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Sending your child to summer camp can be hard for you as a parent! We appreciate you putting your trust in the staff at Eagle’s Nest Camp to care for your camper. You may be thinking: Will my camper make friends? Will they be homesick? What will they eat? Will the remember where their extra socks are in their trunk? These are all normal concerns for parents, whether this is your child’s first summer away from home or their fifth. In our final video in our Parent Orientation Series, hear from some of our current camper parents on their perspective of Eagle’s Nest Camp. As you begin to pack for camp, please reach out to me, firstname.lastname@example.org with any lingering questions or concerns!
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.
We are eager to share the first video in this year’s Parent Orientation Series. Over the next few weeks we will be posting short videos on our blog and social media pages to help you learn more about what to expect on Opening Day and beyond! We are grateful your campers will be joining us at 43 Hart Road this summer and looking forward to seeing familiar faces and meeting all of our new families, starting in just a few short weeks.
Jonathan Gibson was an Eagle’s Nest Camp and Hante Adventures leader for 5 summers in 2003 – 2007 while he was a student at Duke University. During his summers at camp, Jonathan taught wilderness classes and was a cabin counselor for the Cabin 7 boys. He led several Hantes (including the first and only Huck Finn Hante) and also served as the Assistant Program Manager. Since leaving Eagle’s Nest Jonathan has continued to work as an experiential educator. These days Jonathan is living in Portland, Oregon with his wife and daughter, and is a faculty member at Wayfinding Academy, a two year college that helps students discover who they are and what they are passionate about.
How did your time at Eagle’s Nest shape what you are doing today?
At Eagle’s Nest I learned the importance of intentional living. I also gained a love and respect for myself and others, and an understanding of how a community can really support people. These have become core values of mine. At Wayfinding Academy my role is to intentionally create a community for new students and to teach “Wayfinding 101” – a 12-week course during which we focus on who we are and what we want to be – many of the things that I learned at Eagle’s Nest.
What are some of your most memorable experiences from your time at Eagle’s Nest?
There are so many! My first summer at Eagle’s Nest I led a Hante. When I arrived for the Hante training clinic I didn’t know anyone. That night, three of the people I met took me on a night hike on campus and we went through the small underground tunnel near Three Falls. It was magical! Over the years at Eagle’s Nest there were many other magical moments.
What are some of your favorite things to do?
I love hiking, being outdoors and connecting with friends. I have a 4-year-old and I love taking her into nature.
To learn more about Jonathan’s work, check out this TedTalk of Wayfinding Academy’s president and founder Michelle Jones.
Are you an Eagle’s Nest Camp or Hante Adventures alum? Did your time at Eagle’s Nest have an influence on what you’re doing today? Do you want to share your story? Contact Paige at email@example.com or by calling the office at 336-761-1040. I’d love to catch up and hear what you’re doing!
I’m sure that many of you know that this past Wednesday was the Vernal Equinox marking the official start of spring. In parts of North Carolina, including on the Eagle’s Nest campus, daffodils are popping out of the ground, trees are blooming and bees are beginning to buzz from flower to flower in search of pollen and nectar. I find that this time of year when the days begin to get longer and the sun is warmer is met with joy, hope and excitement – especially for those of us who love the summer and the adventures (at camp and on Hante) that it promises.
But what is the Vernal Equinox anyway? Is it the day that brooms can stand on their own or that eggs can balance? While that may happen (did anyone try it?) in the Northern Hemisphere the Vernal Equinox is the period of year when the sun crosses the celestial equator on its way north. This event usually occurs on March 20th or 21st. On the Equinox the Southern and Northern Hemispheres receive equal amounts of sun light and day and night are about equal in length. The days that started growing longer at the Winter Solstice will continue to grow longer until the Summer Solstice in June. We’ll have more hours of daylight to enjoy watching nature come alive after the dormant winter.
Did you also know that this year the Vernal Equinox coincided with the Super Worm Moon, known by astronomers as a Perigean full moon? This is the first times since 2000 and the last time before 2030 that these two events occurred simultaneously. A Perigean Moon occurs when a full moon reaches its closest point to the earth in its elliptical orbit making it appear larger and brighter. If you were out around 9:30 on Wednesday night and spied the moon I can imagine that you experienced a bit of awe, just as I did. According to folklore, the March moon is dubbed the “Worm Moon” because occurs in during the time of year when the earth begins to thaw and the earthworms begin to emerge.
So what does all of this mean and how does it affect us? I imagine that some people might question if it was a lucky day to buy a lottery ticket or if some other great opportunity might present itself on such a celestial event. For me, it offered another opportunity to experience the wonder and beauty of nature and to appreciate science. At Eagle’s Nest Camp we are fortunate to live on a campus that encompasses nearly 200 acres of land – most of which is in a conservation easement. We explore the woods, creeks and surrounding mountains and rivers daily. We hear that sounds of nature as we drift into sleep and before the sun rises the next morning. It’s easy to connect to the natural world all around us. That’s not as easy to do in other areas like cities whose lights can drown out the stars or have few trees. But I have found that we can always look to the sun and the moon to reconnect to the grandeur of nature. I hope that wherever you are you’ve had a chance to appreciate the coming of spring and the Super Moon that accompanied it.
Eagle’s Nest is very excited to welcome Mims Montgomery as our new Assistant Camp Director. Mims brings a breadth of experience in summer camps and as a field instructor for Moondance Adventures – leading trips to Hawaii, Washington, Oregon and Wyoming. Most recently Mims worked as the Wilderness Tripping Director at Camp Wavus in Maine. Mims is a Registered Maine Guide and is also certified as an American Canoe Instructor. In addition to her passion for the outdoors, Mims is also very invested in teaching kindness and respect to children and staff. As our Assistant Camp Director Mims will be responsible for helping to create and oversee the wilderness classes in camp as well as all of the Added Adventure and Hante programs. Mims loves helping children connect with nature.
I recently asked Mims a little more about what excites her about working at Eagle’s Nest Camp and Hante Adventures:
What have you enjoyed so far about working at Eagle’s Nest?
Mims: Oh, there is so much! Everyone here is so friendly! I love driving in everyday and seeing the beautiful mountains all around Eagle’s Nest.
What are you excited about doing this summer?
Mims: I get excited about planning the logistics that will help get people out on trips into nature. I’m looking forward to getting kids and staff excited about being outside in this beautiful place.
What do you enjoy about being a leader in a busy summer camp?
Mims: It’s summer camp! What’s not to love? I truly enjoy the fast-paced, loud, and fun environment of a summer camp. I attended a summer camp growing up and being a part of paying it forward to campers brings me joy.
Do you have any secret talents that you will surprise us with this summer?
Mims: I used to be on a traveling jump rope team. I still have some moves. My big move was jumping rope while on a pogo stick.
Mims started work in late February and was able to have some training time with Marlin Sill before he sets off on a planned thru hike of the Pacific Crest Trail in April. She and her husband Tyler, their son Griffin and dog Luna are looking forward to their first summer at Eagle’s Nest. I know that you will all looking forward to meeting Mims (and hopefully seeing her jump roping skills) soon.