Meet your hosts Eshay and Druid

Your hosts:
Eshay and Druid

Eshay is the caretaker and creator of Camp Earth Connection and its programs. Eshay and Druid (Eshay’s canine companion) will be your hosts and welcome you during your visit to Camp Earth Connection

Eshay first connected with the land, now known as Camp Earth Connection in 1996, as the Director of Camp Programs for Cayuga Nature Center.  Eshay created the Explorer Camps and Village Camp Programs which introduced children and their families to primitive outdoor living and survival skills through experiential learning activities designed to get children excited about being outdoors and in nature. In 2002 Eshay purchased the camp and continued to develop additional specialty programs for families and kids, including Harmony Camp for children with LGBTQ parents, and Adoptions Connection for children from adoptive families. In 2016 the campground was opened. Children continue to visit the camp, whether with their families or during special events and programs. Camp Earth Connection has a special relationship with the Greater Ithaca Activities Center, and children from that program visit the camp throughout the summer.

Eshay has been designing and implementing environmental, educational and therapeutic (healing) programs for youth and adults for over 40 years, always incorporating an anti-biased approach to ensure that programs are as inclusive as possible. It is of utmost importance to Eshay that Camp Earth Connection provides a safe space for all people from diverse backgrounds.

Eshay has worked as a professional in the Human Services Field for 35 years.  Most recently Eshay worked as a “Family Support Supervisor” at the Adoption and Foster Family Coalition of NY supporting  both direct care staff and individual families, who needed parenting support raising children with early childhood trauma.

Eshay loves spending time with a large family of 7 adult children and 10 grandchildren as well as birth family connections!  Eshay’s family is a multiethnic adoptive family that has faced many challenges and hurdles and celebrated much growth, and successes.  

Some may question, why is Camp Earth Connection an alcohol and drug free facility? Why can’t we enjoy alcoholic beverages during our stay?  Eshay answer’s this in a blog post called “a sober story” written in January of 2021, which you are invited to read.

Eshay has loved the idea of “wilderness” since childhood.  Eshay’s family moved out of NYC when Eshay was about 6 years old. Eshay’s parents commuted about 3 hours (round trip) each day, so they could raise their children in the country. Although Eshay never went to camp as a kid, Eshay started working at children’s camps at 14 (scrubbing pots and pans.). Eshay fell in love with camps and spent most summers well into adult hood working at camps and teaching children in and about the outdoors, until finally purchasing Camp Earth Connection. Eshay started actually camping, backpacking and canoeing as a young adult. At 29 Eshay decided to learn some more intensive “survival skills”  and signed up for Tom Brown’s “Tracker School” and started reading all of his books on survival. From there Eshay continued to  read books and bulletins on primitive survival techniques as well as take classes and workshops on a variety of topics from wild edibles, to animal tracking, to shelter building. Eshay would learn a skill, and then would turn around and teach it to children and adults at a variety of venues, including Camp Earth Connection, Adult Education Classes at BOCES, and at local Nature Centers.  Then Eshay was introduced to Permaculture and fascinated by it. In 2004 Eshay went to California and became certified in a Permaculture Design. In 2021 Eshay went to Costa Rica, to fulfill a lifetime dream of visiting a rain forest and while there, completed another Permaculture Design Course – recommitting to the Permaculture’s three core values – Earth Care, People Care, and Fair Share. Eshay takes the knowledge gained from all these studies and offers people the opportunity to see how it all comes together at Camp Earth Connection.

Eshay believes the forest and the earth provide everything we need for survival. With that said, Eshay also believes we (humans) need to recognize that all creatures, plants and parts of the Earth are sacred, and that we need to be caretakers of the Earth to ensure that the Earth will able to provide and nurture our grandchildren and our grandchildren’s grandchildren.

Eshay believes in a Great Spirit that connects all of us to each other and the Earth; And for harmony to exist, that connection must be maintained, and at this time people need to find spaces to be connected to the Earth and each other. Eshay knows that Camp Earth Connection on Hammond Hill is a sacred place that can be healing and energizing to all who spend time there, and offers this space to you.