Written by Laurie Rinke
“Camper Questions: How Does That Work at Camp Echo Lake?” is a new monthly feature that you will find on The Trail. In this monthly article, we answer burning questions for campers as we get closer to the summer. Our hope is to not only share some information with our campers and camp families, but also to help you feel comfortable and excited about what to expect at camp. If you have a question that you would like to see answered in this monthly feature, please email it to Laurie@campecholake.com.
“How does the first day of camp – from the bus ride to bed time – work at Camp Echo Lake?”
The first day of camp is filled with both excitement and nervousness for all of our campers and staff. While everyone is looking forward to getting started, they are also wondering what the summer will be like. We promise that the first day of camp will be a fun and exciting start to an incredible summer. This is how it works at Camp Echo Lake…
THE BUS TO CAMP
When you get to your bus stop, you will be greeted by one of our friendly staff members who has a list of all of the names and ages of the campers. We put a special star next to the names of all of our new campers so that our staff can help you find someone your age to sit with if you don’t have someone already.
After you give your parents and anyone who brought you to the bus a big hug and a kiss, you will get on the bus with your lunch and a backpack for the ride up to camp. The bus is nice and comfortable with air conditioning and a bathroom. Since the bus ride takes a few hours, some kids like to bring a book, magazine, a game or music player with them. The staff is there to talk to you and help you if you need anything. The ride actually goes by very quickly, and before you know it, you and the other excited campers arrive at camp.
ARRIVING AT CAMP
As the bus pulls through the main gate to camp, be sure to look out the window! You will see over 200 Camp Echo Lake staffers jumping, cheering and clapping with excitement that you have finally arrived! They have already been at camp for as long as three weeks learning how to be an awesome staff member, and they can’t wait to finally be with you.
When the bus stops, either Tony Stein or I will get on to greet you and welcome you to camp with a warm hug. We will then call each camper one at a time, starting with the youngest group. When your name is called, we will introduce you to your counselors who are waiting outside of the bus for you.
Once you and your friends are off of the bus, your counselors will take you and the other campers in your group to your bunk (after a quick lice check like they do in school), and your summer of fun is ready to begin.
CHECKING OUT YOUR SUMMER HOME – THE BUNK
When you get to your bunk, or what we like to call, your summer home, look at the signs on the wall by the beds to find which one is yours.
Do you remember those gigantic duffle bags that you and your parents packed all your stuff in and sent up to camp about a week before you got on the bus? Well, your counselors will have taken all of your stuff out of your duffle bags and put them in neat piles on your bed. Every camper in Main Village has two cubbies next to their bed and four or five cubbies in the back of your bunk. You will get to set up your bed and cubbies so that they feel like YOUR space and your comfy summer home.
GETTING TO KNOW EACH OTHER – LET THE FUN BEGIN!
After everyone is unpacked and settled in, the counselors will take you and your group outside. Whether you are talking in your bunk or playing games outside, the first day is about getting to know each other. At some point, the counselors will gather the group in a circle and play a name game or two so that you can get to know the names of all the counselors and campers in your group.
THE FIRST EVENING LINE-UP OF THE SUMMER
All of Main Village will get together at the flagpole for our first evening line-up of the summer. At evening line-up, we will make announcements, sing the birthday and lost tooth songs, and give Fuzzies to campers and staff for being a good person or for trying hard at something that day.
After evening line-up, your group will walk to the dining hall where your counselors will show you where you sit, and what we do in the dining room. Everyone sits at round dining room tables with other campers and staff from their group. We have lots of different choices at each meal at camp, so you will definitely find something delicious to eat. Your counselors are happy to help you with all of the choices.
OPENING NIGHT PROGRAM
After dinner, the entire camp will get together at the outdoor Amphitheatre for our opening night program. There will be a lot of people there, but don’t worry, you will be with your group of campers and counselors the entire time. It is a fun evening where we celebrate campers and staff who have been at camp for 3, 5, 7, 10 summers or more. We sing the camp songs and get our entire camp community excited for another awesome summer to come.
BACK TO THE BUNK FOR A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP
After a super fun and exhausting day, you will head back to your bunk with your group, where you will put on your pajamas, brush your teeth and get ready for bed.
Your counselors will help make bedtime entertaining and relaxing with some stories (nothing scary, we promise!), games, books or something fun to end the day. Once the lights in your bunk go out, you will have time to do something quiet (read a book, write a letter, listen to music, etc…) on your own bed with a flashlight.
After a long day, you’ll be ready to fall asleep. It is normal at bedtime to miss home, but there is no need to worry. You can do something to take your mind off of missing home by talking to your counselors or friends so that they can help make you feel better and excited for the fun things on the schedule for the next day.
THE BEST SLEEPOVER PARTY EVER!
Camp is like a big, seven-week sleepover party. You will enjoy falling asleep with your friends nearby to talk to, and your counselors there to tuck you in and make sure that you are ready for some sweet camp dreams.
The best part is, when you wake up, you will start your first of many awesome days of activities, making friends, having fun with your counselors and making camp memories that you will never forget!
The first day at Camp Echo Lake brings a lot of excitement and nervousness, but we promise you that there are many people there to help make it (and the rest of the summer) awesome!