Survey says…My Favorite Pemi Moment

Summer 2014: Newsletter #5

Hello once again from Wentworth, where we are now (almost unbelievably) a full week into the second half of the 2014 season. Since we were last in touch, 80-odd first session campers have said their good-byes for the year and an equal number of lads have taken their places – a great new crew brimming with eagerness to start their 25-day sojourn in the White Mountains. Sad as we were to say farewell to the group that has gone on to other involvements and climes, we are always hugely energized by the influx of new boys. Not to be too wed to athletic analogies, it’s a bit like being Germans at the World Cup final and watching Miroslav Klose leave the pitch while Mario Goetze sheds his warm-ups and trots out onto the field. There are great things in store, and there’s nothing like “fresh legs” to make sure they come to pass.

SoundPainting

Sound-painting performance

Naturally, the whole Pemi operation has been in full and energetic swing since our Changeover days. The trip program, about which we spoke in our previous number, took special advantage of the beautiful weather at the end of last week, sponsoring outings near and far under inspiringly cerulean skies. On just Friday, for example, more than eighty of our campers were involved in an outing by foot or by canoe. Music has been bolstered by the week-long visit of former Music Head Ian Axness (who has offered both the always popular “Sound Painting” and “Percussion Explosion”) and the first-time residency of Kenny Moore’s uncle-in-law, Eddie McKendry (teaching a week’s worth of Advanced Guitar.) Meanwhile, of course, rehearsals continue apace for this year’s production of H.M.S. Pinafore, with Dorin Dehls and Josh Hess doing a stellar job getting choruses and principals up to speed.

Nature occupation

Nature occupation

Down at Art World, Laura Bubar has introduced Origami for what we think is the first time at Pemi – that on top of ever-popular activities like Mask Making and Duct Tape Art. Andy Bale is also in the second week of his residency and has already had a number of boys out after taps for his remarkable Light Painting Photography workshops. (Perhaps you saw examples in the past photo postings.) As for Nature, Conner Scace has a group of campers positively riveted with the inaugural “Bees, Wasps, and Ants” occupation of the season, while “Geo Lab” begins its second week, as Dan Reed and Deb Kure introduce their charges to the fascinating details of plate tectonics. And while the athletic schedule has been relatively light this week, given the arrival of the new boys and the necessary reforming of the various teams, we have started to gear up for our big annual competition with Camp Tecumseh, scheduled for August 1 and very much our equivalent of Harvard-Yale, Duke-North Carolina, or Red Sox-Yankees. (More on this next week from Athletic Director Charlie Malcolm.) So, as you can see, for all of our Thoreauvian pond-side residency, we have hardly been twiddling our thumbs.

First Session camper surveys

First Session camper surveys

After this quick peek at what is keeping our energetic little community hopping, we figured it might be interesting and informative to look back at what some of your sons made of the first half of the season. Shortly before they left, first-session boys were offered the chance to fill out a survey on their experience. As we pored through the results, it occurred to us (those of us, at least, who endeavor in these newsletters to convey how it actually feels to be here at camp) that one way to open a window on the Pemi experience is to let the boys speak for themselves. All of you, of course, have been hearing from your sons on a weekly basis (although how copiously we have no way of knowing.) But, since each of us (or so we are told) comes at life with his or her own perspective, there is arguably value in hearing what lots of people are saying. So, with that as a prologue, let us let you in on what 80-plus first-session campers had to say about their “Favorite Pemi Moment.” (We also, by the way, asked them what their “Least Favorite Pemi Moment” might have been. Let’s just go with the favorites, though. For some reason, that seems to make sense.)

From the Juniors (8-10 years old):

“My favorite Pemi moment was finishing my distance swim and after my campfire performance.”

“Winning inspection for the third time.”

“Meeting my counselor was exciting because that was who I would be with for three weeks.”

“They were all awesome.”

“Seeing all my friends again.”

“Waterpolo with my friends.”

Bean Soup [our weekly version of The Daily Show] and P-rade [the 4th of July parade].”

“Pretty much all of the F.R.B. [Frisbee Running Bases] games. It’s really fun. The way it works is there’s three bases and the kids try to run from base to base. And not get touched by the Frisbee that the counselors are throwing.”

“Waterskiing, because it felt like you were flying on water.”

“When I first got here, being able to go fishing and being with other boys my age.”

“When I played my first F.R.B. game.”

“The P-rade.”

“Getting to know my cabin mates.”

“In the middle of my distance swim, when I knew I was going to make it.”

“Climbing Mt. Stinson.”

“When I went to Camp Robin Hood for the archery tournament.”

“The first Bean Soup when I was just laughing with everyone else when I didn’t get half of it.”

“The Counselor Hunt [on July 4th, when ‘found’ staff must ‘walk the plank.’]”

“Playing F.R.B. in Juniorville with all my friends and taking the risk of being hit by a Frisbee.”

“When I got up to the Pemi Hill shelter for the night and I saw the view.”

“I loved going up Pemi Hill.”

From the Lower Intermediates (11-13 years old):

“Doing the P-rade skit.”

“Jumping off the high dive in free swim on a sunny afternoon into the cool, refreshing lake water.”

Bean Soup. I liked it because it was funny.”

“When I made paracord bracelets.”

“When I stood in wakeboarding.”

“The Tecumseh track meet.”

“Probably the second Bean Soup. I remember knowing my A. C. [Assistant Counselor] Jack would get Counselor of the Week. It was incredibly funny.”

“When I learned how to get up in wakeboard.”

“When I made a paracord bracelet.”

“When I arrived for my first year!”

“I don’t have one because it was all amazing.”

“When I arrived here to enjoy it.”

“Getting up on water skis.”

“Birthday Banquet and birthday greetings. Hiking.”

“The occupations were the most fun, especially trying new things.”

“Making new friends and seeing my old friends like Suraj.”

“When I was fishing in free time with my friends.”

“Moose Day [competition with our neighboring camp] in the 13’s soccer game. Our team-mates were all friends and we all worked well together. We pulled out the victory and I had a hat trick. So, yeah, it was my favorite!”

“When I had a war in the cabin.” [Ooops! BTW, we didn’t hear about this at the time, nor did subsequent investigation turn up anything noteworthy. Is this a metaphor for tangled sheets? A way of talking about biting insects?]

“When there was pancakes at breakfast and not eggs.”

“When I got on top of Mt. Mooslock [Moosilauke] in a cloud. It was cold and windy, which was nice and refreshing because we had been hiking for so long in the sun. You could see all of the mountains.” [In an intermittent clear moment?]

“Scoring a goal for the 12’s soccer team was a great Pemi moment because my team made me feel amazing about my goal even more.”

From the Upper Intermediates (13-14 years old):

“Singing ‘The Campfire Song’ around the fire at the Senior beach because it showed me the love that binds the Pemi community, which survives the competitiveness of a regular day at camp.”

“When I scored against Moosilauke on Moose Day in soccer because I felt accomplished and it was the final goal.”

“My campfire act and my archery awards.”

“Having to make more friends and to see old ones.”

“I loved driving on the game bus and chanting with friends.”

“Afternoon free time.”

“Trying new things that I couldn’t have a chance to do at home, and meeting new people, and making new friends.”

Bean Soup.”

“The last campfire for me this year. I was sitting next to my friends, just relaxed and enjoying being together and listening to great music.”

“When the whole cabin was stuck in the bunk during a storm and we all played together and talked with Idrissa.” [Idrissa Bangura, our A.C. from Sierra Leone and Brooklyn.]

“I loved slalom skiing and playing baseball. I especially loved catching and our walk-off win against Moose. Also meeting a friend from my town.”

“When lunch ended that one day and Rest Hour started.” [Which had seemed to us to be a daily occurrence! Did we miss something?]

“I enjoyed sitting on the mess hall porch with a plum and looking out on camp.” [during afternoon ‘fruit bowl’]

“Barrel Ball and pick-up events that happen after dinner.”

“On Moosilauke Day I won my tennis match 8-0 then hit a game-winning single in baseball.”

And, finally, from the Seniors (14-15 y.o.):

“Going on a 3-day hike with a group of friends. The overall experience included the hiking, the people, and the adventure that came with the trip. It was amazing!”

“I liked when I played in the lacrosse B.V.T. (Baker Valley Tournament). I made closer friends while doing something I liked.”

“Playing Barrel Ball in the rain.”

Bean Soup.”

“Bonding with my friends on Mt. Washington.”

It may seem like a fairly random selection of “appreciated things,” but we suspect you’ll have seen some patterns emerging. Boys were justifiably proud of their individual accomplishments, be they making it through their distance swims, performing at camp fire, getting up on water skis or wakeboard, or playing well (and as a team) on the soccer pitch or the baseball diamond. Others treasured more communal endeavors and moments, such as winning cabin inspection, reuniting with old friends and getting to know new cabin mates, or sitting with tried and true mates at the camp fire and feeling the strong sense of community that emerges so unmistakably every Saturday night. There were nods to some subtle kind of spirituality, as in the feeling of flying over the water – or, perhaps, in describing how special it is on a balmy summer afternoon simply to be fishing with a few close friends. (Isaac Walton would surely agree.) Pretty much every leg of the Pemi program got noted here: the beauty of a mountain summit and the camaraderie of the “Happy Wanderers” who go up there; the satisfying process and product of making paracord bracelets; the thrill of scoring a goal in soccer and, even more, being celebrated by friends for tickling the twine; and the joy taken in listening to great music as the campfire crackles down at lake’s end. Predictably – and gratifyingly – some of the things the boys relished are unique to Pemi. It’s striking how many times F.R.B is mentioned, together with Bean Soup. And finally (for us; you may have seen other common threads) there is a slight undercurrent on the growth and satisfaction – not to mention the excitement – that can be found in taking on moderate risk. We see that in the repeated mention of trying new things or meeting new friends; or in dashing to a new base in F.R.B. despite the threat of a Frisbee strike; or leaping off the high dive at free swim. Session after session, year after year, the boys find a way to provide the support systems that allow them to extend themselves. It’s a potent formula for self-confidence, growth, and an appreciation for those who help us on our way.

Well, we’re running long now and we’ll close. Thank you, though, to all of the parents who entrusted their boys to us in June and July. We miss them and we hope that they’ve come back to you hale and healthy and perceptibly better for the experience, if only in small ways. Thanks, too, to “ongoing” parents. We’re so enjoying our time with your son and intend to relish every day between now and August 16th. Tune in next week for the latest iteration of our century-plus friendly rivalry with the Boys from Winnepesauke.

~  Tom and Danny

 

 

 

 

 

A Day in the Life of the Trip Program

Summer 2014: Newsletter #4

Let’s talk a little about the Pemi Trip Program. Today! It’s a July morning that our British staff contingent would appropriately call “brilliant.” Puffy cumulus clouds cruise briskly across a deep blue sky only recently vacated by as sharply-defined a half-moon as we’ve seen in years. Some recent unsettled weather has obligingly scooted off to the east, and the air is as clear as a Waterford vase.

Visiting Professional photographer Andy Bale has just jumped into his truck with campers Will Katcher and Casey Schack. They’re headed down to the Quincy (NH, not MA) Bog for a lunchtime circumambulation that Claude Monet would die to be on. Look for some artful shots of water lilies, cat-tails, herons, beaver dams, and tranquil pine-shaded peninsulae to show up in the Pemi Week Art Show. The trio might even spy one of the bald eagles that favor the place.

One of three dining groups on Mooselauke

One of three dining groups chooses its lunch spot on Mt. Moosilauke

Andy’s Tacoma rumbled out across our bridge hard on the heels of the bus bearing Dan Reed, Nate Kraus, and the boys of Lower Five and Seven to the Mt. Moosilauke Ravine Lodge, where they will have disembarked and started up the lovely Gorge Brook Trail to the summit of “Moose,” a solitary and (thus) especially imposing 4,800 peak just to our north. Armed with daypacks and a light lunch, they’ll emerge from the shaded river gorge onto a prominent shoulder of this local giant and break the tree-line at about 4,200 feet – and 12:30. The view from the summit will be expansive today, stretching all the way from Mts. Pico, Killington, and Mansfield in Vermont around to New Hampshire’s Kinsmans, Cannon Mountain, and the saw-tooth ridge of the Franconia Range to the northeast. They’ll likely be happy to have brought a fleece and rain jacket, for the wind up there is likely to be perking along at 30 mph plus and, with the temperature at Pemi slated to hit only the mid-seventies, the thermometer is likely to hover in the high fifties or low sixties. They’ll descend the old Carriage Road by which elegant Victorian ladies and gents used to ascend to the since-burned Tip-Top House Hotel via carriage and four, then they’ll drop down the Snapper Trail to complete their loop (formerly Dartmouth College’s Snapper Ski Trail and, as such, one of the oldest downhill pitches in the state.)

Greenleaf Hut

Greenleaf Hut

If Dan, Nate, and the boys had a strong enough pair of binoculars, they could scan the Franconia Ridge for the party from Upper Five and Three that is concurrently walking across the jagged skyline. In the company of staff members Harry Norman and Juan Vela, Uppers Sam Berman, Nicholas Gordon, Kevin Green, Kevin Lewis, Kai Soderberg, Will Thomas, Matt Edlin, and Jack Carter spent last night at the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Greenleaf Hut, situated at 4200 feet on the shoulder of mighty Mt. Lafayette. Given the clearing weather, it will have been a cold night up there, but curled up in the three thick wool blankets the AMC provides and stuffed to the gills with an evening meal the high quality of which you really have to have experienced to believe, they will have slept the deep sleep of the tired and virtuous – hearing, when and if they awoke, only the occasional creak of timbers as the shingled building worked in the nighttime wind. The hut had, the night before, hosted the ten boys from Upper Four – and, tonight, J.J. Strnad, T. H. Pearson, and the denizens of Upper 2 will add their names to the logbook Pemi boys have been signing since the 1930’s.

Meanwhile, fifty miles farther northeast, right up near the Maine border, Trip Leaders Harry Morris and Joey Gish are leading an intrepid band of Seniors on a 3-day backpacking trip in the Mahoosuc Range, New Hampshire’s ruggedest. Owen Fried, Will Leslie, Ezra Nugiel, Blanchard Seniff, Griffin Barlow, and Nicholas Pigeon spent last night at the Gentian Pond Tentsite, relieved no doubt that the dark skies that had threatened their van ride to the trailhead began to clear shortly before sunset. Today they are negotiating the rolling contours of the Mahoosuc Trail, seldom traveled by anyone other than Appalachian Trail through-hikers, for whom boulder-strewn Mahoosuc Notch has been dubbed the most challenging mile on the entire 2200-mile footpath. They’ll spend tonight at Carlo Col, having arrived there, hopefully, by mid afternoon – giving them time to scuttle a little farther along the ridge to 3800-foot Goose Eye Mountain before they return to the tent site for a hearty trail supper. Tomorrow morning, early, they’ll descend due north to the Success Pond Road for their van pick-up. The bends and bumps of this rough logging road will do nothing to undercut their sense that they’ve spent the last 36 hours in truly isolated terrain that feels more like Alaska than anything in New England.

Crawford Notch Geology hike

Crawford Notch Geology hike

After lunch, Associate Nature Head Deb Kure and Visiting Professional birder Steve Broker will take a van-load of boys up to Crawford Notch for a sure-to-be-memorable geology hike. The highlight will be their suppertime ascent of Mt. Willard, a modest (2840-foot) peak just across from Webster Cliffs at the end of Mt. Washington’s Crawford Ridge. As with Moosilauke’s Carriage Road, the trail they’ll take was once a thoroughfare for buggy and team, so the climbing will be easy. The view, however, will far exceed what they will feel they have earned with the effort they’ve expended. Rather than describing it to you in detail, we will refer you to the Pemi website, where the vista (with a rapturous Pemi lad with his arms outstretched before it) scrolls by for your examination and pleasure. (Is it the third or fourth image?) Suffice it to say that, listening to Deb as she explains the process that created this spectacular setting, the boys will begin to appreciate the incalculable forces and effect of mile-thick ice grinding across a stony landscape.

Leaving about the same time as Deb’s will be another van driven by Reed Harrigan – and towing a trailer loaded with six canoes. He, Trip Leader Matt Bolton, and half of the boys setting off to Maine’s Allagash Waterway next week will be headed to the Connecticut River for a final shakedown prior to their Maine adventure. They will put in near Bradford, VT and paddle down to Orford, NH, pulling out right at the end of our own Rte. 25A. The boys will have a chance to demonstrate the skills they learned during Week One’s Allagash Canoeing occupation – and enjoy, as well, the sublimely bucolic scenery of the stream that separates the Granite State from the Green. Tomorrow, the rest of the boys will do the same – no doubt being as careful to slather on sunscreen as today’s batch. (The forecast for tomorrow is as enticing as today’s.)

Speaking of canoes, come 5:30, Attila Petho, Max Livingstone-Peters, and the boys of Lower 1 will pick up supplies at the kitchen and head down to the boathouse to load into our Grummans and head across the lake for supper at the Pine Forest. As the descending sun casts its rays through the imposing columns of the pines, setting the fallen needles on the forest floor aglow, they’ll gather stray wood, light a fire, and enjoy an al fresco meal of pulled pork sandwiches (avec fromage Americaine), potato salad, chips, celery sticks, apple juice, and cookies. They will hear the singing in the mess hall across the way, no doubt, as the rest of us dine normally – and the bugle of flag-lowering as well. It will be fun, though, to be out of the Pemi mainstream for an hour or two, enjoying each other’s company in a quietly beautiful setting. Ask Jamie, J.J., Jake, Ty, George, Alex, Mac, and Kevin how it was. Ask them if it’s true you can floss with pine needles.

Finally, shortly after supper, the residents of Junior Six – Counselor Eoin Mullaney, Assistant Counselor Michael Kerr, Hunter Bahr, Eli Brennan, Elliot Jones, Luca McAdams, Braden Richardson, Nick Ridgeway, and Angus Williams will pack their bags and saunter up Pemi Hill for the night. We have had an Adirondack-style shelter up there since the 60’s, and we try to get every Junior cabin up there twice a summer. The drill involves a 20- 25-minute climb up through the dusky woods to the shelter, where tonight’s group will toss their packs onto the rough wooden floor of the open-faced hut and smile to realize that there are, indeed, mosquito nets in place where there heads will be lying for the night. While some of them unroll their sleeping bags, others will head up the ice-cold spring for water while others gather wood for a fire. As darkness falls and the first wood thrush trills liquidly a little farther up the hill, they’ll settle down for some hot chocolate and toasted marshmallows, swapping tales about the track meet today, a letter they’ve just gotten from their grandmother, or the night they spent up here last year. Maybe they’ll hear taps down in the main camp, maybe not. Sleep should come easily.

So, that’s today in Pemi trips. We’re feeling especially fortunate that the sun will have shone on all of them. The boys will have put out a little effort and had a lot of fun. They will have learned a little more about each other, about their own limits and abilities, about how to prepare and execute and enjoy, and about the world around them. There will be big strides for some and smaller strides for others. Something like this will happen on 30 or so other days this summer, on over 100 separate outings. This is a big part of what we do at camp, and it’s good to think that many of those who are out on a Pemi trip today will be out on others many years from now. Or remembering days like today.

~ Tom and Danny

 

 

Occupations: Old and New

2014: Newsletter # 3

This week’s Newsletter comes from Assistant Director Kenny Moore, who heads up Pemi’s instructional program.

During the second week of occupations, across four instructional periods, Pemi provided the boys with 75 different activities to choose from.  That averages just over 18 different choices each hour. Many of these occupations, like Tennis, are divided by age groups or by the participant’s base of experience or knowledge. This allows beginners, intermediates, and advanced participants all to receive the appropriate level of guidance and support from the instructors.  In order, for example, to truly understand and appreciate Advanced Butterflies and Moths, one must have the basics gained in Beginning Butterflies and Moths.

Pemi’s in-camp instructional program focuses on sports, nature, music, and the arts.  The trip program stays active throughout most occupation days with day hikes opportunities.  If the weather on a Thursday looks amazing, Tom will, say, send out Lower 1 and Lower 2 to Stinson Mountain and Lower 5 and Lower 6 to Mount Cube. This week alone, more than 8 cabins hit the trail to enjoy the White Mountains! We take every opportunity to immerse ourselves in the beauty of our surroundings, and the occasional break from their occupations can be useful to the boys.

Silver Cornet Band

Silver Cornet Band

For years, Pemi’s mainstay activities formed the base of the occupation program.  Alumni will remember their Ponds and Streams occupations, their time on the baseball diamond, in Silver Cornet Band rehearsals, or even their time constructing a jewelry box for mom in the Wood Shop.  There is plenty of inherent value in these tried-and-true Pemi offerings.  Far beyond the confines of classroom walls, our mainstay occupations allow the boys to investigate traditional interests in new and different ways.

But Pemi’s program is dynamic, and continues to adapt with the addition of new programming that capture the boys’ expanding curiosity. These new occupations are driven by the Program Heads and the instructors. If you are an avid Pemi newsletter reader, I’m sure you’ve realized we are fortunate to have a very talented staff this summer.  Their energy and passion transfer over to the boys, making their occupations buzz with excitement. Veteran campers thoroughly enjoy these exciting new offerings, and new campers have yet another opportunity to try something they have encountered nowhere else.

Visiting Professional Jeanne Friedman

Visiting Professional Jeanne Friedman

Hugh

Hugh assists

Over the past few years, Pemi has brought in Visiting Professionals to help provide added expertise in existing program areas or even in new, untapped areas.  Jeanne Friedmann, the Head Crew Coach at Mount Holyoke College, joined us last week to give lessons on sculling.  Senior campers Hugh Jones, Will Jones, Ezra Nugiel, and Jack O’Connor learned quickly from Jeanne, who managed to line up a few single and dual sculls to grace Lower Baker.  The early morning calm provided a picturesque backdrop, as well as perfect water conditions for the boys to learn various positions and techniques to guide the scull through the water.  Hugh, a quick learner with some previous experience, stayed on to assist with the next group, the Uppers, and helped with the teaching.  We’re so thankful to Jeanne for bringing this long-awaited opportunity to Pemi, and we hope to be able to make this week of instruction a yearly event.

IMG_8610

Callum describes the process

Gift for mom?

Gift for mom?

Down in the Junior Camp, between the Lake House and Junior 1, sits our recently renovated Art Building, where Head of Art Laura Bubar and her team constantly capture and focus the boys’ attention with new and interesting projects.  During the 2nd hour, a group of 10’s worked on their Aluminum Foil Paintings.  Callum McNear explained the process to me. “Start with cardboard and draw your design with a Sharpie, and then go over those lines with hot glue.”  After wrapping his newly sketched lightning bolts with aluminum foil, he pressed down very carefully, creating ridges from the glue underneath. The collection of these paintings, spread out on the lawn to dry, was just so cool!

Graffiti occupation

Graffiti art

While Aluminum Foil Paintings have been popular in the Lower and Junior Divisions, the Seniors love Ben Ridley’s Graffiti Occupation.  One of the most popular occupations over the past the few years, Ben’s unique offering works with the group on elements of design, typography, and stenciling.  Will DeTeso, John Stevenson, and Nate Bluenthal quickly got to work on their stencils down in Art World.  Per Soderberg was designing a sword stencil, taped to a plywood board.  Seeing such a wide range of boys so enthusiastically engaged in the Art World is both remarkable and encouraging, especially in an era when so many school are cutting back on Arts instruction.

Rock Band

Rock Band

Pemi has a Rock Band to complement the traditional Silver Cornet Band.  Led by Ben Ridley and Becky Noel, the group worked this week on a 90’s classic, Zombie, by the Cranberries, taking yours truly on a trip back to my youth! With Ben on the drums and Becky managing the bass guitar, Nick Case provided the real power on his guitar and Robert Loesser piped in on vocals.  After their jam, Ben and Robert coordinated the timing between the drums and vocals, while Nick and Becky worked to find the perfect volume on their amps.  With several participants out on trips this particular day, we had an excellent 1-1 staff-camper ratio allowing for especially intense and profitable instruction!  I’m hopeful we might see the final polished version of this song at an upcoming Vaudeville or maybe even an impromptu show at Sunday cookout.

FAST: Focused Athletic Skills Training

FAST: Focused Athletic Skills Training

Our athletic program, similar to our other key activity areas, has a long history of success in improving the skills and commitment of our athletes. Equipped with the skills and passion developed at Pemi, many campers have gone on to compete at the highest high-school and college levels.  This year, to further improve our coaching and instruction, we created the inaugural F.A.S.T. Program.  During Weeks 2, 3, and 4, we offer Focused Athletic Skills Training (or F.A.S.T) in soccer, baseball and lacrosse.  Charlie Malcolm, Pemi’s Athletic Director for more than twenty years, stacked a team of experienced and skillful soccer coaches including two NEPSAC Varsity Soccer Coaches (Charlie from Northfield Mount Hermon and Simon Jarcho, former Varsity Coach at Vermont Academy), two Division 1 players, and one semi-pro player, to lead 37 boys in an intensive week’s worth of 2-hour clinics.  We love that we can offer boys a true Pemi experience but also give them the high level of instruction and field time they desire.  These boys should feel more than confident in their skills when they return home to early fall practices.

After using the first week of soccer occupations as a base for evaluation, the Soccer Staff developed a series of technical and tactical progressions to address during F.A.S.T.  Simon, who played Varsity soccer at Colgate University, developed and managed the talent-laden 11- and 12-year-olds, while Charlie guided our older boys.  Each day, the group progressed from a warm-up that isolated a specific technical skill on to a functional drill.  Passing and receiving to really open up the field of play was the emphasis on Tuesday.  Starting with a 4 v 4 scrimmage, the boys attacked two sets of goals, with the drill evolving to an 8 v 8 scrimmage, designed to add pressure and game tempo.  I’d bet that the individual growth gained during the Soccer F.A.S.T. rivals what a boy could manage at any top soccer clinic.

Volleyball

Volleyball

New staff members inject life into the Pemi program each and every year, and in 2014, we’ve seen the introduction of Volleyball!  Maggie Boomgaarden leads the charge, providing the structure and guidance for beginners to learn the sport and for the advanced players to improve.  Each day, the group began with passing and setting drills, before they learned nuances of the game to apply to the scrimmage held at the end of each occupation. Foster Piotrow and Ben de Weaver fought hard in the camper/counselor scrimmage by working on their communications skills while Cedar Gadbois and Reed Cecil showed excellent hustle with a few digs.

Archery is a mainstay camp activity, and at Pemi this summer, we’ve offered archery to beginners, intermediates, and advanced bowmen. Jonathan Merrin, Pemi’s Head of Archery for the third straight summer, taught a Tournament Archery class that focused on the upcoming archery meets at Camp Robin Hood as well as our own Baker Valley Invitational.  Jonathan had his group using three arrows to find their aiming point. After the first end (the set of three shots), he asked the group about what they had learned from each arrow, teaching them that a tournament-level archer gains useful information from each shot – and that success results from their diligent concentration. Kevin Green and Nathan King listened attentively, set to improve their routine by incorporating new information from each shot arrow.

Oliver shows off marble

Oliver shows off marble

Each week, Larry and the crew in the Nature Lodge offer over twelve different occupations. New to 2014 is Geology Lab, taught any given week by two of our three resident Geologists. This novel offering provides an in-depth examination of a specific Geology topic: Field Geology, Plate Tectonics, Water Geology, etc. Normally these topics are covered briefly during the Advanced Rocks and Minerals occupation, but we now have a full 5-day focus of study.  During the second week, Deb Kure and Dan Reed focused on Plate Tectonics, investigating how the sections of the earth interact to power the geologic drama that causes many of our natural disasters.  They used models to demonstrate how the tectonic plates move to further illustrate those natural geologic elements.  The success of the Geology Lab is directly linked to the passion and excitement that our resident Geologists exude.

As you will have gathered, some of these occupations provide specifically-focused, advanced levels of instruction while others offer great introductions for beginners in the programmatic area.  In Week Two, all of them were popular with a different group of boys, allowing us to fulfill our mission to ‘inspire and support boys as they find their distinctive path to become successful young men with a passion for all that they do.’

Nate and Drew work on their Junior Nature Books

Nate and Drew work on their Junior Nature Books

Maybe it’s the archivist in me (my other hat being Alumni Director) that is reminded of one of our favorite sayings, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” During a drop into the Nature Lodge to check out the Geology Lab, I saw Larry leading five 8- and 9-year-olds into the forest to collect items for their Junior Nature Book.  This activity, introduced by Larry’s predecessor Clarence Dike over eighty years ago, repeats every summer and still resonates strongly as an invaluable opportunity to engage with the natural world around us.

The Pemi program is all about balance, with offerings in four program areas, instruction for varying levels of experience, and especially with our ongoing effort to introduce new opportunities to complement our mainstay occupations. This balance provides the setting for each and every camper to be active and engaged, each and every day. What a joy to see! Perhaps that’s what alumnus Bill Wyman—who just visited his 9-year old grandson Owen—was referring to when he claimed to our assembled community in the messhall, “nothing has changed since I was here in 1949.”

~Kenny Moore, Assistant Director

July 4th, Pemi-Style

2014 Newsletter #2

Hello again from sunny and temperate New Hampshire, where last week’s steamy and unsettled weather has given way to near-perfect July days – perfect conditions for the first Baker Valley sports day of the season on Saturday. Many of your sons will have participated in the ten contests in five sports against our friendly rivals from Camps Moosilauke, Kingswood, and Walt Whitman (as we trust your boys will inform you in the letters they wrote on Sunday). Occupations got off to a bang last week, and a number of overnights ventured out into the White Mountains as well, all of them coming back happy if a trifle damp. On Saturday, Larry Davis departed for the caverns of Schoharie, New York with first-time cavers Charlie Bonetti, Jarrod Henry, Will Katcher (on whom more later), Will Jones, Hugh Jones, Jack O’Connor, Brandon Somp, and Jack Wood. So Pemi ’14 was off to a rollicking start even before as good an Independence Day as we can remember varied our program last Friday.

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Senior campers Nicholas and Charlie with “little buddies” Ben and Hunter.

Our Fourth was preceded, the night before, by a lollapalooza thunderstorm, which began its slow approach just after supper. While the Intermediate campers and their counselors retreated to their cabins to see how the impending tempest would develop, the Seniors and Juniors hurried down to the Lodge for the first installment of the “Big and Little Buddy” program. The older guys introduced themselves to their younger counterparts and then enjoyed some tasty ’Smores together. More formal entertainment for the evening featured Ezra Nugiel and Nick Case on guitar, Nick performing an amazing medley of numbers ranging from “Hey, Soul Sister” to “Kids.” As some major storm clouds turned down our valley, though, and the raindrops began slapping at the roof, the remainder of the event was called, the Seniors dashing back to their nearby cabins as the Juniors were ferried back home in three vans. For those of you who know our “Marching Song,” their motorized progress down the lakeside was reminiscent of all those “plutocrats in their Cadillacs proceed[ing] on gasoline.” Not especially sustainable, perhaps, but the boys’ safety trumped any environmental concerns.

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Senior 3’s prize-winning Pee-rade presentation, “Inspection”

Now for the patriotic day itself. For the second year in a row, we decided to celebrate American drive and productivity by letting everyone sleep in for an extra half hour. Given the active first week, however, the extra sack time was hugely appreciated. The first special event of the day was the Annual Pee-rade, ably marshaled by Jonathan Merrin and blessedly free of the rain that had been predicted. The energy and creativity of the “floats” was as impressive as we can remember, all the way from the Juniors (who consoled themselves for the US soccer team’s exit from the World Cup by imagining what would happen if we played England, Canada, Scotland, Germany and – yes! – the Vatican City in “real” football on a “real” gridiron) to Senior Three (whose Stomp-inspired rendition of daily inspection set a new standard for rhythmic invention and verve. Watch and listen here! And reminded us that Alex Duval does indeed enjoy his sleep.). Both acts won First Prize in their divisions, each garnering a reward eminently appropriate for America’s Birthday – a bag of Swedish Fish. Other winners were (in the Lower Lowers) L-3, with “The Revolution,” featuring counselor Theo Nickols seeking to impose his tea habit on some feisty colonials, only to be downed and doused by his own highly-taxed beverage; L-7 (in the Upper Lowers) with “America’s Got Talent,” highlighted by Harrison Green as Danny Kerr exhibiting his knack for deodorizing his mellow retriever Bode (played with unnerving doggy-ness by Jackson Morrell); and U-5 with “A Commercial Break” (a hilarious little skit narrated by Kai Soderberg proving that, if nothing else, the spirit of capitalism really has infused the American psyche to its very heart.) This writer was particularly fond of S-1’s “Change of Perspective: G-day,” which turned the tables on our recent efforts to rid the shores of Lower Baker of the beautiful but chronically untidy geese that have paid us court for several years now. In the skit, three aggrieved fowl – “Goose R. Jr.,” “Reed Harrigoose,” and “Kenny” – deployed a distinctly bazooka-like “Big Bertha” and drove a gaggle of tuition-paying Pemi Kids right out of town. Maybe the act was too politically-correct for the judges, though, as Tighe Burnham’s boys garnered no more than Runner-up status.

Look, Ma, no hands!

Look, Ma, no hands!

Elephant race

Elephant walk

Afternoon saw the traditional Pemi Independence Day baseball games replaced, for a second year, by the “Fourth of July Extravaganza.” All campers, young and old, were assigned to one of eight teams and – enjoined to don, variously, red, orange, light green, light blue, black, dark blue, white, or dark green clothing – participated in one of a huge variety of activities. Amongst them were a number of Minute to-Win It-style challenges: “Bouncer” (alternating throws, two players must bounce ping-pong balls into five cups on a table); “Bucket Head” (the bucket is held over a player’s head, and he must toss three ping-pong balls into the bucket, keeping his arm below his shoulder); “Cup Stack” (moving cups from the top of a stack to the bottom, alternating hands, until the odd-color cup is on top); “Cookie Face-off” (contestants move Oreos from their foreheads to their mouths without using their hands); “Scramble” (group puzzle-assembly at speed); “Cup Race” (blowing through a straw, participants move a cup from one end of a table to the other and off the end); “Skittle Carry” (moving one Skittle at a time from one bowl/table to another using only a straw [hint: try suction!]); “Stack ‘Em” (using only a cup, stacking die in a tower, ultimately five-high); and “Elephant Walk” (with boys using a “trunk” made of pantyhose and tennis balls to knock down a series of cones.) The level of hilarity—as you can imagine—was extreme, augmented by staff members whose lively and energetic oversight suggest that, should they someday find themselves amongst recent college graduates without a job, they have a solid shot at replacing Guy Fieri at NBC. Meanwhile, their color-coordinated teammates tried their hand at slightly more conventional activities: Wiffle Ball, beach tennis, croquet, and a special White Mountain variety of Bocce.

Counselors dash off to find hiding spots.

Counselors dash off to find hiding spots.

Hard on the heels of the Extravaganza came the always-popular Counselor Hunt. Popular with the campers, at least. Those of us who hide, while knowing perfectly well that the campers aren’t really out for our blood, sometimes can’t help but feel as we cringe out there amongst the ferns that we’ve awakened from a pleasant dream to discover we are the principals in Lone Survivor. Some seek comfort in coming up with creative outfits in which to hide (and tremble). We remember, when he was last on staff, Sam Seymour hiding in a very flattering purple Teletubbie costume. Unfortunately, Walmart was all out of funky togs in Sam’s size, and he ended up dressing in black acrylic paint styled as a tuxedo. First-timer Teagan Burham, somehow mistaking arctic for temperate camouflage, came captive out of the woods looking like a giant marshmallow garnished with sprigs of dill. T. H. Pearson favored the Gladiator look, sporting lacrosse shoulder and arm pads and a full helmet – none of which particularly protected him when, taking the obligatory plunge off the high-dive as a penalty for being caught, he succumbed to the crowd’s promptings and executed a kidney-stunning back flop. Dana Wensberg, on the other hand, went for the classic belly flop – which, from a height of ten feet, in tantamount to tackling Adrian Peterson in your pajamas. Scotsman Mike McKeand, back for his second year, once again sported his kilt – and, as he leapt from the diving tower, Mike thankfully revealed that some from his country do indeed wear Under Armor beneath their tartans. Special kudos to Andrew Brummer who, even though he’s only visiting for a few days, thrilled the boys by executing a perfect “Egg.” Oh, did we mention that Assistant Director Kenny Moore was caught for the first time in his sixteen years on staff? The aptly- (and afore-) named Will Katcher is the one who did it, ending the longest staff “dry streak” in our memory.

Pemi's Rock Band

Pemi’s Rock Band

The Fourth wrapped up with an exceptionally well-paced and–performed vaudeville show, the first to take full advantage of this winter’s Lodge renovations. With the audience facing the huge expanse of glass looking out onto the pond and the green hill beyond, pianist Jack O’Connor got the show off to a lively start with a stellar rendition of **. He was followed by Robert Loeser, who gave us a “Star-Spangled Banner” worthy of a World Series game. The next two acts proved that virtuosity is not limited to our older campers, as Gus Bachner tickled the ivory with the always-charming “Linus and Lucy” and Alex Goldman gave his second stirring performance of the year, perfectly channeling Tom Petty in “Free Fallin’.” Next to the mic was hyper-talented Assistant Counselor Harry Eifler, who introduced most of us to the quirky Decemberists’ tune “Red, Right Ankle.” (We suggest you Google it when you have a spare moment.) Owen Fried then whisked us from the quirky to the sublime, delivering a flawless rendition of Mozart’s “Piano Sonata # 16” – before he swopped the keyboard for a guitar, joining the Pemi Rock Band for their stirring “Viva la Vida.” Joining Owen in the rhythm section was James Minzesheimer on drums, while Nick Bowman manned (and crushed!) the tenor sax, Becky Noel the violin, Dorin Dehls the electric keyboard, and Pierce Haley, James Kemp, and Ezra belted out the Coldplay vocals.

Traditional finale to Vaudeville

Traditional Vaudeville finale

The crowd was already bouncing in their chair and Crazy Creeks when five bearded “Wizards” strode into the hall. Looking like Gandalf and Dumbledore but sounding more like Jay-Z or Notorious B.I.G, Eoin Mullaney, Nate Kraus, Matt Sherman, Matt Cloutier, and Dana Wensberg brought down the house down with their customized Pemi rap. It might have seemed an impossible act to follow – but then Ezra Nugiel strode to the piano and out-Adeled Adele with his version of “Skyfall.”  Only “The Little People” could, in turn, have held the rapturous crowd’s attention next. The Eifler brothers—Wesley and Harry—closed the show with reckless abandon. Most of you know the drill—they put shoes on their own hands while two buddies behind them provided their apparent hands and arms—and they ran through the typical Pemi morning routine with a few minor glitches: shaving cream on their cereal, milk on top of their heads, gargling with liquid soap, etc. The act is a Pemi perennial, and seldom has it been done better. Our favorite line? Harry, after a supposed dash from breakfast back to inspection when only his “hands” seemed to move, confessed “Sometimes I forget to move my feet when I run. I sort of just float back to the cabin.” We could all have floated on tears of laughter.

Well, time to sign off. Stay tuned for next week’s missive, from Program Head (and Assistant Director) Kenny Moore. For now, we hope you all had a restful and happy holiday and that the camper letters headed your way are full of engaged and informative detail. Farewell for now.

~ Tom and Danny

 

Summer 2014: Newsletter #1

Rock Band on Junior Point

Rock Band on Junior Point

It’s 3:40 Monday afternoon, and we have just finished the last of the four daily instructional periods we call “occupations.” It is 84 degrees in Wentworth under partly cloudy skies, just warm enough that the thought of jumping into the lake for Free Swim (5PM) is most attractive. At the same time, there is a moderate northwest breeze coursing down the pond, and Olivia Walsh’s sailing class (Andre Altherr, Emmanuel Abbey, Jack O’Connor, Thomas Moore, Will Leslie, and Alex Marshman) has had plenty of wind in their sails to get their Lasers and Sunfishes bubbling briskly along. Overall, seventy separate sections of instruction have been offered today, covering everything from soccer and baseball – through Journal Making and Dragonflies – to Plaster Worlds, Chihuly, and Rock Band. Nate Kraus and the boys of Lower Seven will soon be headed across the lake to the Pine Forest for an al fresco supper, while Will Clare, Idrissa Bangura, and their Upper Four charges will be paddling to the “Flat Rock Café” for the same. Meanwhile, Bean Soup mavens Dan Reed and Harry Eifler have retreated to their editorial offices, sorting out the last spices before ladling up their first serving of Pemi’s comical “food for thought” at 7:45. The 2014 season is well underway!

Veterans and new campers

Cabin group with veterans and new boys

It was wonderful seeing those of you who drove your sons to camp on Saturday. The longer we do this, the more established and rewarding our partnership with you good folks seems to become. Reviews of our recently-modified arrival schedule—with veteran campers rolling in during the morning and new boys in the afternoon—continue to be highly positive. Perhaps the best part of it follows from Danny’s lunchtime invitation to the old boys to play a substantial role in welcoming and orienting the first-time campers in the afternoon. It’s also great hearing longtime camp parents like Tripp and Robin Jones speaking to the new moms and dads about the rigors and rewards of leaving their boys in the middle of the New Hampshire woods for three and a half or seven weeks. One relatively novel but charming experience for one of your correspondents—who was joined by his daughter in escorting the New York/Stamford bus up to camp—was witnessing two dozen coach-riding campers beginning to chant “Pemi, Pemi” as soon as they spied the waters of Lower Baker through the quickly-passing trees. Pemigewassett is never alive until the boys get here, and it is simply incredible how spontaneously and completely they can bring it back to life within seconds of their arrival.

At 7:45 on what was shaping up to be a perfect summer evening, two hundred and fifty of us joined the odd pesky mosquito around the campfire circle and waited expectantly as the veteran denizens of the Lake Tent – Hugh Jones, Will Jones, and Will Katcher (do you see any pattern in the names?) – lit the fire and wished one and all a happy and successful season. Speaking for all the other Seniors, they offered to help anybody reach that goal in any way they could, whereupon the inaugural campfire of the season moved ahead with all the pace and vigor of the Pemi Kid himself. The show kicked off with a best-ever performance by chanteur Robert Loeser, who soon had us spell-bound as he belted out Newley and Bricusse’s “Feelin’ Good” from The Roar of the Greasepaint and the Smell of the Crowd. In between his soulful phrases, you could have heard a pin drop – even on the sandy beach.

Next up was Alex Goldman, familiar to all veterans from last summer’s rendition of Neil Young’s Heart of Gold – most memorable, perhaps, when Alex added to Neil’s “and I’m growin’ old” the wry caveat “even though I’m only ten.” This year, at an august eleven, Master Goldman delivered himself of an extremely finished cover of The Lumineers’ “Ho Hey” that would certainly have brought the house down if we hadn’t been outdoors. Alex was followed by Junior Two counselor Wesley Eifler, one of whose winter projects had been to memorize the winningly grim Robert Service poem, “The Cremation of Sam Magee.” Adding immeasurably to the chilling effect of Wesley’s recitation was the thick billow of smoke wafting his way from the camp fire, very much akin to Service’s “greasy smoke in an inky cloak” that “went streaking down the sky” as the titular character cooked.

Wesley was followed by campfire regular Eli Brennan, who varied his customary tales from the Greek and Roman pantheon with an admirably succinct narrative about – as far as we could tell – the Egyptian sun-god, Ra. Eli was so succinct is was hard to tell. In any case, he quickly yielded the stage to staff members Max Livingstone-Peters, Maggie Boomgaarden, and Joey Gish who, to the dulcet strains of Max’s guitar and Joey’s fiddle, offered a spirited version of a longtime Pemi favorite, “Wagon Wheel.” Neither the Old Crow Medicine Show nor the song’s first Pemi performer, Christian Ruf, could have done a better job. Since we’re usually long on guitarists but short on fiddlers, it’s especially nice to have Joey with us this summer. When he’s not out leading overnight trips, we look forward to hearing many more tunes like this night’s “Lazy John,” a traditional old-time fiddle tune that Joey delivered with a singular briskness that suggested the handle “lazy” could never be fairly attached to Mr. Gish.

Nate's annual campfire act

Nate’s annual campfire act

Ezra Nugiel returned to the Pemi soundstage with a particularly finished cover of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene.” From his debut as one of our smallest Juniors, Ezra has performed with ever-increasing energy and assurance, and it’s clear this summer will see him adding to his past triumphs. Speaking of acts of long standing, Nate Blumenthal once again dazzled the crowd with his rare capacity to lick his own elbow – instantaneously inspiring scores of wannabe elbow lickers, whose efforts we’ll be sure to keep track of for your sake. And, longest-standing of all, Larry Davis cast off his urban sophistication and assumed the manner and accent of a Down East ironist, telling the wonderful tale of an aspirant hunter’s “Beginner’s Luck.” One Pemi West participant was heard to say, “I’ve heard Larry do that story for nine years now, and it never gets old!”  There are lots of forms of community, but listening as a group to a master story-teller working his magical way through a familiar tale is one of the best.

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Singing the Campfire Song

The evening ended, of course, with everyone rising from their seats, casting their arms over their neighbors’ shoulders, and joining together in singing Doc Reed’s moving “Campfire Song.” As we look forward to making the 2014 season one of the best ever, its timeless words equip us with the question and concerns that will keep our eyes on the prize for the next seven weeks: “I wonder if anyone’s better for anything I’ve done or said.”

Pemi West send-off

Pemi West send-off

Highlights of other sorts? No sooner had the first boys arrived on Saturday than the first Frisbee-Running-Bases and Roofball games formed up and took fire. Their excitement and energy has rivaled anything we have seen telecast from Brazil. By Sunday morning, as well, a dam had been constructed in the stream by the Lodge – in preparation for the “Pink Polar Bears” of those boys for whom 65 degree lake water is not sufficiently bracing. And finally, right after the Sunday Noon meal, this year’s Pemi West Participants left the messhall and ran through a “tunnel” of raised arms (the whole camp community’s) on the way to their van and Logan airport beyond. It was wonderful having Nick Bertrand, Ben Chaimberg, Matt Kanovsky, Zach Leeds, Will McNear, and Jackson Seniff with us for six days as they completed a Wilderness First Aid course and prepared for the trip. It will be even more wonderful to welcome them back in just under four weeks, after what is sure to be a life-changing experience.

Well, swim call is just about to blow (ably played by Atilla Petho, our first-ever bugler from Budapest.) We will restrain ourselves from suggesting that, on a day as warm as this, his summons to the waterfront will be a true Hungarian Rhapsody. (Well, we tried!) But it does feel like time to sign off for now. Until next week! We wish you all a healthy and happy Fourth of July.

                                                          ~ Tom and Danny

Wish you were here...?

Wish you were here…?

Meet Pemi’s 2014 Staff

2014 Pemi Staff

2014 Pemi Staff

 

Pemi’s greatest asset has always been the remarkable staff that dedicates itself, each summer, to making the Pemi experience rich, unique, and nurturing for each boy. We are grateful for their dedication and work ethic, impressed by their multitudinous talents, and humbled by their dedication to Pemi.

Each pre-season we ask staff to submit a short bio for this first blog post of the season. So, in their own words…

Danny Kerr (Director): This will be my 5th year as director at Pemi and I am looking forward to another terrific summer on the shores of Lower Baker. During the school year, my wife Julia and I live in Keene, NH. We have three boys aged 24, 22 and 18. When not doing the director thing, I very much enjoy coaching baseball at Pemi, playing the guitar and basketball with the boys, and recruiting any camper or counselor I can to join the legion of small, but dedicated, New York Met fans, seemingly a futile effort at this point.

Tom Reed (Director and Head of Trips): If memory serves, this will be my 54th summer at Pemi, my 45th on the staff. Aside from overseeing the trip program, I write newsletters and the occasional Bean Soup article and lead singing in the mess hall. Winters find me in Carlisle, PA, where I teach English at Dickinson College.

Ken Moore (Assistant Director): The 2014 season marks my 22nd summer at Camp Pemigewassett and the conclusion of my first year as a year ’round Pemi guy.  I’ve loved working with Danny and Dottie this past winter on all things Pemi, with my primary focus being on Alumni Relations, Pemi West and our general outreach efforts (social media).  During the summer, I’ll continue to manage Pemi’s overall program, working to make sure our four program areas mesh together.  Kimball Union Academy in Meriden, NH is now home (still a Clevelander through and through), where my wife Sarah works in the Admissions Office, serving as the Associate Director. I am a proud Kenyon College alumnus, Sarah’s also an alumna!, and I have my Masters in Education from University School’s Teacher Apprentice Program.

Fred Seebeck (Assistant Director): I began my multi-faceted Pemi career as a camper in Junior 3 back in 1963.  This summer, very likely, will mark my final summer as a Pemi staff member, closing a 40+ year run of wonderful memories.  Planning for the next stages of life after teaching and camping is in the wind – ask me if you’re interested.  In the meantime, a thousand thousand thanks to all the Reeds and Fauvers, along with Rob Grabill and Danny Kerr, not to mention my many friends established over the years, for making Pemi such a central and meaningful aspect of my constitution.

Dottie Reed (Head Administrator): This will be my 27th summer at Pemi. Though I work year ’round for camp with a range of responsibilities, during the summer I facilitate Pemi’s connection with the outside world with photos, newsletters, counselor reports, blog articles, and other such communications. My office window is always open for visits when I’m not out and about camp grounds. During the off-season, Tom and I live in Carlisle, PA, with our toothless cat, Gil.

Heather Leads (Administrator): I’m excited to be working in the office for my 6thth year at Pemi! During the winter I live at Northfield Mt. Hermon School with my husband Greg and my three children. I also teach elementary school.

Kim Malcolm (Administrator): This is my 23rd year at Camp Pemi. During the offseason I live at Northfield Mt. Hermon School with my husband Charlie and 2 children. I am also a physical therapist.

Cabin Counselors

 J1 – Matt Cloutier: This past spring I completed my first semester at Middlebury College. Prior to beginning my courses, I took a gap semester in the fall, during which I worked as a research intern for an NGO that studies Costa Rican rainforest and marine ecology. This summer marks my 10th at Pemi and second on staff, and I relish the opportunity to contribute once more to the nature and athletic programs.

J2 – Wesley Eifler: I was born and raised in Connecticut and I am a rising senior at American University where I am studying Elementary Education and History. This summer will be my 11th at Pemi and my 4th on staff. This year in addition to my studies, I worked at the National Presbyterian School where I was a student teacher in the 4th grade and in their after school program. Throughout the summer I will be coaching baseball and instructing in other activities around camp. I am thrilled to be back at Pemi and cannot wait for the summer to begin!

 J3 – Mark Welsh: This will be my 2nd summer on the shores of Lower Baker, and I am looking forward to another great summer. I am entering my senior year at the University of Dundee where I study pharmacology, and I’m happy to be at Pemi for a fresh change to the hectic pace of university. I am excited to get back into the Nature Lodge and help campers rediscover all that Pemi can offer.

 J4 – Michael Mckeand (Division Head): I am from Scotland and a graduate from the University of Edinburgh, though I am currently applying to do a primary teaching degree (the UK equivalent of elementary). This will be my second year at Pemi. As well as coaching soccer and working in the nature programme, I will also be Junior Division head and will hopefully manage to coach an occupation in that most superior of sports, rugby. Having been unable to return last summer, I am very excited to be coming back this year and am looking forward to another great summer.

J5 – Matt Sherman: I come from Rye, NY, and just finished my freshman year at Northwestern University, where I am studying mechanical engineering. I’m very excited for my first year on staff at Pemi! I was a camper for 6 years, and I will be teaching baseball, soccer, and swimming this summer. I can’t wait to give back to the camp that has given me so much over the years.

J6 – Eoin Mullaney: My name is Eoin Mullaney and this will be my 2nd year on the shores of Lower Baker. I will be a rising sophomore at Oberlin College studying Neuroscience and Biochemistry. I will primarily be coaching baseball and ultimate frisbee this summer as well as helping out with basketball and soccer.

L1 – Attila Petho: I am from Hungary, Central Europe, and I will be the camp bugler this summer. This will be my first time at Pemi; in fact, my first time overseas as well. I am a third-year student majoring in English and American Studies at ELTE University, Budapest, and I have just finished with the department’s writing program as a specialization. In addition to my role as a cabin counselor, I will be helping campers to develop their musical skills. I am very excited about the summer, and will do my best to contribute to the boys’ great experience at Camp Pemi.

L2 – John Fauver: I am from Minneapolis, MN, and I am a rising sophomore at the George Washington University School of Business in Washington, D.C. This will be my 7th summer at Pemi and my first as a staff member.

L3 – Josh Hess (Co-counselor with Theo): I’m from Northern California. This is my second season at Pemi, where I teach piano and assist with the Gilbert and Sullivan production. This past year, I’ve worked at a gourmet restaurant, continued my studies at Oberlin College, and begun learning how to fix my car. I’m looking forward to another awesome summer at Pemi!

L3 – Theo Nickols (Co-counselor with Josh): I am from Northumberland, U.K, Hadrian’s Wall country, and I’m currently on my gap year. Earlier this year I worked as a volunteer in India for three months with children from local schools of all ages. I’m hoping to be in the University of Nottingham in the autumn to study Environmental Science. I’m very excited about coming to Pemi for my first summer, where I’ll be coaching tennis, basketball and drama. I’m looking forward to a great summer!

L4 – Harry Eifler: I will be attending RIT in the fall as a freshman computer science major. Here at Pemi, I instruct mostly in archery and the arts; however, I do know my way around the tennis court and baseball field as well. This will be my tenth summer at Pemi, and second on staff. I’m looking forward to another wonderful summer with the boys!

L5 – Dan Reed (Division Head): I’ve been at Pemi since the tender age of 3 months, and this year will serve as division head for the Lower division. I plan to teach photography, geology, tennis, and a few other odds and ends. I study Geology and English at Middlebury College, where I will graduate this coming January.  I look forward to spending my 22nd Pemi summer with the 2014 camp family.

L6 – Kevin Heynig: I’m from Marquette in the beautiful Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I am a senior at Northern Michigan University where I study the ecology of the Great Lakes and entomology. My passion and skills lie in natural history and aquatic insect ecology. I will be teaching occupations that provide campers the unique opportunity to see into the lives of aquatic insects and other wetland dwelling creatures.

L7 – Nate Kraus: This is my 8th year at Pemi. I’m going into my sophomore year at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY, where I am majoring in anthropology and rowing crew. I’m excited to teach sailing, tennis, and music at Pemi. I can’t wait to be back on Lower Baker Pond for what should be another awesome summer!

U1 – Nathan Nacheff: I am from Short Hills, New Jersey. I am a rising sophomore at Hobart College, where I plan to study English and economics. This is my first year on the Pemi staff, but I have always held a special place in my heart for Pemi, as I was a camper for four years.

U2 – JJ Strnad: I’m from Palo Alto, California and I just finished my sophomore year at St. Olaf College where I play football and am majoring in math and computer science. I’m very excited to be back at Pemi for my 4th year and first on staff.

U3 – Fritz Windover: I grew up in Bennington, Vermont, and I just finished my first year at Bates College where I’m currently studying economics and politics. This is my first summer at Camp Pemi, and I am excited for the summer ahead. I will primarily be involved with the soccer program, though I hope to help with ultimate frisbee, along with new occupations.

U4 – William Clare (Division Head): I am from New York City and just graduated from Hunter College with a B.S. in Accounting. This is my 13th full summer at Pemi and I will be the Division Head for the Uppers, as well as teaching a wide variety of sports. I am extremely excited to have another summer at Pemi before returning to the “real” world!

U5 – Harry Norman: I am from Weymouth, England, where I play soccer for two teams. This is my first summer at Pemi. In addition to being an Upper cabin counselor this summer, I will also lifeguard and coach soccer.

S1 – Tighe Burnham: I’m from Fletcher, Vermont, and this will be my 2nd year at Pemi. I went to Northfield Mount Hermon, and recently graduated with a degree in Finance from the Isenberg School of Management. This summer I look forward to teaching various water sports, coaching soccer, and lending a hand wherever I can.

S2 – Dan Walder: I hail from Brighton on the south coast of Great Britain. This winter I’ve been working a number of odd jobs including tree surgery, scientific research, and landscaping. I’m very excited to be returning for my 2nd summer at Pemi. Throughout the season I’ll be working in the Nature Lodge, covering a variety of subjects and also lending a hand in the wood shop.

S3 – Ben Ridley (Division Head): I’m really excited to be back once again for my fourth summer at Pemi. I’m looking forward to once again bringing new ideas to the music, arts, and woodshop programs as well as preaching England’s continuing supremacy in the World Cup (who says you can’t be positive!). I’m really excited to see how the summer unfolds!

LT – Adam Sandler: This will be my 12th summer at Pemi. I’m from Pound Ridge, New York, and during the year I attend Saint Michael’s College in Vermont.  I am looking forward to teaching wood shop, fishing, and lacrosse this summer.

Assistant Counselors

J1 – Will Henry: I’m a local from Keene, NH. Next year I will be a freshman at Lawrence University in Appleton, WI, where I will be studying political science, psychology, and joining the fencing team. This is my second year at Camp Pemi, where I will be teaching archery, swimming, canoeing, and possibly fencing. I’m looking forward to a great summer with all of the boys here!

J2 -James Kemp: I’m from Hailsham on the southeast coast of England. I have been working since I left school last year to earn some money to come to Camp Pemi. I am hoping to become an actor and will be looking for a placement at a drama academy when I return to England. I have been performing with local amateur dramatic societies. This is my first year at Camp Pemi and I am looking forward to meeting the campers soon. My hobbies are performing arts, rugby, rowing, athletics and cricket.

J3 – Nick Davini: I’m from Plainfield, New Hampshire, and I recently graduated from Lebanon High School. This is my sixth summer at Pemi, and my second year on staff. I will be working in the wood shop and various other places around camp.

J4 – Michael DiGaetano: I am Michael DiGaetano from Piedmont, California. I was a camper at Pemi for 5 years and am very excited to be working at camp. I will mainly be working on the waterfront and baseball field but I would also like to lead a few trips as well. I am very excited for the 2014 season.

J5 – Tobias Sengpiel: I am from Duesseldorf, Germany, where I recently graduated from high school. I am gladly looking forward to returning to the shores of Lower Baker Pond for the third time, the first season as a staff member. I know it will be a great season again and I am proud to be a part in this camp family.

J6 – Michael Kerr: This is my second summer at Pemi. I will be teaching sailing, soccer and archery. In the fall I will be a freshman at Champlain College studying psychology.

L1 – Max Livingstone-Peters: I’m from Middlebury, Vermont, where I just graduated high school. I am headed to Lake Forest College next year, north of Chicago. I was a camper at Pemi for six years and am excited to be back as an assistant counselor.

L2 – Jack Spellman: I am absolutely ecstatic to be able to enjoy this summer on the shores of Lower Baker Pond with the boys! It is my first year at Pemi, where I will be helping out in baseball, tennis, and music (drums). I am from Lakewood, Ohio, and in the upcoming fall I will attend the University of Michigan.

L4 – Will Pearson: My name is Will Pearson and I’m from Essex, England. I like playing sports, of which my favourite is rugby. I’ll also help with lifeguarding and swimming this summer.

L5 – Dana Wensberg: I am from Gloucester, MA, and just completed a post-graduate year at Deerfield Academy. It was an amazing experience and I will be continuing my education at Trinity College next fall, where I will be majoring in engineering. I spent eight summers as a camper at Pemi, and this will be my first on staff. I am an avid hockey player, and I’ve played competitive ultimate Frisbee for the past two years. I’m very excited to finally return to Lower Baker after a 3-year absence.

U1 – Teagen Burnham: I am from a small town called Fletcher located in northern Vermont. I graduated from Kimball Union Academy this spring, and will be attending Clarkson University in the fall to study Software Engineering. I am very thankful for my brother who encouraged me to work at Camp Pemi with him this summer. I look forward to working with campers and coaching lacrosse, tennis, and soccer.

U2 – TH Pearson: I am from Hastings-on-Hudson, NY, where I am a rising senior at Hastings High School. This will be my 9th summer at Pemi (my 10th including Pemi West) and my first year on staff. I am excited to teach sailing, photography, and lacrosse this summer. Carpe diem!

U3 – Eric Groenloh: Well, born and raised in Germany, I was the luckiest person to have my grandfather send me to Pemi as a camper from 2006 until 2010. I will graduate with the German A-level next year. I love sports, especially soccer, and have been coaching kids for four years already. I’m looking forward to my 6th summer at my second home, where I will coach sports as well as conditioning.

U4 – Idrissa Bangura: I am from Freetown, Sierra Leone. This fall I will attend Boston College and will be part of their soccer team. I hope to major in Biology with the goal of becoming a doctor. My dream is to build a homeless shelter or hospital in Sierra Leone to help those in need.

Trip Leaders

U5 – Juan Jose Vela: My mission as a trip counselor is to make this summer a memorable time for the campers. For me, it is a great opportunity and I am excited to lead Pemi trips. During the last few years I have been studying law at the University of los Andes in Colombia, where I also had the opportunity to be part of a scout group.

S1 – Harry Morris: I am from West Hartford, Connecticut. I am currently a rising senior at Wofford College, which is down in South Carolina. I am studying religion and philosophy there.

S2 – Joey Gish: Hello! I am Joey Gish from the wild, wild, West aka the North Olympic Peninsula! I am a recent college graduate with a Bachelors of Science degree in biochemistry, and I have a deep love for old-time fiddle music (which I play), bicycles, and the great outdoors!

S3 – Matt Bolton: Hello! My name is Matt Bolton and I’ll be returning to Pemi for my third year on staff, and my second year as a trip counselor. I currently attend New York University where I am majoring in Fine Arts and German. I’m looking forward to exploring the beautiful White Mountains of New Hampshire with your boys this summer, and hopefully with better weather than last year.

Program Staff

Trey Blair: This will be my 3rd summer at Pemi, and 2nd exclusively working with the baseball program. I am a Kentuckian by birth, but proudly call Fort Worth, Texas, my home. I have been in education for 9 years, starting as a kindergarten teacher and now serving as Assistant Head of Lower School at Fort Worth Country Day. I was a collegiate baseball player and have coached varsity baseball for 7 years. My wife, Katie, and daughter, Nathalie Mae, are excited to come to Pemi just in time to escape the Texas heat.

Maggie Boomgaarden: I’m from Milwaukee Wisconsin. I’m going to coach basketball, baseball, and volleyball and manage the front room of the Messhall. In my life outside of Pemi, I teach Spanish, am a dorm parent, and coach volleyball, basketball, and softball at a high school boarding school.

Laura Bubar (Head of Arts): This is my first summer at Camp Pemi and I will be the Head of Arts. I am an artist, photographer and K-12 art teacher from Maine. I’m so excited to bring in a load of fun, new art projects to Pemi this summer!

Larry Davis (Director of Nature Programs and Teaching): This is my 45th season as Director of Nature Programs and Teaching. I hold AB and AM degrees in Earth Sciences from Washington University in St. Louis and a PhD. in Geological Sciences from the University of Rochester. In the off-season, I am Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences and Head of the Undergraduate Program in Environmental Sciences at the University of New Haven. I love to cook (and am the chef for the Wild Foods occupation), tell long stories featuring Mainer Orrin Tucker, root for the Red Sox, and collect waterfalls.

Dorin Dehls (Head of Music): I joined the Pemi family in 2008 and I can’t wait embark on another fantastic summer! I teach music during the school year for grades K-8 in Wallingford, Connecticut. I am excited to step into the role of Head of Music and Drama this summer and I look forward to directing our production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore.

Angel Ekstrom (Head of Waterskiing): As an outdoor educator with a doctoral degree in Education, I have been a field instructor for NOLS and Outward Bound, a programmer and field instructor at university outdoor programs, and a wilderness therapeutic counselor working with adjudicated males. Currently, I am an instructor in Adventure Education, manage the indoor climbing wall, and coordinate the Outdoor Center at Plymouth State University. I’ve taught rock climbing, paddling, mountaineering, snow orientation, canyoneering, backpacking, adventure skills, ropes facilitator courses, orienteering, wilderness first responder, lifeguarding, CPR, first aid, AED, oxygen administration at both undergraduate and graduate levels. I live in Rumney, NH, just down the road from Pemi.

Maddie Fried: I am excited to be spending my first summer here at Pemi! My hometown is San Francisco, and I am a rising junior following my passion of art and pursuing a BFA at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. I will be teaching hands-on projects in the art program and in the woodshop, as well as working on the beautiful waterfront teaching wakeboarding and swimming.

Emilie Geissinger: This is my third year on staff. I am from Darien, CT, and graduated from Bates College in the spring with a BS in Biology. At Pemi, I teach swimming, canoeing, and other waterfront activities. In the fall, I will be teaching Biology at Nobles and Greenough.

Stevens Hill: I was born in Rochester N.Y. I graduated from Union College in N.Y. with a B.S. in Industrial Economics. I was a partner in an import auto repair shop in Rochester N.Y. I am married and have one son, Christopher. I have been living in Gilford N.H. for 30 years where I have been working in the marine industry. I like to sail, ski and walk with my wife Adele.

Simon Jarcho (Assistant Athletic Director): I live in Vermont and am a boarding school teacher during the year. At Pemi, I will be the assistant athletic director, coaching soccer and tennis. I can’t wait to eet all of the Pemi campers and settle into my first summer here!

Chris Johnson (Head of Tennis): I am very excited for my first year at Camp Pemi! I have taught 4th grade in Lakewood, Ohio, for the past 13 years and coach both girls’ and boys’ tennis. My boys’ teams have won the league title 3 of the past 5 years and I have coached my girls’ team to 2 state championships and 2 top 3 finishes. Also joining me at camp will be my wife, Ashley, and my two kids, Clayton who is 4 and Lauren who is 2.

Deb Kure (Associate Head of Nature): Since studying Geology at the University of Rochester, I’ve loved teaching outdoor science through camps, museums, and trips programs throughout the US. During the school year I’m an Educator with Quarrybrook Outdoor Learning Center, in southern New Hampshire.  Glad to now be in The Granite State year-round!

Harry MacGregor (Head of Shop): This will be my 4th summer at Camp Pemi and I look forward to passing on my knowledge of woodworking. I grew up in Lowell, MA, and for the last 30 years have lived in Canaan, New Hampshire. I have had a long career in commercial, industrial, and residential construction and have owned my own business focusing on custom woodworking.

Charlie Malcolm (Director of Athletics): I’m entering my 31st season on the shores of Lower Baker, and my 26th as Pemi’s Athletic Director.  During the school year at the Northfield Mount Hermon School, I teach history, coach soccer and baseball, and lead travel abroad programs. I hold a Premier License from the National Soccer Coaches Association and have recently led NMH’S Boys’ Varsity soccer team to two New England Class A Championships. My wife Kim and our two children, Patterson and Victoria, join me at camp.

Jonathan Merrin (Head of Archery): I am from London, England, and this will be my 3rd summer at Pemi where I am returning to be the Head of Archery. After the last 2 years I could not wait to come back and join the camp community once more. After camp this year I will be heading back to Canada for another season on the slopes.  I hope to have another great summer at Pemi, and can’t wait to have lots more fun with campers both old and new!

Becky Noel: My name is Becky (Becks), coming from Hampshire, UK, to New Hampshire for the first time. I can’t wait to share my love of singing and violin-ing through the music programme as well as working at the waterfront. I’ve recently returned from 3 months voluntary work in Sierra Leone and after camp I’ll be starting my studies at Manchester University in Anatomical Sciences.

Sam Seymour (Head of Staff): After graduating from Vassar College and taking some time to explore the “real world,” I’m excited to return to Pemi for my 8th summer (4th on staff). My last summer was in 2010 as the counselor of Upper 4. Since 2010 I’ve been working in research science – first at immunology lab in San Diego, followed by a stint at a pharmaceutical company in San Francisco. As the Head of Lacrosse this summer, I’m excited to coach Pemi’s laxers to success. I’ll also be contributing to basketball, the nature program, and soccer goalkeeping.

Paige Wallis (Head of Swimming and Waterfront): I’m from Norwich, Vermont, and this is my fifth summer at Pemi. This past winter I worked at the Dartmouth Skiway and was able to help plan the first Pemi Ski Day, sure to be an annual event! This summer I’m looking forward to another wonderful season at Pemi.

Olivia Walsh (Head of Sailing): I currently live in New Canaan, CT, but I have moved around quite a bit. I just finished my freshman year at Kenyon College (after spending a gap year living in Madagascar, Belize, and Ghana).  At Kenyon I play on the varsity soccer team and I am most excited about cross-cultural studies. This is my 4th summer at Pemi and I look forward to another summer as the Head of Sailing.

Amy Watt: I am from London and I have just graduated from Nottingham Business School. This will be my second year at Pemi working in the art program. I am looking forward to seeing some old and new faces! After Pemi I will make my way down to South America to work for an NGO; I am then moving to Canada to work within research.

Caretakers of our Physical and Mental Well-Being

Megan Brockelsby (Nurse): I am from the state of Washington and will be joining Pemi to be part of the nursing staff. I work at a university health center during the school year, which has allowed me the time to come for the summer.  I am looking forward to working at Pemi!

Szervac Halmai (Kitchen Staff): I am from Hungary. This is my second time in Pemi because I spent my last summer here as a kitchen worker. It was a hard job but I was very satisfied when we finished. I came back because it was a great time in my life and I met a lot of interesting people here. I come here with my brother and my friend. I invited them because I want them to discover the A merican culture.

Reed Harrigan (Head of Buildings and Grounds): I grew up in the Washington, D.C. area and graduated from Frostburg State College with a degree in Parks and Recreation. I decided that New England was where I wanted to be and took a job as recreational director at Waterville Estates, a resort community in Campton, NH. I then procured a job at a local high school, working with special education students and as a seasonal Forest Ranger in the White Mountain National Forest. I began working at Camp Pemi six seasons ago, first as a bus driver and maintenance person, then as an instructor in canoeing and kayaking. This is my second year as year-round Facilities and Grounds Director. I am excited for everyone to see the newly-expanded Lodge and two new cabins that were built over the winter.

Pappy Hayes (Assistant Chef): I was born and raised in the bluegrass state of Kentucky. I have over 25 years of experience in the culinary field and excited about being here at Camp Pemi for summer 2014. When not at Camp Pemi assisting Chef Stacey I live in Bowling Green, KY, and am Executive Chef at Deer Creek Lodge in Sebree, KY (a hunting and fishing lodge). I’m looking forward to meeting everyone and helping to make it an exciting summer for all.

Emily Martyn (Nurse): I grew up in Brattleboro, Vermont, and earned my BA from Kenyon College. I am currently pursuing my Masters of Science in Nursing in nurse midwifery at Yale University, where I also received my certificate in nursing. In the years between undergrad and grad school I worked as an assistant special education teacher and in healthcare research. I’m excited for my first summer as a Pemi nurse!

Stacey Saville (Head Chef): I’m originally from New York but currently live in Pensacola Florida where I teach young mothers (and fathers!) how to prepare balanced, healthy meals for their families. I have 28 years’ experience as a chef with a special passion for baking. For my third summer at Pemi, I’ll continue to incorporate produce and fresh foods from local farms into the menu. I’m delighted with my hardworking and energetic 2014 kitchen crew, made up of representatives from the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland.

Zbynek Nemecek (Kitchen Staff): It’s my first year at Pemi and first time in the US. I come from Czech Republic, which is famous for Antonin Dvorak, Vaclav Havel, etc. At university I study technology and mechanical engineering. I love music, because I play clarinet and I am a singer in a choir.

Michal Przybylski (Kitchen Staff): I come from Poland, where I live in Katowice. I study finance and accounting at the University of Economics in Katowice. I am 23. My biggest passion is music so I play trumpet when I have some free time. At Pemi I work as a member of the kitchen staff.

Viktor Sandor (Kitchen Staff): I am Viktor from Hungary. I am studying social pedagogy. It’s my first time in the USA and also at Pemi. Everybody is very kind and I like working in the kitchen.