Summer camp is in full swing!

Jul 20, 2021

Summer is in full swing, which means so is camp! After a year of cancelled programs following COVID-19 related protocol and regulations, summer activities at The Salvation Army's Echo Grove Camp and Retreat Center have recommenced.

Founded in 1921, Echo Grove Camp and Retreat Center is a fresh air camp designed for children of all ages. Located on Lakeville Lake near Oxford in North Oakland County, Echo Grove offers something for everyone. Through camping, swimming, boating, hiking, music, sports, dance, and other adventures, underserved children and their families can experience the best of the outdoors.

"Although some things may be different at camp this year, we are dedicated to making it feel like the same camp visitors know and love," said camp director Matt Coakley. 

“We try to make it as normal as possible, but we do have our preparations and protocols,” he stated. “There are always two health officers on site. Previously there was one counselor per 10 children; now we have one counselor per 5 children. Campers are at about half capacity. We’ve over-prepared on purpose. We’re trying to make the experience just as fun and positive as normal.”

Even with safety procedures in place, visitors are still able to enjoy their favorite parts of camp. “Camp is different this year, but I’m excited to be back with my friends,” said one camper.

“This is my first year here and I love it,” added another. “Everyone is so nice, especially when I’m homesick. And yesterday I was afraid to do the zipline, but my counselor cheered me on and told me I could do it. I’m so happy I did it!”

Looking towards the future and resuming normal activities at Echo Grove, Matthew said he is the most excited for people to experience camp while feeling protected.

“I’m looking forward to people feeling comfortable coming here and knowing that it’s safe,” he expressed. “Between the vaccinations and less amount of people, there is a lot of protection. Camp allows children to experience things for the first time; appreciating God’s creation, having the opportunity to find the gospel. We want people to have that experience. Our job is to teach them, love them, and lead them towards the love of Christ. It has far reaching affects and the less people that get to experience it is unfortunate.”


Registration is open for numerous overnight experiences, team building activities, and employment opportunities. To learn more about Echo Grove Camp and Retreat Center or to register, visit the website or contact Matthew Coakley at matthew.coakley@usc.salvationarmy.org.


The greatest need right now at Echo Grove is camper scholarships. A camper scholarship allows individuals to experience The Salvation Army Summer Camps  when they may not be able to attend otherwise.

 


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