McGaw YMCA Camp Echo Alumni News: 
January, 2016
News from Nardo, the Camp Director:

The people make the place.

Each season, I remind Camp Echo staff of this fact. Without the campers and staff, our 500 acre property would be a collection of trees, buildings, and miscellaneous historical artifacts. Could you imagine stumbling upon an abandoned Camp Echo without context? What magical things happen in these "KYBOs"? Who was Draco the Dragon and why does it have such a large plaque in the Dining Hall?

The place supports the people.

The truth is that we will never abandon the beautiful 500 acres of Camp Echo! With that in mind, we must continuously nurture and enhance our property to support all of the campers, families, and staff that rely on it for life-changing summer experiences. The Camp Echo staff continuously enhances various aspects of the property to address immediate and long-term needs. Current projects that will have an immediate positive impact on camper experiences include camper cabin upgrades and swimming area erosion control. Cabin upgrades began in advance of this past summer and were very well received by all who enjoyed one of the few cabins. All cabins will be enhanced by Summer 2017!

Management of our property beyond The Peninsula does not often receive as much attention but is just as important. The impact of driving down the Main Road or hiking out to Pioneer Village is dependent upon a healthy and supported natural landscape. Both pathways free the mind, serving as a transition into the awaiting experience. Yet, even our natural landscape requires attention to best support camper safety and experience.

In 2014, Camp Echo commissioned a Forest Stewardship Plan with the support of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. This plan provided long-term recommendations for proper management of our forest resources while enhancing educational, aesthetic, and recreational activities. We have begun to implement selected recommendations to enhance trail systems, improve the watershed, selectively thin certain areas of our forest to promote overall forest health, and planning for the reintroduction of more native plant species.

As a community, we are fortunate to have our 500 acres as a resource. Through the hard work of staff and generosity of donors, we continue to re-invest in this resource so that campers may reap the benefits!

Spirit - Mind - Body,

Bernard "Nardo" Rocca
Camp Echo Branch Executive Director  

What happens at Camp Echo over the winter?
Our property management staff and outside contractors have been busy this fall and winter. Projects to be completed by spring include; seven more camper cabin upgrades bringing our total to 10 of 18 camper cabins with new doors, windows, floors, ceilings, insulation, lighting, electric heating, bunks and cubbies. We are still looking for donors who would like to underwrite the cost of the cabin renovations. Permanent donor recognition inside the cabin is available. Contact Katie Trippi  for more information.  

At the waterfront we have built a new retaining wall which will have a seating area with a foot washing station to beautify the area and make it more camper friendly as well as to stop the erosion of the hill and divert the natural spring that bisects the beach. Funding for this project came through a donation from Rhonda Goldstein and Scott Siegel in memory of Rhonda's mother, Shirley Goldstein. This gift was matched in full by the Y of the USA's Strategic Initiatives Fund.

In our surrounding forest we are following a carefully crafted forest management plan that was designed for us by the State of Michigan Department of Natural Resources. We are thinning, not clear cutting, our trees to ensure the health and safety of our forest and our campers for years to come.

Donor Spotlight

Liz Carraro, camper 90s and staff 2000s is pictured on the right, with her husband, David Lindsay and their dog, Dizzy. 

Liz currently works for US Bank in Minneapolis, MN. Recently she and her team at work completed a big project, as a reward for a job well done, US Bank allowed each team member to name a charity to which the bank donated $5000 in honor of their employee. Liz was kind enough to designate Camp Echo and specifically our Send-a-Kid-to-Camp Fund for her honorary $5000 donation. We are so thankful to Liz and especially to US Bank for their innovative and effective way of rewarding excellence in their staff.

If you or your employer would like to make a donation to Camp Echo, please visit our website or contact Katie Trippi, Camp Echo Alumni Development Director (847)475-7400 x 226.
Tell us your Camp Echo Stories

The Longest Layover
Gavin Watson , our Communications and Operations Intern, has spent many hours compiling a video library of Camp Echo stories as told by Echo alums. Watch this one from Terry Hansen Brenner about the longest layover which took place in the early 1980s. 

Visit the Camp Echo YouTube Channel  to view other stories.

If you have a story that you would like to tell, please email Gavin. If possible he will set up a time and location to shoot your story himself. If that is not possible, he can give you valuable tips on how you can create your video and send it to us. Your stories will help us to communicate to our parents, staff, campers, alums, and donors the deep and lasting impact of the Camp Echo experience.   
Join us at our monthly Alumni Gatherings 

Join us on the third Thursday of each month for an Echo networking event designed to engage and connect our alums. You must be 21 years old to attend. Location will change each month, but event will always begin at 7:00 pm.

Please RSVP to  Katie Trippi in advance of attending, though last-minute arrivals are always welcome!

When:   Thursday, January 21

Bangers and Lace      
810 Grove St

Time:     7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Future Dates and Venues:

Thursday, February 18, 2016:
Home Run Inn, Lakeview, Chicago 

Thursday, March 17, 2016
Smylie Brothers Bewery, Evanston

Thursday, April 21, 2016
Justins, Wrigleyville, Chicago

Thursday, May 19, 2016
Prairie Moon, Evanston

Thursday, June 16, 2016
Campfire at the Fire Pit at Light House Beach

Thursday, July 21, 2016
F.E.W. Spirits

Volunteer Spotlight

Patrick O'Mahoney (Pomo), the mummy pictured at the right, used his lengthy winter break from Lawrence University to volunteer in the Camp Echo office. Pomo addressed birthday cards, coordinated mailings, and helped with camper enrollment during his 20 hours in the Camp Echo office. We were so glad to have his help and good humor.

We keep a record of all the volunteer hours that are donated to Camp. Annually, we have over 200 volunteers who give a total of 5000 hours. To see the names and number of hours for all our volunteers visit our website. We could not operate Camp Echo without their help. If you would like to volunteer at camp or in the office in Evanston, contact Katie Trippi
Alumni News for January 2016

Jessica and Nate Baumgart:  Camper 90s, Staff 00s & 10s

Rayna Ben-Zeev: Camper 00s, Staff 10s
Tim Dose: Camper 90s, Staff 90s & 00s

Laura Haberer: Camper 90s, Staff 00s and 10s

Janine Hamilton: Staff 00s

Val Hansen: Staff 80s, Family Camper 00s

Colin Monahan: Camper 90s, Staff 00s

Sarah Pfander: Camper 90s &00s Staff 00s & 10s

We'd love to hear from you! Send us your Camp Echo stories, 
Memories and News.

May the Echo Spirit be with you always,

Katie Tucker Trippi
Alumni & Development Director, Camp Echo
1000 Grove St. Evanston, IL 60201
(p) 847-475-740  847-475-7400 x226 (f) 847.475.1764
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