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FEB. 13, 2017

Remembering Mo Waite

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My dad meant so much to so many. He was a great, great man who will be sorely missed, but the good he brought to this world will live on in us all. To carry on all that he did will be an honor and a high task- in his wonderful memory we will do it! 

– Noni Waite-Kucera, Executive Director, Eagle’s Nest Foundation

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Dr. Benjamin Moseley (Mo) Waite, scientist, educator, conservationist, and friend and mentor to many, died February 3rd, 2017.

In 1950 Mo’s parents Dr. Alex and Hannah Waite chartered Eagle’s Nest Camp, originally founded in 1927, as a non-profit educational organization. Mo first attended camp with them as an 8-year-old boy in 1945 and continued to spend his summers at camp until he started graduate school. In the summer following his college graduation, he ran the laundry, washing all of the campers’ clothes, wringing them out and hanging them out to dry. He even pressed their jeans! In the 1970’s Mo helped found Carolina Camps for Children with Diabetes, providing life changing opportunities for children to learn to manage their illness in a camp setting. Mo has said that he found that to be “one of the most gratifying experiences I’ve had”. Mo continued his parents’ legacy by serving on the board of trustees for over 35 years.

Eagle’s Nesters through the years will remember Mo as the mountain of a man who would hike a Dutch oven or watermelons out their camping sites for them, as the red mustached man who led them on “short” hikes in the woods, or as the chief of the Migisi. Trustees will remember paddling down the rivers of Western North Carolina or washing dishes and dancing in the Sun Lodge kitchen with Mo. They’ll also remember meaningful time spent on hikes through the woods and his thoughtful guidance as President of the Board of Trustees. Some are also lucky to have a least one of the beautiful hand turned bowls that he crafted. Mo started what has now become an annual Eagle’s Nest silent auction with about 6 of these bowls. The auction now raises close to $5,000 dollars each year for camp and Outdoor Academy scholarships. So beloved was Mo that one year a fellow trustee bid $500 for an old ceramic bowl that Mo had made and that was being used to serve hummus in at the auction.

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Mo with the Eagle’s Nest Board of Trustees.

Mo graduated from Rollins College in 1958 with a Bachelor of Science degree. He continued his studies at Duke University, and in 1963 he obtained his Ph.D. in biochemistry. After postdoctoral fellowships at Duke University and in The Netherlands, he joined the faculty as an assistant professor at Bowman Gray School of Medicine in 1968.  He became the chairman of biochemistry in 1978, a position that he continued to fulfill until his retirement in 1998. He made tremendous contributions in the field of lipid biochemistry, including a landmark publication, “The Phospholipases”. He trained and was a mentor of numerous graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who have subsequently established successful research careers in both academics and industry.

He loved returning to his summer home in Maine to tend to his “deer-loved” vegetable garden and his relationships with friends and community. Mo loved the natural, bold beauty of Maine and together with Helen, his wife of 57 years, committed themselves to protecting and conserving its natural habitats. Moseley served on the board of Directors of the Downeast Coastal Conservancy for over 10 years, which, since its founding, has protected 6,330 acres of land, watersheds, islands and 62 miles of shoreline in Washington County.

Scientist, ceramicist, furniture maker, gardener, pickler, blueberry farmer, white water paddler, world traveler, bibliophile; Mo’s interests and talents ranged as wide as the circle of people who respected and loved him.

Together Mo and Helen, former Eagle’s Nest Camp Director, Executive Director, and founder of The Outdoor Academy, crafted a beautiful ship of life—each taking a turn as the mast and the rudder. Thousands of campers, students, faculty, professional peers, friends, extended family will continue to be touched by their joyful and inspiring journey through life.

Mo had an impact on so many people’s lives. In the week since his death his family has received and heard many stories that speak to his kindness, wisdom and humor. We invite you to share your stories of Mo with his family and Eagle’s Nest. Please send your stories to Noni at noni@enf.org.

A celebration of his life will be held on February 25th at Brevard College.

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 

FEB. 6, 2017

Winter Weather Advisory

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What has been up with the weather this winter?  If you’ve been lucky enough (or unlucky enough, depending on your frame of mind) to live in the southeast, you’ll know that we have had an unseasonably warm fall and winter.  Sure we’ve had the rogue snow or ice storm, but really 65 and sunny on Christmas Day?  Not too shabby.  But if you’ve been waxing your skis since September, you’re probably still in the shed scratching your head and staring at the webcams out in Utah.

But none of this should really have you down.  Winter is actually one of my favorite seasons to get out and do my “summer” sports.  There is nothing like the feeling of biking down your favorite trail alone at sunset with just you, the bare trees, and the crisp air.  Or the joy of throwing on your harness and roping up for a midnight ascent up the Nose of Looking Glass to catch the “Super-dooper Moon” just weeks before the winter solstice.  What about paddling in January?  Its 70 degrees and overcast, but you’re out in a t-shirt and splashing down the Tuck after a good night’s rain.

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It really is amazing the way Western North Carolina has it all, and not just the greatest of the sports, but the flexibility to do each of your favorite hobbies (or at least my favorite hobbies) in every season.  For nearly 90 years kids have been flocking to WNC in the summer to join Eagle’s Nest for a rip-roaring summer of learning new skills in a fun environment.  And a huge component of our program teaches these kids how to live and love their experiences in nature, whether through backpacking, climbing, or just walkin’ through the creek.

But once they leave they think that those experiences have to stay back at camp, or in the summer, which is so far from true.  The reason we give them this knowledge is so eventually they will have the power to make this happen on their own, and by all means they should.  I moved to WNC knowing this is where I could do all the things I loved to do, and learned to do when I was a camper.  Little did I know that I’d be picking up some hobbies on the way, and learning that the “off-season” is more than just the slow time at work.  It’s the time when it feels “off” to be climbing in short sleeves or strange that you have the perfect weather to paddle  without a dry suit.

Think back to your days of summer, and the things you love about the warm air and the cool rivers.  Now think about how you can make those things happen for you right now, where you are.  Sure you might be walking through the sand, or fishing through the ice, but you can still being doing the things you love, even if the sun does go down 3 hours earlier.  This is the time to shake things up and remember that even at 4 months away, summer is just around the corner.  But please, don’t forget your headlamp.

Marlin Sill, Hante 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