Camp Echo Lake Junior Boys


Junior Boys Head Counselor – Patrick McNeece


This past week, the Lower Junior Boys East won the last “Glamping” trip of the summer.  The radar showed some possible rough weather, but that didn’t stop us from setting up our makeshift “glampsite” in the beautiful new Field House. The boys enjoyed their “sushi-style” s’mores style (since we couldn’t set up a campfire indoors). We watched the Lego Movie, and sipped on Fiji water until the boys hit the tents and passed out.
“Glamping” has grown into a very cool perk, because the campers get so hyped up for it. In addition to the extra s’mores, fancy water and a movie, they also get a special van ride down to the site.  The next morning the boys are always still jazzed up as they share their stories with campers from other groups.

Saturday was MLB Day.  Each Junior Boy was placed on one of six teams, and “hit” the upper and lower baseball fields for an entire day of wacky rules baseball. Each of the fields had an “Odd Mystery Box” on the pitcher’s mound and foam dice. If the number rolled was odd, then the pitcher had to toss one of the various balls from the box.
The creative team names ranged from the Little Green Dragons to the Little Blue Bats. Each team had huge posters made, and chants to help cheer each other on and celebrate as the games were played.
Over the years, MLB Day has evolved into a less competitive, more spirited type of event. The wacky rule twists to our MLB Day have really made all of the boys enjoy the day, whether they love baseball or are just warming up to it. We have found that our boys that really love baseball get plenty of competition through inter-camps and Challenge Night, so for this annual event, everyone is more focused on having fun and being a kid and less about winning.
Overall, it was an awesome day filled with many moments of goofiness, as well as some friendly competition!

The final game show of Fuzzy Feud took place Wednesday evening. The entire camp gathered at the amphitheater for some friendly fun and shenanigans. Several counselors, who participated with their campers, left with faces full of pie, glittered hair and goop all over them. The teams representing each division had already won their divisional round of Fuzzy Feud.  I am very proud to say that the overall winners of the event were the LOWER JUNIOR BOYS!
Fuzzy Feud is another great example of the Camp Echo Lake spirit and passion that surrounds all of the activities that take place each summer.

Perhaps my favorite annual Echo Lake event took place last Sunday evening – CARNIVAL!  The kids enjoyed the blow-up play toys, carnival style games, popcorn, cotton candy, ZAP lemonade, burgers, curly fries, nachos and more.  It’s awesome to see the entire camp together for events like Carnival.
Matt LeMoine and I were making ZAP lemonade across from the dunk tank (featuring John “JP” Pezzolla).  It’s hilarious watching the campers focus so intently as they try to plunge their favorite counselors into the tank.  The smell of the food, and laughter in the air, always makes Carnival memorable for me.  I also love watching the traditional hayrides that Tony Stein does with the campers.
Bringing the whole camp together for events like Carnival is magical because there are always new friends being made and camp stories being shared. It’s so cool to hear the older campers reminisce about past Carnivals and other events with the Junior campers as they show them around the booths and activities. Carnival is unique because it isn’t as structured as most other camp events, so it really allows the campers to mingle and enjoy whatever events they like best.

While there was no Challenge Night this past week, and limited inter-camp participation, the Junior Boys did have NHL Day, which was a great opportunity for our hockey players to get in some good competition.
Our Hockey Head Specialist (Dan “The Man”) has done a spectacular job this year amping up the hockey program and making it one of the most enjoyable activities at camp.
Overall, NHL Day was a big hit with the boys, who had a wonderful day with Dan in “The Thunderdome.”

This week was our last real week for our regular programming.  Next week will be heavily focused on Tribal events as the summer begins to wind down. The boys are really starting to think about how they want to end camp, and each group’s counselors are brainstorming fun activities for their boys’ last week of camp. Some groups will be having a sleepover in the lodge, while others will be stargazing.
Next week also features all of the Sachem Tribal games and Tribal Sing (the culminating Tribal event). The axes will then go back into the stumps and rest for another winter until summer comes again. And of course, everyone is looking forward to the return of “Big Al” (Alawhatchakeema), who is making his way to Camp Echo Lake at this very moment.

Unfortunately, I have to get back to teaching back in Florida, so I will miss out on all of the fun of the final week of camp. I’ve been here for nine summers; each one had a different vibe and feel to it. I want to point that our Boy’s Camp staff members were the true driving force in making this summer such a success.  We had a lot of new Junior Boy campers this summer who will be dreaming about Echo Lake from the time that they get home until next June (when we get the chance to do this all over again). There are many special things about camp that keep me coming back each summer, but overall, it’s the people and passion that is poured into making each summer an even better experience than the one before it.

8 days until you are reunited with your boys!