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

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. 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. 1, 2019

22 Years of Adventure

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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 info@enf.org with any questions about Hante Adventures.


By Sara Gerall


DEC. 20, 2018

Opt Outside This Winter

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Camp Program Manager, Anna Lauria, and Camp Program Marketing Manager,
Sara Gerall visited a cold and snowy Everest Base Camp this Fall!

As soon as the weather turns chilly, I find myself indoors with a book and a hot cup of tea rather than going for my usual after dinner walk. I forgo a Saturday hike in the woods for a day of cooking and warmth indoors. Even those of us who love winter sports and cooler weather may have a harder time getting out the door. Whether nature acts as a de-stressor, motivator, or a place for self reflection, it is integral to our health year round.

Here are some tips for outdoor fun this winter:

Learn the art of layering. Your first layer should be a lightweight moisture wicking layer (think silk, merino wool, polyester – not cotton). This serves to keep sweat off your core. Your next layer (or layers) should be for warmth and insulation (a puffy vest or fleece layer). Your outermost layer is your wind and rain resistant shell or jacket. If you are dressing for high intensity outdoor activity, it is best to find a breathable material, like nylon.

Make time for your favorite winter activity. For me, this is skiing. I plan ahead to make the most out of my day on the slopes.

Schedule play dates at the park with your children’s friends. This gives you vitamin D, exercise, and social time, too.

Plan a specific winter nature trip. I find that I am much more willing to brave the cold if I’m doing something that I don’t normally get to do; take a trip to a local outdoor skating rink or holiday market.

Check your local state forests for winter hours and pick out shorter hikes that are close by. You still get your outside time without committing to long hours in the cold.

Put the full moon or other celestial events on your calendar in advance. For example, this Friday night and Saturday morning is the Ursids Meteor shower!   

Wear an Eagle’s Nest shirt while you adventure and tag us in your photos on social media, @hanteadventures!

Happy Winter Frolicking!

By Anna Lauria

DEC. 6, 2018

Give the Gift of Adventure

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In the middle of the holidays I sometimes get caught up in trying to find the “perfect” gifts for my children, while at the same time realizing that I don’t really want to give them “stuff.” What I really want to give are experiences and opportunities for growth. I want to give them a chance to step away from the pressure of school and the world so that they can reconnect with what’s important to them, find joy and be inspired. For the last several years that perfect gift has been the opportunity to participate in a Hante Adventure.

recently read an article that sighted a study from psychologists Ruth Ann Atchley and David Strayer who found that “creative problem solving can be drastically improved by both disconnecting from technology and reconnecting with nature.”  Participants in this study disconnected from technology and headed out on a 4 day backpacking trip. When asked to perform creative thinking and complex problem solving tasks, the participants ability to do so improved by 50%. These findings are not at all shocking, nor or those of many other researchers who study the effects of time in nature on the brain, including Gregory Bratman, a graduate student at the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources at Stanford University. Bratman also found that study volunteers who went on brief, “disconnected” walks through the lush grounds of Stanford were more attentive and happier after their walks than their counterparts who walked through busy streets.

There’s no doubt that time in nature, removed from distractions and technology is good for our emotional health and can reduce anxiety and boost well-being. We see it in our campers and Hante Adventure participants each summer as they head to the mountains for 1 – 3 weeks to connect with nature, friends and to themselves. I see it in the joy on the faces in and the hearts of campers and staff as they return from a day hike at Black Balsam Knob or from 3 days with their X-craft class. I feel it when I talk with teens about their 3-week “Hero’s Journey” on Hante; they are all at once inspired and filled with peace.

So, this year as you think about what would make the perfect holiday and birthday gift for a special teen in your life, consider signing them up for a for a Hante Adventure.

By Paige Lester-Niles