APR. 13, 2017
Spring is an exciting time, not just because everything is in bloom and it’s almost time for camp, but also because it’s when seniors across the country decide what they’ll be doing in the time following their high school graduation. Each August and September Eagle’s Nesters pack their trunks or backpacks, not for camp, but for a gap year of adventure and growth or for the college or university where they will spend the next 4 years.
Once April rolls around I get really excited about talking with seniors about what they’ll be doing after graduation. By April, most of them have a pretty good idea of their plans and are feeling more secure and enthusiastic after months of playing the waiting game. It’s fun to think about where they’ll be going and what they’ll be doing, but what delights me most is helping them make connections with other Eagle’s Nesters who have forged a similar path or gone to the same school. Over the years I’ve heard stories about alumni who never knew each other at Eagle’s Nest, but met on a college campus because they saw the other in a tribal t-shirt, or of campers showing up to class and actually having an Eagle’s Nest alum as their professor. Eagle’s Nesters are everywhere, and there’s a good chance that several of them will end up in the same place next year.
So if you’re getting ready to graduate, please let us know where you’re headed and what you’ll be doing next year. We’d love to hear from you and to help you connect with other Nesters who you may or may not know.
Paige Lester-Niles, Camp Director
APR. 5, 2017
Hi everyone! I am psyched to be sitting here writing this as I look forward to an exciting and productive summer! I came to camp for the first time as a cabin 1er and returned for many years including 2 summers as a counselor. I am so happy to say that I am now returning to the Nest as full time staff! Summer is right around the corner and I wanted to share with you a part of camp that I love and that I look forward to being a part of very soon.
I recently began introducing my roommate to the world of rock climbing. We started going to a gym together once a week a few months ago. She loves it! She is a natural and started investing in gear and going more often. More recently we have been able to head outside to climb on the weekends and she is ecstatic. It has strengthened our minds, our bodies, and our friendship. Besides the obvious benefits of spending quality time together and sharing a common interest, our friendship has been strengthened by the nature of climbing itself (trusting your partner with your life) and the gratifying experience of passing on a skillset. She has gained a new passion and I have reaped the rewards of sharing something that I love and watching someone learn and grow.
If any of this reminds you of camp, you are not alone. Everyone comes from different places and brings new experiences and passions to the table. It is one of my favorite parts about being at camp. Campers (and counselors) learn new skills at camp and choose to advance in those areas. There is nothing more exciting than watching campers share their skills with newer campers and seeing JCs thrive as new educators.
One of the best parts of skill sharing is the support that accompanies it. This is one of the most magical sounds at camp. One can walk by the climbing tower and hear students shouting words of encouragement to their peers or head to the arts arena and watch a first timer being guided on the ceramics wheel. It is in every class and it is amongst all ages and it is inspirational.
I hope that you are as excited as I am to start a new season of learning and sharing!
Anna Lauria, Camp Program Manager
MAR. 31, 2017
Found at the Museum of Long Lost Facts,  the true story of Big Lex has been unearthed…
The year was 1927 and it was gray and drizzly day when Mildred was on a fishing expedition at Lake Junaluska, just over the mountain from Eagle’s Nest. She was on the dock with her friend Dolly, hoping to catch a little something for dinner. They were having no luck until she decided to use her secret cookie brownie recipe for bait. As you can imagine, it was difficult to get the crumbly delectable on the hook so she dipped a small portion in milk and pressed it together into a ball.
The first cast went out, nothing. A bigger ball of secret cookie brownie recipe was sunk onto the hook. Second cast went and WHAM. Mildred hit the deck, arms flung over the edge of the dock holding on for dear life to that fishing pole. Her friend Dolly grabbed her feet and they heaved the line back to shore, dragging it through a swirling school of fish. There to their disbelieving eyes but what should appear, the great, great grandmother of Big Lex, Big Bertha (see figure 1).
How do we know this is the great, great grandmother of Big Lex? At the same moment as Big Bertha landed on the shore, an osprey swooped down and snagged one of the smaller fish right before their very eyes (see figure 2).
Figure 2 – Osprey and Big Bertha
An hour later, across the mountain, Cabin 1 girls were at the Fishing Pond when in glided an osprey carrying that very same fish. And believe it or not, that fish was still alive. The osprey dropped that fish, still carrying the secret cookie brownie recipe bait ball in its mouth*.
To this day, the ancestors of Big Bertha live strong at Eagle’s Nest.
*And yes, that is how ChoChos came to be as well.
Investigators Cecilia Kucera and Noni Waite-Kucera
 Museum of Long Lost Facts. Exhibition: Fish and other creatures. March 30. 2017.
MAR. 23, 2017
Here in western North Carolina, signs of spring are everywhere. Birds are chirping, colorful flowers are popping out of the ground, and even the spring peepers have emerged with their familiar evening song. Watching the season creep across the Eagle’s Nest campus is exciting for us all. Soon, Pink Lady’s Slippers will line the trails and the Dogwood trees will show off their beautiful blooms.
Working at Eagle’s Nest throughout the year provides a unique opportunity to experience campus in seasons beyond summer. The spectacular colors of fall, frosty days of winter, and brightness of spring are a joy to witness.
We’d like for you to have the opportunity to see Eagle’s Nest in the spring, too! You and your family are invited to join us for an Open House on April 30th. Campus will be open from 12 – 3pm for tours, games, a scavenger hunt, and, you guessed it…Cho-Chos. Past, current, and future campers are welcome, and we’d love for you to bring your friends, too.
A quick recap:
Spring Open House
April 30, 2017 12-3pm
All are welcome
If you have questions or would like to RSVP, send us an email. We can’t wait to see you and get excited about the summer!
OCT. 31, 2016
Those of us who have experienced Eagle’s Nest firsthand know how incredible this community is. We understand what it feels like to hike through chilly mountain creeks, laugh with our table family at meals, and grow in confidence as we challenge ourselves to try new things. Each summer I witness campers and staff learning, connecting, and becoming the best versions of themselves, and they encourage me to do the same. Simply put, Eagle’s Nest is magical.
One of our initiatives last summer was to begin measuring that “magic” in a more concrete way. Using a survey created by the American Camp Association, we were able to receive feedback from campers about their experience at Eagle’s Nest. On the final day of each session, campers were asked to complete a 14 question, anonymous survey that measures common camp outcomes. It is made up of questions about a variety of things, including trying new activities, decision-making, cooperation, and connectedness to the natural world. Campers rated their growth in each outcome on a scale that ranges from “decreased” to “increased a lot”.
There are several reasons we initiated outcome measurement this summer. By examining campers’ self-reported growth, we can determine the aspects of our program that are very successful, as well as the areas that need improvement. This firsthand feedback from campers will help us continue to evolve as an organization and cultivate an environment that is conducive to growth. Additionally, the results of this survey provide concrete evidence that children are learning important life skills at camp and growing in confidence and character.
We hope you’ll spend some time looking at the results of this summer’s survey. We were very pleased to find that campers indicated the most growth in the fields of taking care of themselves, trying new things, and feeling comfortable in the outdoors, all of which are significant aspects of the Eagle’s Nest experience.
I don’t think we’ll ever be able to fully articulate or measure the magic of Eagle’s Nest Camp (some things are better felt than said), but we’re excited to have some data to back up something we all believe wholeheartedly: Camp is AWESOME.
Liz Snyder, Assistant Camp Director