JAN. 11, 2019
The New Year is here and the winter holidays have passed in a flash of friends, family, celebrations, cards, sledding, and too many sweets. On the night before saying goodbye to vacation to go back to work and my typical routine, I found a little time to sit down with my journal and reflect on the things I would like to achieve in the coming year. My list includes spending more time in nature, continuing to cultivate gratitude in my life, and making more time for reflection and peacefulness.
During our staff orientation we typically spend a fair amount of time setting “SMART Goals” (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely) for our work with our campers. Throughout the summer, counselors work with campers and Hante participants to help them achieve their goals – passing the swimming test, learning to ride a horse, getting over their fear of camping in the woods, being a good friend, etc. Year round, members of the fulltime staff at Eagle’s Nest Foundation work enthusiastically to help realize our mission: “experiential education for young people, promoting the natural world and the betterment of human character.” Goals help us grow.
As you head into the New Year, congratulate yourself for the past successes that you have had with your goals and growth. Small achievements need to be celebrated; even if you haven’t mastered archery, you’re probably a much better shot now for the work that you put into reaching that goal.
When you consider your goals for 2019, I hope that you’ll spend time thinking about how those goals will help not only you, but also those around you and your greater community. For example, if it’s feasible, set a goal to walk or ride your bike to school or work more frequently. As a result, you’ll get a little more exercise, spend more time outside, save some money, and reduce your carbon footprint while you’re at it. Or maybe you’ll want to set a goal to seek solutions to challenges rather than venting and complaining when things are not going your way. Who knows what great innovation your brainstorming might create!
I wish you all great luck in reaching many, many goals this year.
We would love to hear what goals our campers are setting this year too! What do you have planned for 2019? Will your time at the Nest or on a Hante Adventure help you work toward your goal? Share your ambitions with your social network and the Eagle’s Nest community by tagging us on Facebook or Instagram, @eaglesnestcampnc and @hanteadventures.
By Paige Lester-Niles
DEC. 13, 2018
I love the end of the year because it presents multiple opportunities for everyone to come together and these gatherings usually include food. I am always excited to share the fruits of my yearly baking extravaganza and to laugh, sing, celebrate, and be joyful as I prepare meals with friends and family.
At Eagle’s Nest, sharing meals and understanding where our food comes from is an integral part of creating community. After parents leave on Opening Day, the first things campers and staff do is meet their table families. Table families are a group of six campers and two staff members who sit together at every meal throughout the session. All of our meals are family style. Once everyone is served, you can hear the clinking of glasses as each table toasts the start of the meal. They bond through the shared experience of a hearty, healthy meal where campers are encouraged to try new foods, discuss their successes and challenges, and share interesting dreams with the group. Many campers agree that their table family is the closest community they have at Eagle’s Nest.
Campers also contribute to both meal preparation and clean up at Eagle’s Nest. Throughout the session, each camper will have the opportunity to help our baker make bread for the entire community, bring compost down to the garden, harvest vegetables with our garden manager, and clean up after meals.
As Winter Break draws near, I want to encourage you to spend some time with your camper in the kitchen. Invite your camper to help you chop vegetables as you cook dinner or to lend a hand as you roll out that holiday cookie dough. Cooking with your child teaches general awareness in the kitchen, and how to safely operate knives, stoves, and ovens. This is a great time to talk about the importance of healthy, balanced diets and to share stories of family recipes and traditions from your childhood.
Below, I have included two recipes from the Eagle’s Nest Cookbook for you to try with your camper. The first is an Eagle’s Nest Camp closing night dish, Spanakopita, a Greek spinach and cheese filled pastry. This is a favorite among campers and staff! The second, a granola bar recipe, you can make with your camper and wrap up for their lunch boxes in the New Year to share with their peers at school.
By Sara Gerall
NOV. 29, 2018
As the holidays approach many of us find ourselves spending countless hours on-line or at local shops searching for the perfect gift for our loved ones. We would like for you to consider the value of giving a special child in your life the gift of an experience at Eagle’s Nest Camp or on a Hante Adventure. Not only will they have fun, they’ll also gain life skills that will support their growth for years to come.
In her book Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs, Ellen Galinsky offers a blueprint, in the form of seven essential skills, for transforming the ways in which we nurture and educate children to become lifelong learners. For Galinsky, teaching children to “take perspective” helps them to develop strategies to determine how people think and feel, beyond empathy, so they can consider thoughtfully perspectives and feelings that diverge from their own. Developing this skill allows them to think about the larger world by putting their thoughts on hold through inhibitory control. This cognitive flexibility is necessary for the child’s ability to change focus from themselves to someone else. These strategies are linked concretely to future academic and work-related success as they enable children to consider thoughtfully the perspective of those around them and in the larger world.
On Hante Adventures and at Eagle’s Nest Camp we create everyday opportunities for children and teens to exercise these skills. Our participants live closely with each other, which exposes them to views and opinions unlike their own. They share community responsibilities and take turns with their cabin cleanup jobs, promoting an egalitarian community structure. In many of our classes, campers work collectively on projects and in initiative games. This teaches them to understand and respect the perspectives of others. On Hante, participants take turns being the leader of the day, where they must make decisions based on the needs and goals of the group. Also, at the end of each day on Hante, participants engage in sharing circles, during which they share highlights from the day as well as any challenges or frustrations they may have faced on that day. They learn to share with each other in a way that is honest and respectful.
At Eagle’s Nest we are intentional in our efforts to bring together a community that reflects the larger world in which we live – one that is inclusive of all thought and ideology, that draws participants from across the country and the globe, and one that includes a range of socioeconomic backgrounds. We want children to be able to interact with people who have conflicting ideas and perspectives, and we want to teach them how to “take perspective”, or make connections with those people and communicate in thoughtful, respectful ways. Creating an opportunity to teach children with these lessons helps them develop essential life skills and is a valuable investment in their future.
If you would like to provide the gift of Eagle’s Nest Camp or Hante Adventures to a special child in your life and need financial support we value you and would like to help support you. Please visit our website for more information about applying for Financial Aid. There are two deadlines for applying for aid: December 1st and February 15th. If you have questions or need help with registering, please contact our Registrar Molly Herrmann in the office at 336-761-1040 or by email at email@example.com.
If you would like to support scholarships for other children to have these growth experiences, we hope that you will consider making a gift to the scholarship fund. You can give online to the 2018 Annual Fund.
by Molly Herrmann and Anna Lauria
SEP. 4, 2018
Camp holds many valuable experiences: opportunities for children to connect with nature, to make friends, to build skills, to take in the endless mountain views, to gaze at the stars that shine unobstructed by streetlights, and to feel the cool mountain breezes. Like many quality experiences available in life, camp is not inexpensive. Our tuition covers the cost of hiring exceptional educators and counselors, purchasing quality ingredients for our delicious whole foods kitchen, and providing campers with access to activities and programs that are different from ones that they might find at other summer camps. Eagle’s Nest Camp is also part of a non-profit foundation, so our tuition also supports scholarships for many of our campers. Last year we were able to award over $110,000 in “camperships” for our Eagle’s Nest Camp and Hante Adventures families. Even though camp is not cheap, we do try to make it affordable. If you are concerned about the cost of tuition for Eagle’s Nest, here are some things that you can do to help make a session at Eagle’s Nest a reality:
Eagle’s Nest offers discounts for registering early, sending siblings to camp, etc. A complete list of discounts is available on our website on the Financial Information page. Register by September 10th to receive a 5% discount off tuition.
Families can earn discounts for hosting Eagle’s Nest Camp and Hante Adventures information sessions and for recruiting friends to attend camp. For more information about becoming a Camp Representative, please contact Sara at firstname.lastname@example.org . We are currently recruiting Representatives for 2019 and will begin scheduling parties soon. As an added benefit, we invite Camp Representatives and their families to attend a retreat weekend at Eagle’s Nest in October.
We know that it is very difficult to make plans nearly a year in advance when you may be concerned about finances; however, we want to work with you to make it easier. When you apply for a campership, your discounted deposit of $150 is fully refundable if we are unable to award the financial aid you need for your child to attend camp. The deadline for the first round of financial aid is December 1st and the second round is February 15th. Apply now so you have plenty of time to complete the application.
In addition to offering financial aid, Eagle’s Nest can set up a payment plan for you allowing you to pay your tuition incrementally throughout the year. Spacing out payments has proven to be very helpful for many of our camp families. If you are interested in a payment plan, you can contact Molly at email@example.com to find out more or set it up online when you register for camp.
We hope that we will be able to help make Eagle’s Nest Camp and Hante Adventures a reality for your family this year.
JUL. 24, 2018
If you’ve ever ventured into Pisgah National Forest, you’re probably familiar with the ice cream shop that sits just by the entrance to the park — Dolly’s Dairy Bar, affectionately called “Big Scoop” by Eagle’s Nesters.
But the road to Dolly’s from camp is more than just a left on Everett Road — campers are rewarded with a trip to this sweet stop only after they’ve received a number of consecutive “A” grades on their Cabin Clean-Up inspections.
And if you ask any camper, earning that grade takes some really hard work!
Cabin Clean-Up is an integral part of our daily routine here at camp. Every morning, campers and counselors work together to clean both their personal and communal areas in the cabins, as well as some common areas around campus. Cabins are then assessed on a grade-scale of how well these areas were cleaned, and what aspects need improvement.
By working and cleaning together around camp, campers learn valuable lessons about teamwork, community, responsibility, and good work ethic — and maybe even a thing or two about green cleaning methods (which we embrace here at Eagle’s Nest!) and how to properly make their beds. The benefits of their hard work are also immediately evident to campers, both in their reward of a sweet treat and in the simple satisfaction of being able to live and play in a clean and safe environment – one that they help to create and maintain every day.
Campers also hold other unique responsibilities within the community that help to create and maintain a safe, clean, and nurturing environment at camp which includes raising the flag in the morning, setting tables before meals, washing dishes and pots, serving afternoon snack, and helping in the garden.
While Eagle’s Nest might be the only place campers get to enjoy Dolly’s ice cream, the value in community work and the benefits derived from living and playing in a clean, safe space can be enjoyed anywhere! We hope that the lessons and values in Cabin Clean-Up and community chores will follow campers beyond Eagle’s Nest and benefit them throughout their lives – or, at the very least, make their chores at home a little more manageable!
JUL. 10, 2018
Much of the work done here at Eagle’s Nest Camp revolves around fostering a deep connection to and appreciation of the natural world. Nestled in a river valley of the Blue Ridge Mountains, our community is uniquely positioned to thoroughly engage with, learn about, and seek inspiration from our beautiful natural surroundings.
Cabin Campouts are an integral part of this mission. For one night each session, cabin groups venture into the woods — right here on Eagle’s Nest property and beyond — for a night of storytelling, smore’s, and sleeping under the stars. It’s a summer tradition we believe is important for intimately connecting children to all the natural wonders that surround them here at camp.
Providing campers with a space for quiet reflection in nature, away from the oftentimes busy routines of camp life, can be a regenerative and transformative experience for many campers, allowing them time to center themselves here at camp, in the present moment, and truly appreciate the beauty of this area. In addition to the opportunity to get close to nature, Cabin Campouts also encourage and cultivate independence, self-sufficiency, and teamwork skills, with campers often enjoying a sense of personal accomplishment that boosts their ability to handle other challenges, both in and outside of camp.
While some campers may have previous experience with camping, we recognize that sleeping outside might be a brand-new adventure for many. With this in mind, all staff at Eagle’s Nest actively take steps to ensure the safety, well-being, and enjoyment of every camper on these excursions by encouraging open-mindedness, especially in the face of something that might be challenging. By encouraging campers in this way, our ultimate goal is to foster in all participants a fun and positive expereince outdoors — one that might open possibilities for a deeper connection to and appreciation of the world around them.
Ask an Eagle’s Nester about their Cabin Campout experiences — they probably have some amazing stories to share!