Wrapping up 2015: A Chief, a Toast, and Clive Bean

Hello to one and all from the slightly muggy precincts of the Baker Valley, where true summer weather seems to be making a belated but assertive appearance. We’ve yet to deploy our Buckminster Fuller geodesic dome over the Pond and switch on the air, but the thought has obviously occurred to us.

Noah, center, flanked by past Chiefs

Noah, center, flanked by past Chiefs

It seems impossible that our 2015 campers left us one week ago! We hope and trust that they are all back in the bosoms of their families – be it at their real winter homes or at seasonal digs at Chatham or Edgartown – sharing happy memories of their time with us, but also picking up the threads of their non-summer lives with relish and determination. As many of you may have heard, the season ended on a huge high note, as one of our wonderful 15s, Noah Belinowiz, earned his Chief Award on the last day of the season – joining only twelve other alums who have garnered the honor over the past four decades. The distinction requires thorough and consistent commitment to and accomplishment in virtually every area of the Pemi program – athletics, trips, nature studies, and community service – and when Danny informed the curious and eager crowd in the messhall the last night of the season that Noah had made the grade, the response was thunderous. To add to the momentousness of the occasion, six of the previous dozen to have joined the unique tribe were present at Campfire – Jim Willard, Chris Carter, David and Henry Spindler, Brent Johnstone, and Noah Aberlin. What a well-deserved honor for Noah – and what a note on which to end the year! You could see in the faces of many younger campers gathered around the fire – Brent’s son Drew among them – the determination to “Go for it!” in the coming summers. Good luck to them – and profound thanks to Noah for giving us all such an inspiring evening as we wrapped up 2015.

Al Fauver's 100th birthday celebration

Al Fauver’s 100th birthday celebration

Speaking of celebrations of inspired, ongoing involvement in the Pemi community and program, we dialed it up to 11 and well beyond on Sunday evening with our long-anticipated celebration of Al Fauver’s 100th birthday. Over 160 alums and friends filed into the messhall past Al’s signature red truck parked by the flagpole and greeted Al and Bertha with the warmth and affection that Al has earned a thousand times over in more than eight decades of tireless and inspiring service to Pemi. Few of us are likely ever to attend a party thrown for a person rounding out a century of good works on this ball of rock hurtling through space – and none of us will ever attend one for a man who has done more for an institution than Al has done for Pemi. In keeping with his modesty and love of everything Pemigewassett, the bulk of Al’s response to all the kudos coming his way was to ask his son Peter to read the lines of Doc Reed’s “Campfire Song”: “I wonder if anyone’s better for anything I’ve done or said?” The assembled and effusively-appreciative multitudes in the room answered the question with a resounding “Yea!” It was a signal moment in Pemi history and a chance to concentrate our profound thanks to Al for everything he has done and been. Thanks also to all of you who attended and to the many who sent their best wished and fond recollections.

Now, to wrap up this last “in-season” missive, let’s send along Danny’s toast from the Final Banquet and Clive Bean’s review of this years Gilbert and Sullivan operetta. 

Danny's annual toast to the Pemi community

Danny’s annual toast to the Pemi community

May I propose a toast?

Here’s to the summer of 2015 at Camp Pemigewassett, the 108th in Pemi’s rich and storied history, a summer that has come and gone, as it always seems to do, in the blink of an eye – although in many ways it seems a lifetime ago when we all began to arrive in early June for the Life Guard, Nature, and Wilderness First Aid clinics, way back when Lebron James and company were still battling for that elusive Cleveland championship and campers and young counselors were still attending graduation parties.

Here’s to a summer that concludes so late in August that leaves are turning an autumn tint, fall athletic teams have already begun to practice, and, as Pemi boys are returning to their cabins for an 8:30 taps, there is barely a shred of daylight left – a summer that by all accounts has been a wonderful success, made possible by the collective efforts, wisdom, and care of the Pemi men and women in this room.

Here’s to the 254 (exactly) campers who graced the shores of Lower Baker Pond this summer, 87 of whom were here as full session campers and who enjoyed Pemi’s third, now annual, trip to Whale’s Tale Water Park. (Yes, Eli Brennan, that makes it an official Pemi tradition!), campers from 21 states of the United States and 7 countries around the world, and here’s to the new Turkish flag Larry added to our collection in the mess hall this summer to commemorate Haluk and Mert’s first year at Pemi. Here’s to the 66 campers who made the decision to attend sleep-away camp for the first time, the 36 who have or will collect their five-year bowls (perhaps a record?), and yes, Ezra Nugiel, Patterson Malcolm, and Andrew Virden, here’s to campers in their ninth!

Here’s to the talented and dedicated counselor staff at Pemi in 2015, to the cabin counselors and assistant counselors, the young men who share such close quarters with their boys, and who, for some magical reason, are often able to inspire, mentor, and capture the imagination of their campers in ways even their own parents and we senior staff cannot.

Here’s to the hard working crew that Reed Harrigan leads so vigorously and affably each day: Brian, Judy, Sam, Kenny, Dennis, and Chris: to Office Managers extraordinaire, Heather and Kim, who never get enough credit; and here’s to Mama Dottie, the “glue” at Camp Pemi, who holds us all together, doing tasks both large and small and caring for campers with her maternal grace, wisdom, and a large helping of love as well.

Here’s to the kitchen crew this summer who tackled the herculean task of providing us with delicious meals three times a day, and to our fabulous nurses, Emily and Debbie, whose enthusiasm, great cheer and care were so vital as we waged another, though more successful, war against another pesky virus.

Here’s to the amazing four-cornered program at Pemi, to the Kenny, the “kid from Cleveland” who masterminds it all, to Laura down in Art World, to Charlie and all the coaches in the athletics’ program who always put first values such as sportsmanship, effort, and participation ….boom!

Thank you to Tom and the trippies who sent over 100 trips tramp, tramp, tramping over the White Mountains of New Hampshire and canoeing down the mighty rivers of Maine; to Dorin and the beautiful music she and her staff helped us create; to Emily, Tighe, Paige, and Molly and all the exhilarating, yet safe, fun we had on the water; to Harry O in the shop, Chris (and family!) on the tennis courts, Larry and Deb in the Nature Lodge, Steve on the archery range, all of the other instructors who brought major energy and mojo to occupation periods every day. And let’s not forget Head of Staff Ben for overseeing his charges with such proficiency, thoughtfulness, and humor. Gosh we love that Walsh family!

Here’s to the things that were unique to Pemi in 2015; the camp community gathering to scream and yell for the Woman’s National Soccer team in their World Cup final’s victory; the jackets and hats we wore on the coldest 4th of July in recent memory; sleep-in Sundays; Rubik’s Cube madness; TCU chants: Germ-x and wet wipes at every meal; the new Johnson family ranch down in J-Ville; more camper tournaments than I can ever remember; Cans from Campers; the Counselor Apprentice Program (thank you Dwight Dunston); and more NY Met’s chatter than can hardly be tolerated…imagine if they actually won something.

Here’s to all-camp events at Pemi: Bean Soup when we laugh at ourselves and anticipate “Things to Look For,” Campfire when we entertain ourselves as the moon drifts low o’er the hillside and finally drops in the West, and to Sunday Meeting when we contemplate such things as the importance of time spent in the natural world, profiles in courage, the adventures of our Pemi West boys, and how taking a chance can enhance your life in countless way and possibly even make you a YouTube sensation…or close enough.

And speaking of taking chances, here’s to some of those who were brave enough to do so this summer: to Jed our first-time bugler who plays his guitar like Eric Clapton, but had never touched a bugle before embracing this responsibility this summer; to first-year counselor Andy Calver for taking on the considerable mission of presenting a Sunday Meeting; to Jack He who came all the way from the Sichuan Province in China to attend Pemi; Andrew Virden for braving the mighty Allagash with just one healthy arm; to all the campers who performed at Campfire, did their distance swim, or slept under the stars for the first time.

Here’s to our 15-year-old campers – to the unprecedented leadership they provided, to their three wins on Tecumseh Day, and to the lifelong friendships that they have created. I know from personal experience that some day you’ll participate in each other’s weddings, be Godparents to each other’s children, and, hopefully, before that, become the next generation of counselors at Pemi.

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

And, finally and most importantly as we close the 2015 season, here’s to patriarch Al Fauver, as we prepare to celebrate this Pemi great’s 100th birthday. Songs may be sung and bells may be rung in praise of his years of giving, but we’ll never be able to thank Al enough for all he has done over the years to make Camp Pemigewassett the extraordinary camp that it is.

Here’s to Camp Pemigewassett 2015.

Good luck, Long life, and joy!

Thanks to Danny for the re-inspiring toast – fitting tribute to a season led with such commitment and gusto. Now we’ll close with our local theatrical maven’s commentary on this year’s comic opera:

Clive Bean Reviews The Mikado

The highlight of the 2015 Wentworth summer stock season went down on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings with Camp Pemigewassett’s production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado. Both dramatically and musically, the show was absolutely top drawer. Our highest plaudits must go to Director Dorin Dehls and one-man pit orchestra Luke Raffanti, whose season-long efforts combined to give us a final product worthy of a northwoods Tony Award. Word has it that cinematic director Martin Scorsese, who is interested in making a film of the operetta, has approached the pair. When queried by Bean Soup in this regard, however, Dehls strangely responded, “You talkin’ ta me?”

Chorus of men and schoolgirls

Chorus of men and schoolgirls

Setting up a super solid bass line for the performance was a men’s chorus made up of Sam Berman, Pierce Haley, Tucker Jones, Suraj Khakee, Owen Lee, Matt Bolton, Andy Calver, Will Henry, Harry Morris, Ben Walsh, and Erik Wiedenmann – all of whom represented nobleman of Japan with an effortless ease that suggested they had been born with silver chopsticks in their mouths. Complementing them perfectly was the Schoolgirl chorus of Ted Applebaum, Eli Brennan, Jonathan Ciglar, Andreas Geffert, Oliver Giraud, Tanner Howson, Michaella Frank, and Becky Noel. So fetching and fashionable was the lot that, on both nights, they drew a substantial applause even before they ever opened their mouths. Fortunately, they decided not to leave good enough alone and they actually sang their parts for the rest of the show – most commendably, it happens.

Henry, Drew, Christopher, and Owen

Henry, Drew, Christopher, and Owen

Strangely enough, the production’s original “Three Little Maids” morphed this year into four. One role underwent a process of mitosis, generating Peep-Bo (Singing Part), played wonderfully by Christopher Ramanathan, and Peep-Bo (Speaking Part), well-matched by Henry Moore. Owen Wyman was a superb Pitti-Sing, the spunkiest of the schoolgirls and the one most willing to call her male companions on any bit of testosterone-driven idiocy. Rounding out the trio – or make that the quartet – was Drew Johnstone, playing the young bride Yum-Yum with real confidence and melodic verve. Drew’s lovely presence on stage was commanding enough to still all discussion of whether the name Yum-Yum was more appropriate for a plate of sushi than for a romantic lead.

Caleb and Drew

Caleb and Drew

Playing Yum-Yum’s love interest was Caleb Tempro, whose part as a rebellious teenager was the result of anything but type-casting. Rumor has it that Caleb is a pretty nice guy – and that he makes a point of listening to his counselor Erik Wiedenmann at least once a week. Anyway, Caleb was musically moving and mellow, and handled the acting part of the deal with a suave cool that garnered him this year’s Johnnies Plaque for Dramatics.

George

George

Reasonably fresh from his famed video performance as The Pemi Kid, George Cooke played Titipu nobleman Pish-Tush with style and assurance, seasoning the part with a chill sarcasm that only a fifteen-year old American can deliver. He shared a number of effective scenes with Larry Davis, who reprised his role as the pompous but corrupt Lord High Everything, Pooh-Bah, for perhaps the tenth time. Once again, just as four years ago, a Republican National Committee deeply troubled by the ascendancy of Donald Trump has reportedly sent out feelers trying to enlist Larry as a more mainline candidate than the dude with big hair. When Larry responded that he was only pretending to be a public servant, Committee Chair Reince Priebus responded, “So? You’ll fit right in.”

Larry, Nicholas, George

Larry, Nicholas, George

Tom Reed, Jr

Tom Reed, Jr

Joining Larry in re-working an oft-performed part, Tom Reed, Jr. returned to the boards as the titular Mikado himself. Some of the harsher local pundits remarked that Tom should never have quit his day job at Dickinson College, but other voices were more charitable. Wife Dottie, for example, pronounced that in playing the totally unhinged and criminally ill-tempered monarch, Tom had finally discovered the core of his being. She went on to borrow a line from the show: “He’s under treatment for it.”

Ezra

Ezra

Any of you who were lucky enough to have taken in either performance will realize we’ve been saving the best for last. Nicholas Gordon, star of the world premiere of Metal Boy: The Musical in 2012, tackled the gigantic role of Ko-Ko, the Lord High Executioner, with understated comic brilliance. His final sequence of numbers with the play’s answer to a preying mantis female, the jilted harridan Katisha, all but brought the house down. Meanwhile, Ezra Nugiel has been a star of the Pemi stage from the beginning of his nine-year run, gracing vaudevilles, campfires, and previous G&S productions alike with his singular verve and talent. Never has Ezra been better, though, than in this year’s performance as the aforementioned Katisha. We are in fact hard pressed to recall any performance ever in Wentworth that has surpassed Ezra’s. It was not just his stellar falsetto delivery of vocal numbers – literally of a professional quality. His acting in the role of an over-the-hill spinster might suggest that, like Benjamin Button, Ezra has been living his life backwards and was able to bring that end-of-life bitterness to the part because he’d already been there. Both Pemi cabin-photo evidence and biological science declare this is impossible – but the bottom line is that Ezra positively stole the show – and then found a way of giving it back by making everyone in the cast around him better. Hat’s off to a continually rising star. It feels as though, if this dude wants to go into theater big time, the sky’s the limit.

So, clearly, a wonderful theatrical time was had by all, on and off the stage. We advise you to book early for next year’s production of The Pirates of Penzance. This year’s male chorus has already been practicing a key line: “YAAAAHHHHRRRR!!!”

— Clive Bean

On a final note, we ask our 2015 parents to take a moment in the next (busy!) days to log in to your Pemi accounts and send us a thought or two via the post-season survey found in the Forms & Documents section. Your feedback, both positive and constructive, is invaluable as we look towards 2016.

 

Ethan Schafer, November 21, 1975–August 8, 2015

It is with a profound sense of loss that we pass along news that Ethan Schafer died on Saturday August 8, 2015 following a major cardiac event. Ethan, 39, husband to Kelly and father to Andy (6) and Adam (3), was a Pemi camper, counselor, and dedicated alum.

We will write more about Ethan and the wide-reaching, sustaining effect he had on family, friends, colleagues, and the camp world, but here is a glimpse of Ethan’s relationship with Pemi….

Ethan’s first summer at Camp Pemigewassett was as a ten-year old in 1986. He went on to spend six summers as a fully-engaged Pemi camper, exploring all facets of Pemi’s diverse program. In 1991, Bean Soup honored him with the Camper of the Year Award, shared with Danny Kusik. The following was read aloud to the gathered camp community and published in the bound version of the Soup:

This award is going to two Pemi campers. They have both given this camp so much that it seems hard to think of this place without thinking of them. They are both leaders in their division, and are respected for the friendship they give to those in their cabin and all the many others who are around them. Both love camp and realize that it has been an important part of their lives. They have come to camp year after year, where they have settled on the soccer field, baseball diamond, and tennis court. They have won victories that have inspired themselves and others. They have shared loss and been able to bounce back with enthusiasm and energy. In every way, these two campers represent what a true Pemi camper should be. They are the 1991 Pemi kids. 

Ethan with Tyler Casertano, 1998

Ethan with Tyler Casertano, 1998

In 1993, Ethan transitioned to the Pemi staff and quickly became one of Pemi’s best counselors. He spent the majority of his time with the youngest boys, demonstrating an uncanny patience and rapport with youth. In 1996, Ethan was voted by his peers as the winner of the Joe Campbell Award – which bears this text:

Inscribed heron is the name of the Pemi counselor who most fully embodies those qualities which made Joe Campbell one of the best-loved counselors in Pemi history – integrity, generosity, happiness, enthusiasm, modesty, and an unsurpassed ability to give laughter to all those who knew him – qualities by which he contributed immeasurably to the success of every Pemi season of which he was a part.

As a child psychologist, Ethan continued to support and mentor Pemi counselors by leading pre-season staff training workshops. In August of 2015, Ethan was to assume a seat on Camp Pemigewassett’s board of directors.

Calling hours will be from 5-8 pm on Wednesday, August 12 at Billow Funeral Home, located at 85 North Miller Rd. in Fairlawn, Ohio. Ethan’s funeral service will take place at 10 am on Thursday August 13 at Faith Lutheran Church, 2726 West Market St., also in Fairlawn. It will be followed by a private burial service.

Education was of the highest priority to Ethan. His family asks that, in lieu of flowers or similar gifts, friends, family, and anyone else that knew and loved him consider donating to The Schafer Children’s College Fund that has been set up to support Andy and Adam.

____________

We invite you to share your memories of Ethan—whether in short line or detailed story—in the comments section below. For those of you who subscribe to Pemi’s blog and, as such, receive this in your inbox, please visit this post in order to leave a comment. Thank you.

____________

Tecumseh Day: Through the Eyes of the 15s

Summer 2015: Newsletter #6

For over a hundred years, Camps Pemigewassett and Tecumseh have locked annually into a spirited athletic competition. This year, our 15- and 10-and-unders traveled to Camp Tecumseh, sited majestically on a plateau boldly overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee, while the 11, 12, and 13s age groups remained on the comfy confines of Lower Baker Pond. The differences in setting are as unique as our respective camps in terms of culture and program.

Over the years, I have written extensively about each team’s contest and attempted to capture the flow of the day as I chronologically covered each age group’s experience. This year, I will let our 15-year-olds share their journey and tell their story of the day, as they embraced their last Tecumseh Day as campers, while also coming to grips with the last days of being a boy at a summer camp. Perhaps their story is more important than the scores and tallies of the day, as a majority of our 15s have been at Pemi between five and, in some cases, nine years. As you read their story, I hope it will capture the transformative magic of being a 15-year-old at an all-boys camp.

I waited until Sunday, after a few days had washed away the raw emotion of the day, before I spoke with several 15-and-unders about their Tecumseh Day. Sam Berman, Jivan Khakee, and Owen Fried have each experienced the full range of outcomes on this day. So here are their stories and perceptions of Tecumseh Day 2015.

Preparation

Each summer, the 15-and-unders come together to orchestrate the tone and build-up for the big day. The seniors struggle with the range of ages at camp and how best to reach each group and individual with an age-appropriate message. Clearly, what might be effective for a senior might not work for a junior in his first season or even week at Pemi (our Second Session boys will have just joined us the week before). Any Pemi alum can tell you that the energy and passion on Tecumseh Day far exceeds that of any prep or high school rivalry. I asked the boys what they learned from the week of preparation leading up to the Day and how it impacted their division.

Owen Fried

Owen Fried

“As a 15-year-old, it really felt different to me this year. In the past, you just worried about your age group, but this year I felt a responsibility to get camp going. I was more worried about the younger kids. The fifteens got together and talked a lot about trying to find the balance between getting kids pumped for the day versus putting emphasis on focus. As the week went on, I began to notice we cared more about each other in Senior Camp. This year, we have 24 15-year-olds in Senior Camp, so I think the energy of Tecumseh Day began to pull us together.” (Owen Fried)

Jivan

Jivan Khakee

“It’s different as a fifteen-year-old; you feel more important; you realize pretty quickly you need to lead younger kids and be good role models, lift your performance, and be generally at a higher level. In terms of leading camp, I learned that words really matter and we all need to be careful about how we talk about the strength and weaknesses of particular age groups. The younger campers hear everything and it can be destructive if they hear that a fifteen-year-old doesn’t believe they have much of chance. At the end of the day, I think stepping up to lead the other campers brought out the best in us.” (Jivan Khakee)

“Last year, I only came for the first half and that was a big mistake. It was way too short. I never felt like I fully bonded with my cabin. Our relationships weren’t as strong and Tecumseh Day is a big part of building our relationships.” (Jivan Khakee)

Arriving at Tecumseh

After four days of practice in very hot and humid conditions, the 10s and 15s boarded the buses at 7:30 AM for the one-hour ride to Center Harbor. Most of the 15s were returning to Tecumseh for the first time since winning the day in 2012. (They were home as 13- and 14-year-olds.) As 12-year-olds, they had sprinted up the hill above the waterfront after they won the final swimming race to celebrate with their fellow Pemi community members.

“I hadn’t been to Tecumseh since we won The Hat in 2012. When we left that day, I remember the joy of winning but I also remember how devastated their camp was to lose The Hat. We would always joke about how hard their counselors were on their campers, making them do push-ups and stuff like that, and we also would check out their Mohawks [hair cuts]. In the build up to ‘Beat Tecumseh,’ it kind of shapes how you think about the camp. However, when I got there this year, I quickly realized they’re not that bad … they get along and care for each other, too. All the campers and counselors I talked to were really nice. I did notice, though, during the tennis matches that they were pretty stressed out about losing. There seemed to be more on the line for them. To fail would be unacceptable for them.” (Owen Fried)

The Morning Events

The 15s started their day with a grueling tennis match and against an uneven Tecumseh line-up. At number one singles, Carson Hill demolished a far less talented opponent, while Will Merhige at four singles had his hands full against a tenacious and capable competitor.

Sam

Sam Berman

“One of my favorite memories of the day was watching Will Merhige battle in his tennis match at number four singles. Almost everyone was watching Timmy Coe’s exciting tiebreaker victory at number two singles, and Will was essentially alone taking on what looked like one of their top tennis players. Will won the first set but was tied in the second set when Coe won and everyone from both camps lined up around his court to watch what would be the deciding match. He kept to his game plan, driving the Tecumseh guy back with deep shots and then finishing him off by going to the net. Impressive!” (Sam Berman)

JonahWhile the 15s were battling their way to a hard-fought 4-3 victory in tennis, the 10-and-under baseball team under the cool leadership of Wesley Eifler played in a “classic.” On the mound was Pierce Cowles who delivered three innings of commanding pitching and also managed to bang out four hits at the plate while scoring two runs. When Cowles found some trouble in the third inning, Eifler astutely went to his bullpen and Jonah Reay slammed the door with three plus innings of shutout ball to preserve the 2-1 victory. The 10’s defense made no errors, and several sensational plays by Reay helped secure the victory, thus creating some awesome Pemi energy in the morning. When the final out was recorded, everyone rushed on the field to celebrate.

“I was watching the 15’s tennis match, but kept one eye looking through the fences to the 10- and-under baseball game. I could hear and feel the intensity of the game, and I wasn’t even there. You would hear the crack of the bat, wild cheers, and one side celebrating a run or an out. I wish I had watched that game, but you couldn’t help but feel the waves of energy pulsating up the hill.” (Jivan Khakee)

GradyWith Pemi jumping out to two victories at Tecumseh, and the campers unaware of Pemi dropping all three events at home, the 10’s soccer team and the 15’s baseball team stepped into their second events brimming with confidence. Grady Nance, who attends the Haverford School in Philadelphia, archrival of the majority of Tecumseh kids who attend Episcopal Academy (and ironically Haverford is also former school of the new director of Tecumseh, Doug Knight!) mowed down Tecumseh’s top hitters, setting the tone for the remainder of the game. Robert Cecil, who spent his free afternoons taking extra hitting practice after spending a full year away from baseball, delivered a thundering bases-loaded double to plate the three runners ahead of him and give Nance ample run support to deliver a crisp 6-0 Pemi victory. The 10s, unfortunately, ran into one Tecumseh’s best teams, conceded a goal in the opening minutes of play, and went onto to suffer an 8-0 loss.

“If I had to do one thing over, I wish we or I had spent more time with the Juniors after they lost that soccer game. We were so excited about winning baseball and how our division was doing, I think we might have missed a chance to help them get ready for tennis and swimming in the afternoon.” (Owen Fried)

The Afternoon Events

JasperThe two camps entered the Tecumseh dining hall with the score 6-4 in favor of Tecumseh. At Pemi, the 13’s soccer team delivered an impressive 4-1 victory in soccer against a very strong Tecumseh team. Jasper Nusbaum was incredible in the Pemi goal while Arlo Grey, Wyatt Intrator, Spencer Hill, and Will Laycock delivered the goals for Pemi. Tecumseh won 12s soccer (3-0) and Tennis (5-2), 11s Tennis (6-1) and Baseball (9-0), and 13s swimming (46-14), so the atmosphere and momentum at each camp were distinctively different.

After lunch, the 10s tennis team lost 5-2 while the 15-and-under soccer team battled against a very determined Tecumseh side. For the majority of the first half, Tecumseh kept Pemi pinned in their end of the field and eventually scored as a deflected shot changed direction and drifted painfully past the incredibly talented Nick Bowman to the upper corner. Pemi unleashed a blistering attack in the second half as the team moved Patterson Malcolm forward and played balls more directly. A Malcolm header rolled just wide of the net, and Riley Walsh’s volley rung the cross bar as Pemi kept the pressure on. Despite a much better second half, Pemi lost 1-0 to an extremely fit Tecumseh team that never subbed once.

Patterson2“Watching Patterson Malcolm give 150% – no 200% – on the soccer field with a strained quad — was pretty amazing. He chased down every ball. It was unbelievable. When he collapsed on the field in exhaustion and tears at the final whistle, we all ran to pick him up. That was pretty special.” (Jivan Khakee)

The 15s and 10s were clearly dejected after tough losses to start the afternoon, and both age groups walked slowly down to the waterfront fully aware that winning the day was not likely in the cards. Anyone who has been at a Tecumseh Day knows that the final swim meets often bring out the best in our respective campers, especially when the meet involves our youngest and oldest campers as they come together as one group cheering each other on. The 15s are a talented squad, and Tecumseh always has plenty of depth. Both these factors highlighted the remarkable meet that transpired.

“One of my favorite memories of the day was watching Noah Belinowiz break the record in the breaststroke. We had just lost a really close soccer game and were a little down. His excitement over breaking the record—the way he jumped out of the water and pumped his fist—I think it woke us back up and got us fired up to compete in the swim race.” (Jivan Khakee)

SwimmingWell, compete they did! After jumping out to an early lead with record-shattering performances by Belinowiz, Grady Boruchin in the backstroke, and Robert Cecil in the freestyle, Tecumseh’s overall depth reeled Pemi in and tied the meet going into the final event, the freestyle relay. This set up one of the greatest races ever witnessed, as both camps rolled out talented relay teams.  Belinowiz, Luke Silver, Boruchin, and Cecil delivered a legendary performance while breaking the record in the process.

“On the last relay of the swim meet we were all in a state of disbelief when they announced the score was tied.   We all started cheering like crazy during the last race. I think I lost my voice as Robert Cecil pulled away from Tecumseh’s anchor in the final lap and finished first to win the race and the meet.” (Owen Fried)

It was a fantastic performance and exemplified the emotional and physical endurance of our oldest campers. While the 10s came up short in their relay, you could see their clear joy and admiration for their big brothers. After the cheers on the beach were exchanged, our community walked up slowly to the Tecumseh mess hall to close out the day. Each 15-year-old occasionally looked back over his shoulder, knowing his athletic journey at Pemi and this bold tradition was finally over.

“I felt sad, not about losing the day: we had done our best and won three of our four events. It was more about the realization that this age group will never be together again, competing on Tecumseh Day.” (Jivan Khakee)

“At the end of the race, I wasn’t sad about losing the day, because our age group had a great day and, for most of the Seniors, we had already lost, tied, and won a Tecumseh Day over the course of our time at Pemi. Not many campers have experienced each one of those outcomes.” (Owen Fried)

“It didn’t hit me that this marked the end of competition for our age group until the buses rolled into camp. The last time we rode those buses back from Tecumseh we carried The Hat and everyone was there to greet us and celebrate. This year I think I was even more amazed because, when we came back, there were just as many people waiting for us, and we all felt part of a strong community.” (Sam Berman)

MoonBusWhen the buses and vans returned to Pemi, hugs, high fives, tears, stories, and laughter met the competitors. Several Seniors addressed the throng of campers and told them how proud they were of their efforts, regardless of the outcome. The boys were also met by one of the most incredible full moons just rising from the east, orange and bold as it reflected the final light from the setting sun. It was clear to everyone that our 15s, the majority of whom first came to Pemi as Juniors, were also ascending at a pace worthy of awe and appreciation. They simultaneously held onto to their last days of being boys on Lower Baker while at the same time taking major steps forward in becoming capable and caring young men.

– Charlie Malcolm

Moon2