The Texas Hotel and Lodging Association (THLA) is proud to present a recap of its High School Three-Day Hotel Summer camps hosted in Houston at the Hilton University of Houston and in Dallas at the Westin Galleria Dallas, during the month of June. The camps provided over 150 students an opportunity to experience the hotel industry from the front-of-the-house as a guest, and from the back-of-the-house as a future staff member. Students and teachers received an overview of the hotel industry from hotel industry leaders such as Steve Cunningham and Greg White. Cunningham is a 40-year hospitality veteran and currently the General Manager of the Hilton University of Houston at the Conrad N. Hilton School of Hospitality and Restaurant Management. White is an accomplished Hospitality Executive with over thirty-five years of strong, progressive experience in Hotel & Resort Operations and is currently the General Manager of the Westin Galleria Dallas.
The camps introduced students and teachers to the exciting careers within the hotel industry and each camp included a tour of a college with a hotel program, University of Houston, or University of North Texas. Participants also toured a full-service hotel property, the San Luis Resort & Spa, and the Hilton Anatole, and heard from many department managers about their career progression and current leadership positions.
In addition to learning about the hotel industry, students attended sessions on Business Dinner Etiquette, SMART Goalsetting, How to Present Yourself in a Digital World, and Job Search Strategies. The sessions were presented by college professors and community business leaders. Camp participants also earned a Texas Friendly Hospitality Ambassador Customer Service Certification while at camp. Each of the camps culminated with a College and Career Fair which provided students the opportunity to practice the skills acquired during the camp, learn about colleges that offer hotel pathways, and possibly secure summer employment. Many major hotel brands were represented at the college and career fairs and provided the students with opportunities to discover the unique career growth offerings of various hotel companies.
The THLA worked with school districts to help secure a Texas Education Agency (TEA) 2021-2022 Summer Career and Technical Education (CTE) grant to allow all the costs for participation in the camp to be covered by the grant. For school districts that applied for but did not receive a grant, the THLA Education Foundation provided scholarships that enabled students and teachers to participate.
The THLA intends to host the three-day High School Hotel Summer Camps in summer 2023. Please contact Debbie Wieland, THLA Education Outreach & Foundation Director at for more information on how to participate as a sponsor, presenter, or participant.