Echo Ranch summer camps for youth ages 7 to 18

Posted: Sunday, May 10, 2009

The snow has melted, the sun is shining, and it's about time for camp to begin. Not unlike the birds' summer migration, the staff has returned to Echo Ranch.

The camp facilities are being brought back to life. The vehicles and loads of equipment are being pulled out of storage. The snow on the sports field is melting and the early spring retreat groups are arriving weekly. Echo Ranch is awakening out of its winter slumber and ready to receive that sweet summertime breeze. Soon hundreds of kids will be hiking around Echo Cove and into a whole new adventure. We'll do our best to make camp fun and affordable for a variety of age groups.

Our camp for ages 7 to 9 is called Colt Camp. These little guys arrive on Monday morning and leave midday on Thursday. Puppets, silly songs, trail rides, and pedal go-carts are just a few of the activities designed for this Nickelodeon crowd. Our counselors take on the role of parent and do their very best to keep tabs as we cater to kids who may have never been away from home.

Echo Ranch is a whole new world and even a walk to the beach can result in some exciting surprises. On our last night of camp the gym is converted into our Colt Camp carnival. We have a giant bounce house, cotton candy machine, hot popcorn, and campers play games for tickets to exchange for prizes. This year the cost of Colt Camp is $120 and our themes are Medieval Mayhem, Wild, Wild West and Wizard of Oz.

Kids ages 10 to 11 make up our Bronco Camps. As campers get a little older we try to increase the level of freedom and the range of activities we provide. During free time campers are given a list of stations they can visit including the trading post for soda pop and candy. But the most exciting development for Bronco campers is the use of our zip line which we call the sky trolley. Many have been eyeing the sky trolley for years and now their time has come.

Located at the top of a 50-foot cliff is where the ride begins. Campers are suited up with a chest and bottom harness connecting to a mainline and a secondary backup line to ensure safety. In the grand tradition of camp we also offer skills classes where kids can learn horsemanship, archery, crafts or just play field games. There are some other surprises along the way but your Bronco camper will just have to show up to experience the craziness. This year the cost of the five-day Bronco Camp is $150 and our themes are Search for Treasure Kingdom and Wild, Wild West.

For youth ages 12-14 we have Maverick Camp and for ages 15-18 we have Sr. High Camp. From sun up to sun down these camps are 6 days of Echo Ranch goodness. And really, in the summer time, does the sun ever go down? Gas powered go-carts, sky trolley, trading post, free time, human foosball, all camp games, hi energy chapel, skit night, and more. Keeping junior and senior high campers engaged can be a challenge and so we do our best to go full throttle.

In the past, we've had events like Crud War which is in essence a giant food fight on the beach and Mission Impossible our midnight run around camp game that has become an Echo Ranch staple. This year our themes for Maverick camp are Search for Treasure Kingdom, Wild, Wild West and Medieval Mayhem and costs $180. Sr. High Camp is $210 and theme is Medieval Mayhem which includes our special themed banquet.

Campers ages 7 to 18 from every background are welcome to join us this summer at Echo Ranch. There are scholarships available and online registration. Visit our Website Let the adventure begin.

Because we believe that faith and fun go together, all of our camps include chapel time and discussions about God that take place in the cabins. We offer the good news of Jesus Christ, but it is up to the individual to decide what to do with this information.

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

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