Tell us a little bit about your camp?
Camp Echo is located in Bloomingburg, New York and we’re about 90 minutes Northeast of New York City. Camp Echo was established in 1924 and this will be our 96th summer. We’re a traditional camp, that means that we don’t specialise in any one thing, over the summer our Campers (and staff) will take part in a whole range of Arts, Adventure, Athletic, and Aquatic activities. Our campers are aged 7-16 and come from all across the USA, even the world. Every summer we’re joined by around 300 staff from every continent. Camp Echo is a cultural melting pot!
How long have you worked in camping?
Just like you, I applied to work at Camp through a staffing agency in the UK and I was lucky enough to get placed at Camp Echo ( I didn’t get placed until late April so don’t panic, plenty of time!). That was back in 2006 and this summer I will be celebrating my 15th summer at Camp Echo. I also spent 5 awesome years working at Wild Packs and in my current role at Camp I am responsible for interviewing and hiring staff. I have been privileged to experience camp and the recruitment process from all angles.
What’s your favourite thing about camp?
My favorite thing about Camp is the people. The Campers are awesome and make me laugh and smile every day. I have made some of my best friends at Camp , it is a great opportunity to spread your wings and to meet like-minded people from all over the world.
When was your camp established?
Camp Echo was established in 1924 and summer 2020 will be our 96th year!
What’s your favourite special event or evening activity at camp?
My favorite Camp event is our Olympics. Olympics is essentially a color war where the whole camp splits into two countries and competes in a whole range of sports and artistic competitions. This activity has been a tradition at Camp Echo since 1950 and something our campers and staff look forward to every year! It gets intense and a little emotional, it is the final big event of the summer and something I look forward to every year!
What’s the most popular meal at camp?
Every Sunday evening we host a themed meal such as Greek night, Chinese night etc. These meals are always great and I love Jewish night; the matzo ball soup and challah bread is unreal. However, Is it possible to have a better camp meal than chicken fingers and french fries though? That’s a classic.
Why do you hire international staff?
The international staff brings a unique perspective to Camp and it’s awesome for our campers to be exposed to different cultures. They love learning to play rugby and cricket, they love trying to mimic the accents. The campers love the international staff and they want to learn all about you and your home.
What qualities do you find the best camp counsellors have?
I think the best counselors have a great sense of humor and find the fun and laughter in every situation. Camp can be tough, but if you can find the fun in every situation you will go along way.
I also think counselors need to be resilient. 99.99% of the time Camp is going to be the most amazing experience, but it can also be tough and challenging. The best counselors are able to work through these tough moments and come out the other end laughing and joking.
The J1 visa is a cultural exchange visa- what would you recommend your camp counsellors visit in the surrounding area to your camp when they are on their days off?
Camp Echo is lucky that we are so close to the greatest city in the world. New York City is just a two-hour train ride away, so you should absolutely explore Manhattan and all that it has to offer.
I would also highly recommend checking out a Baseball game! The tickets are cheap and it is a great way to experience a piece of American culture. Even if you don’t like the sport, or even understand the rules, baseball stadiums have great food and great atmospheres!
What would be your words of wisdom to new camp counsellors?
Commit fully to this experience. Give 100% every day. It will be tough at times, it will be challenging, but it will also be the most rewarding and amazing experience of your life.