Being part of a Hante Adventure is truly amazing and is the pinnacle of experiences that participants can have at Eagle’s Nest. During my early years at Eagle’s Nest, I was fortunate to lead several backpacking Hantes on the Appalachian Trail and also some bike treks in the West. My own children have also participated in Hantes and I’ve watched hundreds of teenagers nervously head out for Hante only to return joyful and confident a few short weeks later. Without a doubt, these trips have a profound effect on participants. They bolstered confidence, piqued an interest in adventure, and sought out challenges that brought them closer to nature.
The first Hante was a trek on the Appalachian Trail led by Helen Waite. Since that first backpacking trip, we’ve hiked nearly every section of the Appalachian Trail (several times over), taken participants rock climbing and white water canoeing, ventured to far away places like Ghana, Iceland, and Austria, and explored the beautiful natural spaces in the United States and Canada. We’ve really been everywhere and done everything!
As I look forward to the coming year of Hantes, I’m hopeful that many of our campers will choose to participate in a Hante this summer. I often hear that campers are reluctant to leave camp and their friends on campus. They worry about “missing out” if they leave camp for Hante. I understand that feeling. What I would like for them to know, and what I hear from so many campers who decide to go on Hante, is that there is something else – something AMAZING – waiting for them on Hante (they just don’t know that they are missing out on it). I hope that these campers will take a leap this year and try something different. I know that the experience will affect them in similar ways Hantes have affected me and so many others. I know that they will grow and be stronger people as a result. It also makes me smile to think about the joy and fun they will have and the memories that they will create with their Hante friends.
By Paige Lester-Niles, Camp Director