ECRS events offer creative and engaging activities for all ages that are fun, build community and develop leadership.  Come join us for games, folk dance, crafts, dramatics, singing and more…because everyone needs a retreat from the ordinary!

ECRS events take place in beautiful and informal country settings within a few hours of major metropolitan areas (NY, Philadelphia, Washington, DC) . A typical year includes a 5-day Winter Adventure, a camping weekend, and a retreat-style weekend program. Each event offers classes that draw from basic forms of cooperative recreation, including non-competitive games, dancing (folk, contra and square, ballroom, etc.) , singing, drama, and crafts. Sprinkled throughout are constantly varied specialty classes, such as Creative Writing, Multicultural Diversity and aspects of personal growth. There is also ample free, unstructured time, and for those who’d like, structured “free-time” activities, led by our participants. We provide a caring and creative children’s program for participants 11 and under, and feature fun-packed, nightly ”evening programs” that offer a smorgasbord of cooperative activities.

Grown-Ups have forgotten how to play. This is so unfortunate because we see how readily children learn so much as they are growing up, and much of this is learned from play. Can we recapture that playfulness as adults, and use it to make our lives richer, more fulfilling and filled with new ideas and new friends?

Since its founding in 1940, ECRS has offered recreational retreats based on these beliefs:

Recreation is important for its own sake and is valuable as a practical, experiential tool for use in communities by teachers and volunteers alike.
Recreation is a fundamental need of humankind, for it allows us to connect with other people and provides meaningful balance within our lives.
Recreation should allow individuals to grow at their own pace without being made to feel either superior or inferior for participating at their own level.

ECRS programs offer a variety of classes and activities, starting with the "basic six" forms of recreation: games, dancing, singing, crafts, dramatics, and theory.


including cooperative and multi-generational, indoor and outdoor, active and quiet, mental, dramatic, singing.


including folk dancing, line dancing, regional and international, square, contra, ballroom, and novelty dances.


including simple songs, songs with parts, round singing and harmonizing using quality folk material, and leadership techniques.


including spontaneous and rehearsed, improv games and skits, and recreation of small scenes from theater.


including weaving, puppetry, paper and nature crafts in a supportive, experimental environment.


including effective leadership practices, recreation for special populations, program planning, with practice teaching and evaluation.

Additional Activities

include anything from creative writing to exploring outdoors, from drumming to personality development — and much, much more. The ECRS Experience is about enjoying super folk dancing, yummy late night snacks, contagious laughter, making new friends, rediscovering old friends, quiet games, boisterous games, imaginative informal dramatics, riveting small scenes, playful puppetry, firelight singing and listening, learning leadership skills, and most importantly, being with others and yourself.

Come grow along with us

in body, mind, and spirit