Summer campers dive into a different kind of fun in the depths of a quarry

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Sunday, July 23, 2017

TRINITY, Texas (KTRK) -- Some kids spend their summers diving into the depths of a pool, but nearly two hours outside of Houston, a group of YMCA summer campers is diving deep into the deep of a different kind -- down to the bottom of a rock quarry.

Anchored by billowing factories and Fortune 500 companies, Houston is the oil and gas capital of the west. Yet 90 miles north, past the shining Trinity River, you'll find 530 acres of relaxation at the YMCA's Camp Cullen. The camp is likely the only summer camp in the country built around a rock quarry.

"A lot of these kids' parents work in the oil industry, and it's nice to know how that related to what they do," said Mark Leonard with the Greater Houston YMCA. "It's hard to see what's underfoot in Houston. It's hard to see an actual rock sticking out of the ground," he said.

The quarry was built in the late 1800s when workers needed rock in order to build a railroad. Now, it's an educational experience serving as a way to dig into the great big world around them.

On the day ABC13 visited, a huge sandstone rock had fallen, exposing new fossils and petrified wood.

"It's just sand, it's coming apart in my hand," said 12-year-old Jaylon Jenkins as he stared at his hand in wonderment.

The students at Camp Cullen are between 7 and 17 years old and almost all come from the Houston area. Some of the rocks they've collected are millions of years old.

"You get to be one with nature and the rock quarry, which is a beautiful sight to see," said Leonard.

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