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This past month, western North Carolina has been bustling with blooming trees, warm days, blue skies (for the most part), and nature beckoning us to come and play. Eagle’s Nest Camp is surrounded by green spaces and we can’t wait to get out and explore with campers this summer. Ever wondered why people love being outside at summer camp? Here are 5 benefits:
Being in nature simply makes you happier. According to a study (highlighted here on the New York Times), walking in green spaces has shown to immediately improve a person’s mood.
Trying new things (I see you eyeing a Hante trip), challenging ourselves, and overcoming obstacles develops resiliency and self-confidence; giving campers a sense of pride and the tools to tackle some of life’s challenging moments during the year.
Wilderness is FUN! Fun (n) : what provides amusement or enjoyment. Whether swimming in the lake, hiking to the top of the mountain, or canoeing down a rapid, we love to have FUN!
Plugging into wilderness. In a distracting digital world, wilderness offers the perfect space for campers to slow down, connect with each other, and focus on the sights, sounds, and smells around them.
Anyone can participate. Being outside is not limited to a certain person, anyone can go! At Eagle’s Nest Camp, we offer a variety of programs for campers of different skill and comfort levels.
Interested in getting outside? We still have one or two spaces on an Added Adventure and Hante Adventure trip this summer.
Added Adventures: Sea Islands – Head to the Sea Islands; a chain of tidal and barrier islands off the coasts of South Carolina and Georgia for a week of camping and exploring coastal ecosystems!
Hante Adventures: AT Trek – On this Hante you will have the wonderful opportunity to travel simply through the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains with a close community of friends and peers on a 100 mile section of the Appalachian Trail!
As we enter the countdown to the opening of the 2019 camp season, I’ve been thinking a lot about what a special gift camp is for children. I’ve also been thinking about how generous, wise, and trusting parents and guardians are to give it to their children. We know that a session at Eagle’s Nest Camp provides children with the opportunity to connect with nature, make new friends, learn new skills and have a joyful adventure in a place that most of them consider a second home. As parents and guardians, those are the kinds of things that we want for our children.
We also want to give our children opportunities to grow and mature, become more independent and learn to navigate the world without us – even though this makes us a little nervous. Sometimes growth experiences are a little challenging and uncomfortable, requiring a period of trial and error before there is success. Do you remember learning to ride a bike? I love riding my bike, but all I really remember about learning how to ride is an image of my Dad running behind me with his hand on the back of my seat. I imagine that the bike was wobbly for a while and that I was probably a little nervous, but I don’t remember falling or being scared, though I’m sure that I probably did and that I certainly was scared. My clearest memory is of the freedom I felt when I took off on my own. Like the hand of a father on the back of a bicycle seat, Eagle’s Nest is a supportive space where children can step out of their comfort zone, be a little uncomfortable at times, and learn how to do new things (including important life skills like taking care of your belongings, learning how to get along with others, asking for help when they need it…) on their own.
This winter I attended the American Camp Association’s national conference in Nashville, Tennessee. One of the keynote speakers was Wendy Mogel, the author of The Blessing of the Skinned Knee and a nationally known clinical psychologist, parent educator, and school consultant. Wendy spoke candidly about the value that children gain from experiencing challenge and disappointment. I doubt that any of us wants our children to be uncomfortable, to not be invited to a birthday party, or to not make the school soccer team; however, as Wendy has said these experiences “are necessary preparation for adult life…Allow your child to do things that scare you. Don’t mistake vulnerability for fragility. You have to let her take steps on her own, without holding your hand, if you want her to grow increasingly independent and self-confident.”
At camp we have created a community that is inclusive, nurturing and compassionate, and we set up systems to help children succeed, and to be celebrated and acknowledged for their efforts. Even so, there will still may be times when they may get in a disagreement with a bunk mate, don’t know what to do when the food for dinner looks a little intimidating, or be disappointed to get a “B” in cabin clean-up because someone left the light on. We will help your children learn how to deal with these experiences and grow from them. As you prepare your child for camp, let them know that you are proud of them for taking on this new adventure, and remind them that they can do it! And that if they need help from time to time they can ask a counselor or me to help them. That’s what we’re here for!
I’m looking forward to the summer with great excitement. I hope that it’s filled with sunshine, laughter, new friends and magical experiences, but, if it rains on a cookout, all of my past experiences at camp will help me deal with the disappointment and find a rainbow.
To read more about the value of summer camp experience, please check out this American Camp Association website.
Programming at Eagle’s Nest promotes learning and growth. Campers can begin their journey at Eagle’s Nest as young as first grade and remain here through their senior year of high school. Our goal as a program is to provide meaningful opportunities to embrace a sense of independence, discover the joy of meaningful community, and strengthen leadership skills. In our latest video of our Parent Orientation series, Assistant Camp Director, Marlin Sill speaks about growth through Eagle’s Nest’s wilderness programming.
When you go into the woods and disconnect from the digital world it can be refreshing for your mind. You no longer hear the rings and pings of your phone, or the bump and slump of the computer. However, there is always a moment where you get a song stuck in your head and the best way to get it out is to sing it loud and proud as you trek along. I find that a great way to get ready for my trips is to listen to some of my favorite, nostalgic songs. They help hype me up for the adventure while also let me reflect back on times from my past. Beyond that they help give me some great songs to connect with others as they inevitably get stuck, then sung with a chorus of other fellow adventurers. Here is a short excerpt of songs from one of my favorite adventure playlists; one I affectionately call “Alpine Drives and Bluebird Skies.”
New Slang – The Shins
Octahate – Ryn Weaver
Tokyo – The Books
The Sound of Settling – Death Cab for Cutie
When They Fight, They Fight – Generationals
Two Weeks – Grizzly Bear
Quitters Raga – Gold Panda
Someone Great – LCD Soundsystem
Walk on the Wild Side – Lou Reed
Daylight – Matt and Kim
Gravity Rides Everything – Modest Mouse
Madness – Muse
Feeling Good – My Brightest Diamond
King of Carrot Flowers Part 1 – Neutral Milk Hotel
Blue Skies – Noah and the Whale
1901 – Phoenix
We Will Become Silhouettes – The Postal Service
Welcome Home, Son – Radical Face
15 Step – Radiohead
Decatur, Or, Round of Applause For Your Stepmother! – Sufjan Stevens
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.
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!