FEB. 7, 2017
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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 (email@example.com) or Liz (firstname.lastname@example.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
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
NOV. 29, 2016
Yes, last year we raised over $3,000 in a single day from wonderful donors and friends. Yes, non-profits around the world are using #GivingTuesday as a way to kick start their fundraising efforts. And yes, we would love for you to make a donation today. But what is the bigger picture? Why is it so important to show this support and raise awareness for our causes?
I like to think this is a global effort to “give thanks” for all the people doing good in this world. Today is more than a day of fundraising, it is a day to educate ourselves on all the wonderful organizations, hardworking individuals, and unique missions that exist worldwide, and right here at home.
This is a MOVEMENT. A way to show that good really does prevail. A way to feel connected, peaceful and kind. Being part of #GivingTuesday is kind of like Giving Day at Eagle’s Nest- you do it for the other person, but find that you can gain just as much by making a gift with your own hands.
I know that I am thankful every day to be a part of the Eagle’s Nest and OA community. A place where I can be myself, laugh with good friends, and escape into the forest to sit among the trees to count my blessings.
Join Eagle’s Nest and thousands of others TODAY and make #GivingTuesday a part of your giving plans each year! Express your gratitude, for the community that is cultivated here, for the time we spend in nature, for simple living, and to become your best self.
We invite you to get involved on social media and show your support:
- Make a post to your personal social media account(s)…email, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. about #GivingTuesday
- Share our posts with your friends!
- Use our #hashtags (#GivingTuesday, #foreverournest #gratitudeproject) and @accounts (@eaglesnest_hanteadv, @outdooracademy)
- Make a donation!
- TELL YOUR STORY OF SUPPORT, and encourage others to visit our giving page online www.enf.org/givenow
Cara Varney, Annual Fund & Alumni Manager
NOV. 17, 2016
Recently, a friend and camp parent posted this to her Facebook page:
“Friends, I’d like to hear from those of you who are involved in environmental organizations. We do a lot of volunteering in various organizations and give what we can to them, but have not been involved in any environmental causes and it’s a particular area of concern for me. Tell me where I should get plugged in.”
At Eagle’s Nest we care deeply about the natural world, and we are passionate about helping kids connect to and enjoy time in it. That’s one of the reasons that we were so excited to put over 140 acres into a conservation easement, protecting the land in perpetuity. We believe that through immersion in the natural world, we are able to instill a sense of place, lifelong curiosity, and a passion for stewardship of the earth to our campers.
So, reading this post, and seeing the comments and suggestions that followed, warmed my heart.
I have lots of ideas for my friend, and from the comments that kept popping up, it looks like other people do too. It’s nice to see that lots of people are interested in getting outside and in being active with organizations that support the environment.
If you are interested in supporting the natural world, following is a list of ideas for you to pursue:
- Get involved with a local outdoor club or organization. Most communities have outdoor clubs that go on regular hikes, birding adventures, or paddling trips. You can also find organizations that organize stream clean ups or Earth Day events. Local outdoor stores typical know of outdoor clubs and organizations in your area and often have links to those organizations on their webpages.
- Get outside! Make time each day, week or month to spend time outside. Invite friends.
- Explore a new hobby that helps you spend time appreciating the outdoors: bird watching, gardening, star gazing, photography, landscape painting, etc.
- Appreciate nature through art. There are so many artists and writers who have been inspired by the natural world. Pick up a book by Mary Oliver, Edward Abbey, Annie Dillard or Wendell Berry, or follow a great nature photographer on Instagram. There are also lots of inspiring blogs by people who love to work and play in the outdoors.
- Join a national organization like the Sierra Club or the Audubon Society. Both have wonderful publications that help you understand more about the natural world and protecting it.
- Make a donation to Eagle’s Nest Foundation! Eagle’s Nest is a non-profit foundation. Your financial support helps fund initiatives that include providing scholarships for children to spend time connecting with nature. By supporting our campers, you are supporting future environmentalist and inspiring them to have a lifelong love of protecting the natural world. Your donations also support our conservation and sustainability efforts. You can make an online, tax deductible donation here: GIVE NOW.
This morning, I watched the following video, Trail Angels, from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. Eagle’s Nest has been taking campers on 3-week backpacking trips on the Appalachian Trail for over 40 years. I was inspired to see the people in the video who headed out to The Appalachian Trail for the first time for 4-days of trail work that would help preserve the AT. I got the sense that many of the crew members had never camped out before, much less spent days camping while working hard on a project to stop erosion on one of America’s most famous foot paths. As one of the crew members said “stepping outside your comfort zone broadens your mind a little bit.” I’m sure that these trail crew members came away from this experience with more confidence in themselves, a deeper appreciate of nature, and a greater desire to protect it.
If, like my friend, would like to get more involved in the natural world, pick an area that interests you and make a plan today.
Paige Lester Niles, Camp Director