Written by Terry Begly (Waterfront Director)
While the foundation of the Camp Echo Lake swim program is focused on improving the swimming skills of each camper so that they can swim safely and confidently to the best of their ability, there are a wide variety of related water activities for them to enjoy. These activities occur both on and off camp grounds.
Campers who go on TREK (outdoor) trips that take place on (or around) water are carefully supervised by staff that have had extensive training in outdoor safety. All TREK staff are lifeguard certified. These trips include canoeing, kayaking and tubing on local lakes and streams. All campers and staff wear PFDs (personal flotation devices) at all times. Under no circumstances do campers swim without PFDs when away from camp.
We participate in at least three swim meets each year. Any camper who wishes to participate is given an opportunity to do so. Other elective activities include: diving, water polo, synchronized swimming, water aerobics, lake swims, individual workouts with the lifeguards, working on competitive strokes, perfecting starts and turns, and the Tough Laker water fitness challenge course. Inter and senior campers may choose to complete the Guard Start junior lifeguarding program. Deep water swimmers have a chance to use a variety of large inflatable toys during general swim periods.
On Echo Lake, campers have instructional and recreational opportunities to canoe, kayak and paddleboard, while waterskiing and sailing occur a short distance away on Loon Lake.
With such an incredible range of things to do in, on and around the water, it’s no wonder that, for many campers, their towels and bathing suits are among their most-used belongings! For those of us on the waterfront staff, each day presents another opportunity for safe and fun water experiences.