Based in New York State Camp Eagle Hill is a co-ed family run camp since the 1960s. If you’re looking for a traditional summer camp experience then Eagle Hill may just be the camp for you!
Tell us a little bit about your camp?
Camp Eagle Hill was started in 1963 by the current director’s parents. It is a family run camp. We are able to offer a lot of support, encouragement, one-on-one attention, and opportunities for success to our campers as well as staff. It is really a place where everyone gets to know everyone, and you look forward to seeing the members of your camp family day in and day out. Campers are encouraged to try new things and are comfortable enough to step out of their comfort zone without worrying about looking silly or messing up. Everyone is just having fun and everyone is in it together.
How long have you worked in camping?
This upcoming summer will be my 12th summer at camp (All 12 at Camp Eagle Hill)
What’s your favourite thing about camp?
Working with kids! I am a school teacher during the year. I love the fact that over the summer, I am still working with kids, but I have a first name, and can just run around having fun without having to chase anyone down for their homework assignment! I also love to see campers improve their self-confidence and figure out something about themselves through their experiences at camp.
When was your camp established?
What’s your favourite special event or evening activity at camp?
Special Event: Skootch – We have a camp carnival with inflatables, cotton candy, popcorn, snowcones, games, etc. Everyone has so much fun, and it’s yet another excuse for me to be a big kid!
Evening Activity: Campfires – It is so nice to sit at the end of the lake and sing songs, hear everyone’s reflections on the week, award deserving members of the camp community for various achievements, and see a video of things that happened that week.
What’s the most popular meal at camp?
Tough question! Tacos are very popular as they have their own cheer and everything! Chicken nuggets are another crowd favorite. Another contender (and my personal favorite) is the weekly outdoor barbecues!
Why do you hire international staff?
International staff bring so much to the table! It is so amazing for one of our campers to spend a summer with someone from outside of the United States. The campers cannot stop talking about the amazing things they discover from International counselors, and you can see how it broadens their horizons, makes them aware of different perspectives, and creates a desire to learn more. Parents show up on visiting day asking about staff members’ cultures, traditions, houses, universities, neighborhoods, and experiences, because that is what they have been hearing about in letters from their campers!
What qualities do you find the best camp counsellors have?
SELFLESSNESS! – It is so important to be able to put someone else first, and that is what campers need. Whether they are the youngest campers who make it very obvious, or the oldest campers who are “too cool” to show it, the campers look to the counselors all the time and whatever the counselor thinks/does is what the camper wants to do. Counselors do not realize how much of a role model they are and how much of an impact they have on the campers. It is amazing to see.
The J1 visa is a cultural exchange visa- what would you recommend your camp counsellors visit in the surrounding area to your camp when they are on their days off?
New York City is amazing and full of opportunities. We are about two hours away from New York City. There are also several very interesting places that are even closer. We have Bash Bish Falls, which is a beautiful waterfall and state park. The is the local lake. We also have Hudson and Kingston, towns that are great to visit for restaurants, shops, etc.
What would be your words of wisdom to new camp counsellors?
HAVE FUN! If something is not exactly as you expected, make the best of it. It ends up being such a short period of time, and you will get so much out of the experience if you have a positive mindset. You will need to work hard, and the days will be long, but you will miss them when they are gone! Ask questions and seek out help if needed, but know that a camp is hiring you because they believe you have the skills and personality to help make a difference in the life of a camper. It sounds cliche, but when you are able to see your impact make a difference in such a short period of time, it is the best feeling in the world!