The Eagles Day Camp programs have become favorite summer pastimes for Eastern Christian Elementary students and children who live in local neighborhoods of Northern New Jersey.
But who has ever heard of Day Camp in December? Well, the Eagles Day Camp staff envisioned just such an event as a way to offer a day of safe, creative, and exciting activities for kids while raising money and food donations to benefit victims of Hurricane Sandy at the same time.
On Saturday, December 1, 75 students in grades K through 5 came out to participate in "Camp for a Cause Day" at the Eastern Christian Elementary School. A staff of 18 volunteer counselors and program leaders supervised the festivities, which included face painting, Christmas card making, cookie decorating, games (including indoor "snowball" fights), watching Christmas movies, and even a bouncy house. For a small registration fee of $25 (and only $5 for each additional sibling), parents enjoyed 4 hours of free time with the satisfaction of knowing their kids were in a safe environment and having a great time!
Camp for a Cause was a success on many levels. The kids who attended had lots of fun. Fourth grader Annika Westra had a hard time deciding which part was her favorite: "The bouncy house was awesome, but I really liked the indoor snowball fight, which really weren't snowballs, they were white fuzzy things, and I loved making my own Advent calendar full of candy!" More importantly, the camp raised $2000 from camper registrations and collected a large amount of food donations to benefit hurricane victims. The money and food collections were split evenly between the Salvation Army and New Hope Community Ministries for distribution.
Eagles Camp for a Cause is extremely grateful for the support shown by gracious corporate and personal sponsors, whose contributions helped ensure that all registration monies went straight to the partnering organizations. A lunch of pizza and hot dogs was served compliments of Wyckoff Pizza, Rosario's, and the Belmont Grill; the North Haledon Foodtown supplied Christmas cookies; Taylor Rental loaned the bouncy house; Print Solutions in Englewood provided promotional printing services at no charge; and various other items were donated by Eastern Christian parents. All in all, it was an event characterized by giving on many levels, which is what Christmas is about, after all. Maybe day camp in December isn't such a strange idea, after all!
For more information about Eagles Day Camps please contact James Anderson at
or call 973.427.6244 ext. 300.
Three years ago, an idea was hatched within the Eastern Christian community for an exciting, innovative way to serve not just its own school family, but the broader community of all local children and their families. This vision officially became reality at a grand opening ceremony and dedication service of the new Eagles Learning Center on Saturday, November 17, 2012.
Tom Dykhouse, Executive Director and Head of School for Eastern Christian, presided over the ribbon cutting ceremony, which was also attended by the Honorable Randy George, mayor of North Haledon, who was thanked for his personal support of the project and the backing of borough officials overall. Mr. Dykhouse acknowledged the work of John Belanus, Director of Operations for Eastern Christian, who led the efforts to secure and renovate the physical space now occupied by the learning center. He also thanked Dick Van Yperen, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, for providing leadership in developing the program of Eagles Learning Center and recruiting staff. Eagles Learning Center co-directors Ken Knyfd and Ian Zacharias were acknowledged for their diligent work in bringing the center to life, along with James Anderson, Director of Extended Learning Programs, under whose direction Eagles Learning Center falls. Also present at the dedication service were members of the Eastern Christian School Association board of directors, trustees of the Foundation for Eastern Christian School, members of the Eagles Learning Center Advisory Board, and members of the Eastern Christian Administrative Council and Educational Council.
The venture of Eagles Learning Center was envisioned as a way for Eastern Christian Schools to capitalize on 120 years of experience in teaching children and young people and use that experience to support community families. Eagles Learning Center offers programs and activities such as SAT and ACT preparation, enrichment services, and education support for kids with unique learning needs and those who need a little extra help.
Eagles Learning Center is located at 569 High Mountain Road in North Haledon, next to Veenstra's Deli, a location which Mr. Dykhouse described as "providential", being located right in the middle of North Haledon's two schools, Memorial School on one side and High Mountain School on the other. Questions about Eagles Learning Center can be directed to
or call 973.310.3205.