Echo Ranch to host MEGA Rally youth event next Monday

Posted: Sunday, April 19, 2009

Youth ages 12 to 18 are invited to the third annual Echo Ranch MEGA Rally at 7 p.m. April 27 at Centennial Hall. It will be a night of music, games, food and prizes.

But what exactly is MEGA Rally? And must the word mega be capitalized? The answer is yes. The dictionary defines mega as the highest level of rank, excellence or importance. Mega is also a way of describing something very great in size. Rally means to come together again to renew an effort or to join in a common cause. The Echo Ranch MEGA Rally is intended to be the largest gathering outside of camp to get youth excited about this summer.

If we could take the essence of Echo Ranch and condense it into one night this would be it. One ingredient that has become essential to Echo Ranch is music. Whether it was someone playing a piano located in the dining hall "way back when" or fun kid songs like Arky Arky being sung in chapel. Music has increasingly become a part of what makes camp fun.

On the sports field we have a portable sound system made up of a speaker and car battery self contained in its own cabinet. Hook up an iPod and let the games begin! A group of talented musicians have agreed to play live for this year's MEGA Rally. Last year we had an epic drum and guitar set during a game of tug-o-war; it was pretty intense.

With the amount of room and varying terrain, Echo Ranch is a perfect place for games. We play the usual dodge ball, capture the flag, soccer and other field activities, but it is our specialty games that set us apart. A popular junior and senior high game is called mission impossible. Cabin groups must navigate through camp in the darkness of night without getting caught by guards.

Along the way, each cabin group will need to complete assigned tasks and riddles. Get caught and the whole group must start again back at their cabin. Kids will often times bring camouflage clothing and paint their faces black to increase their chances of not being caught. The MEGA Rally will have everything from video games to carnival-type games, to crowd-participation style games.

Ask anybody who has visited Echo Ranch about the food. Faces light up and stomachs start to growl. The food at Echo Ranch has been consistently awesome for many years. The head cook and her staff work very hard to prepare three fantastic meals every day. Groceries are brought in twice a week to insure that all ingredients are fresh.

For the rally, we'll host some great local tastes. The Southeast Waffle Co. will serve up made-to-order waffles as only they can. The Udder Culture will be supplying us with everything we need for great sandwiches with all the fixings. For around $5 a kid can eat like a king because all food will be around $2 to $3.

At registration the kids turn in money for the camp store which we call the Trading Post. A camper can buy everything from ice cream to Echo Ranch hooded sweatshirts. There are stuffed animals, bracelets, and much more. Kids have been known to spend several minutes in line just eyeing all there is to buy. During the MEGA Rally the latest fashions for 2009 will be on sale. If we don't have your size, we'll take down your contact information and get it to you later.

The best is saved for last. There will be door prize drawing taken during the Rally. There will be fun prizes like iTunes gift cards, random items from Fred's and Everyday Sunday Concert tickets. But wait there's more. At the close of the night someone will walk away with a free week of camp. There also will be a drawing for a trip for two on a TEMSCO helicopter tour valued at more than $500.

And before I forget, admission to the MEGA Rally is free. We'll even have a bus leaving Auke Bay Bible Church at 6:30 p.m. and Mendenhall Mall at 6:45 p.m. that evening, returning to those locations by 9:30 p.m. We don't call it the Echo Ranch MEGA Rally for nothing.

• Jon-Michael Gwinnell is a staff member at Echo Ranch Bible Camp. He can be reached at

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