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MAY. 9, 2017

The Making of the Camp Musical

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Dressing up to go see the Camp musical each summer is one of my favorite camp events, and has been since my early years as a counselor when I help direct many shows: “Annie”, “Oklahoma”, “Oliver”, “Bye Bye Birdie”, and “Peter Pan” among others. I love watching all ages of campers – from Cabin 9 boys to Cabin 5 girls – gather their courage, take the stage, and sing their hearts out on the night of the show. The campers’ smiles, songs, and dance moves entertain and delight me and all of other campers and staff that fill the New Lodge for the performance. More than that, I find myself filled with joy when the first musical number ends and the audience erupts in wild applause. Watching the camp musical reminds me of how successful we are at creative a nurturing, supportive community at the Nest.

Producing the Camp musical is a community event. In addition to having a musical class for the cast, we also have a set design class for campers interested in designing and building the sets. The set design class reads the script, imagines the set that they would like to create, and spends the next couple of weeks building, painting, and hanging the set. I’ve seen some pretty elaborate sets over the years. One of my favorites was the stage for “Carousel”. The set design class decided that they wanted to make the stage resemble an actual carousel. They built a round stage, drilled a hole in the New Lodge floor and dropped a pole down through the floor to the Arts Arena below. At a particularly poignant part of the show, a group of Cabin Tree Tops campers took hold of the pole and walked in circles to make the stage revolve. It was pretty spectacular! We also have a costuming class for campers interested in creating the costumes for the show. The campers in the costuming class search the depths of our costume closets, and sometimes take trips to the second hand stores, to find costumes that can be up-dated for the show. They learn to use sewing machines, and some also help the actors with make-up. For the show “The Jungle Book” they made and created plaster masks for each of the animals in the show. By the time the curtain goes up, about 30% of our campers have played some part in making the musical a success. Of course, all of the campers involved enjoy seeing the fruits of their hard work at creativity (and the cake and ice cream at the cast party). Check out these pictures from last year’s musical to get a glimpse at the sets and costumes and SMILES.

We’ve already selected the musical for the coming summer and we’re SOOOO excited about it. Austin, who directed “Hairspray” and “James and the Giant Peach” and Jordy will be back to direct this year’s show. I can’t wait to see what they create!

Do you want to be a part of the musical this summer? There are still some spaces in Session 2. Register today and start rehearsing your audition song!

Paige Lester-Niles, Camp Director

MAY. 5, 2017

This Year’s Theme for Final Banquet is…

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What’s the theme for this year’s Final Banquet? Is it Intergalactic Travel? Is it 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea? Is it Apple Sauce or Tie Dye Carnival? Wouldn’t you like to know! The Final Banquet theme is one of our most closely guarded secrets. If you want to be in on the reveal and all of the magic and drama of Final Banquet, you’ll have to come to Session 3. The good news: it’s not too late to sign up!

So what is Final Banquet anyway? It’s just about the most elaborate, creative, and dramatic production and party that Eagle’s Nest puts on! It involves a secret theme, costumes for everyone at camp, performances and giant sets across campus. Sometimes it also includes root beer, huge turkey drumsticks and even *gasp* candy. The banquet usually begins by gathering in Cabin 7 field or the Meadow where campers and staff delight in seeing each other’s costumes. Then it winds its way across campus, revealing the characters and story while taking everyone on an experiential journey into their imagination.

The theme for Final Banquet during my first summer at Eagle’s Nest was, “Murder on the Orient Express.” The Dining Hall was transformed into an elaborate dining car, with sconces on the wall and Oriental rugs on the floor. Gary and Diane Daniel, our Property Manager and Arts Arena Director at the time, even created a movable country scene that stretched the length of the Dining Hall and gave the illusion that we were all on a moving train. Through the years our over-the-top decorations have included a working periscope created for the “Yellow Submarine”, an elaborate food distribution machine built for “Dr. Seuss”, and a gigantic dinosaur puppet built only a couple of summers ago for “The Land Before Time” (here’s a video from that Final Banquet).

The sets created for Final Banquet may be incredible, but they are matched by the drama. Each of the campers and staff members has a role and throughout the night they perform. One summer Taylor Dunn, a song writer, performer and former staff member, wrote songs for each of the cabins to perform for the “Heart Break Café” Final Banquet. I remember watching Taylor work his way from cabin to cabin, teaching the songs with a piano in the back of the maintenance truck.

My favorite Final Banquet was probably “Scheherazade and the 1001 Nights.” During that banquet each cabin told one of her stories and they seemed to go on all night. Other exciting banquets include “Where the Wild Things Are”, “The Voyages of Captain Cook” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, where we actually had candy hanging from the trees at Eagle’s Nest (a first and last). I also loved “The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood” themed final event from a couple of summers ago. To get a glimpse of that banquet you can watch this video.

We’ve already had meetings about Final Banquet 2017. Don’t miss out on the fun! Register for Session 3 today!

Paige Lester-Niles, Camp Director 

APR. 28, 2017

Alpine Drives and Bluebird Skies

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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
  • The Wild Hunt – The Tallest Man on Earth
  • Bizness – Tuneyards
  • Burning – The Whitest Boy Alive
  • Madder Red – Yeasayer
  • The Horror – RJD2

Marlin Sill, Hante Director 

APR. 21, 2017

Dear Me

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At the end of Staff Training last summer we took some time to write letters to ourselves to give us a chance to look forward to an exciting season. As the summer came to a close we returned to these letters to reflect on our growth and remind ourselves of our thoughts during training. Somehow I forgot about my letter and recently found it at home while organizing my drawers, nearly a year later. What I found in that letter, and myself, felt profound and ultimately extremely encouraging. As we look forward to starting our programs in just over a month, I’d like to share my letter:

Dear Marlin,

Remember how grateful you are to have the adventure of traveling with an old friend. You are not bound by your gratitude, but show it and make known the importance of this kind of opportunity and leadership. Remember how good it feels to teach. Even when you don’t feel prepared, you are, in many ways, always prepared.
Remember that you are a masterful teacher and that recognizing your room for growth only proves the consciousness of your mastery…but remember that there is still so much you can learn.

Remember that movement and change are the catalysts for growth and learning and practice build mastery. And curiosity feeds the mind, heart, and soul. And remember the simplicity of laying in the field, in the afternoon shade. The warmth of the summer’s beginning with the cool breeze of spring’s end. Remember these motions are all at once familiar and virgin, and that these moments, like all things, will pass. Stay connected to yourself and give in to the love of living freely in a place of acceptance, intention and greatness.

Give Thanks,


Marlin Sill, Hante Director 

APR. 5, 2017

Share What You Love

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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!

Anna Lauria, Camp Program Manager

MAR. 31, 2017

Camp Themed Books and Movies

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Spring is finally here and we couldn’t be happier to see the daffodils popping up and the sun shimmering off the lake. This warmer weather has us thinking about summer and camp is just around the corner!

To get you warmed up and back into the swing of camp things, we have put together a list of classic camp movies along with a selection of camp themed books. As an added bonus we have tracked down the ACTUAL camps and locations where the movies were filmed. Perhaps you’ll feel inspired to write a book about your summer of fun. Maybe one day we’ll even see a movie on the big screen that pays homage to our little nest on Hart Road!


  • The Parent Trap (1998) – Camp Seeley, Crestline, CA
  • The Parent Trap (1961) – Camp Bluff Lake, Big Bear Lake, CA
  • Camp Rock – YMCA Camp Wanakita, Haliburton, Ontario and Kilcoo Camp, Minden, Ontario
  • Ernest Goes to Camp – Montgomery Bell State Park
  • Troop Beverly Hills – Mainly filmed in Beverly Hills, San Bernadino National Forest.
  • It Takes Two– Camp Mini-Yo-We, Ontario, Canada 


  • Cam Jansen and the Summer Camp Mysteries by David A. Adler
  • The Berenstain Bears go to Camp by Stan and Jan Berenstain
  • Runaway Ralph (Ralph Mouse Series #2) by Beverly Cleary
  • Baby-Sitters Club Super Special #2: Baby-sitters’ Summer Vacation! by Ann M. Martin
  • Sleepaway Girls by Jen Calonita
  • Fun Camp by Gabe Durham
  • The Lost Summer by Kathryn Williams

Michelle Miller, Development Assistant