Camp Echo Lake Junior Boys

Junior Boys Head Counselor – Patrick McNeece


The Frosh and Lower Junior Boys had their second campfire of the summer down by the lake this past week. We did some special remixes of our traditional campfire songs, and also spiced up some of the movements. The kids got really into it, especially their second round of delicious s’mores!
The weather turned chilly just in time for our campfire, so we kept it burning as Laurie read a classic children’s book entitled The Giving Tree.  After they read aloud, the campers showed their gratitude by saying how much they appreciate their hardworking counselors and their parents for sending them to such a wonderful place.
During the campfire I saw many of the boys singing and laughing with their arms around each other, and sharing what they love about camp. It’s always awesome to see how the kids continue to bond with their bunkmates and form stronger and stronger friendships as the summer goes on. This is also noticeable during activities and bunk time. By the time the kids leave camp, they have learned so much and have grown in so many ways.

The Upper Junior Boys hiked up Hackensack this past week. They successfully made their way to the top, and then rolled out yoga mats for a peaceful meditation session before trekking back down the mountain to head back to camp.
Trekking up Hackensack is a traditional activity that has been done at Camp Echo Lake for many years. One of my favorite parts of the hike each year is experiencing it through the eyes of first-year campers, enjoying the view of Warrensburg and a perfect bird’s eye view of our beautiful campgrounds. The Hackensack hike isn’t as challenging as some of our others, but it is a great bonding experience for the entire group as they share a sense of accomplishment together.

The entire Junior Boys and Girls Divisions enjoyed playing “Fuzzy Feud,” a spin-off of the classic game show, Family Feud. Each group was sent a series of questions prior to the game show.  Five campers and a counselor then attempted to guess all the top responses to camp-related questions.
The kids were very enthusiastic during Fuzzy Feud! Their enthusiasm grew when counselors answered incorrectly and were splashed with water balloons, took a shaving cream pie to the face or had their faces painted by the campers.
Large camp events are fun for everyone, and camper spirit is always high.  The boys were cheering on their fellow bunkmates and counselors with heartfelt chants throughout the entire first round of the event. The Inters and Senior Villagers will also have finalists that will compete during the all-camp Fuzzy Feud event later on in the summer. Overall, the Fuzzy Feud event has been a big hit so far!

Although the Junior Boys didn’t have any inter-camp games this past week, they enjoyed the competition of our weekly Challenge Night.  For this week’s Challenge Night, the boys chose between baseball, homerun derby, flag football and Ultimate Frisbee. There was a lot of competition and team spirit at each of the events.
The two flag football games both included a number of amazing catches and touchdowns. This seemed to be our most popular event of the evening, featuring four teams of twelve playing on two fields.
Homerun Derby took place in the Thunderdome/Hockey Area. The top score in the Junior Division was 8 homeruns!  One of the homeruns was a towering blast that traveled all the way to the parking lot.  Thankfully, there were no cars parked there at the time.
Because the boys really enjoy competition, we strive to provide as many opportunities for them to compete as possible.  Challenge Night is something that they look forward to each week, and it gives us the chance to give them more coaching as we reinforce the importance of good sportsmanship.

The Frosh Boys’ “Fort Awesome” project finally got underway, as the boys worked together to build a really cool hangout area.  They used several tools, sticks, branches, and sheets to begin their building. If all goes well, they hope to finish Fort Awesome before week 5 ends, so that they can spend the last two weeks hanging out in it and making small additions along the way.

With less than half of the summer remaining, we are beginning to reinforce to the boys how lucky they are to be here, and reminding them to enjoy every moment because the time goes by faster than any of us would like.

The Pines Police Precinct has added additional characters into the mix during Boys Camp lineup – two singer/songwriters who just can’t seem to get on the same page as they attempt to sing in unison to entertain the boys. We also have two detectives who are trying to rival Officers Prangle and Drangle.
Some additional sketches were added to this week’s line-up: weird police reports, humorous weather updates and a lie detector skit that we call “Scram Jam.”
It’s possible that Officers Prangle and Drangle aren’t really trained professional officers, and the local authorities might be on to them now. Stay tuned…

The Junior Boys will be heading to Putt-Putt in Lake George next week (sshhhhh…that’s a secret until Tuesday!). Getting off camp for a little while is something that the campers always enjoy.
The Lower Junior Boys have an evening pool party scheduled. With only two groups in the pool, it really feels like they are getting VIP treatment. There will be snacks, music and pool games for both groups.