Dear Echo Lake Families,
We hope this letter finds you doing well as your child(ren) settle in to their school year. As you know, Echo Lake is a community that emphasizes treating people with respect, building self-esteem, and generally spreading Warm Inner Glows. We wanted to take this time to communicate with you about how this translates into the “off-season.” We hope you will read it with your children and use this as an opportunity to have a conversation with them about the ways they treat others – and others treat them -when they are not at camp.
While at camp, we expect that campers are inclusive, welcoming, and respectful. We attempt to create a camp community where both campers and staff feel comfortable to be themselves. We also exhaustively train our staff – and discuss with our campers – that acts of meanness, exclusion, or bullying are not consistent with what Echo Lake is all about and any such behaviors are dealt with swiftly should they occur.
While we cannot control or police how campers treat one another during the school year, we wanted to remind each of our campers, while not at camp, to conduct yourself – in person, on the phone, through email, text, or using social media outlets – in a manner that is consistent with how you conduct yourself at camp. When campers are mean, exclusionary, or bully each other it is unacceptable – but it is made even worse on social media outlets, like Facebook, where people can speak ill about others while not having to face the reaction of the person they are bullying.
On the very rare occasions when someone in our community is unkind to another in the non-summer months, we may hear about it. It is not only extremely disappointing that one of our campers would behave that way but goes against everything we try to be as a community. Should your child be on the receiving end of an unkind or mean-spirited communication or posting:
- Please print out the offensive communication and bring it to our attention.
- We will communicate with the parent of the camper who wrote it so they are aware.
- Depending on the severity and/or frequency of this kind of behavior, we will reserve the right to revoke enrollment for the upcoming season.
Additionally, for families with children who are attending Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, especially for Parents of current 7th and 8th graders, please click here for information and reminders about navigating the social and emotional dynamics of upcoming Bar and Bat Mitzvahs: BAR AND BAT MITZVAH LETTER (See Camp Echo Lake Community Statement and Bar/Bat Mitzvah Guidance Part 2)
Please also remind your children what we told them on the last night of camp: “When you get home, some of you are going to go online to places like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and other online platforms. Here are a few things to remember when you go online. Social Media “Likes” are NOT the same as being liked in real life. Being “Tagged” on Social Media is not the same as tagging your friends with an arm around their shoulder or a hug in person. Remember that when you write something to someone online or in a text it should be something you have the courage to say to their face or you probably shouldn’t say it at all. Think about how you would feel if someone texted or posted it to you. Never post any pictures, videos, or anything that you wouldn’t be proud of if your parents, grandparents, counselors, or camp directors saw. Remember that once you post something online it’s out there in the world and you no longer have control of it. Read the Camp Echo Lake Community Statement below and know that that is the Warm and Fuzzy way Echo Laker’s treat each other at camp, in real life, and online. Most importantly, know that you just spent the past 7 weeks being liked in real life, tagging your friends with hugs, and being your best selves. You should be very proud of yourself, we are proud of you. Until next summer….”
We know we cannot control or police the behavior of our campers during the non-summer months, but we want to send this reminder about how important it is to treat other human beings with respect. We know that you and your children already know this and our assumption is that this is one of the primary reasons you selected Echo Lake.
Thank you for your attention to this – and please feel free to call or email us with any questions, comments, or concerns, at any time.
We wish you a healthy, happy, and safe year filled with lots of Warm Inner Glows and we look forward to another wonderful summer in 2016!
Tony and Laurie