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FEB. 7, 2017

Alumni Gatherings 2017

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Eagle’s Nest and The Outdoor Academy are hitting the road this winter and spring! There are great opportunities for you to meet new friends or reconnect with the old at Regional Alumni Gatherings in your city!

Last week Liz Snyder travelled to our nation’s capital and hosted a really fun Happy Hour event at District Kitchen in Woodley Park. This group of “Capital Nesters” has been getting together frequently over the years, and in 2016 they collectively donated over $3,000 for scholarships for other DC area kids to attend camp and OA. What a cool way to give back to a place that we all know and love! This year, their goal is to raise $5,000, providing even more youth with the transformative experience of natural living.

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To all those living in the Lone Star State: Reily, OA Admissions Counselor, is coming to Texas this week! She is hosting Open Houses in Austin and Houston for prospective students, then going out on the town to meet with Alumni! Reily, a semester 25 alumna, is excited to meet and greet other alums in the area. Join her in Austin on Friday, February 10th at Black Star Co-op Pub & Brewery , and in Houston on Sunday, February 12th at Goode Company BBQ.

Austin Tx Alumni Gathering Details

Houston Alumni Gathering Details

We are hosting many more events around the country in 2017…with dates and locations to be announced soon and in the Spring edition of The Eagle, our bi-annual newsletter! If you would like to receive a print version of this newsletter (and have not in the past…) fill out this online form with your contact information!

Looking forward to seeing all you alumni out there this year!

Cara Varney, Development Director 

JAN. 23, 2017

On the Road Again

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When I first started working full-time for Eagle’s Nest the focus of my job as an intern was to market for camp by traveling across the Southeast to give slide shows at campers’ homes. Back in those days I traveled with a slide projector and two full carousels of slides. It’s hard to image that campers and their families sat with rapt attention as I rhythmically clicked through 200 or so slides telling story after story about what awaited them at Eagle’s Nest.

I loved everything about those early years “On the Road” for Eagle’s Nest. I learned so much from staying with camper families and witnessing their daily lives and routines. Those times with seasoned parents informed my own routines when I became a parent years later.  It was also fun to reconnect with campers from the previous summer and hear their accolades about their experiences at camp and on Hante. At each party tended to be a bit of a mini reunion, and throughout the slide show campers would share their stories about going down sliding rock for the first time, or how many hotdogs they ate at the cookout, or about the counselor that comforted and supported them. Some stories were outrageously funny, and others where touching and made me realize the value of the work that I was doing by being a teacher and caregiver to children. And of course, I loved being able to escape to the warmth and sunshine of Southern Florida in January. Who wouldn’t!

Throughout my years at Eagle’s Nest, I’ve continued to travel to campers homes and tell people about the wonderful place I spend my summers. These days, I’m not the main “roady”, but I still get out there, and my heart is still warmed by the hugs and the stories that great me.

Tomorrow, I’m heading back out on the road. This time I’m going somewhere I’ve never gone to recruit campers – New England! I guess I’ll be trading in the sunshine of Florida for the snow in Massachusetts. I’ll be giving parties in Massachusetts and Connecticut, and I’m so excited that two of the parties and at the homes of staff members that I worked with in the 90ties. They are parents now and their children are campers. I think that the parents may be more excited about the party than the kids.

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Liz, Marlin and I still have room in our calendars this year, and we would love to travel to see you. At Eagle’s Nest, we rely on our camper families to share Eagle’s Nest with their friends. You are our best recruiters and we need your help to introduce more kids and families to Eagle’s Nest. Could you host a party? Don’t worry, we won’t bring 200 slides! But we will bring a camp presentation that we can watch while eating pizza and cho chos. If so, please contact me (paige@enf.org) or Liz (campassistant@enf.org) and we’ll help you set it up. It’s easy and fun, and it is a huge gift to Eagle’s Nest!

Paige Lester-Niles, Camp Director

DEC. 19, 2016

Let Me Tell You About Camp

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I had the pleasure of traveling to Atlanta and have a table at a camp fair. It was a great camp fair, and I am so thankful that Eagle’s Nest was able to participate in it. There were all types of programs, and everyone showcased the different types of adventures available to children. People really pulled out all the stops. Some tables had flat screen TVs playing their camp video, large banners that almost touched the ceiling, and giveaways on their table. Do you know what I had on the Eagle’s Nest table? Trinkets. I had baskets woven by friends, beautiful pottery, and a couple of stained glass pieces. I even filled one pottery piece with glitter. I thought that was a nice touch! Comparatively speaking there wasn’t much on our table. I had parents walk up to the table and look above my head for a banner that stated who I was and where I was coming from. To their questioning looks I answered, “I would love to tell you about the wonderful place that is Eagle’s Nest!” That got their attention and I was able to convey the love I have for our foundation. I connected with the people who visited our table, and I invited people to our Atlanta camp party.

That was special to me. Just like camp, our table was simply magical. It showed what kids can do when given the opportunity to spend time at the Nest. To me, that is the most special part about Eagle’s Nest Camp. Kids grow by learning compassion and building confidence within themselves. I was also excited because towards the end of the day one of my past table children, Abby, stopped by. Abby went to camp, was a JC, participated in the Hante program, and was a student at The Outdoor Academy. We ran to greet each other from across the room. That type of friendship is what we build here at Eagle’s Nest. We were very excited to see one another. You could tell by the laughs and smiles we shared. The Eagle’s Nest Camp community extends past the summer and across the country. I believe camp is a wonderful experience that every child should have the chance to enjoy.

Ayana Brown, Camp Program Manager

OCT. 31, 2016

Measuring the Magic (Well, sort of…)

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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.

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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 

SEP. 22, 2016

Nest Love is the Best Love

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More often than you can probably guess, we have marriages between wonderful people who met at Eagle’s Nest.  Some went to camp for years and years together and some met each other working on staff over just one summer.  I always think to myself , what a terrific place to really get to know someone, to see how they live their lives day in and day out, how they treat those around them, how they participate in the community and so much more.  What insights you gain in that time together!

This September marked a very special Eagle’s Nest wedding between my son Walter and new wonderful daughter in law Caitlin Cutchin.  Walter grew up from almost Day 1 at camp.  Caitlin joined the ranks when she was a bit older at about age 10.  I love it that they have had the benefit of living in a community together, working hard side by side, sharing friendships and high adventures.  It is a great start to the years ahead.

Walter and Caitlin

Walter and Caitlin

We would love to hear from all of you out there who met your partner in life at Eagle’s Nest – I know there are lots of you.  Send us your stories and a picture or two and we will hopefully be able to compile them all one day.  What a fun read that would be!  I guess I should get busy writing my story too since my husband and I met at ENC, Paige Lester-Niles, you need to get writing too.

Congratulations to our newest Nest Couple Walter and Caitlin!

Noni Waite-Kucera, Executive Director