I’m going to do something here that I’m guessing very few camp directors would ever do. It might surprise you, if you’ve never talked with me about the value of a real summer camp experience, but what I’m going to do is to make a promise to all of our new and returning summer campers. I’m going to promise each and every one of you that you won’t be able to do every activity that we offer at Night Eagle this summer. Yes, I said won’t, as in “will not.”
I’ve worked at quite a few summer camps and have had the opportunity to see several different kinds of camps in action (sports camps, boys’ camps, coed camps, wilderness and travel camps) and, more importantly, to witness the philosophies of various camp directors.
Night Eagle is fundamentally different than all of them, and as I travel to winter camp fairs and see other camps promoting themselves, that difference seems to be growing exponentially.
Each year, one page in Talking Leaves (our end of summer booklet) is usually filled with “Quotes heard around camp.” Some are funny and some are sometimes very profound and capture the essence of Night Eagle. Once included in Talking Leaves was the following quote that someone overheard me saying in the clearing: “This ain’t McDonalds; we don’t have a drive-through!” Whether that is funny or profound is for you to decide -- maybe it’s a little of both.
That quote is exactly the reason why I’m not going to promise it “all” to any camper. Instead, I’m going to promise that you will have the opportunity to do lots of great activities, be
in an amazing place filled with caring campers and staff, and have the time of your life.
If you want to complete a complicated craft project at Night Eagle, you’ll have to work at it, and that will take time from other activities. If you’re going to eat three meals a day, you’re going to have to do your share on cook crew. That, too, will take time. If you want to perfect your canoe strokes, you won’t be able to unless you spend time out in a canoe, and that will take time also.
I think you see my point. While you are working on that difficult carving project, perfecting your canoe strokes, or cooking delicious pizza for supper, other activities will also be taking place. However, you won’t be able to participate in them because you will be doing something else, well and thoroughly.
Some camp directors may promise you the moon, but I’m going to promise you something better than that. I going to promise to give you the chance to slow down, discover who you are, and become a valuable member of the Night Eagle community, not to rush you from activity to activity.