While summer camp is a great opportunity for campers to gain independence, keeping in touch with those at home can be a unique and fun part of the summer camp experience.
We suggest first time and younger campers be given self-addressed pre-stamped post cards or envelopes for writing home.
Because many children receive letters daily, campers receiving no mail are often disappointed. Remember to keep all letters cheerful and encouraging. Talk about things other family members are doing and focus on the time later in the summer when everyone will be together again. For young or first-time campers, avoid topics that may make them miss home.
Participants in Bunk1 (see above) will see about 20-30 representative pictures each night. Our goal is to give you a glimpse of what’s happening at camp that day. Every camper will appear in a Cabin Photo on the third full day of each session.
Note: Access to the Bunk1 photo galleries is free for Camp Echo families. There are additional costs if you would like to participate in the BunkNotes communication process. If you don’t want to see or purchase photographs from camp, or if you have concerns about additional costs, we suggest sending faxes and letters.
Photos, Video, and Other Media for Promotional Purposes
The Camp Echo registration form requires parent signature on a photography release. If you do not want your child to be photographed, please instruct your child to notify the photographer and to remove himself/herself from pictures.
Parents may send packages containing non-food items only. Because we live in a wilderness setting, food in cabins attracts undesirable animals and insects. Do not include food, candy, gum, or snacks in packages. Campers visit the Trading Post (“TP”) to have the opening of their package supervised by a staff member; edible items will be removed and discarded. Consider ordering a Warm Fuzzy package through Camp Echo.
Camp Echo has a partnership with Becky & Me Toys, located at 620 Grove Street in Evanston (two blocks east of the McGaw YMCA). Becky & Me Toys is a great source for camp games, postcards, journals, and more! Mention Camp Echo and 10% of your purchase will be donated to Camp Echo’s scholarship fund.
Mail, Faxes, Email, and Packages for Adventure Trip Participants
For Adventure Trip participants, mail that arrives at camp during the session will be held until the trip returns to camp; there is no way to forward mail to the group once they leave camp. Teens on trips that don’t return to camp will have no way of receiving mail that arrives during the session; it will be forwarded to the home address after the session ends.
Visiting Your Camper(s)
Camp visits are allowed during breaks between sessions (“Layover”) only. Please fill out the Release Form, “To and From” Form, and Layover Form. We do not allow visits during the camp sessions. Experience has shown that visits disrupt the camp routine, detract from the counselors’ ability to effectively manage their cabin groups, and increase the level of potential homesickness for the child being visited and/or his or her peers. If you want to see the facility before camp starts, you may do so. Please call camp a few days before to notify the Camp Director of a visit.
Parent Letters, Leadership Evaluations, and Trip Journals
After the camp session ends, parents of all children entering 9th grade and under will receive a letter from their child’s counselor. Entering 10th, 11th, and 12th graders will be evaluated on their leadership ability and offered suggestions for improvement; the evaluation is shared with the teen and kept on file to assist with future hiring decisions. Adventure Trip participants will receive a Trip Journal in the mail, typically in late November or early December.
National Emergencies, Weather Situations, or Health Crises
The Camp Director monitors the national news and local weather. If there were an identified emergency situation, campers and staff would be gathered and informed. McGaw YMCA staff would assist in checking on the safety of family members and relaying messages to and from camp. Check the camp website for information before you call Camp Echo or the McGaw YMCA. Camp Echo has policies and procedures in place for addressing a weather emergency or a health crisis; we have a backup generator that maintains electric power during any power failure in the Fremont area.