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. 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 email@example.com with any questions about Hante Adventures.
By Sara Gerall
DEC. 20, 2018
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
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.
I 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
APR. 20, 2017
Hante Appalachian Trail Trek circa 1980…
Hante Instructor Greg Kucera, Eagle Scout, prepares to lead his first Hante and is faced with the arsenal of whole foods recipes that Helen Waite has adapted for fine trail culinary experiences. Nowhere in sight was something he was familiar with to eat. What was a young man from Minnesota to do but call his mom Marti Kucera for her famous “Cow Dabs” recipe – known to get you down the trail several more miles.
Looking for a fun treat to take out on the trail this spring? Try these!
2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa
1 stick butter
1/3 cup evaporated milk
3 cups oatmeal
1 cup peanut butter
(add raisins, coconut, etc. as desired)
In a saucepan, boil sugar, cocoa, butter and milk for 2 minutes. Add oatmeal, peanut butter and any other personal choice ingredients. Plop spoonfulls onto waxed paper to cool and set (yes, they will look like cow pies). Plan at least a 5 mile hike and get out and enjoy!
Noni Waite-Kucera, Executive Director
MAR. 2, 2017
Some of the most memorable places I’ve visited make it to the top of my favorites because of the experiences I shared with those around me. On each trip I always took a moment to look around and notice the smiling faces and mouths agape in awe. I would think, “this place is wonderful, and it is so amazing to see my own joy, happiness, and excitement mirrored in the faces around me.”
On many of my personal trips I have found that company is always welcome. When I set out alone on an adventure I undoubtedly collect a friend or two along the way. These travel companions help strengthen my connection to the experiences I have and the places I visit. I even feel a distinct pride in revisiting my favorite places with friends or family who’ve never been. Witnessing their awe and wonder feels like experiencing the trip for the first time all over again.
You may understand the sentiment- the one of talking about camp with a friend and feelings so excited to see them on the first day or running up to them after Capture the Flag to hear their heroic tale. You may even know the feeling as you walk your parents around camp on the last day, recounting each day and every stand-out moment as you pass through the quad and OD Board and down to the garden.
This can be more difficult with Hantes. Every year there is a new and exciting mix of Hantes. Until you take the leap and understand what it means to “step out and learn” it can be hard to imagine how to share that with others. What sets Hante apart is that for those 2 or 3 weeks everything you do and see is shared with a small, tight-knit group of people. They will share the struggle of packing a wet tent, eating a burnt noodle and pulling their weight to see the valleys from the mountain tops. Those moments will become tales and epic stories to be shared with friends and family that others will sit and listen to in wonder.
Once the adventure is over it can be difficult to recreate the failures and triumphs for your friends. In truth, you will never be able to carbon copy your experience for others, but you can share the joy and satisfaction by taking them on the next one so they can see first hand. We are at that time of year when the leaves begin to bud and daydreams become warmer and lighter like the summer to come. Start thinking back to the summers past and how you want to spend this one, or if there is someone you want to share the magic of Hante with.
Hante has an instagram: @hanteadventures
Flip back through time and see the memories others have shared for over 40 years. You may even come across a familiar face, or even your own. Remember to share!
Marlin Sill, Hante Director