BY: ANDREW COLTON | Editor and Publisher
COCONUT CREEK, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — Popular summer camp “Eagles Landing and the Night Owls” has been sold by founder Matthew Cannold to North Broward Prep. The school has hosted the camp since its inception nearly a quarter century ago. The school now takes control of “Eagles Landing and the Night Owls,” its programming and management. Matthew Cannold is no longer associated with the operation.
The sale, confirmed to BocaNewsNow.com by North Broward Preparatory School, comes after a controversial summer in which Eagles Landing opened in the midst of COVID while other area camps — including American Heritage and St. Andrews — remained closed. Although no child contracted COVID-19 at Eagles Landing camp, multiple alleged COVID-19 safety violations were reported to the City of Coconut Creek as the summer progressed. Some resulted in warnings, others were dismissed as being non-issues. Camp closed midway through the summer after Cannold contracted COVID-19 himself. Cannold reported to the camp community that his infection was family, and not camp, related.
North Broward Preparatory Head of School Bruce Fawcett issued this statement to BocaNewsNow.com on July 11th, 2020:
“Eagles Landing Camps (ELC) operates each year on the campus of North Broward Preparatory School during the summer months,” said Head Of School Bruce Fawcett exclusively to BocaNewsNow.com. “After recent inspections by the City of Coconut Creek, the school has been working with both the City and members of the ELC team to support the camp as they work to meet the regulations established by Broward County Administrator’s Emergency Order 20-12, Attachment 16.”
Fawcett confirmed North Broward Prep’s acquisition of ELC to BocaNewsNow.com on Tuesday, November 24th, but said he couldn’t provide details about what led to the sale or North Broward Prep’s plan for the camp’s overnight and daytime programs. Cannold declined to answer specifics about the sale, only saying “I’ve lived all my dreams!”
Summer Camps are now in pre-season mode, preparing for summer sessions which many hope will start in just six months.
Here is the statement Matt Cannold emailed to the Eagles Landing camp community:
Dear ELC Community,
For 23 years I have had the privilege of being the founder and Director of Eagles Landing and the Night Owls. From the day I packed my car in December of 1997 to drive from NYC to Boca Raton, ELC became the center of my universe. I write to tell you of some significant changes that are coming, all of which are positive developments.
But first, I’d like to start with kudos to several colleagues who played a major role in this journey. I was fortunate to find certain people who fell in love with what ELC meant to them, and wanted to help make sure it remained “a way of life” for everyone. Bobby and Traci Ciccone (who met at ELC in 1999) are and have been part of the lifeblood of the camp since they came on full time in 2008 and 2014 respectively. Shari Parson, who was my first staff interview and hire in 1998, ended up becoming the camp’s Director, and stayed with us for 22 years (ending her run after the 2019 season). Liza Vestal joined us six years ago, and has transformed the camp’s winter office from “efficient” to the epitome of a 21st century workplace. Our latest addition, Brandon “BB” Boston, who has been with us off and on since 2008, joined our full-time staff in 2018 to run the inaugural summer of Eagles Landing International. My “ELC Family” love and cherish this camp as much as I do.
As we enter our 24th summer it’s also very exciting to think about what lies right around the corner; the quarter century mark for ELC. We hear all the time from our past campers, some of whom have gone on to become staff and many others who actually have had children of their own and sent them here, that ELC has become far more than just a place to spend a summer; it has become “a way of life” for entire families. Having such a “local” element and sense of community has made ELC’s and Night Owl’s return percentage the highest we know of in the industry; a fact we are extremely proud of. But more than any statistic, it is the smiles on day one and the tears and hugs on the last day of every summer that confirm what a truly special place this is.
I have been incredibly fortunate to have been here since the inception. However, there comes a time when “life decisions” need to be made. Some are exciting, others bittersweet, and some are both. It is with an excited but heavy heart that I announce that I have sold my part of the camp to my longtime partner, the North Broward Preparatory Schools. I plan on pursuing endeavors outside of camp that have long been of interest to me personally. NBPS is intimately familiar with the camp and the facilities, and is committed to maintaining its core values and ensuring its future success. I have full confidence entrusting NBPS and my fabulous ELC team with preserving the camp experience, and I depart confident in knowing that the future has never been brighter for a camp that has set the standard in South Florida for nearly a quarter of a century.
It would be impossible to thank everyone who has played a role over the past two plus decades, so I won’t even try. I will just say to all the past and present campers, staff and parents, THANK YOU for allowing me to live my dream profession and take care of everyone’s most prized possessions, their children. I won’t be too far from ELC, and will most definitely spend time with my summer family (especially during Color War!).
My daughters and I look forward to the next chapter in our lives. ELC was and is a magical place that transforms lives. I know it transformed mine.
With respect and gratitude forever,
Matthew Cannold, Founder
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