Jumpstart Program

Experiencing Connections by Heading Outdoors (ECHO)

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 broken down into small groups lead by two ECHO Jumpstart Leaders and have the opportunity to stay 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. If 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 a lasting connection to the beautiful natural environment around IC
     

Comments from ECHO participants:

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

"ECHO has made a lasting impact on my college career, both as a leader and a participant."  

"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." 
 

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.