Arriving at Camp for the First Time

The questions, “What will it be like getting to camp?” and, “What happens when I get there?” are on everyones’ minds leading up to camp each summer.  It is important to have an idea of what to expect, especially for new campers and families. With the help from some current campers and photos from over the years, we describe what happens on Opening Day at Vega.

Getting to camp

Most campers travel to Vega with a chaperoned travel group. Families are greeted at airports or motor coaches by welcoming and experienced counselors, who are excited to meet the campers in their care for the trip.

“I arrived at the bus for my first summer feeling nervous and excited. As soon as I got to the bus stop, a counselor walked over to me, introduced herself, and gave me a name tag. She told me a little bit about camp and told me she had been a camper. I already felt welcome before I even arrived at camp. That alone made saying goodbye to my parents so much easier.” -Ava D., Tamary 2020

Vega campers traveling from LAX airport in 2016.

Saying goodbye can be hard, whether at camp or with a travel group. Remember that the counselors and campers on the travel group and at camp are supportive and loving, and that the inevitable nerves get quickly replaced by excitement and joy. Parents on the other hand – bring your sunglasses!

Turning onto Echo Lake Road

There is something magical about turning onto Echo Lake Road.  It’s a boundary between the ordinary and the extraordinary.  You know you’re close, the excitement escalates, and a few minutes later you pass through the Vega gates.

Sandy and Linda singing “We Welcome You to Vega Camp” as a bus rolls in.

“The feeling of turning down Echo Lake Road, totally absorbs you. Whether you’re a Sub Junior or in Tamary, driving down Echo Lake Road with your sisters, screaming the words to “Some Girls go to Vega”, the anticipation, excitement and sense of magic will never go away.” -Ryan R., Tamary 2020

“As soon as we turned on to Echo Lake Rd, all the older campers began to sing camp songs. I didn’t even know the songs yet, but I could feel the excitement coming from each of these older campers. It made me so happy because I realized that soon I would love this place as much as they did.”-Ava D., Tamary 2020

Arriving at camp

Campers and counselors hold up handmade bunk signs as busses arrive.

Before each group arrives we ring the huge, historic bell that is outside the office. All the counselors and campers gather to greet every group as they pull through the gates.  The counselors have made beautiful bunk signs that are held up and everyone sings, “We Welcome You to Vega Camp!” as the buses come to a stop.

The doors open and Emily is there with a hug as they get off the bus. Returning campers find themselves in the arms of friends. New campers, into the arms of counselors and camp big sisters.  Nearby is a check-in table where campers find out what bunk they are in that summer.  Then it’s off to the Health Center for a health screening (as important as every this year!), and then to the bunk.

Safe and sound

Emily hugging a camper as she gets off the bus

Every time a flight lands or a travel group arrives at camp, we email those parents to let them know. Also, while there are no cell phones/tablets allowed at camp at all, we allow campers to travel with them. Vega chaperones collect, bag and label everyone’s phone/tablet prior to turning on Echo Lake Road. They are stored for the summer and returned at the end of camp once on the bus home.

Vega is our summer home

Each time the bell rings, we get to gather together to welcome another group of campers to what already is, or will soon become, their summer home.

Campers reuniting

“The first summer the bus turned onto Echo Lake road, my heart nearly beat out of my chest. I was so nervous, yet so excited to experience the magic that my sisters had never stopped talking about. Each summer, as the bus turns onto Echo Lake Road, my heart still feels the same excitement and magic. There is truly no better feeling in the world than knowing that you are home. Vega is my world, and knowing I’m on my way home every year, turning onto my favorite road, is truly a feeling I cannot put into words.” – Carly K., Tamary 2020