The Principles of Camp Pemigewassett

At the request of Director Danny Kerr, the senior staff at Pemi has written the following vision piece in which they enumerate the values and beliefs that shape Pemi.

1. A prime objective of being a camper at Pemi is having the opportunity to try and learn a variety of activities and occupations.

By being involved in and trying a variety of offerings, campers learn to appreciate the activities they are not familiar with and better understand and respect the campers and staff who lead or are involved in these activities.

Variety helps counteract the hyper-specialization that is so prevalent in schools and is so much a reality for children in America.

Involvement in a variety of occupations is a way to explore who you are and fosters the courage to grow and mature as a person.

It also encourages self-directed learning in a high reward/low risk environment and allows you to determine what may not be your passion, an important lesson as well.

2. Pemi is a joyous place.

Humor is an important aspect of being at Pemi. Humor lets us celebrate what we do and who we are, but it also helps us keep things in perspective.

Music is an important part of this joyous atmosphere, whether the music is all-camp singing, staff music, or the music campers enjoy in occupations. Music brings happiness and a sense of bonding to our community in part because it is something everyone can enjoy, be they professional musicians or campers who are simply singing in the mess hall.

We strive to achieve the highest professional standards in all our endeavors, but accept the reality that things don’t always go as planned. It is part of being human to make mistakes, and important to understand that they are inevitable and can be part of the happy reality of camp.

3. There are many ways to affirm and to serve others at Pemi.

Living intentionally is one way to affirm and serve and is a prime way to develop our sense of community. Living intentionally often means developing personally as you are learning to help others.

Role-modeling is everyone’s job at camp and is a primary way that we help the community to understand what it means to live intentionally.

Camp is a place to redesign or reinvent yourself each year, in large part because it is a safe place to grow and mature.

4. We always strive for and hold the community to the highest standards in everything we do.

We help campers look for and profit from the expertise that is around them on a daily basis during the summer.

The pursuit of the highest standards teaches as important a lesson as achieving the final product.

Showing respect for ourselves, others, and our setting, be it in camp or out of camp, is a vital standard to hold ourselves to.

5. Caring and inspiring relationships are at the core of the Pemi experience and are the driving force at camp.

Relationships made at camp are life-long, life-changing, and based on the common experience of being at Pemi.

These relationships are often cross-generational, are inclusive, and have within them the same standards of high expectations and responsibility that we try to achieve in all other facets of camp life.

4 thoughts on “The Principles of Camp Pemigewassett

  1. This is thoughtfully written and accurately reflects what I have observed over the past 7 seasons my son has been a camper at Pemi. We are so grateful for this wonderful place.

  2. I love the concept of “living intentionally.” I never thought of it in those words, but I have always been drawn to situations where there is this sense of being a valued and contributing part of a greater whole. Native American teachings emphasize this idea of serving the people and the tribe (as opposed to the self)– and that this somehow strengthens and affirms the individual who does so.

  3. Perhaps missing is what Pemi teaches best: the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic value–in short, the value of things in themselves, versus the value assigned to them. Unlike anywhere I have ever been, Pemi instills the importance of doing things for their intrinsic value, and virtually wipes clean any extrinsics that breed jealousy and shallowness in young boys. The focus on the intrinsic value of, say, completing a hike, earning a distinction in archery, or completing a project in the woodshop is always completely evident to the camper, and it points boys to a life in which what you do, and not what you have, is valued highest.

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