Summer 2012: Final Newsletter, #8

It’s Tuesday, August 14th, and boy is it quiet here at Pemi! The sun is out, there’s a soft but steady breeze wafting down the lake, the grass has greened up after some Pemi Week showers – but there are about ten people, total, on camp grounds. Our 105th Reunion is coming up this weekend, with some 170 folks scheduled to attend, but we’re currently enjoying a brief lull between the regular season and that special alumni event. Many of the staff who will be helping out at week’s end are grabbing some much-deserved time off – some in Boston, some in Vermont, and a major group spearheaded by Jay and Andrew McChesney paddling down the Saco River from Conway NH to the state of Maine. So, all in all, it’s a perfect time to scribe the last Newsletter of the 2012 season.

It seems appropriate to begin with a toast Danny offered at our Final Awards Banquet last Thursday evening. It does a wonderful job reminiscing about many memorable aspects of the season – with appropriate gratitude for the inspiring and often selfless contributions of so many.

Danny offers a toast at Final Banquet

May I propose a toast…

Here’s to summer 2012 at Camp Pemigewassett, the 105th in Pemi’s proud history, a summer that began seven weeks ago for campers, eight weeks ago for staff, and as many as ten weeks ago for counselors attending the Wilderness First Aid Clinic, the Nature Clinic, or Life Guard Training Clinic. (We won’t even try to calculate how many weeks ago Zach Barnard began his summer.)

Here’s to a camp season that ends with days growing shorter and the first hints of autumn in the air, a summer that by all accounts has been a spectacular success, made possible mostly by the people in this room.

Here’s to the 270 campers who graced the shores of Lower Baker Pond, campers from over twenty of these United States and twelve foreign countries; and here’s to the Chilean and United Arab Emirates flags that we added to our collection in the mess hall this summer, as well. Here’s to campers in their first year at Pemi and, yes, TH Pearson, here’s to a camper in his eighth.

Here’s to the dedicated counselor staff at Pemi in 2012, to the cabin counselors and AC’s who become family with the boys, to the program staff that teach them skills that will inspire them for a lifetime, and to the administrators who do their best to support and guide both the staff and the campers throughout the summer.

Here’s to the hard-working maintenance crew that Chris Jacobs leads so vigorously each day, allowing us safe access to this beautiful campus; to Heather Leeds and Kim Malcolm in the office (who never get enough credit), and here’s to Stacey Moore and her crew who confirmed for us what we hoped was true – that the days of delicious food cooked from scratch and fresh produce from the nearby farms of New Hampshire and Vermont can still a part of the Pemi dining experience.

And, of course, here’s to the Reed and Fauver Families who, in their loving and supportive way, continue to expect nothing short of excellence from each of us and who see stewardship of Camp Pemigewassett as their chance to make the world a better place, one boy at a time.

Here’s to the wonderful program at Pemi and to Kenny Moore for keeping everyone moving in the right direction; here’s to Deb Pannell down in Art World, to Charlie Malcolm and all the coaches in the athletics program, to Tom Reed and the dozens of trips that head to the mountains each week, to maestro Ian Axness and the beautiful music we enjoy, to Larry Davis’s world-class nature program, to Jeff Greene and Boomer [the robotic ball feeder] and the thousands of tennis balls we hit each summer, and to all of the great things that happen down on the waterfront.

Here’s to the weather, so many beautiful days— long days with crisp mornings, blazing afternoons, and that peaceful golden haze across the pond at day’s closing that we never tire of stopping to admire. Here’s also to the thunderstorm on July 17th that gave a unique welcome to our new second-half campers and that left its mark on a tree outside the mess hall, a subtle reminder of the power of Mother Nature.

Here’s to athletic contests against our friendly rivals in the Baker Valley, contests hard-fought, the victories, the ones that got away, and of course, here’s to our Tecumseh Day victory (wow, did I just say that?) and to the celebration that ensued, not just here at camp, but throughout the ranks of Pemi alums scattered around the world.  And, thank you Charlie for so poetically explaining to us that the Hat “does not represent winning; it represents our journey together. You, Camp Pemigewassett, are the Hat….”

Here’s to the things that are so uniquely Pemi: leaning flag poles, Pink Polar Bear, the Pee-rade, saxophone on senior beach at sunset, FRB, distance swims, Woods Dude’s Day, dope stops, the Pemi Kid, and the everlasting quest to discover “What’s a bean?” And of course, here’s to Metal Boy (Tom’s personal creation) and to the wonderful mid-season performance this summer that he inspired. 

Here’s to all-camp events at Pemi, Bean Soup when we’re loud and we laugh at ourselves, Campfire when we’re creative and artistic, and Sunday Service when we’re reflective and thoughtful about such things as history at Pemi, the beauty and power of water, “tipping points,” life-changing travel experiences, and the notion that there are many ways to be a Pemi Kid.

But most importantly, here’s to the life-long friendships that are created each summer at Pemi – and to the reality that Pemi is a place where you will likely discover worthy passions to inspire you for the rest of your life.

Here’s to Camp Pemigewassett 2012.

Good luck, long life and joy!

Many aspects of the Banquet itself are rich in tradition and significance: the salute to the chefs (this year especially fervent given Stacey Moore’s wonderful success on the culinary front); the penultimate singing of “The Marching Song,” basically Pemi’s national anthem; the annual observation that, for all of the accomplishments celebrated at this “awards feast,” perhaps the most meaningful memento to be carried away is the simple triangular felt banner that each diner finds at his place (this year, obviously, “Pemi ’12”) signaling not a deed or an act or a victory over self or opponent – but simply being a member of a committed and supportive community. That said, each year’s “special awards,” voted on by the entire staff, bring the evening to an emotional conclusion in ways that will not soon be forgotten. Think Academy Awards, but about exemplary boys, and many of them totally off-script. We’re not sure we’ve ever shared all of the inscriptions, so it makes sense to offer them to you here, together with 2012’s “winners.”

Jivan Khakee and Jack Purcell

The Johnnie’s Medal, “For Dramatics,” went to Nick Gordon for his stellar rendition of the title character in the first-session Pemi-premiere musical, Metal Boy. Earning the Scott S. Withrow Gilbert and Sullivan Award for his lead in Pirates of Penzancewas Ezra Nugiel. And the third of the “performing arts awards” – Doc Reed’s Musician Trophy, “In memory of Doc Reed for . . . the camper who has contributed most to the music at Pemi” – recognized both Jivan Khakee (clarinet) and Jack Purcell (guitar).

Byron Lathi and Sam Grier

Sam Grier and Byron Lathi shared the Pemigewassett Competitive Swimming Trophy, “Awarded to that member of the team whose swimming ability, competitive spirit, and sportsmanship combine to make him a leader among his teammates.” The Pemigewassett Soccer Trophy, recognizing “that boy who has demonstrated the greatest command of the sport of soccer, exemplified by his interest, determination, ability, and sportsmanship, went to Pepe Periel and Jamie Nicholas. Al Fauver, iconic former director, read the inscription not only for the Swimming Trophy (Al was a star swimmer at Oberlin, one of the early collegians to adopt the butterfly stroke) but also for the Fauver Baseball Trophy, “In memory of Doc Gar and Doc Win and the competitive spirit exemplified by them”: the winner this season was Oscar Tubke-Davidson, star pitcher and hitter for the 12-and-under team. Culminating the athletic awards, as always, was the Counselors’ Athletic Trophy, “for fine sportsmanship and all-around athletic proficiency and interest.” This year, the award went to Thomas Bono and Patterson Malcolm. Surely one of the highlights of the evening was Athletic Director Charlie Malcolm reading his son’s name for this honor (after carefully recusing himself from all discussion.)

Caleb Tempro

It is not every summer that the Courage Award is granted. The inscription is as follows: “To the boy in camp who has displayed exceptional courage in overcoming pain, adversity, or self-doubt; in confronting danger to himself of his fellows; in standing by his convictions; or in defending the rights and convictions of others – and so has helped us all to find and draw upon our own reserves of inner strength as we meet the tests of life.” Bravery has always been very much in evidence at Pemi, whether it be facing a hurler with a wicked curve ball or a trail steeper than one thought possible. We have never thought this award, though, is about anything vaguely “routine,” even if it is something like coping with the pain of a broken bone. This year, however, marked the culmination of one wonderful camper’s multi-year journey from an all-consuming fear of deep water to becoming a valuable member of the competitive swimming team and ultimately “swimming his distance,” covering half the length of the lake in water over fifty feet deep. Caleb Tempro’s name was met with a palpable rush of recognition and appreciation.

Andrew Kanovsky, Phineas Walsh, and Hugh Jones

Every year, it’s truly remarkable how each of these special awards commands the rapt attention of the whole camp family – and how thunderous is the response not only to the naming of the recipients but also to that moment when the winners hang the plaques back on the wall in anticipation of next season. None of the honors, however, equal these last three in terms of communal impact and appreciation. They are not about physical skills – or easily-measurable deeds – or formally-calibrated acts. They are about character, and about the opportunities, both individual and communal, that any educational institution like Pemi holds closest to its heart. The Achievement Trophy reads “Inscribed each year hereon is the name of him who has made the greatest all-around achievement, measured by the dual consideration of distance gained and goal achieved.” Winners this year were Andrew Kanovsky and Phineas Walsh (Juniors), Nicholas Gordon (Lowers), Hugh Jones (Uppers), and JJ Murray (Seniors.) The Divisional Citizenship Trophy goes to “the best all-around citizen in each division whose generous and unselfish spirit gives success, happiness, and self-esteem to others.” (What greater gifts to others?) Singled out from a strong group of nominees for 2012 were Teddy Foley and Tate Suratt (Juniors), Nick Toldalagi (Lowers), Pepe Periel (Uppers), and Zach Leeds (Seniors.) And finally, the Founders’ Citizenship Trophy: “In memory of Doc Gar, Win, and Reed, on this trophy is inscribed each year the name of him who is considered to have contributed most to camp beyond the line of duty.” This year’s winner was in his fifth year at Pemi, coming to us all the way from Papua New Guinea. Unremittingly active, continually sunny, infallibly kind and considerate, Sompy Somp brought the house down when his name was read and he strode modestly to the front of the room. This was Pemi operating on a global scale, and a truly fitting ending to a festive and emotional occasion celebrating a banner Pemi year.

Finally, the promised review of Pirates of Penzance, submitted (as always) by Clive Bean, North Woods cousin of Clive Barnes and maven of all things cultural in the upper Baker Valley.

Folks in the theater world sometimes say that a shaky dress rehearsal augurs a great show. If you’d been in the Pemigewassett Opera House this past Monday evening, you might therefore have been moved to predict that Tuesday’s Opening would be a triumph. Either that or . . . total Armageddon.  That final practice session was about as smooth and professional as the Boston Red Sox season so far.  But, lo and behold, when the curtain parted on the day that really counted, what ensued was one of the most spirited and finished Gilbert and Sullivan productions in recent Pemi memory – maybe of all time.           

Ezra Nugiel and Dorin Dehls

Anchoring the show were Ezra Nugiel and Dorin Dehls as the romantic leads, Frederic and Mabel (well before Mabel started sneaking Splenda and flinging that silverware!)  Sterling performer in skirts in multiple past productions, Ezra stepped back into trousers with all the dramatic cachet and vocal deftness that Pemi audiences have come to expect of him. In make-up vaguely reminiscent of Johnny Depp’s in his own Pirates shows, Ezra convincingly and quickly won the tender heart of Dorin, who partnered him in the show’s set of lovely duets with truly professional finish.  Her acting, moreover, was consistently beyond the mark.           

Robert Loeser, Phineas Walsh, and Andre Altherr were wonderful as Mabel’s co-daughters of the paternally preternaturally prolific Major General Stanley, Edith, Kate, and Isabel. (Proof, incidentally, that a show CAN have its Kate and Edith too!) The trio handled their older sister’s idiosyncratic dating proclivities with real sensitivity and tact – and subsequently inspired the Penzance constabulary’s mortal combat with some convincing maidenly bloodlust. Back on the piratical side, John Stevenson was a highly effective Samuel, providing his seafaring bros the odd life preserver and dark lantern with all of the efficiency of a Victorian Amazon.com.           

Henry Eisenhart

Pirates can’t work without a strong Ruth, and Henry Eisenhart played the none-too-bright piratical-maid-of-all-work with all of the daffy energy of Ben Walsh announcing cabin soccer matches. Henry is headed off to Australia for the coming year, and his remarkable knack for having fun in ladies’ clothing bodes well for his success in Brock Ellis’s upcoming Down Under revival of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert – which, if you don’t know it, is about three Aussie Pemi Kids who decide it would be way cooler to be Bloomer Girls. Good luck, Henry. Just watch out for those rough lads in short shorts from Australian Rules Football.           

Robert Loeser, Larry Davis, and Andre Altherr

Returning to his role as the fiercely independent Pirate King, Larry Davis outdid himself with self-righteous bluster, liberally sprinkled with credulous simplicity. Veteran Major General Tom Reed, Jr. matched Larry in confusion and irritability in the show’s fabled “orphan/often” dialogue, the two college professors amply proving that having a PhD degree is no guarantee of an ability to communicate with any kind of clarity.           

One of the hallmarks of the Ian-Axness-era G&S is impeccable choral work, and both the “girls” and mens’ ensembles delivered themselves of sharp and engaging performances. Will Adams, Sam Berman, Richie Carchia, George Cooke, Jack Elvekrog, Hugh and Tucker Jones, Suraj Khakee, Ben Ridley, and Dash Slamowitz made it clear that, just because you slam Camp Tecumseh, that doesn’t mean you can’t look smashing in a dress. (Bridgid Ruf, by the way, was terrific as a girl – even though she didn’t have to pretend! Tra la la, tra lal la, tra la la la! The Wellesley Blue for me!) Meanwhile, on the x-chromosome side, Nick Bertrand, Ben Chaimberg, Teddy Farkas, Owen Felsher, Hugh Grey, Max Nugiel, Dylan O’Keefe, TH Pearson, Fred Seebeck, and Ian Steckler honored their tattoos, scars, and bandannas with bang-on cut-em-up performances.           

Police

All this was wonderful. Positively stealing the show, though, was the chorus of Police, with Jamie Andrews, Bryce Grey, Pierce Haley, Dan Reed, Owen Ritter, and Dan Willard making poignant cowardice visible (and audible) in ways that haven’t been seen since Monty Python’s Brave Sir Robin “personally wet himself at the Battle of Badon Hill.” Deftly orchestrating their lily-livered lunacy was Mike Plecha as their ‘beater-wearing Sergeant. There have been great Sergeants in the past, including Larry Davis and Fred Seebeck; but Mike inhabited this role like none before him. A flawless Cockney accent all but guarantees that, if Mike is ever in search of a job, all he needs to do is go on a crash diet and he can easily take over from the Geico gecko.      

Ian Axness and Owen Fried (page turner)

Special thanks go to many folks behind the scenes. To Zach Barnard for his exhaustive refurbishing of the sets and for all of his other tech and production work. To Dorin Dehls for indispensable direction assistance and vocal coaching. To Deborah Fauver for her sustained and generous work with costumes. To Penelope Reed Doob for her great sensitivity and wit in staging.  Top kudos and mega thanks, though, go to Ian Axness, as always the lynch pin to Pemi’s Gilbert and Sullivan productions as both musical director and pianist extraordinaire. This was Ian’s sixth show here – two Pinafore’s, two Mikado’s, and two Pirates. He has never been better at making sure everything happened when and as it had to, from casting the show through early rehearsals to the finished production. Given the state of the dress rehearsal we refer to at the top, he never had to be so patient. The proof, though, is in the pudding. And all of the top drama critics in the Greater Wentworth area agree that this was one of the best G&S shows in decades, if not since the original London production in 1880. Pour, o pour the private sherry.  It’s time to celebrate!

[Thank you Clive. May your sugar bush run copiously come March – and keep braking for moose!]

Well, it is time more broadly to celebrate a wonderful Pemi season, capped nicely by both the Tecumseh Day victory and the upcoming 105th. As we wait for the next set of cars to rumble across our bridge with their eager (and somewhat older) occupants this coming Friday, we also look forward to next June and July, when you, our gentle readers, bring your sons back to us for another season. In the mean time, enjoy having them back in the nest, thank you for your trust, and have a wonderful Fall.

— Tom and Danny

 

 

 

2012 Summer Newsletter: #7

As we sit in the Pemi “West Wing” this morning of August 6th, the truck from E&R Laundry is filling up with green camper bags and pink staff bags for the last laundering run of the summer. Hard to believe that the next time these Pemi shorts and T-shirts, these Smartwool and Champion socks, these Manchester United and Barcelona jerseys go in the wash  . . . it will likely be in your very own Maytags and Kenmores!

Time may be flying, but it’s a beautiful day in this little valley (after some much-needed rain last night) and, as always with “Pemi Week” stanzas, it will be filled to the brim with varied (and sometimes frenzied) activity. Lowers and Seniors are down at the beach locked into the Divisional Swimming Championships, in which almost every camper participates (many, we’d bet, secretly imagining themselves to be the next Michael Phelps or Ryan Lochte.) Uppers are working through the middle rounds of their Tennis Tournament, and select Seniors will soon be out on the lake for the opening races of their Sailing Championship, taking advantage of the brisk north-westerly breeze that often accompanies clearing weather up here. Meanwhile, there’s a Junior Soccer Tournament unfolding as well, with all of Doc Nick’s wonders assigned to three teams for a spirited round-robin competition that begot thunderous applause when it was announced in the mess hall this morning. (Who, we wonder, will be today’s Clint Dempseys and Lionel Messis and Tim Howards?)

Grand Opening of the 2012 Art Show

This afternoon, Uppers and Juniors will don their jammers and head to the waterfront, many Lowers and Seniors will move to the tennis courts, other Lowers and Seniors will head to the soccer pitch, and the preliminary races of the Windsurfing Championship will get underway on the white-capped lake. Meanwhile, Deb Pannell, Dottie Reed, and Harry McGregor will have finished the installation in our Library of the Annual Pemigewassett Art Show – and then host the gala opening, complete with cornucopial cheese platter, fresh fruit, and delicious sparkling punch. (Everyone gets firsts. For seconds, you have to answer some searching trivia questions about the items on display!) Then, after an early supper, the G&S cast trundles down to the Lodge for the dress rehearsal of Pirates of Penzance, while Ryan Fauver hosts the rest of the camp in the Mess Hall for the second of this season’s Vaudeville Shows. Did we say we were busy this week?

Did we say we were busy last week? Advanced Caving Trip to Schoharie, New York, with Zach Leeds, Dan Bivona, Harry Cooke, Alex Baskin, Dylan O’Keefe, TH Pearson, Sompy Somp, Max Von Passchen, and Dan Reiff marveling at their subterranean adventures.

The annual trip to Mt. Katahdin in northern Maine (details below). Uppers 1 and 2 overnighting at Greenleaf Hut in the spectacular Franconia Range on Monday and Tuesday, respectively. Florian Dietl, Daniel Bowes, Max Pagnucco, Charlie and Will Parsons, Julian Hernandez-Webster, and Hugh Grier joining staff members Peter Siegenthaler, Juan Gallardo, and Dan Reed for a spectacular traverse of the Presidential Range, staying at the recently renovated Madison Springs Hut. Richie Carchia, Owen Fried, Jack Wright, Alex Sheikh, Johnny Seebeck, Jamie Zusi, and Greg Nacheff tri-summiting Mt. Tripyramid on a (yes!) three-day. Simultaneously, some thirty miles west of them, Hugh Gray, Ben Chaimberg, Nate Blumenthal, Charlie Scott, Nat Healy, Patrick Sullivan, Jamie Nicholas, and Colin Alcus summiting Mt. Moosilauke on the same schedule. The entire Junior Camp on an afternoon field trip to the Science Center of New Hampshire on Squam Lake. A second geology field trip to Crawford Notch just west of the Presidentials (details below). The entire Lower camp headed off to Lebanon, NH for a pizza dinner followed by a viewing of Ice Age IV. (Remember? Before climate change?) The entire Upper Camp traveling to Manchester to take in an AA league baseball game (details below). The entire Senior Camp hosting the lasses from Camp Merriwood for an afternoon of sports, a barbecue on the beach, and a brief evening of what we are assured is still called “dancing.” The same lads, the next day, heading south for Hanover Day, with supper at that much-favored bistro “Everything but Anchovies” and a screening of Dark Knight Rising. All terrific fun, and great ways to side-step any possible feelings of let-down after our magnificent day against Tecumseh at the end of Week Five. By the time Saturday rolled around, with the annual Brad Jones Day and the thirtieth iteration of Games Day, everyone was ready for a sleep-in and an afternoon “at home.” Add to Saturday’s activities an evening showing of How to Train Your Dragon and Pemi Week was well off and running.

Now for some of the “details” promised above. First, we hear from Jamie Andrews who, together with Ben Walsh, led the trip up Katahdin, Maine’s highest peak and the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. They were joined on this always-memorable jaunt by Nathaniel Kaplan, Thompson Bain, Alex Baskin, Spencer Cain, Dan Reiff, Andreas Sheikh, Ben Stone, and TH Pearson (many of whom had just returned from caving!)

Mount Katahdin, a wilderness monolith at the end of the AT in Maine, is an arduous climb. It has tough bouldering sections, and long stretches of exposed trail making its traverse particularly dangerous in inclement weather. Due to these factors, Pemi’s group headed off any storm danger by starting our hike at seven AM, ascending the AT Hunt trail. With a cooling morning drizzle pattering on our heads, we quickly climbed the first few miles until we reached the aforementioned bouldering section. Without tree cover, a dragon’s spine of stone stretched out upon the ridge ahead of us. We adopted a slower pace, and eventually passed through the “gateway,” onto the flat terrace near the top of Katahdin. The weather cleared some, with the mountains behind us looking like islands jutting through a sea of clouds. Covering the last mile and a half through the flatter alpine zone, the Pemi boys made it to the top just in time to eat lunch and witness a group of thru-hikers complete their trek. With beards to their chests and 2,100 miles at their backs, the trekkers yelped and yodeled like the proverbial “Happy Wanderer,” celebrating their final ascension. We turned to head down after a hearty meal of crackers, ‘roni, and cheese, with the sun becoming fully uncovered for the first time in the day. We had heard of potential thunderstorms in the later afternoon, so we booked it down over the sharp ridge-top and back into tree cover. Feet sore from 10.4 miles and smiles wide from surprise trip-candy, we made it back to camp around four PM, ate delicious pepperoni-potato chowder, and drifted to sleep in our tents.

A truly memorable day! Now, here’s Deb Kure, super-mega-ultra-dynamic Associate Head of our Nature Program, who led last week the second of 2012’s outings to Mt. Willard (taking Athletic Director Charlie Malcolm along as a reward for his teams’ acceptable performance against Tecumseh. How cool is it, by the way, that any camp’s storied AD is the first to line up for a geologically-oriented Nature Trip?)

Crawford Notch

What? There’s a nine-mile, perfectly symmetrical U-shaped glacial valley in our White Mountains? One which campers are likely to see in their future geology textbooks? Time to pack a trail supper, load up the van, and hit the road!

Twice a summer in recent years, we’ve ventured out to “take a closer look” at Crawford Notch. Driving there via Franconia Notch and driving back over the Kancamagus Highway provides an ideal geology field trip route. Campers of all ages and interests have enjoyed the 1.6-mile walk to the cliff summit of Mt. Willard, at the north end of the Notch. The final approach is a memorable tree-arched path, with The View opening a little more with each step, until you’re on the edge of the precipice face-to-face with a glacier-bulldozed trough so symmetrical that it looks like a giant forested skateboard half-pipe. The Presidential Range forms the east wall of the Notch – with Mt. Washington sometimes visible in to the northeast – and the Willey Range forms the west wall. Weaker Conway granite allowed the more-than-one-mile-thick Continental ice sheet to gouge and scour a U-shaped valley, in between the resistant volcanic igneous and metamorphic rock of the ranges, 13,000 years ago. Seeing this natural wonder – and beginning to understand the prodigious forces and protracted time scale that led to its creation – is always something of a scientific and a spiritual education.

Great to have campers who consistently realize the artistic and scientific majesty of this view – and to be able to introduce them to the adventure and excitement of a field-based science!

And now for a national-pastime-oriented word from Danny, who spear-headed the Upper trip to Manchester – and is rumored to have thrown out the first pitch (although details of the deed have proven hard to come by!)

This past Thursday, August 2, the Upper Division campers asked their counselors to “take them out to the ballgame” and the counselors took them literally by putting the boys onto a Pemi bus and heading to the big city, Manchester, NH, to watch the Manchester Fisher Cats “play ball.” The ride to the Queen City was a smooth one, and the boys arrived in plenty of time to enjoy an all-you-can-eat feast at a guest tent in the stadium, featuring burgers, sausage, chicken, salad, and cookies – with an abundance of drink, as well.

As game time approached, the boys settled into their seats, directly behind home plate, to enjoy the contest. The Pemi lads showed their enthusiasm throughout, chanting the names of the Fisher Cats batters, starting a “wave,” and screaming in glee at every hit, of which there were many, as the game turned into a slugfest between the home team and the Erie Sea Wolves. In total, 31 hits were banged out in the eventual 9-7 Erie victory. A fun time was had by all, and we look forward to a return date in 2013!

And this brings us right up to yesterday. One of the highlights of Sunday morning was our weekly Meeting being focused on Pemi West, our mountain leadership program based in Washington State. Three of this year’s participants – “students” Dan Fulham and Nathan Tempro and staffer Dan Reed – treated the entire camp to a spectacular slideshow of their trip, accompanying their inspiring images with some riveting words about how well this kind of challenge can paradoxically forge both team-work and independent, individual growth in those lucky enough to be a part of it. We’ll be in touch this fall about 2013’s edition of PW, which will be open to motivated and adventurous16-, 17-, 18-year-olds, male or female, Pemi alums or not. Suffice it to say, though, that more than a few eyes were opened Sunday morning to the allure of this exciting wilderness adventure with a distinctive “Pemi stamp.”

That takes us close to our word limit (a coy way of saying it’s almost time for lunch – and we do get excited about lunch these days, given Stacey’s cuisine.) We’ll close with an extremely fresh bit of news coming from Zach Barnard, who teams with Henry Eisenhart (whose birthday is today!) as one of our two fine division heads in the Junior Camp. This treats the latest installment in our Big Guy/Little Guy mentoring initiative.

Senior and Junior buddies gather for s’mores

Yesterday evening, the Juniors and Seniors gathered around the newly created Junior Campfire Circle. Situated right on Junior Point, the circle overlooks the lake, sheltered from gusts of wind by the plants along the stream. Every Junior was paired with a Senior buddy, and to the tune of three or four s’mores each, the campers had a great time finding marshmallow roasting sticks and getting their hands and faces sticky. Everyone then quieted down and gathered around the fire together, Seniors sitting with their respective buddies. The counselors asked questions such as “What types of things do you do here that you don’t do at home?” and “What advice can you give to each other for the last week of camp?” The introspection and concern, as well as the thoughtfulness and maturity in so many of the answers, was awesome. We had a great time together, and we’re all looking forward to being together once again, next year!

We’ll close with that. Tune in next week for this year’s final missive, complete with Clive Bean’s annual review of our Gilbert and Sullivan production. Until then!

— Tom and Danny

Newsletter #6: “You are the hat”

In case you missed the news on Sports Center – or You Don’t Say – Pemi came out on top in this year’s day of competition against Camp Tecumseh, 11-8-1. Despite last summer’s tie, it’s our first aggregate victory since 1998, and it was deeply satisfying. (Ask your sons!) The wonderful result notwithstanding, Pemi is now “back to normal” as a place where athletics is only a part of the camp program: six overnight mountain trips are currently out, there is a Nature field trip to Crawford Notch planned for the afternoon, our annual Art Show is in preparation, and “Pirates” rehearsal starts in ten minutes. Nothing could have signaled our reversion to the norm more insistently than an act at Saturday night’s campfire when Owen Felsher and Ezra Nugiel teamed up in a stunning rendition of Taylor Swift’s “Love Story,” with scores of campers and counselors singing along. Impresario Ian Axness leaned over to this correspondent and asked wryly, “Do you think they’re doing this very thing over at Tecumseh?” We guess not. ‘Nuf said. Here’s Athletic Director Charlie Malcolm’s account of the day.

Eleven days before our annual contest with Tecumseh, a group of second-half Pemi campers joined our full-season boys on the shores of Lower Baker.  As the hot, humid weather led to genuinely more laid-back preparation by the various teams, the camp played a series of local contests with some very mixed results.  As the week progressed, the weather cooled and the Seniors led cheers in the Mess Hall that eventually began to shake the very foundations of camp.  Last year, our Seniors provided dynamic leadership and Pemi’s competitive spirit suggested we no longer feared our opponent from the shores of Winnepesauke. Pemi scrapped and hustled their way to a 9-9-2 tie. The Hat remained at Tecumseh, but the experience made us all realize that victory was within our potential grasp.

This year, the day looked in jeopardy when the extended forecast and radar suggested a long series of storms passing through central New Hampshire.  At 6 AM, both camps decided to plow forward because the much-needed rain was pushing towards the coast just south of Pemi and Tecumseh.  The boys awoke at 6:30 AM to light rain and the thunderous cheers and music of our Seniors.  Kenny Moore, logistical master of all things Pemi, had the 11s, 12s, and 13s rolling to Tecumseh by 7:35 AM, crossing paths with our Tecumseh brethren in Ashland, a clear sign Pemi was moving with purpose.  When the buses arrived, Kenny gathered the boys and emphasized the importance of being good teammates, the length the day, and how to find a Tecumseh bathroom known as a “Widow.”

At Pemi the boys returned from breakfast and cleaned their cabins while the trip crew delivered water to the misty fields and I put the finishing touches on the baseball and soccer venues.  When Tecumseh arrived in their vans and yellow buses, they quietly met on the basketball courts to discuss the upcoming day.  The recent tie with Pemi had unnerved Tecumseh despite their winning 46 of 49 previous “days.”  Pemi Day is an incredibly important event for Tecumseh as it marks the last sporting event of the summer. Winning or retaining George Munger’s bronzed hat is perhaps for them the emotional equivalent of Pemi’s Final Banquet, a time of celebration and closure.   Far too often Pemi has been the main course of this athletic feast.

The Contests: Morning at Pemi

Suraj Khakee

Events at both camps started promptly at 9:30 AM, and the results instantly suggested this was going to be another competitive day.   At Pemi, the 10s baseball team locked into a pitcher’s duel as Suraj Khakee matched his Tecumseh counterpart with six shut-out innings.  Nick Holquist made two game-saving catches in right field against his former camp, and catcher Jamie Acocella held on to several foul tips to keep the game knotted at zero.  With the potential winning run on second, Pemi had a chance to clinch the game in the bottom of the sixth, when Suraj ripped a line drive over the bag that the Tecumseh third baseman snared for the final out of the contest.

While the 10s battled on the diamond, Jeff Greene’s 15s Tennis team jumped out to a 3-2 match lead as Ned Roosevelt and Andrew Coe won their single matches and the doubles team of Arthur Root and Florian Dietl won in a super tie-breaker.  At number one singles, Sam Davitt lost in a tie-breaker while doubles team of Dan Reiff and Oliver Kafka suffered the same fate.  Unfortunately, two matches had to be delayed until after lunch so that the baseball game could be started, with Pemi holding a 3-2 lead.  With their backs against the wall, Tecumseh subsequently won both matches to secure a much-needed 4-3 victory.

Morning at Tecumseh

Down in Moultonboro, the 13s swim team set the tone with an historic effort, setting four camp records on their way to a 29-26 victory.  In the 200 Medley Relay, Harry Tuttle, Colin Alcus, Sam Grier, and Alek Novikov took first with a blistering camp record 2:12.06.  After Alcus won the individual backstroke, Grier set another camp record when he took the 50 butterfly.  Pemi held a 25-20 lead heading into the final relay, with Pemi needing a clean race and a second place to win the meet.  Novokov, Tuttle, Oberlander, and Grier swam smartly, finishing second while also breaking another camp record.  

While the 13s swimmers triumphed in the water, the 12s soccer team, one of Pemi’s strongest this summer, was dismantled by an impressive Tecumseh side.  Patterson Malcolm and Owen Fried played particularly well in defeat, but Tecumseh was too fast and skilled, dominating central midfield and the pace of the game.   However, spirits were raised when Pemi’s 11s Tennis team made quick work of their opponents.  Coach Nugiel’s squad swept the singles with victories from Willie Noble, Matt Kanovsky, Gray Farley, and Timmy Coe.  Coe’s victory was particularly impressive because he fought back from a three-game deficit and won 8-6 in a tie-breaker.  The doubles teams of Jack Elverkrog/Luke Ackerman and Jakey Cronin/Aidan Griffiths delivered two more victories to power Pemi to an impressive 6-1 victory.

As Pemi and Tecumseh moved on to the second events of the morning at their respective camps, the weather miraculously held, and the score in events was an inspiring 2-2-1.  At Tecumseh, the 12s Tennis team pushed aside their considerable soccer disappointment and delivered a crucial momentum-changing effort.  After Carson Hill went down gallantly at number one singles 8-6, Jonah Roque and Nick Toldalagi won their single matches 8-1, while Robert Loeser fought off a tenacious challenger and won 8-6.  After Patterson Malcolm/Dylan Cheng and Ted Orben/Will Merhige both lost tight matches at doubles, the score was tied 3-3.  The third doubles team of Grant Noble/Grady Nance would decide the outcome.  The match was close throughout, with neither side gaining more than a one game advantage.  During the eventual tie-breaker, Pemi seized a 4-1 lead, only to have Tecumseh win the next two points to make the score 4-3.  With the court surrounded by dozen of nervous but enthusiastic fans, the Pemi boys stepped forward and delivered confident, aggressive net play with Grant Noble calmly putting away “a room service volley” to clinch the tiebreaker and a 4-3 12s victory.

Tyrrell Moore

The 11s baseball team ran into a cagey Tecumseh pitcher, Carson Fischer (former Pemi boy!), who shut out Pemi 3-0.  Jack Elvekrog pitched well in defeat, going the distance and giving up only one earned run.  A great defensive play by Ethan Elsaden kept the game close, but the Pemi bats never got hot enough in this contest.  Fortunately, the 13s soccer team kept their mojo going as Coach Walsh orchestrated an outstanding effort.  After several setbacks in previous matches, Coach Walsh scratched his formation and went with a more traditional 4-4-2.  Pemi scored 20 seconds into the contest, as Jamie Nicholas jumped on a poor clear and beat several players off the dribble before blasting a shot home.  With John Galbreath, Harry Tuttle, Graham Struthers, Colin Alcus, and Andrew Merrell holding down the defense, and Tecumseh running on fumes late in the first half, Nicholas went on the attack once again and drilled a well-placed shot to the side netting.   The second half was all Pemi, as Tyrrell Moore hit a bomb from 30 yards out that slipped under the bar. He would later score a second goal when he jumped on the rebound of a Charlie Scott shot and pushed it past the Tecumseh keeper for a convincing 4-0 victory!

Will Laycock

At Pemi, the 10s soccer team found themselves tied 0-0 at halftime, as both teams battled tenaciously at midfield.  Sasha Roberts was a masterful warrior at midfield, as he won the majority of his defensive challenges and played balls quickly to Pemi’s spry attack.  The defense of Jamie Acocella, Dean Elefante, Max Blohm, Henry Seebeck, and Frank Applebaum neutralized Tecumseh’s offense, buying Pemi crucial time to solve Tecumseh’s defensive riddle.  When Tecumseh’s man-child from California did blast a shot, Ben Ackerman made the save.  With Nick Holquist bombing down the left flank, and Kevin Miller and Scott Cook scrapping for balls at midfield, the offensive trio of Will Laycock, Ricky Trinca, and Spencer Hill turned the Tecumseh defense inside out.  First Hill beat two Tecumseh backs and pushed the puppy home.  The goal electrified the team, and moments later Laycock was sent in alone and courageously pushed the ball past the sliding keeper.  Finally, Trinca, with three Tecumseh players trying to thwart his attack, skillfully nudged the ball past the keeper as the adoring Pemi crowd went wild, the cheers echoing down the valley.

Rosie

Because Pemi’s soccer and baseball fields are so close together, a given event’s momentum can impact a game in the immediate vicinity.  When the 10s Soccer team scored their first goal of the second half, right behind the senior diamond, a massive roar appeared to energize our 15s baseball team and to unnerve our opponent.  Each camp looked back to see Doc Nick’s little wonders taking it to our guests.  As the cheers reverberated, and the 10s dropped a second and third goal on Tecumseh, the 15s diamond warriors put Tecumseh under pressure.  Ned Roosevelt, a Tecumseh Day Gladiator who has pitched Pemi to victory on several other occasions, mowed Tecumseh down in order.  Henry Day led off the game with a walk, stole second base, and advanced to third on a Daniel Reiff single.  With the positive energy flowing in Pemi’s direction, the Tecumseh pitcher unleashed two wild pitches to plate Day and Reiff.  With Will Parsons on third after stealing second and advancing on a Sam Davitt single, Coach Blumenthal shrewdly orchestrated a textbook delayed double steal to take advantage of the general chaos, pushing home a critical third run.  With Tecumseh trying to get back in the game with runners on second and third and two outs, Pemi catcher Henry Day alertly picked off a “Happy Wandering” Tecumseh runner to crush a third inning rally.   In the final stanza, with Pemi holding a very vulnerable 3-1 lead and potentially-tying Tecumseh runners on first and second base and no outs, Rosie coolly struck out the next two batters and then induced a soft ground-out to third to end the game.  While Rosie delivered five quality innings, he was supported by great defensive plays by Zack Leeds, Will Parsons, and Alex Baskin to deliver a crucial victory for the “Flagship.”

The Afternoon

After the morning events, Pemi held a 6-3-1 lead.  It would take four victories out of the remaining ten contests to bring THE HAT back to Lower Baker.  Over my twenty plus years as Athletic Director, I have often witnessed Tecumseh’s impressive will to win come to the fore in the afternoon events; however, as we watched our boys compete in the morning, whether at Pemi or at Tecumseh, it was quite clear our momentum would not flag under the weight a potential victory.

At Tecumseh, Kenny gathered the boys together at the buses and looked to put them in a calm, focused state of mind for a much-needed rest hour.  “You heard the scores. Does that change our game plan? (The boys answered in unison, “no”.)  We need to maintain our focus and play loose and play together.  We did a great job supporting each other as teammates; let’s keep that up!  And remember what Charlie said. If you make a mistake, don’t worry, just make the next play simple and re-set your confidence.”   At Pemi, I met with the 10s and 15s in the dining hall after Tecumseh left for their shade in center field.  Without hearing about the scores at Tecumseh, the boys were told that we were doing very well, but that they had to be prepared for our guests to come out with everything they had in the opening moments of the ensuing contests. Support each other and “finish it!”

At Pemi, Afternoon Events

Jarrett Moore and Jeremy Roque

The 15s soccer team locked horns with a motivated, athletic squad of Tecumseh players who had a fresh bounce in their step after receiving the news that their tennis team had just triumphed.  Last year, their 15s crushed Pemi 7-0 in an awesome display of soccer domination.  From the opening whistle, it was clear that this match was going to be quite physical and competitive, as both teams challenged hard for every loose ball. Ben Chaimberg, Oliver Kafka, Zach Leeds, and TH Pearson led Pemi’s defense.  With Tecumseh’s attack under wraps for much of the first half, Pemi was able to mount several dangerous attacks.  Sam Davitt and Andrew Coe nearly connected midway through the first half. Later, Davitt was pushed down in the box just before receiving a wide open through ball, but the decision was no-foul.  With seven minutes to go in the half, Tecumseh received a well-deserved free kick from 35 yards out on the flank.  The Tecumseh player mishit the ball and the resulting spin bent the ball back towards the net, where Pemi goalie Nick Bertrand desperately tried to get back to his line and push the ball wide.  Bertrand got a hand on the ball, but Pemi was unable to clear the ball off the chalk. Pemi later pushed forward for the equalizer but could not get Jarrett Moore open or Sompy free on the flank.  We generated several free kicks and corners but failed to deliver the equalizer.  As the 15’s slowly walked to the waterfront, though, their spirits were buoyed by the news that the 10s tennis team had delivered a smashing victory, 5-2.  Spencer Hill set the tone in first singles with an 8-1 victory. Kevin Miller, Suraj Khakee, and Sasha Roberts followed with impressive single victories to give Pemi a commanding 4-0 lead.  Whit Courage and Scott Cook forced a tiebreaker and then put their opponents away 7-2 to provide Pemi with a 5-2 margin of victory.

At Tecumseh, Afternoon Events

Chris Schmidt

At Tecumseh, the afternoon started with the 11s soccer team falling 3-1 to a talented, deep squad from Tecumseh.  Timmy Coe played a brilliant game at midfield, while Luke Ackerman held down the defense in front of Andrew Kanovsky.  Up top, Willie Noble worked diligently to create opportunities, while Jakey Cronin orchestrated the attack, eventually scoring on a penalty kick late in the contest.  Of special note was Dash Slamowitz’s inspiring effort with his hustle and determination.  The 13s tennis team quickly built on their momentum from the morning with a dominating performance in tennis. Chris Schmidt, Charlie Harrison, and Jamie Nicholas won their singles matches convincingly, while the three doubles teams of the Duval Brothers, Graham Struthers/John Stevenson, and Will Harned/Jack O’Connor cruised to victory, pacing Pemi to a 6-1 decision.

The 12s baseball team, one of Pemi’s strongest, stepped up to the plate and dominated their opponent from the first pitch.  Pemi scored three runs in the top of the first with contact hitting and aggressive base-running.  Oscar Tubke-Davidson mowed down the Tecumseh batters, striking out 15 of 17 batters faced.  After adding single runs in the second and third innings to push the lead to 5-0, Pemi put the game away for good when Patterson Malcolm led off with a single, Oscar hit the first ball ever hit onto the porch of Munger Hall (can’t believe it was ruled a ground rule double!), and Jivan Khakee delivered a clutch double to drive them home.   Tecumseh mounted a comeback in the 6th inning, closing the gap to 8-2, with the bases loaded and two outs.  Coach Blair went to the bullpen, and Grady Nance punched out the last Tecumseh hitter for Pemi’s 16th strikeout of the day!

 The Final Events

A great day is achieved when it is only with the final events that the outcome is determined.  Pemi went 3-2 in the first afternoon events pushing their lead to 9-5-1.  We needed just one more victory to clinch the day.  Of the last five events, four were swimming, which was a fitting finale given that the Hat was first given in honor to Pemi because of their incredible improvement in the water in the summer of 1967.  Not many kids show up to camp as competitive swimmers, so the event measures a boy’s willingness to take on a challenge to help support the community.

Sompy

At Pemi, we (thankfully) have no cell reception, so news from Tecumseh only passes through the office (Heather and Kim) where Tecumseh’s Mark Luff or I collect the results.  We are careful not to share the early results until we all meet in the dining hall, each of us wanting to protect the individual events from the weight of the day.  So the 10- and 15-and-unders did not know the score of the day or the outcome of events at Tecumseh, but they definitely knew that Pemi had a great chance to win.  The 15s swam incredibly hard, but eventually fell to a deep and talented Tecumseh swim team 29-26.  Hugh Grier won the 50 back stroke and Julian Hernanadez-Webster won the breast stroke to keep the meet close.  The free style team of Hugh Grier, Sompy Somp, Cole Valente, and Thompson Bain delivered a herculean effort and beat Tecumseh in the free relay by literally one inch.  Although the squad came up three points short, they provided an extraordinary effort and fantastic leadership for the 10-and-under swim team.

Frank Applebaum, Whit Courage, Coach Wallis

Doc Nick’s Wonders entered the final event of the day with a 2-0-1 record.  They attacked the water with confidence and provided Pemi a Hat-clinching effort.  The relay team of Max Blohm, Henry Seebeck, Frank Applebaum, and Whit Courage set the tone with a dominating first place in the Medley Relay.  Blohm would take a first in the back stroke while Seebeck and Finn Lincoln nailed a first and third in the back stroke.  Applebaum delivered a first place in the butterfly, with his form the envy of both coaching staffs.  With the Pemi community on the edge of the lake cheering our merboys in the final race of the day, the free relay team of Courage, Sasha Roberts, Spencer Hill, and Applebaum beat Tecumseh’s top quartet by half a second. Pemi’s second relay team of Kevin Miller, Lincoln, Scott Cook, and Blohm secured a third place, thus pushing the final score to Pemi 32, Tecumseh 22.  The scene on the beach was joyous for Pemi as the 15- and 10-and-unders celebrated when the final scores were announced.  With a 2-2 split in the afternoon events at Pemi, the Boys anxiously awaited news from Camp Tecumseh.

At Tecumseh, Final Events

News traveled quickly from Lower Baker to the waterfront of Tecumseh that the 10s tennis team had won their match, leaving Pemi one win shy of victory.  As the 11s and 12s swim teams and 13s baseball team headed into their final event, each boy and coach knew Pemi only needed one more victory to win the day.  The 13s baseball players ran into our rival’s best team.  Tecumseh jumped out to an early lead as timely hitting and porous Pemi defense sent our boys down to a 7-1 defeat in four innings.  Will DeTeso and Graham Struthers pitched well for Pemi, while the team received great hitting from Jamie Nicholas.

Byron Lathi

At the waterfront, the 11s and 12s swim teams knew they needed to win one event and swam their hearts out.  The 12s received great efforts from Noah Belinowiz, who anchored the relay teams, Dylan Cheng in the Butterfly, and Carson Hill in the Medley Relay, but Tecumseh’s squad was too deep and talented for Pemi and the boys fell 35-20.  In the 11s swimming meet, the teams remained virtually tied after the first two events, but then Pemi took first and third in the next three events to pull away.  In the Breast Stroke, Byron Lathi took first and Jack Elvekrog finished third.  In the Butterfly, Jeff McKee finished first, with Carter Franciskovich earning third.  Finally, in the individual Freestyle, Robbie McDonough finished first with Timmy Coe finishing third. In each race, Pemi’s depth delivered three crucial third place points that extended a 9-8 Pemi lead to 24-14 with two events remaining.  Pemi only need a second place finish to clinch the meet and the day.  The team of Robbie McDonough, Gray Farley, Timmy Coe, and Jeff McKee delivered that second, and everyone at the meet knew the day had been clinched.  All the boys sprinted from the waterfront to the 13s baseball game to share the news of victory.

The Celebration

“Celebrate at home,” reminds Ken.

As the 13s diamond match ended at Tecumseh, Kenny gathered the boys on the soccer field and emphasized the importance of sportsmanship, urging them to save the celebration for when we returned to Pemi.  As mentioned earlier, this day and the importance of winning is at the foundation of Tecumseh’s mission.  It was critical for the Pemi boys to respect their opponent.

As Pemi entered the unusually subdued Tecumseh Mess Hall, many of Tecumseh’s boys and staff individually congratulated Pemi before the outcome was announced.  After dinner, Tecumseh’s Director Jim Talbot thanked the athletes for a great day of competition, and Athletic Director Mike Dougherty announced the results and congratulated Pemi on their victory.  Legendary NFL athlete and former Athletic Director Jim Frazier talked about the history of the competition, and expressed his initial concern following last season’s tie. “Tecumseh was lucky to tie Pemi last year, but it was like giving the animal the scent for the kill.”  He later promised that Tecumseh would start preparing the very next day to re-take the Hat.

When it was Pemi’s turn to speak, Kenny encouraged all participants to remember that the Hat was first given in 1967 as a gift of friendship and respect from George Munger to Tom Reed, Sr. as a symbol recognizing the hard-work and determination of the Pemi teams.  Danny spoke to how the competition brought the best out in both camps and asked the Tecumseh boys a simple question.  “How many of you are better people at camp then you are at home?“  Every Tecumseh kid raised his hand, including Jim Frazier.  Danny then encouraged all the athletes to take these lessons and accomplishments home and to continue sharing these values.  After these final words, Jim Talbot handed the Hat to Pemi and both camps delivered their traditional raucous cheers of thanks and congratulations to each other.  And while the boys filed out of the mess hall, Kenny Moore grabbed the Hat from the table and started running for his Subaru Outback – to lead the Boys TRI-UMPH-ANTLTY back to Pemi at an appropriate speed!

Chef Stacey won for Pemi

At Pemi the campers and staff did not initially know the final numbers, but everyone felt what the outcome was likely to be.  Seniors hustled up to the dining hall to set tables as the rest of the community meandered slowly across the outfield.  After an outstanding dinner of steak, the whole Mess Hall – Pemi boys shoulder-to-shoulder with their Tecumseh peers – gave Chef Stacey and her team a standing ovation.  After Tom delivered Skittles to the tables that had successfully mastered everyone’s name, I began reading over the results from the day.  At the end, the tally was read: Pemi wins 11-8-1.  Mark Luff spoke first and celebrated the spirit of competition and paid homage to Tom Reed and George Munger for bringing this century-old tradition to the next level.  He spoke of the very same values that Danny spoke of in Tecumseh’s mess hall, and the importance of taking this level of class, sportsmanship, and heated competition beyond the White Mountains of summer camp to their future endeavors.  After Tecumseh gave Pemi a thunderous cheer, I spoke directly to Tecumseh’s seniors and shared how much the day had meant to me as a 15-year-old and how impressed I was with both their athletic accomplishments, but also how incredibly close they were as a group, even as the day turned south.  The Hat and the day of competition was always about coming together as a community, and if at the end of the day both camps have forged a stronger, more united community, the day had achieved its objective.  Pemi finished the day with a deafening cheer for their friends, the flag was lowered, and the boys of Winnepesauke got on the bus for the long ride home.

Best part of the day

When the Pemi buses arrived home – the best part of every Tecumseh Day – Kenny Moore rode in with his torso extending out of Outback’s sunroof and holding the Hat high in the air.  With the bus lights flashing and the horns honking, the Hat returned to Lower Baker for the first time in 14 years.  After ten minutes of one continuous hug and high five, the Pemi community gathered in the Lodge to bring closure to the day.  Danny called upon the 15-year-olds to celebrate their leadership and suggested that winning the Hat might be a decent habit to get into.  Danny passed me the Hat, and as I looked out at this community, it was clear that the experience was transformative. “This Hat does not represent winning; it represents our journey together.  You are the Hat….” Now the Hat has been placed in the rafters of the Lodge where the mythical Metal Boy had spent fourteen long years waiting for the lads of Lower Baker to rediscover the magic, and the joy, of that journey.

 

Enjoy a recap of Pemi vs Tecumseh on YouTube, created by Pemi alum Don Hyde of EVP Marketing and Media