The Kiowas and the Tonkawas are the two tribes at Camp Mystic. On the first night of camp, a new camper draws either a red slip (Tonkawa) or a blue slip (Kiowa) to determine whether she will spend the evening on Tonk Hill or Kiowa Hill. The tribal system provides new campers with an instant sense of belonging at camp. The tribe also gives campers of all ages the opportunity to contribute to their team by cheering, painting signs, playing in competitive games, or encouraging their tribe sisters to excel.
The tribe traditions, which have been handed down since Mystic’s beginning, help to emphasize team spirit, fun competition and good sportsmanship. The tribe system at Mystic provides a wonderful opportunity to teach young girls good sportsmanship. After each game, the losing tribe commends the winning tribe who, in turn, compliments the losing tribe. Campers from opposite tribes pair up after each game and go up to Chapel Hill to pray.
Each camper aspires to receive her tribe letter at the end of camp. To earn their tribe letters, campers must abide by the tribe training rules and receive favorable reports from their activity and cabin counselors, as well as their tribe captain.
Campers are also assigned Big and Little Sisters in their tribes. This program is mutually beneficial for older and younger campers alike. Big sisters learn to serve as good role models, guiding and comforting their little sisters, who benefit greatly from this nurturing relationship.