Experiencing Connections by Heading Outdoors

ECHO (Experience Connections by Heading Outdoors) participants head off Ithaca's campus and into the great outdoors for an overnight camping experience along the beautiful Finger Lakes Trail. Campers are assigned to small groups led by two ECHO Jumpstart Leaders and have the opportunity to sleep in tents, prepare their own food, connect with peers, and participate in activities led by students, faculty, and staff.

No camping or hiking experience is required, and most equipment is provided. However, participants must provide their own sleeping bag and personal belonging bag. Whether you have never been hiking or have been lost in the wilderness for days, ECHO is for you! 

During ECHO, participants will:

  • Use basic outdoor adventure skills to manage a campsite, cook meals, build camp fires, and safely enjoy nature
  • Learn how to incorporate the Leave No Trace theory into their daily routine and future outdoor pursuits
  • Participate in a reflection labyrinth and meaningful small-group discussion opportunities
  • Meet new friends and form a lasting connection to the beautiful natural environment around IC

Group of students posing in front of a tree.

ECHO participants enjoy hiking trails at local state parks or in the Finger Lakes National Forest, and get a chance to learn about respecting and appreciating nature - all while making new friends!

“There is nothing better than getting away from the uncertainty of starting college and being out in the woods where there is nothing else to do but get to know the people around a campfire.”

“I will never forget sleeping under the stars with my small group.  It was the most amazing experience!”

Note: ECHO participants will engage in a range of activities, including, but not limited to, hiking (non-strenuous terrain), cooking, carrying a bag (including a share of the group's food supply and/or camping equipment), and sleeping outside.


For more information, please contact the Office of Student Engagement.