Aeneas Magdalena - "Nalu"

Core Contribution: "Youthful Adventure"

All the cabins are tucked in, if not quiet… but wait… a few campers are furtively sneaking about the camp… why?… what’s going on?… oh… it is Nalu’s cabin on a secret treasure hunt adventure that no one else is aware of, an adventure those kids still remember to this day as their own special adventure. Nalu is the master of adventure, from the Dawn Treader to the Grunkalunk to attempted hoodwinks as the Professor. So many kids will treasure the magic of their adventures forever.

Leadership Contributions: 1993 - ongoing

Five years of leadership at Sunship Earth, plus two at Vision 20/20 and Mysterious Encounters, plus work with summer day camps and Explorers.

Personal Reflection

The Center and Sunship have shaped my development since I was 11 years old. The next 16 years that followed taught me about leading, about the Earth and its pressing issues, about Myself and most importantly about Magic. Not the storybook variety but the mystery and subtle power of the imagination. Magic and the AEC are inseparable. The programs would not be as effective or as memorable. It was the Magic of imagination, of the forest, and the emotional connections that made all the difference in the world.

Belief in the characters at Sunship took a leap of faith from the participants. It took a mastery of Magic from the leader not to disappoint. Staying in character, genuine effort and inspiration, and a control of the situation kept the fun alive. The bond between actor and audience reaches beyond entertainment into the realm of belief in the impossible.

Magic is present in all natural environments: in the glimpsing of a forest creature, in a serene stand of trees, in a farmer’s field at dusk. We needed to feel that quiet energy for ourselves and then we had to share it with the kids.

The personal web of teaching and mentoring is the strongest Magic we used. To nurture a child’s understanding without fear of judgment is a powerful bond. A kind hand giving a gift of knowledge is a joy shared by both the student and mentor. Not only was knowledge shared but fun as well. In the shared catharsis of emotion, we created Magic.

It is this quality amongst all the others that stands out for me. I will never forget its power and will strive to make it a part of everything I do for the rest of my life. I hope that its lessons are still being learned in these programs.