Character Development

To Bald Eagle Boys Camp:

I am quite impressed with your program of dealing with troubled teenage boys. It appears that you have been able to have a very positive impact on these boys in teaching them work habits, character development, and giving them a sense of worth.

I especially enjoyed the opportunity to talk directly with seven of the boys in your wilderness camp to see how they have responded to the program. My assessment was that each has benefited from the program, and upon graduation, will be a much better person for having been at your facility. Your demands on them and loving attitude are the right combination towards giving these boys a second chance at growing into mature men.


Jerry Birmelin

State Representative

Children and Youth

Committee Chairman

Bald Eagle The Light

The world was dark, I could not see,
Stumbling over the things before me,
Not able to walk the twisted path,
Or throw off the anger that caused the wrath.

A light that helped me grow,
The light gave me the right way to know
The way to live a fulfilling life,
To get away from the sharpened knife.

The knife of my past was at my back.
It pulled on my rope, leaving no slack.
So I pulled out the sword of future of me
I cut the rope and now I am free.

Camp helped me to see the light,
Helped me turn from wrong to right.
It helped me cut the ties of my past,
And gave me a future I know will last.

-Andrew, A Camper

A Friendly Letter

The following is an excerpt from a letter that camp received after one of our groups completed a 3-week trip on the James River:

To Whom It May Concern:

While canoeing on the James River near Buchanan, VA, I met a group of 10-12 teenage boys with their leaders having a wonderful time. About 10 days later, I met them again at Bent Creek, VA. I invited them to spend the night on my 5 acres I own there. There were very respectful, energetic, and still having a wonderful time. They had numerous scrapes, scratches, and bruises that accompany expeditions on the river
(I have had many) and none seemed worse for the wear.

I think this is an excellent way for kids to bond, accept responsibility, and develop maturity while building self-esteem. Congratulations on your vision and choice of leaders who are real role models for the guys.

Your groups are welcome to use my place anytime in the future.


A Mother’s Testimony

What you have done for my son and my family is beyond love. Perhaps you will never know how many years I prayed that Derek could find a mentor. It was always “now” that I wanted it. God wanted it in His time. I wanted and prayed for one mentor. God gave Derek all of you. The number is not count-less, but it is many. All of you have separate gifts and talents that you share with the boys. You all have different insights and personal attributes to share. When I think of you and camp, I remember what an awesome God loves us and I remember who I was thinking in human terms by asking for just one mentor for Derek. In spite of my impatience and bitterness, God gave Derek all of you.

So you see, thanking you seems so little in comparison for what you have done for him. You very well may have saved his life, saved him from self-hatred, and saved him from not ever seeing what God’s love is.

Lisa-A Camper’s Mother

A Place Great and Fair

Is there a place so great and fair,
Where moths still dance (most days) in the air?

Where stumps, yet blackened, in
remembrance of long past blaze
still stand?

Where the air is easily inhaled by
every creature, from the tiniest of
insects to the sleeping black bear?

Is there a place so wonderfully bare
Of all the things that make life for me hard?

A place where work is foreign and the
farmer doesn’t dread the rising of the
big orange ball?

Where the glorious sunshine hits the
earth in a fragrance of color, that
makes trout and bass jump and the
streams look silver?

A place where moss covers rocks for
you to lay, softer than a bed of feathers
and hay?

Where a shriveled-up leaf with its
stem still in place, looks like a field
mouse ready to race?

Oh, I beg you to tell me if you know
the place, where the tops of oak trees
clatter when the wind blows.

The place is the woods, if you know it
or not, the best place to live, learn,
and be taught.

-Ryan, A Camper