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MAR. 15, 2017

Music in the Air

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There are LOTS of things that I love to do at camp, but one of my favorite things is singing. Fortunately, we do a lot of singing at Eagle’s Nest – at flag raising, before all of our meals, at camp fires and Friendship Circle, and after lunch every day. The first time I stepped foot on the Eagle’s Nest campus, it was during after lunch singing. I was visiting a college friend who was working as a counselor, and I arrived at lunch time. To my delight, when I parked my car and got out I found that the air was filled with music as the camper raised their voices to the chorus of a beloved John Denver song. Instantly I was in love with Eagle’s Nest and knew that I had to work here. Many years later, I still get excited when the after lunch band announces, “turn your song books to number 72.” If you have a song book, or if you’re one of those people who knows all of the numbers for all of the songs, you’ll know the song I’m talking about.

I am not alone in my love for singing at camp. There’s a good reason that song books are one of the most popular items in the canteen! We all have our favorite camp songs, and I bet we all feel a tug on our heart when we hear certain Bob Dylan or Beatle’s songs on the radio. These songs instantly transport us sharing songbooks on benches in the Dining Hall or to shouting out requests during camp fire. They warm our hearts and sooth our souls.

Unfortunately, as much as I wish otherwise, I don’t get to sing after lunch when I not at camp. I bet you don’t either (though I do know that several of you are lucky enough to be at schools that incorporate singing into the school week). Lucky for us, we can still listen to camp songs – and sign along – thanks to a Spotify playlist that a former camper and staff member put together this fall. This playlist is the most extensive I’ve ever heard! It includes over 100 songs, including some of the “old school” songs that we don’t sing much anymore. Give it a listen, turn up the volume, and sing along. In no time you’ll be ready for rest period or another s’more: Here’s the link to the playlist.  Enjoy!

Paige Lester-Niles, Camp Director

MAR. 8, 2017

The Trustees of Eagle’s Nest

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Eagle’s Nest is special in so many ways, but one that is very meaningful to me is that it is chartered as an educational non-profit organization.   Most independent schools are non-profits but for an independent summer camp it is not nearly as common and certainly was unusual in 1950 when our charter was granted.

David Gilbert: Trustee, OA and Camp Parent

David Gilbert: Trustee, OA and Camp Parent

What this means for us in the big picture is that we are not owned by any one individual but rather have a board of trustees who holds our mission in trust and who guide us in long range planning, financial decision making, best practices in education, human resources and so much more.  The Eagle’s Nest Board of Trustees is comprised of 25 of some of the most committed folks I know.  All have some connection to Eagle’s Nest, whether their child or grandchild attended Camp or OA, or they themselves are an alumnus of one or all of our programs.   Educators, attorneys, business people, artists, accountants, environmentalists, realtors, health professionals and community volunteers are actively serving on our board.  We strive to keep our board well rounded, representing all walks of life, multiple generations and all facets of our community.

Currently we are specifically seeking OA alumni to carry that voice in this group.  If you are interested let me know by sending an e-mail to me at noni@enf.orgI would love to talk to you about what it means to “hold Eagle’s Nest in trust”.

Noni Waite-Kucera, Executive Director 

FEB. 21, 2017

Financial Aid Deadline is February 25th

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As you work on plans for the upcoming summer, you may be concerned about how you can afford to send your children to camp. At Eagle’s Nest, we strongly believe in the value of our camp experience, and we work with families to help make camp a reality. Each year, we award financial aid (“Camperships”) to families who need assistance with tuition payments. Individual aid in the amount of 10% to 95% is awarded. In 2016, we were able to award over $110,000 in camperships for our camper families.

February 25th is the Campership application deadline. If finances are keeping you from sending your child to Eagle’s Nest this summer, we high encourage you to apply.

For step by step instructions about how to request a Campership, please visit the financial aid section of our website. When you apply for a campership, your discounted deposit of $150 is fully refundable if we are unable to award you the financial aid your child needs to attend camp.

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Please don’t hesitate to contact us with questions about Campership, setting up a payment plan, and to learn about additional discounts we offer. We look forward to helping make a summer at Eagle’s Nest a reality for your family!

Liz Snyder, Assistant Camp Director 

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