Kindred: noun – one’s family or relations; adjective – similar in kind; related
Grove: a small wood, orchard or group of trees
From the first days that I arrived at Eagle’s Nest I felt a sense of belonging. The mountains, the people – they all felt familiar, comfortable. If you are reading this message, there’s little doubt that you feel the same. Eagle’s Nest feels like a home to us, and the people here like family. As we look to the next iteration of our community system it seems so fitting that our groups will be known as “Kindreds”, that the special spot beneath the tall pines and growing hardwoods will now be called “the Kindred Grove”, and that the activity of sharing and coming together on Sunday evenings will be called “the Kindred Gathering.”
Of course, it is also fitting that we have been able to create this new system with the support of our community. You all have called and emailed us with ideas, responded to our survey, and joined in on Zoom meetings. You have shared what you value about this system, and what you would like to see changed. We have heard that you find value in groups of belonging, and that you appreciate that they represent many ages and mentors. You have told us that you enjoy gathering quietly with your group to observe nature, or to play and laugh. You have let us know that it’s also very important to you that these groups embrace and feel safe for everyone, including our non-binary participants. And many of you have shared how connected you are to your group.
Moving forward, the Kindreds will be known as the Bald Eagle, the Deer Mouse, the Buffalo, and the Black Bear – all animals that are or once were native to our ecosystem. Each Kindred will also be responsible for promoting or up-holding a character value in our community. The Bald Eagle will be responsible for Gratitude, the Deer Mouse for Curiosity, the Buffalo for Integrity, and the Black Bear for Compassion. The Kindreds will remain gendered, but we will work individually with non-binary participants to help them find their place of belonging, otherwise you will remain a member of the Kindred with whom you have always been a part..
Our Kindred Gatherings will continue to share words of wisdom, quiet reflection, and intentional stories and games. Our Kindreds will continue to engage in friendly competition with matches of Capture the Flag, Quidditch, and new ideas we dream up together.
There are many more details and continued work, training and education in the days and years ahead. In the meantime, we wanted you all to know that you are our “kin”.
I wanted to close with a quote that a former camp community leader sent to me after our “Reveal” meeting last night:
“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.” L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
By Paige Lester-Niles