Comments 29

  1. Hi, thanks so much for making this information available! I’m so sorry to hear that this happened to your daughters. I agree with your list of remediations. I can’t find it in myself to just trust ECOS taking care of my son for a week after not only reading your story but a few others on yelp and facebook. I really hope CAPOUSD forces ECOS to make some changes, because this is just ridiculous! Please keep me posted on any updates. I am really hesitant about sending my son at all as he is gluten intolerant and would need to be sent with meals too.

  2. Horrible experience for my daughter. As the website says, same type of issues with threatening kids. The instructors are fake. It is their words against innocent kids that they will bully and threaten. I believe the school teachers are in cahoots with this place. Reporting this to the schools means nothing. The schools pick them and won’t ever put the kids first.

  3. My son was yelled at by his camp instructor for also not wanting to drink the water requirement!!! Thank you SO MUCH for pulling this website together. This place lacks any integrity. They call themselves an institute that cares about nature yet they can’t care about my kid enough to work with him instead of punishing him!!!

  4. My son hated his experience. He said not only was it boring (all they do is nature walks) but the showers were broken. So they didn’t shower all week. The bathrooms were filthy. The food was gross. He couldn’t wait to come home.

  5. My daughter hated the experience. Not all the instructors are “sweet”. Just like you, she had issues with a threatening instructor when she didn’t follow the 2 minute shower rule. Bottom line, this place doesn’t know how to deal with children. And somebody needs to make sure the schools are digging into these issues and doing right by our kids. The school systems are an issue in my opinion. I often wonder if they truly care or if this is an ego thing. They want this experience to be perfect for the kids so that they can tout their own horn and stand out as great schools. These are little kids and don’t have the life experience to deal with situations when they arise without the help of their teachers. What am I supposed to do when my daughter says the instructor threatened her over something so silly as a shower? The school won’t care. Good for you for pulling this site together. ECOS isn’t what parents think it really is.

  6. Please let me know what we can do to support this movement. I have spoken to a bunch of moms about this and we don’t want to be sending our kids to a place like this. Please email me directly so I can help support this initiative. I have a huge facebook following and many contacts that can help.

  7. I am a former employee at ECOS.

    Anyway. I completely agree. ECOS is an institute that needs to be closed. I’m surprised that the Health Department hasn’t already shut them down. ECOS serves very poor food and it’s selection of falafel makes people sick every week. Every night it was served, multiple kids were on the toliet with diahrrea. Clearly higher authority knew their food was bad because upon first arrival, managers said things like “I never eat the ranch dressing. It hurts my stomach.”. So, why then, were they feeding it to children? They never paid attention to various allergens in their dining hall and I was surprised that everyone served food withOUT gloves on.(at least in past cafeterias I saw, servers wore gloves to avoid the spread of disease). True, silent time was given before children got their food and two cups of water were required because Big Bear is dry and some hikes were strenuous but, I was mainly surprised at the safety practices of the cafeteria and the fact that at least 5 kids had diahrrea every week.

    In addition, ECOS teaches incorrect information. Their various definitions of words like “ecosystem” and “carrying capacity” were false and when we corrected the definitions on hikes, the higher ups became angry. Your children are learning false basics and I’m surprised they’re staying open for that too.

    Overall, ECOS shouldn’t be open and running. I would hate if all the coworkers lost their job but, that camp shouldn’t be open.

  8. The worst part of this trip is the water policy. My son threw up right infront of an instructor. If you don’t drink the 2 cup rule, they threaten to refill your cup. It is worse than the army. It is a horrible environment that has no idea how to deal with children. THANK YOU for this site. It is about time somebody went public about this place. Shame on the school districts for putting money, convenience, pride and bureaucracy over the wellbeing of our kids. It is time to start a petition and make real change.

  9. Awful place that aren’t in this for the children but for the money. No idea how to treat children and too busy kissing the teachers asses for anyone to notice or care for these children. My son had the worst experience too. Not food related. But consistent with what you say, a punishing environment when you don’t follow their exact rules

  10. make sure you really ask your teachers questions about this trip and push as hard as you can. they sold this to us as a way to mature our kids, a trip that our kids would absolutely love. infact they even said that they wouldn’t want to come home!!! well, my son ate nothing the entire week, was homesick and not allowed to contact us. he hated the entire week. thats not the worst part. the worst part was he had similar complaints about the cafeteria. he said mean remarks were made to him when he refused to eat the food. he was shamed over it. when i asked him why he didn’t tell his teacher, he said he did. the person that shamed him denied it and my son became fearful. the teacher believed the man. after that , the camp instructor started being stand offish with him and the trip went downhill. he said nobody cared about him or the kids, just their rules and making sure they were quiet before eating and behaved exactly like ecos wanted them to behave.


  11. Hi. Finally, a website dedicated to this place. Terrible experience with my daughter as well. She came home traumatized from the camp instructor threatening her when she didn’t drink the water!!! Crazy. Who does this to kids?

  12. THANK YOU FOR PUTTING THIS SITE UP. Parents, please listen to us. I fought a losing battle last year with this horrible place that were beyond mean and insensitive to my boy, who isn’t even a sensitive boy by nature. They denied it all, also making my child seem like a liar. The teachers don’t care – the principles don’t care – this is all part of the school district image of pretending to care about nature. It is all about the money and money is flowing between these organizations. They are not about to make any changes and the school district will just keep covering it up. Funny how no negatives ever came up when we were told about this last year.

  13. Terrible place, fake people and no advocate for your child. Beware. Wish we had said no before spending $580 on this. Your better off taking a vacation with the money and teaching your kid about nature.

  14. Instead of embracing your children and helping them not stand out, this place is seriously emotionally abusive. Never would I ever recommend this place or send any of my children here again. My daughter came home in tears too but couldnt tell any of her instructors. It is highly encouraged to go along with the flow and sing this place’s praises. Shame on you school district. Don’t you care about the harm this is doing to some children???

  15. Terrible experience on this end too. Complained to the school. Nothing was done. I’m not sure how on earth not being allowed any contact with your child is acceptable. For God’s sake these kids are 10 years old. With my child, she had issues and was told that she was NOT allowed to make contact with me. The issues she had were similar to what I’m sensing on this board. Instructors are angels infront of the teachers but flat out nasty when left alone. I didn’t intend to waste my money on a week of hiking followed by ridiculous rules (yes I heard about the robotic water rule too) and gross food that gave my child a horrible stomach flu.

  16. Please update us and let us know what the school district does about this – is this Orange?

    We live in South OC and I have let all the parents we know to stay far away from ECOS. It is just mind blowing how unaware the schools are of the abuse that takes place


    As a parent, I am beyond disgusted with the experience my daughter had. This organization has no clue on how to engage, interact and care of children. My daughter was ALSO reprimanded for not drinking the amount of water that they mandate. When she refused, a certain individual got NASTY with her. So she kept drinking until it made her sick. ECOS needs to be sued. Their one size fits all approach is not only stupid but reflective of the type of place this is. Schools – DUMP THIS PLACE. They never return phone calls.

  18. ECOS: Shame on you. These are children! If you don’t know how to deal with children, educate and train yourself, or only accept adults. You can feed adults your old, stinky, gross food and cause them food poisoning instead. Son came home sick as a dog – was not allowed to question authority or ask for anything different to eat. Seriously?

  19. Consistent with the general theme of all these folks, I also experienced the same. The schools aren’t really interested in whats best for our children , but more about showing off about this experience. Sad

  20. worked there – the food shouldn’t be served to children….food is days old……like the other reviews say, all GMO…….for God’s sake, can’t we at least aim for non GMO for these innocent kids?

  21. I am from a school that plans to send their sixth graders to the camp. Is it true that the teachers that go hardly spend time with the children? Also my child has allergies are they treated the same and what is the latest reviews of this outdoor ed.

    1. Post

      Lets just say, because we made a huge stink about this and met with the school district, they are being forced into changing protocol. If your child has allergies, beware (especially over the emotional aspect). Even after the principle, school teachers and ECOS knew about my children having to take some of their own food, nobody cared to check on my children or ensure the weren’t left alone with ECOS staff. What the ECOS staff did to them though is something you can email me privately about and I would love to share. No children should be left alone without their school teachers who they trust, allergy or not. Please check with your school – they may have been forced to change policy depending on where you are.

    2. Yes. It is true that children spend little time with them teachers. Most time is spent with an ECOS supervisor/camp-Counselor and other students. Teachers are mostly seen during meals. Actually, I’m not sure what the teachers do most of the time. When I worked there, the only times I saw the teachers were during meals and during the nights that students performed.

  22. Thank you so much for this. Its about time somebody made these people accountable. Similar experience here except we didn’t contact them. We decided to let it go…….Such a bad decision. We are conflict averse people. Sometimes its not the right way to go.

  23. Food is disgusting. Place will never change. I wouldn’t eat there myself. Yes, the leaders are arrogant and full of it. They thing no end of themselves. Thanks for putting up this post.

  24. Gosh we are coming up on that time of the year. Can you share more information please? Email me directly. I think I know which school you are referring to. This principle (she) also caused issues for an issue my son had when he got hit on the head and hurt. The problem is nobody is courageous enough to stand up for our kids. No matter how nice these principles seem, they are out for themselves and how the school districts perceive them. I’m sure this person didnt care about your daughters and only how she looked and was upset there was a complain filed. Good for you. As for ECOS – SHAME ON YOU.

  25. Post

    I am dreading this discussion with our school teacher because it is pointless. They are trained to defend this institution and promote this offsite trip.
    Help. Thoughts on what to do? We all have to stand together and let the school district know this is NOT ok.

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