APR. 12, 2019
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
MAR. 29, 2019
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. 1, 2019
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
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
FEB. 1, 2019
As veteran trip leader Rodrigo Vargas prepares for his 22nd summer leading Hante Adventures for Eagle’s Nest, we spent some time with him learning why he comes back summer after summer.
How many years have you been leading Hante Adventures?
I have led Hante Adventures since 1998. My first Hante Adventure was with Helen in Mexico!
Why do you lead Hante Adventures?
I love to see the kids experiencing new cultures and facing physical and mental challenges together. For many participants, this is the first time they have traveled outside of the United States. Going on a Hante Adventures opens their perspectives to be more accepting and understanding of other people and appreciate differences in cultures and perspectives.
What do you hope participants will gain from going on Hante?
I hope participants will become more confident in their abilities and their strength and that they will understand the power they have in shaping their future. Hante Adventures encourage participants to challenge themselves physically and mentally, learning new technical skills like climbing, canoeing, and backpacking and building endurance to participate in these activities. International Hante Adventures teach participants to be flexible. Traveling in a new country means things may not always go as planned but we can gain many valuable lessons from changing plans. I hope Hante Adventures will give participants a small taste of international travel and will spark a desire and curiosity to study other languages and cultures and to continue to travel as they get older.
Tell us about a memorable Hante Adventure.
Hante Spain and Hante Portual were unbelievable. We hiked El Camino which provided a physically, mentally, and spiritually rich experience for the participants and staff. The beautiful landscape touched my heart that summer and has remained with me ever since. The kids made connections with other hikers on the trails and when we made camp and we all gained an appreciation for the place—the landscapes, the history of the valley and the trail, and the modern culture. We shared stories with those we met and so many fellow hikers were so excited to see a group of American teenagers choosing to spend their summer immersing themselves in a cultural and wilderness experience like this one.
What sets Hante Adventures apart from other summer opportunities for teens?
Hante Adventures, along with all Eagle’s Nest programs, emphasizes the importance of physical and emotional health of the participants. We give students the opportunity to grow, learn, and step out of their comfort zones in a safe and supported environment. On Hante we give the participants the responsibility of shaping their experience. Participants take turns being a leader of the day in which they are responsible for making decision that affect the whole group.
You are leading Hante France next summer. What are you looking forward to?
I am so excited for Hante France. This Hante will put emphasis on developing a sense of place. We will spend time hiking the Stevenson Trail exploring the natural beauty of the region. During our hike we will read Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes, written by Robert Louis Stevenson, for whom the trail is named. The story follows his journey through the region. We will then spend time in the village of St. Jean-du-Gard being immersed the local culture. We will learn the customs and traditions of daily life in this village to contextualize the culture of the region surrounding the trail.
We are still accepting applications for Summer 2019. Visit our website to apply. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions about Hante Adventures.
By Sara Gerall
JAN. 18, 2019
One of the greatest struggles of Outdoor and Experiential Education is working to explain to others the benefits and outcomes for students learning in these types of environments. Often this industry must turn to studies, surveys and personal accounts as a means of delivering “results” to parents or prospective students. But beyond these studies and quantifiable facts are more interpersonal results that are hard to set to data points or graphs.
At Eagle’s Nest Foundation, our focus is on educating the Whole Child and our wilderness programs allow us to incorporate many of the educational pillars of our teaching philosophy into real life, natural consequence learning moments. A large aspect of our program focuses on community and intentional living. With trips like backpacking or paddling, participants are challenged to work together in ways the positively support and uplift one another. Typical everyday tasks, like basic communication skills, are put to the test when navigating rapids, or even the best way to cook backcountry curry. Where participants would normally have the ability to dry off in the dorm or cabin after a rain event, the backcountry participants are challenged to think through every aspect of how they will take down a tent without swamping their sleep systems. Beyond this level of heightened consequence and challenge for thought and follow-through, participants learn what it truly means to perform a task to a level of expertise that shows mastery and craft.
Instructors with Eagle’s Nest focus on the development of participants both in their technical skills and their interpersonal growth. We have come to learn that by supporting youth in their basic needs, as outlined by Maslow, we can set a basis of support that allows participants to step beyond their comfort zone and fail, with the knowledge that our staff and instructors are there to help guide the experience in a positive way. In many ways, we feel that the backcountry is the ultimate test to the participants’ ability to show that they have learned and mastered skills. This is the environment where consequences are magnified, and dynamic aspects like weather, environment and the rigors of constant contact with the group allow the individual to develop tolerance for adversity and a greater intrinsic desire for success.
As an integral part of Eagle’s Nest’s mission, taking you into the backcountry identifies many important principles of wilderness programming that help us meet our educational goals.
When looking at a trip like Hante Rocks and Rivers, it is near impossible to imagine all the educational opportunities available to participants. Over the course of the 3-week adventure, participants learn the basics of camping skills like cooking and campsite setup, while also being challenged by more technical skills involved with whitewater canoeing or rock climbing. Then, as they begin to master basic camping skills, those skills are put to the test as they move their group into backcountry travel, or whitewater canoe trekking.
It is through this connection to one another and the outdoors that will help participants grow to appreciate the natural world around them, and work to preserve these spaces for future generations.
By Marlin Sill