Echo Valley 2020

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.”

The $5.6 Million Campaign Goal Includes:

Original Camper/Staff Cabins—We will replace 12 cabins that are currently dated, ineffective, and in danger of not meeting current codes. On the LLYC girls’ side, for example, eight of the cabins that normally house 16 girls have only one toilet and one shower each.
~$350,000 x 12 landscaped cabins

Greenspace and Grounds—We will restore the greenspace at Echo Valley to make it more natural and visually appealing, consistent with other campsites in the Canyon. Campers spend most of their time outside their cabins; increased camper traffic and other factors have degraded the grounds significantly over the last ten years.
~$700,000

Infrastructure—We will replace five large septic systems, two of which are functioning well but nearing the end of their service life; three are very old, very problematic, and at risk of failing completely. We will improve roads that are poorly located and parking that is inadequate, which require a great deal of logistical effort on the front-end and back-end of every retreat.
~$700,000

 

Program

Laity Lodge Youth Camp, Outdoor, and H. E. Butt Foundation Camp will have 1) better facilities to serve guests 2) centralized floor plans to build community, and 3) cabin clusters to help groups supervise campers.

Facilities

The new cabins will provide equitable lodging to all campers, bring buildings up to the latest standards and codes, and upgrade septic systems and other infrastructure.

Aesthetics

Echo Valley 2020 means this most-used campsite will meet the same high standards as our other facilities in the Frio River Canyon with architectural consistency and development of new river access below the dam.

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

We hope you’ll join us in making Echo Valley the best experience it can be for our young campers.

We welcome support from individuals, foundations, and businesses. Gifts can be received in the form of cash or securities. (Subject to the contractor’s approval, in-kind construction materials or services may also be an option.)

For more information on making a donation, please contact Perri Rosheger at 830-315-9204 or donate online.

More from this issue

Soul + Food

In the Echo Valley kitchen, Wylie Shellhouse keeps menus and delivery schedules posted alongside church bulletins and an Orthodox icon printed on wood.

The Pioneer of Texas Outdoor Education

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LLYC Summer 2018

Where else could complete strangers become like family by the end of two weeks?

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Live music has long been a touchstone here in the Frio River Canyon—from guitar-and-cajón camp songs at Roundup to spirited performances at Laity Lodge’s Cody Center...

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