By Sophie H. ’24
Photos by The Chaperone Shutterbugs
On a cold Tuesday morning, the Class of 2024 set off on a four-day adventure to Echo Hill Outdoor School, on the Chesapeake Bay in Worton, Md. Though it was early, everyone was energetic, excited, and curious about the possibilities that our last Middle School overnight trip would hold. Before we knew it, the bus was filled and the sound of 50 kids chattering filled the space. After two hours on the bus, the roads became windier and we became more and more restless. Pretty soon, everyone rose from their seats and pointed to a sign that read, “Echo Hill Outdoor School: Celebrating More than 40 Years!” That sign stood as a reminder to all of us of the hundreds of LCDS students who had taken the same trip in years past.
Right when we got off the bus, the activities began. We started off playing a form of sharks and minnows as group. By the end of the game, everyone was smiling and laughing together. It was like we had left all of our stress back at home and were able to escape and just have fun.
Next, we headed to our cabins and then Harris Hall for lunch. Every table sat six students and one counselor or teacher. The counselors explained how at each meal a “biddy” must be selected to tend to the food and dishes for the table. The first couple of meals, no one seemed too enthusiastic about taking the job, but by our last meal, there was an outright competition over for the opportunity to wait on the table.
We all enjoyed our lunch and just when we were preparing to get up and leave, we were introduced to two new activities that would quickly become tradition. The first consisted of collecting and weighing the table’s wasted food. Food waste hadn’t been a big priority for us in our day-to-day lives, but once we arrived at Echo Hill, that changed. After every meal, we weighed the slop bucket and were encouraged to think about the resources needed to produce the food that we had helped ourselves to and then didn’t eat. The second ritual was a repeat-after-me-do-as-I-do song. The songs were fun, over the top, and just downright hilarious. They brought our group together in a lively and exciting way.
After each meal, we found out what activity our tribe was participating in that day and which counselors would be guiding us. These adventures ranged from team-building exercises to studying marine life in the Chesapeake. But of everything we experienced, there was quite literally nothing that could top the tower.
Standing almost five stories tall, the massive structure was the highlight of the trip for many of us. It offered the perfect balance of teamwork, encouraging each other, and forcing you out of your comfort zone. It didn’t matter if you made it to the top or not; all that mattered was that you gave it your best effort and felt supported as you did.
As our time came to a close at Echo Hill, we all gathered for one final hurrah to leave our mark on this trip. We played games, sang songs, and talked about our experience.
Through these exchanges, it became clear that Echo Hill will be an event of lasting meaning for our class. Through simple activities, our grade bonded in myriad ways, getting to know one another on a deeper level. We all realized how important it is to be grateful for the opportunity we have to go to a school like LCDS and to be surrounded by such exceptional peers and teachers. And though our time at Echo Hill was short, I know the memories we made there will endure for a very long time.