Hante Adventures challenge teens to grow as leaders and reach a deeper understanding of themselves within a supportive group. Check back regularly for our latest posts about Hante news, skill building, reflections and adventures. Subscribe to our blog’s RSS feed and get our news sent directly to you as we post it.

APR. 12, 2019

Find Your Comfort Zone. Now Step Out of it.

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Stepping out of your comfort zone leads to a change in perspective. Physically, you can see the world from a different place- the top of a mountain, a foreign city. Mentally, you allow yourself to take the perspective of someone different from yourself. This change in perspective promotes growth and flexibility. It allows you to take on new challenges more easily in the future, once you have gained the confidence that comes from being uncomfortable and witnessing yourself overcome obstacles. It allows us to see and experience new things that inspire us ando learn about ourselves and the world around us.

Added Adventures and Hantes help participants experience new places, feelings, and perspectives. Living in a small community of people who depend on each other for daily needs is out of most people’s comfort zones, and it creates many important learning opportunities. Participants learn to work with others, compromise, resolve conflicts, take ownership over an experience, lead effectively, and approach new challenges.

It requires the bravery to step out of your comfort zone. Let’s do it together.

Step out of your comfort zone this summer on a week-long add-on to Session 3, by registering for Sea Islands Added Adventure! You will learn to camp on the beach, fish and swim in the ocean, explore the island, and much more!

If you are interested in stepping out and learning in the backcountry, join us on AT Trek this summer, where you will learn to prepare your gear, pack your your food, orient yourself with a map and compass, and backpack for 16 days.

You can learn more about and register for our Sea Islands Added Adventure and Hante AT Trek NC by visiting our website.

By Anna Lauria

APR. 1, 2019

New Hante Announced for 2020

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Have you always been interested in doing a Hante but couldn’t get past the idea of sleeping on the ground and carrying a backpack filled with all of your essential items (water bottle, selfie-stick, inflatable lounge chair and mani-peddie kit)? Are you worried that you’ll miss Lodge and Ali’s grit bread? No worries! In 2020 we’re introducing “Hante Glampapolosa” – that’s right- a GLAMPING Hante is in the works!

Mims Montgomery, our new Assistant Director, has been hard at work with the logistics. She has secured llamas that will be able to pack in all of gear, including Ali and a solar oven so that she can bake bread daily and make her famous peanut granola. Mims also has some leads on locations that are completely bug free! We’re excited about a couple of them, but are hoping to find one that isn’t enclosed in a dome. Mims is a master planner with more than a few tricks up her sleeve (she is a certified Maine Ranger and competitive jump roper after all), so we have confidence that she’ll be able to find the perfect spot!

So where will you sleep? Throughout the winter Kyle and Taylor have been busy constructing portable Coachella style Yurts that we can pop-up in each location. The wood was locally sourced from pine trees that fell during an ice storm this winter. We’ve also been able to enlist the help of Brian Quarrier, Outdoor Academy craft teacher and Hante Boundary Waters leader, and his students to weave and sew hundreds of plush colorful pillows with llama and fern print motifs. Initially Brian was unsure of how the pillow making related to the OA craft curriculum, but after making every variety of shoe he could think of decided to go with it. Brian reports “Kyle was able to find a source for sheep’s fleece and Ted and I teamed up to forage through the woods and find plants that we could use to dye the hand spun wool. Some students did have to skip Paddle Climb weekend, but I think that the final product was worth the effort. Plus now they have more ideas for potential future Etsy shops.”

Concerned about chilly nights? You’ll be toasty on Hante Glampapolasa thanks to the hand forged wood stoves Marlin created before he headed out of the trail. And to staying true to Leave No Trace practices we will be packing in all of our wood. Does purifying water from the stream get on your last nerve? We have a solution to that annoyance too; Andrew Muhn will be hiking in cases of pamplemousee La Croix daily. Starr will also make an appearance with a feast of make your own sushi (with fresh caught trout) and don’t be surprised if Armando shows up to DJ a pop-up Lodge.   

Activities for Hante Glampapolosa include fire building, cloud watching, getting the perfect Instagram picture, and lessons on hand lettering. Cara may also join in for a week to teach fermenting and to help the participants create their own signature Hante kombucha. We are currently in talks with potential leaders Ellen Fox, Mad Dog Wofford and Alex Gallagher = DREAM TEAM! Cecilia Kucera and Paige’s dog Ricky Bobby are set to wrangle the 142 llamas it will take to carry all of our gear (including a few potted monster and pileas).

There’s no doubt that this will be a popular Hante. Registration will open in August. Set a reminder on your calendar and we’ll look forward to “glamping” with you in 2020.

Can’t wait? It’s not too late to sign up for Hante 2019. There are still some spots left in AT Trek, Rocks and Rivers (with Jake and Jenna), and Hante France (with Rodrigo). 

MAR. 29, 2019

Participant Perspectives: Why I Step Out and Learn

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I wanted to go on a Hante before I knew what a Hante was. The reason I got into any Eagle’s Nest programs at all was because I wanted to get into backpacking. My mom found out about Eagle’s Nest from friends and from there our family learned about Hante. I wanted to go ahead and do AT trek without doing any years at camp, which I’m glad I didn’t. I ended up going to camp for three weeks for my first year with Eagle’s Nest. I learned so much, made so many new friends, and had so much fun. I fell in love with Eagle’s Nest and knew I wanted to come back

I decided to do AT Trek Virginia my second year at camp, everything that I said about my first year at camp applies to my experiences on AT Trek but even more so. I felt much more comfortable my second year with Eagle’s Nest. It gave me an opportunity to see how people at Eagle’s Nest are. I think that if I had jumped straight into a Hante I would have been overwhelmed, nervous, and shy. I was still like this but less so than I would have been if I had not gone to camp for three weeks.

My experiences with Hante differs from camp in a couple of ways. I think that when I finished my first and second Hantes I had much more self confidence than I had before the Hantes. I also became much closer to the campers and counselors that you go on Hantes with. One reason I like Hantes and camp so much is that nobody judges you. Everybody is okay with anything. There are no standards for how goofy you should act so it creates a really friendly vibe. I made really close friends on Hante, you kinda have to. Whether or not you like the people at the start of the trip or even at the end you are gonna know them really well and your gonna have to learn to work with people very different from you by the end of the trip.

I came back from Hante feeling like I could do anything. I had found something inside myself that I hadn’t felt before. I’m sure it is partly due to the people that you go on Hantes with.  They are the most encouraging and wonderful people in the world; they make you feel like you can do anything. Before I started both of my Hantes there was a little bit of me that was super nervous just because I had never done anything like them before. Sure there was a short 3 day backpacking trip that I did with camp but nothing super serious like a Hante. I was also nervous that the people I would be going on the trip with wouldn’t like me. I had no reason to be worried, everybody made me feel welcome and loved, and the counselors are amazing teachers. While the counselors are definitely great teachers they also feel like they are looking for the same experience as you are, and they always want to hang out with you just like other campers do, so they never feel above you or anything like that.

Overall I came out of Hante learning new things, feeling better about myself, and with relationships you can’t find anywhere else.

By Cole McMahon, Hante AT Trek VA 2017, Hante British Columbia 2018

MAR. 15, 2019

Reflections from the ACA National Conference

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This February, around 2000 camp professionals met to collaborate, learn from experts, and advance our shared mission of educating our youth at the 2019 American Camp Association National Conference in Nashville, TN. Paige, Sara, and I were inspired and energized by the conference and we want to share some of our takeaways with you.

Dr. Deborah Gilboa, MD, family physician and parent, led a session about generational differences intended to help us understand and connect with our campers and support our campers’ parents and guardians. Generation Z has never lived in a world without quality information at their fingertips and the ability to co-create their culture alongside their idols. This is wonderful in that it has created a generation of kids who know that they are valuable and appreciate empathy, mindfulness, collaboration, authenticity, and a diversity of ideas. This generation has also grown up with a recession and with parents who are expected to know where their children are at all times. This means that camp may be the only time kids are without their parents. Camp gives kids the space to grow their confidence through independence from their parents and from the social media world.

Dr. Wendy Mogul, PhD, psychologist and parent, gave a moving keynote address about the stresses and pressures kids and parents face today. She explains the anxiety-inducing reality of constant news updates and connection to what others are doing on social media.This affects parents’ decisions about what their child needs to be doing to be best prepared for the world. This is not a new endeavor, but it has never been more influenced and encouraged by media on a daily basis. This means that kids have full days scheduled with activities,test prep classes and organized learning. As Wendy points out in her speech and in her interview with CBS This Morning, these activities are wonderful and useful, but they do not allow space for creativity to spring from boredom. Kids need space to be alone without technology. This why Wendy believes that all children should attend summer camp.

In her keynote speech, Dr. Sonya Whitaker, educator and parent, addressed the importance of creating an inclusive community so that our camps cater to the children that make up our world. We accomplish this by examining our own culture and learning about other cultures. We give them the tools we know helps kids grow–nature, community, joy, compassion, and confidence–and they bring their personalities, the stories of their names, their skills and joys, and their unique outlook. We were eager to see Dr. Whitaker speak for a second year in a row as her message and conversations are integral to the forward progress of our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiative. Read more about our DEI Initiatives in the Spring 2019 Eagle Newsletter.

We are excited to use what we learned at the conference, and from our resulting discussions, this summer at camp!

By Anna Lauria

MAR. 1, 2019

Alumni Spotlight: Where are they now?

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Lydia Beaudrot Read is a former camper, OA student, and Hante Adventures leader. Lydia started to going to camp when she was 10 years old (she’s a Winnesquam) and was an OA student during Semester VII in the fall of 1998. She also led a few Hante treks, including AT Virginia, AT Maine, and a Hante trip to Idaho. We checked in with Lydia to see what she’s up to now.

What do you do now for a living?

“I’m an ecologist and conservation biologist. I just started my a job as a tenure-track professor at Rice University in Houston, TX this year. I’m in the Bio-Sciences Department and the Program in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology. I teach an undergraduate data science class and train graduate students and postdocs in research. My research program focuses on understanding tropical wildlife communities and how humans are affecting them.  It is closely connected to a large-scale camera trap project called TEAM – the Tropical Ecology Assessment and Monitoring Network.”

How has your time at Eagle’s Nest shaped who you are today?

“Eagle’s Nest has had a profound effect on just about every aspect of my life. I feel like Eagle’s Nest taught me how wonderful life can be and how much meaning and magic it can have. It inspired my love of the environment and the outdoors, my search for community and place, and really a lot of my values. After attending OA, I wanted to attend a small liberal arts college in New England, so I went to Middlebury College in Vermont. It wasn’t until after college that I discovered the Unitarian Universalist Church and I immediately loved how I felt like I was at Friendship Circle.”

What are your favorite activities to do in your spare time?

“I love family time with my husband and toddler, spending time outside, and traveling.”

What is your most memorable experience from your time at Eagle’s Nest?

“A lesson I learned at Eagle’s Nest that has been such a benefit in life is that life begins at the edge of my comfort zone. During my first ever tribal hike, when I was 10, our elder took us behind Tribal Village and there was a ravine with a single log for a bridge that we needed to walk over. I was scared, so I let everyone go in front of me. When everyone else had gone, I was in tears because I was so afraid to try it. Many years later, I found myself back at that footbridge and walked across with ease. It occurred to me then how much the Nest had helped me grow by challenging me in new ways. When I find myself afraid of a new challenge or experience now, I remind myself to forge ahead because life begins at the edge of my comfort zone.”

By Camille Wick

FEB. 15, 2019

The Hero’s Journey

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Over 45 years ago, in 1973, Helen Waite led the first Eagle’s Nest Hante Adventure when she took a group of scrappy teenagers on a 10-day trek on the Appalachian Trail. Participants on that trip hiked 100 miles across ridgelines and valleys from Rock Gap to Clingman’s Dome, North Carolina. They lived simply, carrying everything they needed on their backs and creating a tight-knight community within their group as they hiked the spine of the Appalachians. Since that summer, Hante Adventures has taken participants on nearly every mile of that 2,181-mile footpath. We consider it to be a “Hero’s Journey” that challenges teens, connects them to each other and the group, and supports them as they achieve successes that will carry them forward as they meet future challenges.

When I first started working at Eagle’s Nest a framed photo of the first AT Trek hung just inside the door of our office. In it the participants are wearing big clunky hiking boots and thick socks and are gathered around a campfire, cooking dinner with their external frame backpacks nearby. They look a little disheveled and dirty, but so happy and confident. I wanted to be one of the teens in that photo as I imagined the adventure that they were on.

In the summers since I first saw that photo I’ve been able to witness the profound affect that  Hante Adventures have on teens. I have seen it first hand as leader of Hante AT Trek, helping campers shoulder heavy packs and to “dig deep” when they feel that they can’t take another step. I’ve seen it in the joy on participants’ faces as they return home to camp to be celebrated for completing their “Hero’s Journey”. Countless teens, including my own, have told me that Hante was “life changing” for them. Many have even written college essays about the experience. Hante gives teens the opportunity to take on personal challenges and push themselves harder than they have before – be it learning how to keep hiking when they are tired or practicing how to resolve a conflict with a peer, or learning wilderness skills that help them build a deeper connection with the natural world.

Over the years I’ve saved many of the messages that Hante alums have sent to me. The following speaks to the value of this experience for teens as they navigate their way through middle and high school towards adulthood:

Sometimes the challenge is setting up a campsite in the dark, or even striking up a conversation with that one kid in the group who’s not quite as out-going as everyone else and needs a little extra help opening up to everybody. There are two things that all of these obstacles have in common: One – all of these obstacles are conquerable with the help of Eagle’s Nests spectacular instructors and your peers, and Two – there’s not a feeling in the world as satisfying as completing these challenges. They will make you grow as a person in ways you might not even realize.

I can say from personal experience that I’ve grown a lot on Hante.  Hante teaches you to be held accountable for your own actions and the actions of your group members in ways that aren’t able to be taught in a classroom.

We’re looking forward to continue to helping many more teens on their own “Hero’s Journey” this summer.  Registration for Summer 2019 Hante Adventures is still open. Register today!

By Paige Lester-Niles