Camp has stood the test of time. In fact, kids need camp more than ever to help them rest, go deeper in relationships, and have a break from an ever-increasing culture of stress.
One group leader told us, “This is about these kids experiencing something different.” She said, I want “to give our kids another opportunity to see something outside of the cement walls they normally see.” For too many campers, it is the first time they have traveled outside of their city neighborhoods, gone swimming in a natural environment, or found a night sky dark enough to see the Milky Way.
That’s why we continue to invest millions of dollars annually in youth-focused overnight camp programs serving more than 23,000 campers each year. Echo Valley is our largest camp facility, serving nearly half of our guests through three programs—H. E. Butt Foundation Camp, Laity Lodge Youth Camp (LLYC), and the Outdoor School.
We use our resources to operate these thriving programs, and we’re reaching out to our community for help in order to make some much-needed capital improvements to our largest camp. We’re calling the campaign Echo Valley 2020.
Currently, guests have inconsistent experiences at Echo Valley due to aging and overcrowded facilities, especially our sixteen cabins that haven’t undergone a major improvement since they were constructed 40 years ago.
“As much as our campers love Echo Valley, we know it needs some attention,” said John Kerr, Director of H. E. Butt Foundation Camp. “So much of camp happens in and around those cabins, and that’s often where campers make the deepest one-on-one connections.”
“I have very powerful memories of myself as a young person, and also as a staff member in those cabins,” said Deborah Rogers. “Cabin time provides a safe space where campers build relationships and open up about their lives. This is key to our programs and ministries.”
Echo Valley 2020 will bring $5.6 million dollars in improvements—including new cabins, landscaping, planned outdoor group programming space, and infrastructure updates—to support our larger camping groups.
“It is going to be a wonderful and welcome change to the camp experience,” says Deborah. “David and I believe it will really enhance our programs and help aid transforming people’s lives.”