ISLAND NEWSLETTER MAY, 2000
EAGLE ISLAND NEWSLETTER
TRACI SOILEAU 2000 DIRECTOR
I would like to take a moment and introduce myself. My name is Traci Soileau but around camp I am known as "Dreamer." I will be the camp Director of Camp Eagle Island this coming summer. I have been a Girl Scout for 28 years and have dedicated my summers to working at Girl Scout Camps around the country. I was lucky enough to find Eagle Island's request for a Camp Director in the American Camping Association's job search. So many people ask me why I have chosen to devote my summers to summer camps when there are so many other things to do during my vacation time from my job. Those people obviously have never sat around a campfire singing songs. Those people obviously have never slept in a tent with their friends and chatted until the break of dawn. Those people have never heard the laughter of campers echoing through the hills of camp as they enjoy their activity. Those people have never had to say good-bye to a group of campers at the end of session drying their tears as you reassure them that they will be back next summer and that their camp sisters will too. Those people have never felt the chills as you realize the difference you made in that one child's life during her stay at the camp. It is wonder they do not understand why I do it. I feel the deepest sympathy for "those people." How sad that they have never and probably will never experience these wonderful things.
non-camp season, otherwise known as work, I am a teacher. I teach
Kindergarten-First Grade mix of children with Learning Disabilities,
Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Hearing Impairments, Behavior Disorders, Attention
Deficit Disorder and Downs Syndrome. It was just yesterday that one of my
nonverbal Downs Syndrome children actually used the sign language I have been
teaching her to communicate her wants to a "normal" peer in the
classroom. It is milestones like these that let me know I have the most
wonderful job in the universe. OK, maybe second, but only to Summer Camp Staff.
I look forward to meeting the staff, alumni, and campers of Eagle Island. If any of you have a book or have the time to make a booklet of camp traditions I would really enjoy reading it and learning from it before I get to the Island. I am also interested in getting a collection of songs your group or groups sang during song competition. I will use these as a bank for the staff and campers to choose from. If you would put the year it was sung and your name and phone number on it so I could call you if necessary.
greatly appreciate it. You can send any questions, comments or letters to:
i42Dreamer @aol.com or for the non internet people please send it to:
Traci Soileau 2222 Duncan Drive, Baton Rouge, Louisiana70802.
Hugs and YY's, Dreamer
P.S. You will often see the symbol YY whenever I sign something. It is an ancient symbol that means friendship. it is pronounce Y-Y. The exact wording of the meaning is, " Outside of the family there is friendship amongst men." I hope to carry this sign over to the campers and staff of EIC this summer.
Now you can say you know too what it means.
Women’s Weekend 2000 will once again provide the chance to win a great price. Our “opportunity drawing” held in 1999 brought in $586.00 for Eagle Island. We sold 2 part tickets and everyone had fun putting ticket halves into the paper bags next to the items they wanted to win.
Some of the donated articles were: handmade quilted sweatshirts, handmade pillows, a miniature wooden rowboat, a coffee and chocolate basket, a tea basket, a gardening basket, a baby basket, a beach basket, among other really neat stuff! Our basket instructors, Bud and Sandy Ziolkowski, also donated two of their exquisite handmade Adirondack baskets to the cause. If you plane to attend Women’s Weekend and have a terrific item to donate to the drawing, we will be very happy to have it! Last year tickets were sold all throughout the day on Saturday and this gave everyone a chance to win, or at least to hope. Let’s surpass our total form 1999.
THE ’99 WEEKEND REVIEW!
Returnees and newcomers alike look forward to Women’s Weekend on Eagle Island. The former come to renew acquaintances, drift back to days remembered as a camper or enjoy a little self-indulgence of “time for me”. The newcomers wonder what will it look like, who will be there, where will I stay?
As the luggage, sleeping bags, backpacks and kitchen sinks are loaded onto the transport boat, one thinks, is there room for passengers? The boat chugs off, (hope the motor works) then gaining speed, heads toward the island. The wind blows your hair, the spray touches your cheeks. It could be gray skies. You tighten your collar. Or bright sunny blues skies might prevail and you bask in the warmth. It’s the Adirondacks so the weather’s finicky. What’s here today, might be gone tomorrow
After disembarking and unloading, you come to realize; this is an island. The only way back is that boat. So accepting the fact that the weekend’s truly yours, you sling on your backpack and head up the hill.
As a newcomers you are at once struck by the imagines grandeur of life at a Great Camp softened by the current rustic camp atmosphere. You head for your lodging to deposit that now heavy backpack. You may be privilege to be among those who are greeted by the bright morning sun on the spacious boathouse. porch. The solid walls of a cabin may provide your home or you might be planning to enjoy cool nights with open tent flaps. There’s a place for everyone..
The dinner bill rings and the weekends crew is gathered. Amazing how hungry one becomes in the woods. Planning, preparing and cleaning up meals are not tasks you will engage this weekend. Acquaintances are renewed and new ones made.
Where are you from? Have you been here before? The dining hall is loud with chatter. But the camp director brings order with announcements and a Girl Scout grace. (Not to worry, the words are posted on the walls)
The weekend’s activities include an open craft shop, Adirondack basket or birch bark books, were last years’ projects. The waterfront is open for swimming with the annual swim around the island planned for sometime on Saturday. Funyaks, canoes, and sailboats are available for lake exploration or just a short paddle out and back. One can often find a few individuals sitting quietly on the lodge porches enjoying a cup of tea and conversation, or they may be engrossed in a book one can’t put down. Even a few card games get going. The transport boat makes scheduled trips to and from the mainland. So off island adventures might be part of the weekend. A hike up a nearby mountain, a trip in to the local villages, lunch and shopping might be for you. Twilight and late night tours of the lake are available. You get a quick history lesson with a big dose of fresh air. In short, flexibility is the word of the weekend. You are free to make you own choices. Be as involved as you wish or just sit and relax.
Resident camp counselors are beginning to arrive this weekend and new energy fills the air. Saturday evening a gathering for hor d’oevers and dancing brings young and the young at heart together in fun. Dance if you like or munch and chat, either way the spirit of camp is infectious and you can’t help but wish a little that you were staying for the summer.
As day is done and the pale soft pink of the sky fades to darkness, take just a few minutes to sit on a rock, listen to the lapping water or the call of a loon and relish in the serenity and beauty of the moment on Eagle Island.
MY VISITATION LIST
We have such a good time each year coming to Women’s Weekend, that we have expanded our trip to four or five days and try to explore something new each year on our way to Eagle Island. There are many interesting places to see if you wish to venture off the island to explore the nearby area or stop by on your way to and/or from camp. Here are some of our favorites:
Paul Smith’s Nature Center
Route 86 and 30 Paul Smith, NY 12970-0265
Wildlife viewing, trails, programs and movies at nature center.
PO Box 390 Ausable Chasm, NY 11291
Tour the Chasm by foot or raft
Six Nations Indian Museum
Routes 28N & 30 Blue Mountain Lake, NY 12812 518-352-7311 Exhibits of life, work and leisure in the Adirondacks 20 exhibits buildings
Lake Placid Ice Rink Downtown Lake Place
Mt Van Hoevenberg Recreation Center
Luge and Bobsled runs. Guided tours, rides in a Olympic bobsled truck hiking trails.
Olympic Jumping Complex Share the ski jumper’s perspective from the top of the 90 meter tower and water athletes practice jumping and aerial freestyle jumps into a swimming pool
Whiteface Mountain Drive almost to the top and take the elevator the rest of the way.
High Falls Gorge Route 86, Wilmington NY 12997 518-946-2212 Scenic path at base of Whiteface Mt, and picnic area, restaurant and gift shop
Sherry Anderson Delaware Raritan GSC
GETTING IT ALL TOGETHER
As I sit here today, at the end of March, it is 38 degrees and blowing, wet sloppy snowflakes outside. Just a little while ago I was snow shoeing over to the Island with my family. It was clear, crisp and deliciously cold. In just a little while more, I’ll be driving over to the Island in the whaler. The lake will no longer be silent and I’ll see movement everywhere I look. But today it’s that in-between time. And although I can’t get over to the camp right now, a day doesn’t go by when it’s not in my thoughts. Now, is when I finish getting all of my ducks in a line. I’m contacting contractors, lining up dates, talking with engineers, reviewing plans, phoning state agencies, ordering supplies, and double checking all of my many lists.
In a few weeks water will start flowing again here in the Adirondacks. The snow will melt, the rivers will run and the lakes will once again open up. Along with all that flowing water the activity level at camp will increase dramatically. Contractors will be coming Island side to replace tent platforms, arborist will be working high in out trees removing dead or hazardous limbs, the water systems will be activated. I”ll be instructing the boom operator from the local lumber yard as to how many 2x4’s he can, in fact put on the barge, before I get nervous. It’s a very exciting time to be involved with the camp, and it’s like this every year.
Three months ago, when I crossed over to the island the only company I had was the wind and Roxy. Three months from today, the summer staff will be in, Women’s Weekend 2000 will be over and we’ll be preparing for the first group of campers. One of the more interesting and intriguing aspects of working at Eagle Island is that each year you only get one shot at everything. So all of the preparations that occur now will eventually play out in their own way over the next few months times. Summer will be here soon, along with hundred of guests, campers and friends. If you get a chance, swing by my Office while you’re at Camp this summer and stop by. I’m very proud of what the Property staff ahs accomplished over the past year and I’d be happy to spend a few minutes sharing with you what we’ve been up to. However you want to just hang out on the porch, that’s ok too!
SUMMER CAMP 99
WOW! What an incredible summer we had! Eagle Island located 30 miles west of Lake Placid, had campers as well as 65 women who attended Women’s Weekend the end of June. Mike is our Family camp cook who graciously agreed to cook for Women’s Weekend. Ever been to camp where mussels were part of the cuisine? Me either but they were DELICIOUS. Ellie Lopez was our resident camp cook. She kept Nick, KB, Ardrienne, and Zella, moving creating new recipes. Camper reported great food!
WORK WEEKEND! Both camp would never have opened without the Work Weekend crews. Pete Benson, EIC property manager and Lou Salierno; the OVAL Contractor worked diligently to get the camps open with a core of volunteers. They put tents up, tore down old tent platforms so a construction crew could build new ones in their place, mortars put back in, trails cleared, repaired the getting it ready for campers and staff then returned to put the camp to “to bed for the winter”.
THE OVAL! Patricia Espejo is our OVAL Day Camp director. The OVAL is located in South Mountain Reservation and had 276 campers participated. We went roller skating, visited Turtle Back Zoo, went to fun land, went to a play to see Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat. Our older girls visited GSUSA, and we swam at Camp Rickabear and JT’s as well as our typical water fun, arts & craft, nature, overnights, cook outs and campfire. Even though our grand finale was complete with a blackout on the last overnight everyone had a GREAT time.
FAMILY CAMP! Kathy Retz our Family Camp director for the 10th season and she’s coming back along with Beth Hoffman who served double duty at EIC serving as the Business Manager for Resident and Family camp. Kathy and Beth are our jack of all trade employees! Beth drove vans for trips and medical runs, cooked, ordered nearly everything camp needed, played nurse, “mom”, ran the trading post, scheduled water skiing lessons, etc. etc. etc. Kathy put together another fantastic Family Camp season with 10 days of crafts, water activities, dancing, campfires, sing along, or just relaxing on the porch.
RESIDENT CAMP! Resident camp was directed by Mimi Harrington and Becky Yacano; our Program Director. Mimi and Becky both live in the Boston area. Mimi has been a part of EIC for many years as a camper, staff member and eventually EIC Camp Director. This was Becky’s first season with us and she did an awesome job making sure the campers had plenty to do above and beyond the typical swimming, boating, and arts & craft. There was “interest day” where the girls were able to select what they wanted to do for the day, water carnival, 5 day backpacking trips, cook outs, overnights, hiking up mountain tops, etc, etc, etc. The new archery program was well received. Our popular Sailing programs were once again filled to capacity was well as Waterbug’s and Aquatics. Session 2 the campers and staff participated in Girl Scout Sunday on Chapel Island. Several of our girls read lessons, served as ushers, and led songs.
Congratulations to the Island Sampler campers who won the annual Song Contest at the Saturday night Campfire July 30th. The Song Contest has been a long time tradition for over 30 years.
Campers wouldn’t get to camp without the help of the chaperones! These dedicated ladies went above and beyond getting up at 4 am to ensure that the campers arrived safely to EIC. Many thanks to you all!
THE CAMP WISH LISTS!
Sail boats and Sails (see Pete)
Materials for sailboats (see Pete)
Twin Beds for the cabins
Camp cookware (not metal)
HEY! WHO SHUT OFF THE LIGHTS?
A funny story!
Anxiety always runs high at overnights. It’s a new experience for most of our first time camper and staff. But by the end of the season everyone’s fears are pretty much alleviated. Everyone looks forward to it, and this overnight was special, it was our last. The State of New Jersey open fire and cook outs bans earlier in the summer, and then came the water restrictions as well; so a dance in Deer Lodge with finger foods that the girls prepared would be a nice touch. As Patty and Flower were enroute to the ER with an injury; Dee and I were holding down the fort in camp.
The girls helped with snacks, and got the tunes blaring and then it happened! Total blackout and complete silence for about 5 seconds until we heard an explosive sound coming from the cabin behind me. Hey “turn the lights back on!” Then I heard the screams! NOPE! This is real! Where’s my flashlight? Shoot! It’s in my gear; which just happened to be in my car. So I let my eyes adjust to the darkness and was able to find my keys and get my flashlight and proceed to Deer Lodge. I met Dee Dee on the trail just outside Deer Lodge! Who goes there? Oh, good its Dee Dee!
I really didn’t need a light to find Deer Lodge, all one had to do was follow the noise. With no lights, no fans, it was so hot in there; so we pulled together our program emergency plan (developed right there). We all went star gazing! Older camper became younger camper’s big sister. We were able to give each buddy group at least one flashlight. The stars were so bright that night, like you could reach up and touch them. We sang songs, watched the stars, told funny stories and just held onto each other.
With no electricity, came no phones. Our Girl Scout Green Angels were with us as council just happened to call. “Mary HELP!” We asked Mary to call the Maplewood police who sent over two patrols cars who stayed with us until the lights went on 45 minutes later. Their presence made a big difference for the girls.
As fast as the lights went out, they came back on. By 11 pm camp was quiet. Guess what the topic of conversation was at breakfast? NOPE! not the lights, but who gets to eat the left over snacks. The moral of this story is a Girl Scout is always prepared? Well, most of the time!
SUMMER CAMP 2000
It’s hard to believe that camp is just around the corner again. Its been a little over a year since I arrived at this council and we’re already well into my second season, Summer Camp 2000. Camp is like a theatrical production with opening night (or should we say “day”) is July 3 for Eagle Island (EIC) and July 5 for the OVAL.
Both camps are busting at the seams. As of this writing we have limited space available for campers to select from in session 1. Session 2 and 3 are completely closed. We are surely going over our projected of goal of 340 resident campers. With some re-organizing of a few programs we were able to increase the number of girls in popular programs.
The EAGLE ISLAND camp director is Traci Soileau. Traci has many years of camping experience behind her as she started out as young girl scout and eventually joined the staff where she was the camp nurse, a wrangler, waterfront staff, arts and craft instructor. She worked as a program director and eventually becoming the Assistant Camp Director at Camp Te Ata for the last 4 years in Bear Mountain. Traci is a teacher for kindergardener’s and first graders with special needs in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in her non camp life.
Traci can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. She’ll be happy to speak with you regarding any concerns or questions that may arise.
Eagle Island has new programs a few new programs this year. A touring/traveling program called “Let’s Go!” is very popular and closed almost as fast as it opened for registration. Our art program called Artist Extraordinnaire for our craft lovers, a new Night Owl program focusing on the nightlife in camp are also new this year. The Counselor In Training program is where we recruit a lot of our EIC staff. It offers excellent leadership development and the CIT’s work in all faucets of camp. Sailing, of course is extremely popular as well as Trail Blazers, Waterways, Waterbugs Aquatics and Paddlers. We are in need of a few new sailboats to keep the sailing program alive. We have a few sailboats that need serious repairs and may have to be dry docked this year. We need help getting these boats up and running! Please speak to Pete if you can help us replace a boat or two.
EIC BUS CHAPERONES: A BLESSING!
Blessed are those who rise before dawn, board a motor coach north full of girls soon to have fun.
Blessed are those who count heads at breakfast, maintain quiet control and remain enthusiastic.
Blessed are those who phone ahead to alert all thee staff “we’ll soon be at the landing.”
Blessed are those on that same motor coach, tried campers along this time a southward approach.
Blessed are those who arrive in Montclair calling ahead to give notice “we’ll arrive soon, don’t despair”
Blessed are those who call on their phones, volunteering to serve as EIC bus chaperones.
Few have called. Many are needed! It’s your chance to join those we consider the “Blessed”
Eagle Island desperately needs chaperones. With each new session buses filled with campers come and go from Eagle Island. Each bus needs at least two chaperones. It’s a wonderful opportunity for parents and other adult family members to visit EIC.
We need drivers of chaperones who will receive a stipend to cover expenses. The chaperone driver must have a dependable car and be willing to drive one set of chaperones to the camp to ride home with the campers and will bring another set of chaperones home in their car. If you are interested or able to help us, please call the Outdoor Program Department.
STAFF POSITIONS OPEN
We need Unit counselors, an assistant cook, 1 waterfront instructor, 2 Unit Leaders’s 1 sailing instructor, and an archery instructor. Please contact Carol Chu, (888-746-8200) or email@example.com for details or Traci at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NAME THE NEW BOAT!
I’m very proud to announce that we purchasing a new Sail boat for the camp and it needs a name! Submit your suggestion and you could win a 2000 EIC T-shirt!
Last fall we received a very generous offer from the Day family donating a parcel of land to the council for camp use. Pete has explored the land a few times and we should be able to use it for day trips this summer. This property is going to need a name too. One suggestion so far is The Eaglette!
Well, the front page of the Friends of EIC site is finally redone - let me know how you like
the lake lapping at the shore by the boathouse...
Do you have any ideas, links, or content to contribute? How about sound files for the songs - one verse, to jog the memory? Also, check out the "test" 360-degree view of main camp, available from the "Friends Page" (you may need to update your QuickTime). What else can we do to give a virtual camp experience? Send suggestions