It’s a Thanksgiving tradition in my family to gather together and talk about what we are thankful for each year. I’m grateful for many things: good health, a loving family, a safe place to live, and always, camp. 

There are an endless number of reasons that I am thankful for camp, but I’ll focus on a few. 

1. At camp, there’s always time to dress up, act silly, and be yourself!

As anyone who has had the pleasure of spending a summer at Camp Echo Lake knows, we love to take every possible opportunity to dress up, cheer, sing, and make our own fun! No matter what day of the week or how hot it is, Echo Lakers can make any day fun with a good attitude and of course, costumes. Some of my favorite camp memories include fashion shows in the bunk during thunderstorms as a camper, wearing crazy costumes for group sing, rolling down the hill towards the lower soccer field, and rainy day slip ‘n slides. At camp it is easy and fun to make the most of all the little moments of the day with some spirit and creativity!

2. Camp gives me the opportunity to try new things.

Most of us live very busy lives outside of camp. With school or work taking up most of our days, there’s only enough time to schedule in the activities that we are really interested in. Maybe you go to gymnastics class, play on a travel soccer team, or are a part of the debate club at school. At camp, we have the time and opportunity to try so many things that we normally wouldn’t be exposed to! You could go on a Lake Swim with the lifeguards even if you’re not sure you love swimming, dance like nobody’s watching with Leslie, or try out mountain biking on a Trek Trip. You never know, trying something new at camp could lead to so much more! My memories of making a tote bag out of capri sun pouches at fine arts as a camper brought me to my sewing hobby as an adult! No matter what you’re into, camp gives us all the chance to find new activities that we love. 

3. Camp has given me friends for life, and the Echo Lake “family.” 

It’s no secret that “camp friends are the best friends.” As someone who has been lucky enough to be both a camper and a staff member at Echo Lake, I have met more amazing friends than I can count at camp. My camp friends range from campers I met as a lower junior girl, my counselors from growing up at camp, to people I have only known for a few summers as a staff member. I have traveled across the world to meet up with camp friends, or sometimes just walked down the block. The CEL family reaches far and wide, but the warm inner glow of Echo Lake brings us all together. 

I am always thankful for the gift of camp, and the many “gifts” that camp has given me.