Sisters Claire and Laney Spurlock decided that for the first time, they wanted to try a two-week stay at Camp War Eagle this summer. Their mom admits that they will handle the separation better than she will.
Claire and Laney are the daughters of Ernie and Amanda Spurlock of Hindsville. Amanda is a third-grade teacher at Huntsville Intermediate School while Ernie works in management at George’s Poultry in Springdale.
Claire, 13, will be an eighth-grader this fall in Huntsville, while Lacey, 9, will be in the fourth grade.
“I’m excited the first few days, then it’ll be all quiet. Two weeks will be long, but I know they’ll have fun,” Amanda said.
This will be Claire’s fifth time at CWE, while Laney will be making her third visit. Unlike the previous years, the girls will be staying two weeks, from Sunday, July 14, through July 27.
“They’re a little nervous this year for two weeks, but I think they’ll do fine,” Amanda said. “They’ll do a lot better than I will. I’ll probably start missing them about day four.”
Amanda Spurlock for the past two years has been an ambassador for CWE, located southwest of Hobbs State Park and Conservation Area.
“I help any families that need to apply,” she said. “I help them get applications in and if they need help getting shot records and payments. There’s a lot of information that needs to be turned in. I help them get all that turned in and ready to go.”
Camp War Eagle at Beaver Lake serves more than 6,000 children in the area. Lacey Bailey, associate director of community engagement, said the camp is a joint effort of the Walton Family Foundation and Incomparable Camp Ozark.
Alice Walton, daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton, especially, wanted the camp.
“It is fully funded by the Walton Family Foundation,” Bailey previously told The Record. “Camp War Eagle was a vision of Alice ... she wanted this premier summer camp that typically was only affordable for the wealthy. She wanted that to exist in northwest Arkansas for all families.”
The overnight camps are for children ages 7-17.
Camp War Eagle was “founded on Christian principles and endeavor to provide a wholesome, upbeat Christian atmosphere for all of our campers,” the camp’s website says.
The cost of the various camp programs is based on family income, so a child could attend a one-week camp for as low as $20 and a two-week camp for as little as $30, Bailey said.
Camp War Eagle held a Mobile Day Camp last month at the Huntsville Intermediate School that drew about 100 children.
Spurlock said she thinks between 20-30 Madison County children will attend CWE this summer.
Camp War Eagle is a Christian-based camping experience on 600 acres with more than 100 options available for children. The camp offers fishing, photography, horses, basketball, skeet shooting, pottery, football, a skate park, cheer and dance, rappelling, soccer, camping, water skiing, cooking and grilling, woodworking, archery, tennis and more.
Children have to earn their way into the camp each year. A first-time applicant, like the others, will need a teacher’s recommendation.
“They of course do community service and community involvement in order to attend,” Amanda said. “They’re both so outgoing that they can make friends pretty quick and enjoy whatever activities they have there.”
Amanda said Claire has become involved in acting and wants to further her cooking skills, both of which will be offered at the camp. Both girls take part in water activities, sports, horseback riding, archery, cake decorating and other things.
Parents are not allowed to talk with children at camp, although emails and traditional letters are available. Amanda said the girls will be kept busy.
“There’s not a whole lot of down time. What there is, they rest,” she said. “They do a lot of fellowship, and they have their personal time there as well.”
Amanda Spurlock said the girls will have activities at camp that the family normally doesn’t do.
“Just the opportunities that they have,” she said when asked why she likes the camp. “Being able to go horseback riding, that’s not something that we’re going to do on our own, or geocashing, or a lot of the outdoor activities we don’t do ourselves, so they’re able to do that at camp.”
The personalities of Claire and Laney fit right in at the camp, as well.
“The girls love meeting new people because they’re so outgoing. They really enjoy the camp,” Amanda said.
Although it’s Claire who has caught the acting bug – she’s performed in two plays thus far – both girls usually take part in a special camp event.
“They both are outgoing [and] they like to perform,” Amanda said. “They always have a talent show and they’re usually in it. They want to entertain others – the complete opposite of mommy and daddy.”
Amanda said she wishes CWE had an adult camp.
“It’s a great facility. If there was one for adults to go to, it would be fun.”
Although CWE is large, it isn’t too large, she said.
“The facility is wonderful. It’s very roomy, there’s enough room for the kids to roam yet it’s close enough that you don’t feel that they’re unsafe or unsupervised. I know the counselors they take a lot of interest in the kids, even after camp.”
Amanda said she feels her girls are in good hands.
“I don’t feel at any point that they’re being mistreated or I have to worry about them,” she said. She also likes the religious aspects of the camp “I knew they were more religious based. When Claire started in first grade ... she enjoyed the devotional time and then also met new friends, had a great time. I want the girls to have more experiences than I had growing up.”
The girls have played softball, volleyball and basketball at school, which counts toward their required community involvement. Claire also is active in Girl Scouts. Both help extended family members with projects.
The process to apply for next year’s camps begins in mid-October, Bailey said.
For more information about the camp, visit campwareagle.org.