Camp Echo Bay keeps calling them back.
The Catholic day camp, at Salesian High School in New Rochelle has been the go-to summer destination for youngsters for 75 years. Both the camp and school are sponsored by the Salesians of St. John Bosco.
Kristen Bauer, who is entering her freshman year at the Ursuline School in New Rochelle, has been a Camp Echo Bay camper since preschool.
“I’ve learned how to make friends more easily since there are new people coming in every single week,” she said. “And, because of chapel, I’ve learned a lot about myself, and how to be a better person, learning right from wrong.”
In addition to weekly Mass, lessons on themes such as morals and values are taught in the chapel through a variety of approaches, including skits.
The seven-week camp, which runs Monday through Friday through Aug. 12, is for children ages 4 to 14. Campers are organized into grade levels: pre-K to first; second to third; fourth to sixth and seventh through ninth.
For older campers, organized sports are arranged to fuel a healthy, competitive spirit. The younger children participate in a different art or craft every day, as well as story time, short hikes, playground activities and more.
Brianna Costa, a sixth-grader at Immaculate Conception School in Tuckahoe, is a first-time camper at Camp Echo Bay. “I enjoy summer a lot because of camp,” she said. “I feel at home here.”
The 11-year-old counted kickball and box ball among her favorite camp activities.
A typical day begins 8:30 a.m. and ends at 4:30 p.m. Those enrolled in extended care come as early as 7 a.m. and leave as late as 5:30 p.m.
Located on 19 acres of private, waterfront property overlooking the Long Island Sound, the camp features an outdoor swimming pool, three playgrounds, a softball field, two game rooms and a new, 16,000-square foot air-conditioned athletic center.
Many parents who send their children to Camp Echo Bay went to the camp themselves, according to the camp director, Arthur Schoenherr, who in his youth was a camp counselor.
Schoenherr, a Salesian High math instructor and 1981 alumnus, said of the seven weeks, four weeks this year have averaged 425 campers, with a high of 440.
Tommy Siefring, a 2013 Salesian High graduate, is in his first year as the camp’s program director. For five years, he had served as the camp’s Catholic youth minister.
“Not a lot of camps offer chapel time, where we get to talk to the children about God,” said Siefring, 21, a senior education major at Concordia College. “In that chapel time, we make faith fun.”
“It’s a very fun place, and I like to play,” said 5-year-old Louis Bottone, another first-time camper at Camp Echo Bay.
“We learn songs that God and Jesus likes, and other people like,” he added.
The lad, an incoming first-grader at SS. John and Paul School in Larchmont, has also found his stride through the camp’s swim lessons. “I’m actually a good swimmer.”
Information: (914) 632-0248 or campechobay.org