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Nelson McDaniel

Sea Gull

Years as a Camper: 0

Years as a Staff Member/Positions held:

  • 5 years as Assistant Head Counselor
  • 7 years as Head Counselor

Years as a Professional Staff Member/Positions held: Director of Development 1999-2009

Hometown: New Bern, NC

Background and Profession:

Undergraduate education, French and European History, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Master’s Degree, Economics, Georgetown/George Washington/Howard Consortium

Master’s Degree, French History and Civilization, New York University primarily in Paris

Taught French and History at Episcopal High School for 29 years

Chaired the New Bern 300th Celebration committee, 2008-2010

How did you first become involved with Camp? My sister, Jo Carole, went to Pre-Camp for Girls at Camp Sea Gull and was also a counselor. She encouraged me to apply to be a Junior Counselor in 1962. Jo Carole was very close to Lil Taylor and I was able to get to know Wyatt and Lil very well also.

What lessons or values from Camp do you still uphold today? My first job was as Assistant Head Counselor when Dr. Billy Hubbard was the Head Counselor. Billy was the perfect first supervisor since he was a perfectionist and wanted everything to be done just right, as he had been taught by Wyatt. I learned that lesson early, and it has stuck with me.

Wyatt and Lil loved children, and the children always came first. They were dedicated to doing things the right way and setting an expectation of excellence. They placed a high priority on relationships (Lil was legendary for remembering names, even 50 years after girls had attended Seafarer), and were strong leaders who led with empathy and integrity. Wyatt insisted on honesty in his staff members and campers.

Community is clearly near and dear to your heart. How do you stay involved locally? My board service has included the Hospital Foundation, Tryon Palace Foundation, Tryon Palace Commission, Historical Society, Arts Council and Boys & Girls Club of Eastern North Carolina. I’m also very involved in Christ Episcopal Church, singing in their choir, serving on search committees and leading capital campaigns.

After Hurricane Florence devastated eastern N.C. in the fall of 2018, I started a group dedicated to helping the residents of the area to be better prepared for the next natural disaster and to mitigate damage from the next storm. The name of the group is Citizens Advocating Resiliency and Education, or C.A.R.E.