April - September, 2012: Camp Echo

April: High School Work Weekend

The summer season kicks off in April, with High School Work Weekend. A busload of energetic high school students roll up to camp to help put a major dent in the heavy lifting needed to get camp ready for the summer. Placing fresh wood chips on the nature trails, moving boats, and picking up leaves are just a few of the exciting tasks!

Who knew wood chips were so fun?

May: Adult Work Weekend, WFR, Family Camp

Programs start gradually through May, with a few weekends, maybe a school group, this year a Wilderness First Responder (WFR course), and then Memorial Day Family Camp. It's a great way to build into the summer mayhem. But first, the adults volunteers show up to polish up the property. I was quite pleased to see my summer cottage, Lakeside, get a fresh coat of Echo Red.

Quite the paint crew.
Sarah, the red nosed patient, gets her compound fracture patched up.
Tool Time!
 June, July, & August: Summer Mayhem Camp

No sooner than the Family Camp crew hits the road, staff training begins and quickly fill camp with staff and campers. For three months, the 500 acre property is brimming with happy campers, 200-300 of them at a time. This summer our motto was "The Best Summer Yet". I haven't been around for all of the summers to date, but I'm sure it would be in contention.

Campers help with my compost project, aka BPOS (Bernard's Pile of ...)
Nothing says summer quite like grilling 300 burgers and dogs. We do it every session.
An extra session landed in the summer, which gave us time to sneak in a sunrise paddle.
 September: Extravagant Fun

Once the kids and families hit the road, we are able to stretch out a bit and enjoy some solitude. But we quickly miss the whippersnappers. Last year we decided to bring them back for one more weekend in September. Not surprisingly, the kids were pretty fond of the idea. Echo Extravaganza officially wraps the programming, but work is still left to be done.

The adults volunteers return to camp to close down shop. This year was an especially significant Work Weekend, because it was our beloved Caretaker's last weekend at the helm. After 32 years, RJ is retiring as Caretaker. His impact was beyond words and reflected well by the record-breaking attendance of 100-150 volunteers (I have no idea what the final count was). It was a work-hard party-hard weekend that closed out the summer in high style.

Camp Echo gonna make ya JUMP JUMP!
A storyteller without peer... "What are we going to do?!?"

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