In an age in which camps are getting bigger, less personal, and stressing electronics and athletic competition more and more, there is a need for camps that offer a genuine camping experience and an opportunity for our children to live in harmony with themselves, others, and the environment.
Using the fundamental values of the Lakota (Humility, Perseverance, Respect, Honor, Love, Sacrifice, Truth, Compassion, Bravery, Fortitude, Generosity, and Wisdom) and our belief in simplicity, Night Eagle introduces the youth of today to the wonders of nature and offers them that rare moment in which they can slow down, escape the modern world of cell phones, television, and video games, and discover new aspects in the meaning of life.
children what we have
children - that the
earth is our mother. Whatever befalls the earth, befalls the sons of the earth.”
- Chief Seattle
For almost twenty-five years, Night Eagle has encouraged boys to experience the natural world through a simplified lifestyle. In the context of living simply, a boy has the opportunity to live in a tipi, wear a breechclout, and cook all of his food over an open fire. As trappings and distractions of civilization fall, he finds himself becoming more aware of his true self, more sensitive to the needs of others, and less attuned to the materialism that has crept into his life. A sense of openess permeates the camp and is shared by campers and staff alike, as we strive to feel the ground whisper to our bare feet and welcome us back to Mother Earth.
Allowing Time to Unplug
Night Eagle celebrates the opportunity to detach from modern conveniences, put cell phones and other devices away, and share that rare experience of living as a community close to the earth, much as the American Indian did. Living in tipis, campers learn to start fires with flint and steel or a bow drill. They adapt to seeing at night with the light provided by the stars and the moon, and without clocks, they lose all sense of time as they step into Night Eagle Time. At camp, time slows down, and campers enjoy forging new friendships in a more personal setting.
Night Eagle is a different kind of camp based on mutual responsibility and cooperation. Boys lean heavily on their fellow campers for support in meeting the challenges of every day life. Things may not be as easy or convenient as at home, so it's essential that everyone does his part.
Wood must be gathered and chopped, fires must be tended, and meals must be cooked. By working together, campers learn that everyone's help is necessary to keep the community strong, and the line between work and play fades into an exciting cooperative group spirit.
Through community living and group decision-making, we believe that boys can learn to live and play together in a spirit of cooperation rather than competition.
We hope all campers will have the opportunity to recognize their strengths as well as their weaknesses, exercise the ability to lead and to follow, discover their own ability to help and to ask for help, and respect others for who they are as they grow into responsible and caring adults.
Letting Boys be Boys
Today, perhaps more than ever, boys need a place where they can have adventures of their own, real adventures, not the kind you find on television and computer games.
Boys need to have a place where they can spend the night in a sleeping bag rolled out on the bare ground and wake up covered with dew just in time to hear a loon, or witness a great blue heron flapping high overhead, or watch a bear as it slips silently into the forest.
They need to have a chance to fall asleep staring into the glowing embers of a fire while trying to imagine what it must have been like 500 years ago when boys their age looked into similar fires.
They need to be allowed to shed their clothes, leap feet-first into a cool, pristine lake, and then stand on the shore as they watch the goose bumps and the water on their skin slowly disappear in the early morning sun. Night Eagle offers all this and more!
Respecting the Earth
A major element of Night Eagle stems from the American Indian and focuses on giving boys an understanding of the interconnection and value of all life, a deep respect for the land, and the skills to live competently in the wilderness.
We teach our campers to minimize their impact on the wilderness, to appreciate the outdoors, and to leave the environment exactly as they found it.
Night Eagle is an active member of the Green Mountain Club and, in that role, adopted the Little Rock Pond Shelter on the Long Trail in the Green Mountain Forest in 2007.
Celebrating Coming of Age
After having been treated as a boy for ten or eleven years, it's difficult for a camper to see himself as a young adult. As with other cultures, rituals at Night Eagle are used to formally mark rites of passage and are powerful experiences in a boy's life.
When a camper demonstrates he is ready to take on new responsibilities in the community, he prepares himself for a one day solo. When he returns, the entire camp is there to welcome him back and offer congratulations. Later that evening at a celebration held in his honor, campers and staff speak of the strengths of his character, and he is given a Night Eagle name that represents those strengths and is worthy of his new role in the camp community.
You'll never be quite the same after a summer at Night Eagle. You'll go home with a quiet self-confidence, pleased because you can take care of yourself in the wilderness. You'll probably have a few calluses on your hands to show that you really learned something about work, and of course you'll have a variety of new skills, knowledge, and a better understanding of others. You'll be stronger and more rugged, independent, and self-reliant. But more importantly, your horizons will have been stretched to include people and important issues you may not even have known before, and you will have embraced a set of values that will change your life.
According to Lakota tradition, there are four directions and corresponding colors. Among other things, these colors represent ALL races of people (red, yellow, black, and white). To show disrespect to any of these races is to show disrespect to the Creator who placed them on the earth. In keeping with this teaching, Night Eagle does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, or national or ethnic origin in any of its practices or policies. We offer unforgettable, enriching summer experiences to boys of all ages, backgrounds, and interests.