By Paige Lester-Niles, Camp Director

I love opening a new journal, picking up a fine tipped pen, and considering what I’ll write on its clean, bright page. Sometimes I just draw long squiggly lines and circles, enjoying the feeling of beginning again. There is something about the freshness and possibility of new beginnings that fills me with joy and energy.

Though I don’t do it frequently, I feel the same way about bowling. It’s so fun to put on bowling shoes (even though someone else wore them before me), look at the shiny wooden alley, concentrate, launch the bowl and hope for the best. Fortunately, bowling is more forgiving than a new page in a journal and permanent ink! No matter what I do, that arm comes down to pick up the pins I didn’t hit and wipe away the ones that I did, giving me a chance to try again. And I get to do that for 10 frames! How great is that?

For many of us, the New Year brings forth similar feelings for the possibilities ahead. I like to celebrate the opportunities that the birth of a New Year brings, while also giving reverence and gratitude to the year that has brought me to this moment. I may not have knocked down all of the pins, but I gave it a good go, and now I get a chance to try again (or just give up bowling and start doing something I might enjoy more). How wonderful is that?

As 2023 approached, I spent a lot of time outdoors – exploring the woods with my dogs Ricky Bobby and Sulley, watching the sunset with my family, and marveling at the array of stars in the winter sky. The beauty and grandeur of nature brings me peace and also inspires me to dream and imagine what could be.

This year when I put pen to paper to dream about the year ahead, I thought about how grateful I am to be able work with a fantastic team of people (shout out to the fulltime and seasonal staff at Eagle’s Nest Camp) to create a place where children can explore, dream, and play in a space that is created just for them. I hope this year is filled with joy, laughter, growth, connection to the outdoors and SO MUCH KID-LIKE FUN for all of them – and everyone really.

For this New Year, I hope that many of your goals / dreams / resolutions will come to fruition. The opportunity is there for all of us; look down the shiny year ahead, concentrate, and give it your best! And if it doesn’t go as planned, don’t worry; you’ll get another try next year, or next week, or tomorrow or with your very next breath.

To see our wishes for the Eagle’s Nest Campers, Staff, Students, Alums and friends, please check out this video.