“ It takes time - loose, unstructured dreamtime - to experience nature in a meaningful way.”
- Richard Louv
Parent Frequently Asked Questions
At Night Eagle we know how important it is for parents and campers to gather all the information they can when deciding which summer camp is right for them. Below you will find questions about Night Eagle that are frequently asked by parents and campers. If you have further questions, please contact us anytime!
What does Night Eagle mean?
A night eagle is an owl. Owls have been referred to as night eagles for centuries. When someone sees or hears an owl in the wild, he is usually left with a strong memory of that encounter. To the ancient Greeks owls were symbols of higher wisdom, and to the American Indian they are symbols of wisdom, protection, and magic. Being a bird of night, owls are the eyes of the night. They can see what is not in the open, and their medicine can extract secrets. At Night Eagle Wilderness Adventures, boys are allowed to be themselves and to try things that they might not feel comfortable trying at home or at school. Undiscovered aspects of a camper’s personality are allowed to surface and be seen and appreciated by those around him.
What makes Night Eagle "unique"?
Night Eagle accepts only 36 boys per session, so within 48 hours, everyone in camp knows each other by name. The director lives in camp in a tipi, directly supervises the program, and actually leads activities.
We agree with Richard Louv, the author of Last Child in the Woods, when he looks at the youth of today and states that "Never before in history have children been so plugged-in and so out-of-touch with the natural world . . . direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development - - physical, emotional, and spiritual."
At Night Eagle we focus on having fun while immersing campers in nature and engaging their imagination and senses, not entertaining them, as we nurture their love for the earth. We hope to inspire boys to become life long learners by awakening their curiosity of the world around them and teaching them to be comfortable and confident in the outdoors as they develop their own unique gifts. Ultimately, by living in a small community surrounded by the forest, boys learn to to be resilient as they adapt to challenge and change and to ask questions and seek the answers for themselves.
Where is Night Eagle?
Night Eagle is located in East Wallingford, Vermont, about 10 miles South of Rutland. The camp is situated on 135 acres that are surrounded by the Green Mountain National Forest.
What's the weather like in Vermont?
In Vermont we have a saying, “If you don’t like the weather, wait a minute.” It’s usually warm during the day and cool enough at night (40-50 degrees) to sleep in a sleeping bag. Sometimes it rains. When it does, activities continue as usual but are held under our outdoor shelter or in the tipis themselves. Often, we use that time for an all camp gathering and enjoy a hot cup of cocoa or hot tea as we discuss important camp issues or listen to stories about the American Indian.
How long are the sessions?
Night Eagle offers one-week, two-week, three-week, four-week, and six-week sessions.
The ONE WEEK SESSIONS are designed to give young, new campers a "taste" of Night Eagle. Because of their brief stay, however, campers are limited in the activities in which they can participate. We have found that campers usually take three to four days to acclimate themselves to the lifestyle and slower pace of life at camp. By the time one-weekers begin "getting into camp," it's time for them to go. Still, because of family schedules, one week may be the best option for some families.
The TWO WEEK SESSIONS offer a well-rounded camp experience for younger campers who are new to Night Eagle and for those campers who find it impossible to stay for a longer time period. Boys enjoy a wide variety of activities, and usually look forward to attending a longer session the following summer.
The THREE, FOUR, and SIX WEEK SESSIONS offer the best opportunities for campers to become more active in the community, develop strong friendships, experience personal growth, assume leadership positions, and fully participate in the Night Eagle program.
In the past seven years, 74% of campers who attended a one week or two week session their first summer chose the three, four, or six week option for their second and subsequent summers.
How many campers attend each session?
Night Eagle is a small community, and we intentionally limit the size of each session to no more than 36 campers so everyone will have an opportunity to get to know each other. This makes it extremely easy for new campers to adjust to camp quickly and feel like a part of the group. With 36 boys and 12 staff members, we have a 1:3 staff to camper ratio.
Where will my son live in camp?
Your son will live in a 20 or 22 foot tipi of Sioux design with four or five other boys of different ages and a counselor. He will sleep in his own sleeping bag on a ground cloth and back pad. For those chilly Vermont nights and quiet tipi gatherings, he will have his own fire in the tipi to keep you warm and to cook pop corn or make hot chocolate on.
What do you do about ticks in the woods?
For whatever reason, we have no ticks in the woods at Night Eagle. Leaux (Leo), our Golden Retriever, spends hours each day in the summer at camp exploring the woods and has never had a tick on him. However, we do have lots of rabbits, raccoons, otters, deer, moose, and a few bears!
What's the food like at camp?
Part of coming to camp is the adventure of trying new things - - that includes food. There may be some new foods that you will have the opportunity to try and some foods that you think you might not like, but you've never had those foods Night Eagle style! Some typical examples from our menu include: cereal, granola, oatmeal, grits, grilled cheese, spaghetti, cold-cut sandwiches, lasagna, three-bean salad, chili, bison burgers, fajitas, burritos, and everyone's favorite - - Night Eagle Pizza!
Is there ANY electricity at camp?
The only need for electricity at camp is to power a refrigerator that stores perishable food and to pump our water from deep in the ground. In order to do that, there are several large solar panels that charge a battery bank. Because of our philosophy of living simply, there is no need for any other powered devices for day-to-day living in camp. We don't use cell phones, computers, tv's, clocks or watches, electric lights, or even flashlights at camp. However, staff members do have access to flashlights in case of an emergency, and the director does have a cell phone for emergency purposes.
No flashlights? How will my son see at night?
Night Eagle runs on the schedule of the sun: we rise just after the sun rises, and we settle down once the sun sets. By the time the night sets in, your son will usually be back in his tipi catching up with his tipi mates about all of the day's adventures. Perhaps his counselor will tell the group a story, or perhaps your son will read a book. All of this can be done by candlelight and firelight. Pretty soon, after having a fun-filled day, he will be ready for sleep once Arctic Arrow says, "Okay, boys, it's later than you think."
What should my son bring to camp?
The "Documents" section of this website includes a gear list of things that he should bring to camp, as well as a list of things that he shouldn't bring to camp. Some items on the gear list are: his knife and a sturdy leather glove, candles, a musical instrument, and sleeping bag/bed roll.
What if my son gets sick or hurt?
In a back room of the food shelter is "Trudy's" (named for our nurse who has been with us since we opened twenty-five years ago), which is the Night Eagle medical station. The medical station contains emergency medical supplies as well as secure storage for both over-the-counter and prescription medications that you may require. Every day Trudy visits with campers who have any medical concerns or medical requirements. One staff member is also designated as the "medic" and is either a Registered Nurse, a Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician, a Wilderness First Responder, or a counselor trained in Wilderness First Aid. Should the need arise, there are 24-hour medical and dental facilities in a close proximity of camp.
If my son takes medicine every day, who will give him his medicine?
If your son takes medicine every morning, then our RN Trudy will administer his medication. If he takes medicine everyday at lunch time, dinner time, or bedtime, then our medic will administer his medication.
What do boys wear in camp? Will my son get to wear a breechclout?
What boys wear in camp is up to them. At Night Eagle boys are free to wear whatever they are most comfortable in. On any given day it is not unusual to see a motley group of campers wearing everything from blue jeans and t-shirts to breechclouts similar to the ones worn by the American Indians and the French explorers who adopted their dress. Because life is so different at Night Eagle, quite a few of our campers choose to wear a breechclout because it allows for a closer connection to the natural world and aligns with one of Night Eagle's core values: simplicity. As one camper told his mom, "Why wouldn't I wear one. It's the most comfortable thing in the universe!" Still, while breechclouts are a unique part of Night Eagle, they are worn by choice. At no time is a camper pressured into doing or wearing anything he is not comfortable with.
Are campers required to wear shoes in camp?
Although most camps require their campers to wear shoes during the summer, most Night Eagle campers choose to “lose their shoes” or wear their "Night Eagle feet" while they are at camp and try to get closer to the earth by going barefooted. Campers feel that going barefooted gives them a deeper, more respectful relationship with Nature and, from an environmental point of view, lessens the impact they have on the earth itself by hardly disturbing even the most delicate ground cover. When feet are bare, they are also silent, almost whispering to the ground even when running, which seems much more in keeping with the forest around Night Eagle than the sound of shoes.
Are campers allowed to bring a knife to camp?
Absolutely! A small folding knife with a 2” or 3" locking blade that fits into a pocket can be a useful tool at Night Eagle. Since some campers prefer to wear a breechclout in camp, they may bring a small sheath knife that can be worn on their belt. We ask that you follow the guidelines set in the Parent Handbook. When boys arrive at camp, they will be given a knife safety test to ensure that they know how to handle a knife properly.
Can my son call home if he wants to?
At Night Eagle we don't use cell phones or land line phones, but all campers are encouraged to write letters home to share their experiences with family. Counselors also write a weekly post card to the parents of every camper to keep them up to date of what campers have been up to during their time at Night Eagle.
What if my son gets homesick?
Coming to camp for the first time, and occasionally the second, may be cause or a brief case of homesickness. Homesickness is neither a dislike for camp nor evidence of camper maladjustment. We regard homesickness as a normal, healthy occurrence in a child. The newness of the camp
environment, making new friends, and the natural longing for the "old and familiar" make moments of homesickness happen for nearly all of us.
Our experience has taught us to expect the symptoms of homesickness to occur over the first few days of camp, often during quiet, reflective times. Our counselors are sensitive to a camper's moods and emotional adjust-ments. If a child is homesick, he will be encouraged to talk it out. We will try to help the child understand the emotion he is feeling while ensuring that the camper is fully involved in all camp activities. Usually within a few days the camper is busy having fun. With the security of new friends and exposure to numerous interesting activities, the homesickness soon dissipates. In the rare instance that a boy is truly struggling with homesickness, we will contact you.
Where do most of your campers come from?
Campers at Night Eagle have come from all over the United States and twelve foreign countries. Although we have quite a few campers from the New England area, don't be surprised if your son has a tipi mate from Louisiana, California, Texas, Florida, or even Australia, Germany, France, or Switzerland!
Australia Canada Hong Kong Japan Spain
Germany Great Britain