Jon O' Brien Flashback Friday

Summer 2010 – 4n4 Trip

Written by Jon O’Brien


My first two summers at Camp Echo Lake (2008-2009) were spent working as the Fitness Head Specialist. Then, on a magical day in December of 2009, I got the email that all Echo Lake staff members wait for – a contract offer for a position on the 4n4 staff for the summer of 2010.  4n4 staff member…the “holy grail” of all staff positions at Echo Lake!

You might be wondering…“what is this 4n4?”

Our campers entering 10th grade spend the first couple of weeks at camp, and then head out west for 4 weeks before returning to camp for the rest of the summer.

Imagine spending 28 of the most amazing, incredible and unforgettable days exploring some of the most beautiful places that the West Coast has to offer. Highlights of the trip include:  spending the day on speed boats on Lake Powell, sunrise at the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, walking through the Narrows, rafting for three days down the Arkansas River, climbing in Rocky Mountain National Park, a sunset hike at Arches National Park in Utah, hiking Bryce Canyon and Yosemite National Park and exploring San Francisco and Las Vegas.

This 28-day trip would be more than enough excitement for the summer for the average person, but those of us lucky enough to go on the 4n4 trip also get to spend part of the summer at Echo Lake.  What more can you ask for!

I was lucky enough to be part of the 4n4 trip in the summer of 2010.  It was, by far, the best experience of my entire life!  The memories from that summer and the trip are some of my most cherished, and I feel very fortunate to have experienced it with such an amazing group of people.

4n4 summer is the first time that our boy and girl campers are integrated into one group. Obviously, this creates a totally different group dynamic, but one that is particularly special.

The summer started in an unforgettable way with our group managing to win Group Sing. With our own rewritten versions of “Billionaire” and “It’s My Life,” we took the stage by storm!

Winning Group Sing really brought the group together, and I look back on that night with particular fondness because it set the tone for the entire trip.  Each day was better than the one before.

The unique group bond and lifetime friendships formed on any 4n4 trip are particularly special. Being away from camp and having to work together as a group through the highs and lows, the laughter and the tears, the incredible views and the long (but memorable) van rides creates something very special.

I have been lucky enough to see the transformation of these campers from Lower Village Boys and Girls to second-year staff members.  We all still look back on that trip in the summer of 2010 as the highlight of our Echo Lake careers.

To this year’s record-breaking 4n4 trip campers and staff members, get ready for the most amazing summer of your lives! Embrace every opportunity and enjoy every moment!

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.Mark Twain