cleaning bathrooms in his journey to Director. Meredith, his wife, taught elementary for 14 years before turning her talents towards camp and is also totally involved in daily operations. Jeeper and Meredith have two children, Silas B. Ragsdale IV, an 15-year-old Stewart camper, and Catherine Beckham Ragsdale, age 13, who has been at our sister camp Heart O’ the Hills for many summers. They live in the home on Stewart where Jeeper grew up and strive to have every camper in their home for a special occasion each term.
Like his parents before him, Jeeper and Meredith treat each camper as their own and are committed to providing the best experience for each boy, knowing that sometimes the best is not the easiest route.
From a parent’s perspective, it may be important to know that Jeeper and Meredith are actively immersed in all camp activities 24/7. Jeeper does Pow Wow with the campers each morning following breakfast and teaches advances riding for both Stewart and Heart campers. Meredith is actively involved in the registration and canteen, does all the birthday parties and is very attentive to campers’ special needs. Both are always responsive to parents and any concerns they may have. Neither sits in the office, but are prompt in returning calls as soon as possible. Jeeper has been actively involved in Stewart’s management since 1987. Jeeper and Meredith attend Harper Methodist Church, where her father is the pastor. Outside of camp, Jeeper serves on the board of the Hill Country Youth Ranch and continues to be active in polo.
George Morgan has been on the Stewart staff since 1984 and on the year-round core staff since 1997. In addition to his passion for camping and the benefits it offers youth, he poses a unique ability to understand boys’ and their needs. Once campers get to know George, they know he is their #1 advocate. He is known for listening and helping guide campers to figure a solution on their own to problems they may encounter, so that they can learn an important life skill. George is also an oft-requested story teller at Saturday night campfires. Originally from Italy, Texas, George was very active in the youth program of his home church and attends Trinity Baptist in Kerrville. Fishing and boating are his ‘off-season’ passions!
Mike Busby has had two separate tenures at Stewart. As a student at Schreiner University, he was a first year counselor in 1968 when Jeeper was born – on his birthday. Mike was a counselor throughout his college career and returned as a full-time staff member following his service in the US Navy. Mike spent 22 years in the ‘real world’ as a human resource specialist before returning to Stewart in 2007. Mike, a CASA and community volunteer, has a passion for both camping and helping young people. His knowledge of campers from ‘the early days’ is a real asset to Stewart, as many current parents had him as a counselor ‘back when’. Mike is very detail oriented and handles the majority of medical and personnel matters. Originally from Mobile, AL., he is very active in the First Presbyterian Church in Kerrville.
Kathy Ragsdale has made Camp Stewart her focus since 1967, the first summer she and Si ran the camp. She brings continuity as well as being a bridge as the ownership has transitioned. “Si was the general and I was his sergeant from the very beginning. He was an expert delegator, and passionate dreamer about camp. I always said he was the idea man and I was behind the scenes insuring that things went as he wanted. We made a good team, and now I get to play a lesser role as Jeeper and Meredith step to the forefront and have the opportunity to add their energy and innovations.” Kathy loves getting to know second and third generation campers, spend more time with her grandchildren and has taken up sewing after 38 years. She continues to be involved in landscaping, food service and handling all the financials for both Stewart and Heart.
Valarie Buihner has been a wonderful addition to the Stewart staff for the past several summers. She is a former Arrowhead camper and a camp mom. Valarie and her husband Travis have a son who is a Stewart camper and a daughter who attends Honey Creek. Valarie lives here at Stewart year-round and works with first year campers and also helps with hiring staff as well as programming.