What We Believe...
Our Camp Philosophy
- Echo Hill is a child-centered camp.
Child-centered means that we are here for the children, to ensure a safe, happy summer for them focusing on social and emotional growth. Unlike many other summer programs, Echo Hill is not a camp focused on a specific activity, it is about children. There is a difference between teaching swimming and teaching a child to swim. Teaching swimming is a technical experience. Teaching a child to swim is making sure that each child is developing skills such as confidence, persistence, and patience as well as improving physical abilities. It is also taking a personal interest in the child. Truly teaching a child is a deeply rewarding experience for both the child and counselor.
- Echo Hill is non-competitive.
Our focus in activities, sports and social relationships is always on helping children take on new challenges, learn team work, and develop an attitude of doing their best regardless of who wins or loses. “Non-competitive” can mean each individual working to the best of their ability to improve, not trying to beat someone with a better performance. It can mean helping each other out and most importantly, it means having fun and not worrying about measuring up to someone else. Examples of this are choosing teams that are even in their ability as opposed to letting captains select the “best” players; being as excited about a child’s first effort to try something new as you are when an experienced camper demonstrates a high level of skill; encouraging campers to cheer each other’s successes and give support when disappointments occur.
- Echo Hill is a way of life.
We are committed to a summer time community that is cooperative, non-stressful, warm, fun and accepting of everyone. Children are valued members of the community and they are able to influence every aspect of camp life. This special social setting is not without conflicts or problems, so it is important to help children face and solve these challenges with personal responsibility and fairness to all. Echo Hill is an intentional social experiment where children learn that it is possible to have fun living cooperatively and kindly. We hope that these values are internalized and become a guide for them as they return to their lives at home.
- Echo Hill is deeply connected to nature.
We believe children develop a deeper appreciation for the environment and for themselves when they are able to live in the kind of natural setting that exists at Echo Hill Ranch. The rolling Texas Hill Country, the fresh water swimming, the brilliant stars at night, the horses, deer and raccoons, the clean air and lack of commercial and sound pollution. Our “Little Green Valley” is a safe, open and natural haven where urban children have a unique chance to live in rhythm with nature.
- Echo Hill provides children an “away from home” opportunity to build self-confidence and life long social skills.
We believe providing children with a successful away from home living experience is an important contribution to a camper’s life. At Echo Hill children must work out relationships in their bunk, find their role in the larger camp community, develop a deeper sense of self-reliance, and learn to rely on adult mentors and peers when in need of guidance. Succeeding in mastering these challenges contributes a great deal to increased self-confidence, resilience, and social skills that are useful throughout the child’s life.