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As the sun shines brightly over us we are almost a week into summer camp. There are some familiar faces and some new ones too, yet all with a beaming smile. Campers are trying their hands on new skills and classes, others are excelling and mastering their previous artistries to advance their rankings. Each cabin is coming together to prepare for the much anticipated overnight campout this coming Monday. This is our way of promoting and encouraging the ENF community to be one with nature and explore all its wonders. As the day comes to an end all of our young campers unwind with exciting and engaging twilight activities such as letter writing, sports, arts and crafts, swimming and much more. To add to the fun we have new and fresh evening activities each night, the most recent one being, a five-minute movie re-enactment of a particular classic kids film. It is that time of the year when we see some old friendships blossom again and the creation of new ones.
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!
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.
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!