Frequently Asked Questions

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Camp Policies

Why have policies?

In a small, close-knit community like camp, policies help everyone to know what is okay and what is not okay. With this kind of consistency, children know what to expect, and they begin to learn how to be good members of a community. Our policies are set because they make sense for kids!

What is the "code of living?"

At the beginning of every summer, our campers and counselors create a “Code of Living,” a set of guidelines that will direct their actions while at Camp Echo. Because every Echoite takes an active part in creating the rules here, “Everyone Knows” the guidelines we live by.

What is your electronics policy?

We have worked hard to guarantee that a wide variety of activities are offered every moment your child is at camp; there is enough physical and mental stimulation here to render virtual pastimes obsolete. Therefore, we have a firm policy banning the use of cell phones, video games, and other electronics, and we appreciate your support. This is a carefully thought-out, healthy policy that helps us underscore the beauty of camp—seven precious weeks, where experiences are real, kids learn to navigate on their own, and success is tangible.

What is your package policy?

Packages tend to remove the emphasis on camp activities, programs, and friendships. For this reason we have eliminated care packages. These packages tend to create unwanted competition and a disruption within a cabin. Bunk gifts are not permitted for the same reasons. We have supplies for all of the children's needs at the camp.

What is your phone call policy?

Phone calls can be the most challenging form of contact for campers. Hearing a parent’s voice can be difficult even for our most well-adjusted camper. We have found that structured phone calls help to alleviate the pressure that comes with speaking to loved ones over the summer. Ten-minute calls are scheduled once per session.

Camp Philosophies

What is your philosophy regarding competition?

Camp Echo is a community where each member cares about, supports, and encourages the others around him or her. We realize that while it is fun to play, it is even more fun to play your best! That’s why our focus is on instruction. Read more on our Healthy Competition page.

What is the camp’s philosophy regarding instruction?

We offer the highest-quality programming possible in all areas of camp. Our counselors are experienced artists and coaches who are trained by true professionals the best ways to teach to children. They offer progressive skill learning in a fun manner, encouraging each camper to achieve his/her personal best while also cultivating an appreciation for every activity. Every activity period begins with the teaching of a specific skill and concludes with playing or creating. Read more on our Progression page.

Are there religious and/or spiritual services?

While we do not have a religious service, we do have an all-camp gathering each week called Campership. The entire camp comes together to reflect on the past week and to celebrate our community and our camp values. Camp songs are sung, a comedic skit is performed, and campers who have exemplified the Camp Echo spirit are honored for going “Above and Beyond” throughout the week.

Camp Information

Where is the camp located?

Camp Echo is located on over 200 private acres in the picturesque foothills of the lower Catskill Mountains, just 90 minutes northwest of New York City and 20 minutes from Middletown, NY. See our Close to Home page for more information.

How do campers get to camp?

We offer several bus depots from convenient points, typically in Nassau, Westchester, and Bergen Counties. The bus ride truly is the first session of any Camp Echo summer—it’s here where old friends reunite, new friends first meet, and counselors begin to introduce themselves. Each coach bus is equipped with a professional driver, air conditioning, and restrooms.

How do camper bags get to camp?

Great question! Our friends at Camp Trucking provide door to door luggage service from your home, right to camp and from camp to your home! You can learn more about Camp Trucking by visiting the resources page on our website.

Where do most campers come from?

Echoites come from a variety of locations. We have summer pick-ups currently in New Jersey, Westchester, Long Island, Maryland, and an escorted flight from Florida. We have children arriving from other areas around the United States (Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Arizona, California etc.) as well as other countries! Our campers love having summer friends and winter friends, because their their “camp friends” are not the same as their “school friends.”

Does Camp Echo offer a shorter session?

In addition to the full-summer (7-week) session, Echo offers two partial-summer sessions. Though the majority of campers attend for the full summer, some families find the shorter sessions (four-week July or three-week August) more accommodating for their vacation or school schedules. Sometimes it is also reassuring for first-time campers to start their first summer with a shorter stay! (And no need to change camps the following summer when they select the full season!) Find more information on our Session Lengths page.

Are there additional fees?

Camp Echo's tuition includes camper transportation (to and from camp, with the exception of Florida), medication packaging, laundry, horseback riding, canteen, photographs, e-mail, or trips. We do suggest a small camper account to cover spending money for souvenirs and purchases for essentials from the camp store; there may also be costs associated with Echo-wear.

If your camper is interested in private tennis lessons, there is an additional fee to enroll in that program.

Life at Camp

Is Camp Echo co-ed and what exactly does that mean?

Camp Echo is a co-ed camp with two Villages—one for boys, one for girls. Athletics and Aquatics are generally scheduled by Village, while other activities are often co-ed. The entire camp comes together for all meals, many evening activities, special events, and trips. We think it’s the best of both worlds, because kids get to practice socializing in an ordinary setting, and they also have time to be “just girls” or “just boys.”

What is a typical day like?

There is no typical day at Camp Echo! With a dynamic combination of scheduled activities, “Elective” periods, out-of-camp trips, theme days, inter-camp tournaments, and special events, variety is the trademark of the day. Read more about a Typical Day at Camp Echo OR watch this video to see what a day looks like.

What time do campers wake up and go to bed?

Campers generally wake up at 8 a.m., except for our weekly “late wake-ups.” First period begins at 10 a.m. after flag-raising, breakfast, and clean-up. Depending on their age, Echoites begin to unwind with quiet cabin time between 9:30 p.m. and 11 p.m., and “lights out” progresses between 10 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. See a sample schedule on the Typical Day page.

What are the counselors like?

Our counselors are as diverse as the world we live in—literally! On average, our staff represents some 25 states and 15 countries. Counselors come from near and far to bring the spirit of their hometowns and personal passions to our campers. Each counselor is selected from a wide pool of applicants based on his or her excellence in their field, willingness to work as part of a strong team, and caring soul. Their personalities all reflect a love for fun, sense of humor, initiative, and creativity. Read more on the Our Leadership page.

How is the food?

Our food is prepared and presented by a staff of culinary professionals, and the menu is designed by a nutritionist to offer a well-rounded, healthful, tasty selection, even for the pickiest eaters (Every meal has a “bar” for variety – salad bar, sandwich bar, breakfast bar…). We accommodate special diets (parents should call us to discuss specific needs), and every product and ingredient served at Camp Echo is nut-free. Three meals and two snacks are served daily, including a bedtime snack of milk and cookies, S’mores, or Canteen. Read more on the Our Food page.

What are the cabins like?

Our cabins are recently renovated and designed to accommodate a “family” of campers and counselors comfortably. Each cabin features its own bathroom with showers, solid wood bunk beds, “real” windows and doors, and an outdoor sitting area (porch, patio, stoop, etc.). Integrated ventilation fans keep everything cool, and the “cabin plaque” décor from past years keeps it cozy. Read more on Our Facilities page.

How are cabin groups assigned?

Cabin groups are sorted by grade and are sometimes divided by session. We understand and treasure the close friendships that form among campers, and we are happy to honor any individual cabin requests that are mutually stated. At the same time, newcomers are embraced thoroughly, and they quickly become part of the cabin – our campers are extremely welcoming!

Do campers wear uniforms?

Uniforms (Echo t-shirts) are worn during the day. Counselors also wear their staff shirts while at Camp or on trips with their campers. This eliminates the opportunity for competitive dressing.

How can I communicate with my child?

Communication between campers and parents is encouraged at all times! Throughout the summer, campers enjoy scheduled time in the phone room, where they can recount adventures to their parents. Campers are also required to write 1-2 letters per week (depending on their age.) Parents enjoy unlimited access to e-mail, and print-outs of these messages are delivered daily along with “snail mail” letters at Mail Call. We also update our Web site every night, which means over 10,000 photos of a summer in progress will be available to you as it unfolds!

When is Visiting Day and how does it work?

Visiting Day falls on the last day of our July session. Family members are invited to spend the entire day with their campers, even taking part in favorite camp activities. While our wonderful culinary staff caters Visiting Day, most families also choose to bring a sampling of their kids’ favorite foods! The emphasis throughout Visiting Day is on quality time spent with the family, so while activities are available, nothing is mandatory.

What if?

What if my child is homesick?

Homesickness, or “Home-Missing” as we like to refer to it, is natural for all people who venture away from their usual setting. Our staff is trained to recognize a wide range of indicators that a camper may be missing home, and our counselors enter every summer equipped with tools to help each Echoite acclimate to their new environment. Remember that all of our staff members are also away from home—they speak (and nurture) from experience! In addition to their own experience, our staff can also draw from the world-recognized homesickness expert and researcher, Dr. Chris Thurber. We also provide solid coaching to parents before the summer even begins in order to help prepare campers and parents for the time away from home. (Upon enrollment, every family also receives a DVD packed with supportive tips for getting ready!)

What if my camper doesn’t know anyone?

The term “fast friends” should have been invented for camp. From the moment  campers step foot onto our buses, they will be making new friends, some of whom will last for a lifetime. Because it is normal to have a little anxiety about the first summer, we offer “First Echoes,” a pre-camp day at Echo designed to welcome first-time campers to our community. At First Echoes, your camper will learn camp songs, take a tour of the grounds, check out the cabins, and, most importantly, get to know some of the other campers and counselors that they will be spending the summer with!

What if my child needs medical care?

Camp Echo’s self-sufficient Health Center is staffed with a doctor on-site 24/7 and 4 nurses. Our “Camp Moms” are also on hand to provide still more TLC when needed. We also have several EMS-trained staff members, as well as a relationship with local medical volunteers. Echo is within 20 minutes of a Level 2 Trauma Center. Find out more about our Health Center.

How does the camp ensure the safety of campers?

Echo is located off a private road in a rural, secluded setting. All visitors to camp must have prior approval by the directors, and they are greeted at our security station at the camp entrance, which is manned 24 hours a day. A staff member escorts visitors who enter camp at all times during their stay. Additionally, Lake Echo is a private, spring-fed lake, completely surrounded by our property; unlike shared or public lakes, it is not accessible to outsiders.

Camp Staff

Who is the Leadership Team?

Our Leadership Team is the core group of supervisors who lead our staff and make camp what it is. Comprised of educators and other youth development professionals, this hand-selected troupe is trained by innovators in the camp industry to be at the top of our field. Many of these experienced parents, teachers, athletes, artists, and mentors chose to work with Camp Echo because it was the experience they wanted for their own children. Read more in the Our Leadership sections of our site.

How is the staff selected and trained?

Camp Echo directors spend the winter traveling the world, attending staff recruiting fairs, and maintaining contact with past staff members (who often refer new staff, because they know what it takes to be a terrific counselor). Each member of our staff must show both excellence in their field and a genuine affinity for working with children. Once hired, counselors are trained by their peers (returning counselors who teach from experience) and supervisors, as well as top child development experts.

How involved are the directors?

The directors are constant fixtures in daily life at Echo. They take part in every camper’s experience, often participating right alongside them in camp activities. Our directors are an integral link in the chain of communication and cooperation that is so important here at Camp Echo. Whether coaching parents, cheering counselors, or mentoring staff, they are accessible to all, all the time!

What is the ratio of campers to staff?

Our camper-to-staff ratio is better than 2:1. A “Cabin Group” usually consists of 10-12 campers and 3-4 counselors. There are activity counselors at every venue.

Camp Programs & Activities

What activities are offered?

Here are just a few of the activities available to campers at Camp Echo

Athletics
Aerobics
Baseball
Beach Volleyball
Floor Hockey
Frisbee
Frisbee Golf
GaGa
Golf
Handball
Kickball
Lacrosse
Paddle Tennis
Ping Pong
Rollerblading
Hockey
Soccer
Softball
Tennis
Track and Field
Weight Training
Yoga

Aquatics
Boating
Canoeing
Fishing
Instructional Swim
Kayaking
Livesaving
Pedal Boating
Surf Biking
Water Polo
Water Aerobics
Water Skiing

Adventure
Animal Care
Archery
Camp-outs
Climbing Wall
Challenge Course
Hiking
Horseback Riding
Mountain Biking
Nature
Team Initiatives
Zip Line

Aqua Park
Iceberg
The "Blob"
Water Totter
Water Slides
Water Trampoline
Water Volleyball

Arts
Arts & Crafts
Ceramics
Cooking
Dance
Dramatics
Fine Arts
Jewelry Design
Leathercraft
Music
Photography
Pottery
Rocketry
Theatre Arts
Woodworking
Videography


Are there choices in program?

While each cabin group has a schedule of activities to ensure that every camper samples a little bit or everything from the large variety of camp offerings, there is still time for focus on areas of special interest.

How much choice is there?

Depending on their age, campers either have one or two “Elective” periods per day, during which they choose the activity they would like to attend. With Options periods, not only do Echoites get to hone their skills in their favorite areas—they also get to practice making good choices! They even participating in making choices when it comes to non-activity areas, such as helping to plan their meal for camp-outs or creating their own choreography for the camper play. Find out more on our Elective and Special Events page.

Do you have “Color War”?

After a summer of building a close community, the last thing we want to do is cap it off with a “war.” That’s why, in the spirit of healthy and harmonious competition, we have adopted the tradition of Camp Echo Olympics. The entire camp (including counselors) is assigned to one of two country teams. Over the course of five days, they compete under this country’s colors, while also learning the traditions associated with the nation that they represent. By adopting the Olympic spirit and the Olympic creed, the aggression of “war” is eliminated from the exultation that marks the last days of our summer together, allowing sportsmanship, knowledge, and personal achievement to shine through.

Are there inter-camp games?

For campers who are interested in joining sports teams, we do participate in tournaments and inter-camp games. At these events, our goals are to do our personal best and to show good sportsmanship and teamwork without intense concentration on winning. We place emphasis on the importance of losing gracefully, as well as winning with poise. While there are plenty of athletic competitions, inter-camp play also includes other activities such as dance or chess. Read more about Healthy Competition.

What kinds of trips do campers take?

Trips are a balance of pure fun (like amusement parks) and great adventure (like whitewater rafting), and become gradually longer and further from camp as campers get older. Excursions begin with bowling and Minor League baseball outings for our youngest campers, while older campers culminate their summer experience with a weeklong excursion to Florida and a cruise to the Bahamas.

Why Camp Echo?

How do I know if Echo is a good fit for my child?

Do your homework! Choose a variety of camps to research, looking closely at community and values, methods of communication, and programming. You should also feel confident with the level of training and professionalism of the people who will be working with the campers. Ultimately, find a camp whose ideals match with yours.

Why should our family choose Camp Echo?

Our scenic location and beautiful facilities speak for themselves. But what really sets Camp Echo apart is our sense of nurturing and community. At Echo, friendships are made, self-esteem is built, values are deep-rooted, goals are challenged and exceeded, and life lessons are learned—all within an envelope of safety that is unrivaled. At Camp Echo, we are dedicated to the most positive camp experience for each of our campers. We have skill in child development, expertise in camp management, and the keenest desire for camper wellbeing. And we provide the highest quality of staffing, programming, and facilities within a community that constantly strives to help each person be and do their best. Every family needs to feel comfortable that camp reflects its own values– one mother told us, “You remind me of me!” Now that’s a good fit!

Can you send me more information?

To receive more information, use our Request Information page.