MAY. 5, 2017
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
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
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:
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.
Marlin Sill, Hante Director
APR. 13, 2017
Spring is an exciting time, not just because everything is in bloom and it’s almost time for camp, but also because it’s when seniors across the country decide what they’ll be doing in the time following their high school graduation. Each August and September Eagle’s Nesters pack their trunks or backpacks, not for camp, but for a gap year of adventure and growth or for the college or university where they will spend the next 4 years.
Once April rolls around I get really excited about talking with seniors about what they’ll be doing after graduation. By April, most of them have a pretty good idea of their plans and are feeling more secure and enthusiastic after months of playing the waiting game. It’s fun to think about where they’ll be going and what they’ll be doing, but what delights me most is helping them make connections with other Eagle’s Nesters who have forged a similar path or gone to the same school. Over the years I’ve heard stories about alumni who never knew each other at Eagle’s Nest, but met on a college campus because they saw the other in a tribal t-shirt, or of campers showing up to class and actually having an Eagle’s Nest alum as their professor. Eagle’s Nesters are everywhere, and there’s a good chance that several of them will end up in the same place next year.
So if you’re getting ready to graduate, please let us know where you’re headed and what you’ll be doing next year. We’d love to hear from you and to help you connect with other Nesters who you may or may not know.
Paige Lester-Niles, Camp Director
APR. 5, 2017
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
Found at the Museum of Long Lost Facts,  the true story of Big Lex has been unearthed…
The year was 1927 and it was gray and drizzly day when Mildred was on a fishing expedition at Lake Junaluska, just over the mountain from Eagle’s Nest. She was on the dock with her friend Dolly, hoping to catch a little something for dinner. They were having no luck until she decided to use her secret cookie brownie recipe for bait. As you can imagine, it was difficult to get the crumbly delectable on the hook so she dipped a small portion in milk and pressed it together into a ball.
The first cast went out, nothing. A bigger ball of secret cookie brownie recipe was sunk onto the hook. Second cast went and WHAM. Mildred hit the deck, arms flung over the edge of the dock holding on for dear life to that fishing pole. Her friend Dolly grabbed her feet and they heaved the line back to shore, dragging it through a swirling school of fish. There to their disbelieving eyes but what should appear, the great, great grandmother of Big Lex, Big Bertha (see figure 1).
How do we know this is the great, great grandmother of Big Lex? At the same moment as Big Bertha landed on the shore, an osprey swooped down and snagged one of the smaller fish right before their very eyes (see figure 2).
Figure 2 – Osprey and Big Bertha
An hour later, across the mountain, Cabin 1 girls were at the Fishing Pond when in glided an osprey carrying that very same fish. And believe it or not, that fish was still alive. The osprey dropped that fish, still carrying the secret cookie brownie recipe bait ball in its mouth*.
To this day, the ancestors of Big Bertha live strong at Eagle’s Nest.
*And yes, that is how ChoChos came to be as well.
Investigators Cecilia Kucera and Noni Waite-Kucera
 Museum of Long Lost Facts. Exhibition: Fish and other creatures. March 30. 2017.