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.

FEB. 13, 2014

When I’m on My Journey

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Cissy Kelton Byrd, former camper, counselor, parent and current Trustee

If you’re an Eagle’s Nester, you know the song, and it has always been a favorite of mine. Journeys are an important part of Eagle’s Nest and of life, and we are always on one whether we realize it or not. Sometimes a journey is our pathway to meeting a goal or arriving at a destination, but not always. For me, the best journey is the one that IS the destination, and I will tell you what I mean.

cissy on bike 1

My husband, Rich, and I met at Eagle’s Nest Camp in 1979. We got married, had a family and built our careers. We raised four sons, and our free time and energy was spent adventuring with them. In 2012, with our children grown and our selves in good health, we retired from work and set out on what would become our “journey of a lifetime”…on a tandem bicycle.

 We ordered maps from Adventure Cycling Association with bicycle routes all over the United States. We spread our gear across the living room floor and readied our bike and trailer. Our journey began with a trip around Florida in January, 2012 and it morphed into an adventure that took on a life of its own spanning 16 months and 16,000 miles.

 cissy and rich bliss

What we quickly discovered is that the maps, the gear, and the best laid plans were not usually what determined the end point of each day or week or month. It’s what HAPPENED along the way that directed our ride. Once we opened our minds to allowing our journey to happen rather than trying to determine its course, each day was a new discovery. Whether it be the weather, the road conditions, the scenery or the people we encountered, each moment became a journey, and adventure and a challenge. We faced wind, heat, floods, wildfires, storms, hills, traffic, wildlife and all of the trials you might imagine. We stayed in campgrounds, churches, fire stations, city parks, hostels, and hotels. We were taken care of by friends and complete strangers who welcomed us into their homes. We took side trips and “stopped to smell the roses”. We often traveled with other touring cyclists who became lasting friends. We connected with locals all over the country eager to make us feel welcome in their communities. What defined our success each day was not reaching a destination or goal, but appreciating and enjoying what happened along the way, the connections we made, and the beauty that we were a part of. And the best thing about a journey that IS the destination is that you don’t arrive at its end when you get to a certain place and time. Our journey is certainly not over. So stay tuned…and as the song tell us “When I’m on my journey, don’t you weep after me”, because bicycle touring has brought and continues to bring us some of the best that life has to offer!

 cissy bike 2

If you are interested in seeing maps, photos and comments from Cissy’s bicycle tour you can access them on Cissy and Rich’s blogs Retired and Re-Tired and It Takes Two to Tandem.

Cissy began coming to Eagle’s Nest Camp as a child in the 1960’s when her father, John Kelton, was the Program Director for Dr. Alex Waite. This is where she met her husband, Rich Byrd, who was on the medical staff for  “Diabetic Camp”. Each of Cissy and Rich’s four boys attended camp, and two attended The Outdoor Academy.  She and her family enjoy camping, canoeing and bicycling trips together.

DEC. 17, 2013

Adventuring Alone, Together

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Caroline Toy, Assistant Director

Yesterday, our OA students ventured into the woods for solo, one of the culminating experiences of the semester. After an early-morning opening ceremony, they walked quietly through our forest, stopping one by one to set up individual tarps, watching as the rest of the group continued on. As the sound of feet moving through fallen leaves whispered away, they were left alone, out of sight of any other human.

24 hours, alone. Curled into sleeping bags, thinking, writing letters to themselves, and finally, falling asleep to no sound but the winter wind through the trees and the distant call of owls.

So often, we feel that we go through our day alone. Sometimes that’s a good thing, like on solo—we have time to breathe, time to make decisions, time to understand ourselves. But other times we simply feel alone, caught up in our own thoughts and worries even when we’re surrounded by other people. We want someone to share our journey, even if it’s not exactly the same journey.

That’s what Hante is about. This blog has lots of posts about how different desires bring people to Hante, and they face different challenges once they’re here. That often includes solo, and other opportunities to come face-to-face with yourself. But there are two Hante journeys: the one only you make, and the one you make with your group and leaders. They happen at the same time. They both involve struggles and incredible victories. But the outer journey—the community journey—means you don’t have to face your inner journey alone. And on those days when you challenge yourself the most, when you might feel caught up within yourself as you push up a mountain trail, it’s reassuring to find out around the campfire that your comrades were facing that challenge too.

The OA community returned from solo this morning, gathering together to welcome each other back (and ask did y’all hear that noise too? What was that?). In a few days, they’ll separate again as their semester ends. But they’ll have a shared adventure behind them, and the knowledge that wherever they are, they are still learning and living on similar journeys.

Hante might be a lot shorter, but when you leave your group, your trails run parallel just the same.

OCT. 7, 2013

Eagle’s Nest Foundation Gets a New Look

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Noni Waite-Kucera, Executive Director

What’s in a name?  For Eagle’s Nest Foundation it is 86 years of history steeped with traditions, innovations, growth and inspiration for generations of young people.  As we look forward to what Eagle’s Nest will be at 100 years we wanted to “freshen up” how we visually define ourselves.  With three strong programs operating within the Eagle’s Nest we wanted to find a way that each could visually distinguish itself and at the same time be clearly identified as a program of Eagle’s Nest Foundation. Hence, our four new logos you are seeing today.

New Eagle's Nest Foundation logo

New Eagle’s Nest Foundation Logo

As you look at the Foundation logo you will see components of the logos from each of the programs embedded in and around our central eagle – the icon that has been part of our traditions as long as we have been in operation.  Our eagle is strong, lofting upwards on air drafts pushing up from our Little River Valley.  In the background you will see our mountains as you would see them leaving our Everett Road entrance: majestic blue mountains, welcoming and ancient.


Topping the mountain you will see the rising sun that is integral to our Outdoor Academy logo.  The circle represents the student and the mountain the challenge that will inspire their growth while they attend our semester school.   The rays of light are each a principle that will serve as a guide post on their educational journey through our four pillars or cornerstones: Intellect, Environment, Community and Craft.   At each step on that mountain we develop the character required for life-long success by practicing our seven principles (the rays): Simple Living, Work Ethic, Curiosity, Integrity, Stewardship, Self-Reliance, and Gratitude.


Twinkling over the eagle are the stars of Hante Adventures, inspired by the quest for a journey.  Within the Hante logo these stars rise over our mountains lighting the way and the path to lands beyond our valley.  The constellation is Aquila, the Eagle, with the largest star being Altair, one of the points of the summer triangle.  Anywhere in the world that our Hante Adventurers may be they will share these same stars with their friends back at the Nest.


A single eagle feather demarks our oldest program, Eagle’s Nest Camp.  This feather, gently cupped, is our nest from which our campers grow and flourish, each one an integral part of the whole eagle – our community.

It is remarkable to look back over the years at the visual pieces we have used to portray Eagle’s Nest and know that at each stage we were marking who we were at that time.  Sometimes it feels sad to leave behind a look but it will always be there, a part of our growing history.  Our staff is very excited to share these new looks with you after months of scheming and drafting.  We hope you will share the story with your friends!