Happy Fall, happy start to the school year, and happy memories of the fabulous summer we had at Camp Echo Lake! To all of you who were campers, staff, and parents this past summer, we hope you are savoring every “memory of Echo!” To all of you new to CEL campers, staff, and parents, we are thrilled to have you in the CEL family and look forward to connecting with you and helping you feel like you are in a community where you truly belong. Super exciting, right?!

In the Autumn months, we find ourselves not only treasuring the memories of Echo but also looking critically at all we do to raise the bar for next summer and try to further identify the magic that is the camp experience. In the weeks since camp has ended, in multiple different experiences, we have been exposed to the concept of Collective Effervescence. It has truly resonated with us and is not only one of the ingredients to the magic secret sauce of camp, but it is part of the healing balm we all needed post-pandemic.

Collective effervescence, a concept coined by sociologist Emilie Durkheim in the early 20th century, describes a sense of energy and harmony people feel when they come together in a group around a shared purpose. Collective effervescence is the common bond and feeling of being in sync that you feel when you are teammates on a soccer field, cast members in a play, part of a group brainstorming session, cheering on a sports team with a group of fellow fans, dancing at a wedding or Bat Mitzvah, taking a yoga class with others at a studio, sitting at a meal having vibrant conversation with family or friends, or singing at the top of your lungs at Met Life Stadium at the Taylor Swift concert. Collective effervescence happens when a shared, infectious feeling of sheer and utter joy spreads through a group of people, and boy is that powerful stuff! We find the greatest moments of bliss in our lives through collective effervescence.

According to an article in the New York Times written by Adam Grant, “Prior to the pandemic, research showed that more than three-quarters of people found collective effervescence at least once a week and almost a third experienced it at least once a day.” During the pandemic that lessened as we all had to be more isolated and sought more individual pursuits of happiness versus collective happiness. Grant also shared that “psychologists find that in cultures where people pursue happiness individually, they may actually become lonelier. But in cultures where they pursue happiness socially — through connecting, caring and contributing — people appear to be more likely to gain well-being. Joy shared is joy sustained.”

Well, New York Times and Adam Grant, we cannot think of a better example of “joy shared is joy sustained” than children’s overnight camp, specifically, Camp Echo Lake. Whether it is with your bunk during rainy day bunk time, your group during an activity, your division at a slip-n-slide or campfire, your village at a special day or trip, or when the entire camp gets together for Friday Night Live or Tribal Sing or Silent Disco, camp defines collective effervescence. There is abundant harmony, joy, and energy shared when campers and staff experience the collective and shared joys of summer camp. Your group can turn towards the Echo Bush and call to it. You can stand arm in arm signing “friends, friends, friends”. You can play on an intercamp sports team or dance competition team. You can be standing in the grove wondering what the people in Morphsuits are all about as yellow and green papers float through the air. We bet you are feeling joy just thinking about it now! That is collective effervescence.

At Camp Echo Lake we create connection, belonging, and joy through collective effervescence. It is what we do in both big and small ways. If you are someone who has never been to camp yourself, imagine a place where shared, infectious feelings of sheer and utter joy spread through a group of people daily. That is why camp is so impactful. We as human beings need moments of collective effervesce for our mental health and well-being. We as Echo Lakers can tell you what seven weeks of collective effervesce feels like – it’s a giant Warm Inner Glow! So, yes, this summer was filled with collective effervescence and that was both powerful and healing. The amazing news is, we will do it again next summer, and every summer going forward. We will find our greatest moments of Warm Inner Glows through Collective Effervescence. We wish you many moments of collective effervescence throughout the school year and we can’t wait to be back at camp with you to do it all again in Summer 2024!