Alumni Newsletter – 2017 Preview

Welcome to the next installment of the Pemigewassett Alumni Newsletter. In this edition, we will preview the upcoming summer giving one and all an update on the 2017 Pemi campers, staff, and our gorgeous facility.

2017 CAMPERS

In 2017, two hundred and sixty two boys will attend Camp Pemigewassett with eighty-one campers enrolled for the full seven week session. Eight countries (United States, United Kingdom, France, Morocco, Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Spain, and Venezuela) will send boys to Wentworth this summer. Within the United States, twenty-eight states are represented, with boys from Rhode Island, Mississippi, and Minnesota joining the ranks for the first time in a few years. Seven states have double-digit representation, including California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont. Metropolitan areas like Washington, D.C., Cleveland, and Chicago also have strong contingents. Should make for great banter in the Mess Hall.

Thirty-four percent of the boys will be in their first season at Pemi, and on the other end of the spectrum, thirty percent are in their fourth or more summer. Eleven boys are in either their seventh or eighth summer! We enjoy having these savvy veterans and camp leaders to help the youngest and newest boys along. Mentorship between the campers is always a hallmark of the Pemi experience, and recent efforts have furthered mentorship opportunities.

Photo from 2015 – Ezra Nugiel, middle, with his Junior buddy, D. Johnstone (left), and also pictured is Ezra’s Senior buddy from 2010, Ridley Wills, completing a cycle!

For example, the Junior – Senior buddy program, which began a few years ago, pairs each Senior camper with a Junior counterpart. A few scheduled campfires allow the boys the chance to get to know each other, and begin building a connection. During the day, and throughout all informal times in between, these pairings form meaningful relationships, as the Senior becomes a role model for the Junior camper. Just recently, our earliest junior buddies have now become Seniors and have completed the cycle with first hand experience of the program.

PEMI STAFF

We are fortunate to have a slew of Pemi veterans back on staff in 2017. More than seventy percent of our counseling staff were once Pemi campers, and roughly the same number are returning staff members from 2016. Every year, we are excited for new staff to join the ranks, to infuse the institution with new ideas and ways of thinking. Coupled with our great retention rate, the 2017 Staff is sure to be stellar. Stay tuned for the next blog posting to read further details about each staff member.

Don Webster instructing Pemi boys on the art of bunting.

To wet your appetite, we’d like to highlight one Pemi counselor who is returning to camp after a few years away. Julian Hernandez-Webster is back on the shores of Lower Baker, and represents three generations of Pemi. His grandfather, Don, started back in the late 1950’s, serving as the Head of Senior Camp, and also a baseball and tennis coach. No surprise to our avid readers, but Don was a graduate of Oberlin College. Steve Webster, Don’s nephew, was next in line, spending ten summers at Pemi. Then, Don’s two sons, Jake and Andy joined the ranks in the late 70’s. Andy, Julian’s father, learned a trio of water sports (sailing, canoeing, and waterskiing) during his camper days, and later coached soccer and baseball when as a counselor in Senior Camp.

After five years as a camper, many with older brother Max also in attendance, Julian is set to begin his first year as a counselor and looks forward to his new role at Pemi. Julian remembers his own counselors well, Ted McChesney and Ben Ridley specifically, and aims to model his own style after them. “Ted was great as my first counselor, he did an excellent job of encouraging me to try all sorts of new activities, a value that is one of Pemi’s best. And it was a privilege to have Ben Ridley as my Senior 3 counselor. I hope to bring the positive energy that I saw in Ben, and I hope I can consistently brighten the moods of the boys in my cabin.”

Julian is a rising Junior at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, PA, majoring in Sociology and contemplating adding a second major in Spanish. The study of Sociology, analyzing the way societies operate, is an important field to Julian, and he is eager to pursue research opportunities including studying abroad in South America. He is active at Bucknell outside the classroom by playing club soccer, he serves as a member of LACOS, the Hispanic/Latinx student organization, and Speak UP, an organization advocating against behaviors and ideas leading to sexual misconduct.

Julian, bottom row, second from left, with his Senior 3 cabin-mates in 2013. Four others will join Julian on staff this summer!

Pemi has had a huge impact on Julian and his family, and they have been vital in  continuing the traditions of the institution. When asked about a favorite Pemi story or memory, Julian thoughtfully responded with an eloquence that deserves to be shared in full.

After the final campfire when I was 15, my cabin-mates were lamenting the end of our Pemi careers as campers. There were tears after the campfire, during the walk back to the cabin, and then quiet as none of us wanted to say goodbye to each other. Ben Ridley walked into our cabin and decided to take us out to the baseball field. It was after taps and the camp was dark and silent, but the sky was stunning. We laid on the grass in the outfield of the baseball field, staring out into the cosmos, and took turns swapping stories and laughing about our journeys at Pemi. Ben told us that even though we were done as campers, the bonds that we forged were special enough that they would last until we saw each other next. I looked around and in my cabin-mates I saw brothers, and I know that what Ben said was true. I have met up with most of the boys from the outfield that night and each time it was as if no time had passed, and our friendship continued just as strong as it was when we were 15.

FACILITY UPDATE

A new cross section joins together the traditional twin piers.

Our facility is in excellent shape, and weathered an unusual New England winter and spring that offered a host of challenges. Guided by Reed Harrigan, Pemi’s Head of Buildings and Grounds, vast improvements can be seen as soon as you cross over the bridge to paradise. Looking to your right, you’ll immediately notice a new dock system for Senior Beach and two new floats beyond. These modern, easy to install floating docks accommodate the unpredictable water levels that have become the norm, and most importantly, the docks ensure increased water safety and support improved swimming instruction.

As you continue down Pemi’s road, you’ll notice to your left, the field-leveling project. Starting in the fall of 2016, these new flat playing fields allow lacrosse and baseball to co-exist in Senior Camp, much to the chagrin of those ardent admirers of the national pastime. The Mess Hall looms large over the grassy surface, with a newly paved driveway leading to the loading dock. Behind the Mess Hall now lives a generator to provide electricity to the building and to the office, allowing Pemi operations to continue unfazed in the event of a power outage.

A new superb playing surface for baseball and lacrosse.

Back on the road, now to the Boat House, two new rowboats flank the pride of the Pemi fleet; eight fresh, strikingly sharp, green Mad River Canoes. These gems immediately enhance our growing Canoeing Program, and support better canoeing instruction to venture beyond Lower Baker for river canoe trips. Other improvements dot the landscape and continue to enhance the program opportunities for the boys.

Stay tuned for upcoming summer Pemigewassett Newsletters that will be distributed via the blog. We hope you’ll subscribe to stay up-to-date with Pemi news and information. In the meantime, find us on your favorite social media platform for daily summer updates.

Links to Articles and Videos of Interest – March ’17

Over the winter, Pemi’s facebook page offered updates on Open Houses, alumni gatherings, and chance encounters, as well as steady postings of photos both old and new that made us smile, laugh, reflect, and—more often than not—ache to be with our friends at camp. Interspersed throughout have been links to timely topics and bits of interest from a variety of sources. As we like to do every few months, here’s a select compilation of those links that should make for easy binge reading if you’re not a facebook user or if you missed one along the way…

When you come across articles that you think the larger Pemi community might find of interest, please send them our way so we can share them with others!

 

 

Alumni Magazine – News and Notes – January 2017

Welcome to the next installment of the Alumni Newsletter. This edition, Alumni News and Notes, focuses on updates from our Alumni Community. We invite you to write your own update in the comments section below.

CONGRATULATIONS

Noah Belinowiz, Pemi’s 13th Chief, will head to Rochester University in the fall.

Patrick Clare married Holly Lagasse on August 13, 2016 supported by a strong contingent of Pemi men. Pat and Holly currently live on the campus of Avon Old Farms in Avon, Ct where Pat teaches history and economics, coaches, and supervises in the dorm. Holly works as a production assistant at ESPN as a part of their NFL Live Staff.

Fauver Wedding

Jameson and Catherine accompanied by Jameson’s parents Jon Fauver and Janet Duchaine.

Jameson Fauver married Catherine Gallagher on October 1, 2016 in Nantucket. Pemi Alumni, Josh King, Critter Tamm, Geoff Curfman, Kyle Avery, and Ben Jonson aided in the celebration. Jameson and Catherine live in Boston’s South End; Catherine is in her second year at Boston University Law School. Jameson, the Director of Business Development for Kashable, a financial technology company based in Manhattan, commutes to New York a couple days a week for work.

Bryce Grey will head to Dickinson College this fall.

Porter Hill and his wife Holly celebrated the arrival of their first child, Campbell, on October 25. Everyone is happy and healthy, and they look forward to Campbell’s first season at Pemi in the summer of 2025!

Chris McKendry married Kendra Gladieux on October 1, 2016 in Toledo, Ohio. Chris’ cousin-in-law, Kenny Moore, served as the officiant. After meeting as undergraduates at Ohio Wesleyan University, Chris and Kendra moved west in 2009 to Long Beach, California where Chris is the Creative Manager for Method Wheels and Kendra is the Head Chef at Frosted, a cupcakery.

Miller Wedding

Conor Shaw helping lift Jeff Miller during the horah.

David Miller married Charlotte Quilain this past summer with celebrations in Paris and New York. Having moved to Berlin, Germany in 2014, David works for BMG and is now the Senior Director of Business Development, responsible for their international Expansion. He has seen Erik Wiedenmann a few times and attests that the Pemi connection does indeed exist overseas!

Jeff Miller wed Michelle Hirsch on May 29, 2016 in New York. Pemi Alumni, Chris and Michael Bryant, Jake Fauver, Conor Shaw, Critter Tamm and Will Edwards were in attendance. Jeff is entering his final semester at NYU’s Stern School of Business graduating in May with a focus on product management. He’ll soon be looking for a full time gig in technology in New York City. Michelle is an investment associate at Greystone Development.

Johanna Zabawa married Nick Salay on October 8 in St. Anthony, Minnesota. Johanna works with the Washburn Center for Children as a school based mental health therapist. She is currently working in the Bloomington public schools. Nick is an emergency physician at Saint Cloud Hospital. The happy couple now resides in Maple Grove, MN.

Sky Fauver, Anne Lucas, Zabawa! Abby Reed, and James Bischoff. Sky's sons Leo, Philip, and Oliver in front.

Sky Fauver, Anne Lucas, Zabawa! Abby Reed, and James Bischoff. Sky’s sons Leo, Philip, and Oliver in front.

ALUMNI NEWS

David Adams, originally from Cleveland, OH splits his time between Virginia and Florida. David spent his career in the legal profession, 47 years in total, with almost 16 years as a Federal Judge. He winters just a mile from his brother Peter in North Palm Beach, Florida.

Mike Benham attended Pat Clare’s wedding in August, and saw a bunch of alumni there. In March, his company moved into the new Renaissance Hotel on 35th street in Manhattan where he runs a delivery only food concept as well as handling banquets, room service, and VIP services for the hotel. Mike has taken on the role of General Manager, and still finds time for music.

Sandy and Hunter

Sandy and Hunter

Sandy Bryant and Hunter Mulligan rang in the New Year together at the Hillsboro Club in Hillsboro Beach, Florida, a place their families have gathered for years.

John Carman writes in, “I’m planning to retire sometime in 2018 after turning 62 and a very rewarding 35 year career in the Boy Scouts of America. Upon retirement, my wife Mary and I will move to Louisville, Kentucky where we already own a house in which our daughters lived while attending grad school. Our eldest daughter gave birth to our first grandchild in January, 2016 so we have been spending a lot of time there during the past year. I plan to attend the 110 year anniversary and more Pemi events on a regular basis after that.”

“Anyone out there from years 1943-1946, lower and upper intermediate?” asks Frank Connor. “I’m in Denton ,TX and have been retired from being a math professor for over 20 years. Not sure all what I do nowadays, but I sure feel busy. I think one simply takes a lot longer to do anything when they’re old. I am still involved with water polo but had to quit playing at 69 due to a cervical spine problem. Although Pemi didn’t have that sport when I was there, Pemi is where I started my swimming career, so in a major way that was the start of my water polo career (years later), which got me into the USA Water Polo Hall of Fame. Certainly, as far as a philosophy of life and how to act toward others, Pemi was the most influential experience in my life, and for that I am forever grateful.
If you read this and remember me (well, maybe vaguely), I would enjoy hearing from you. Cheers to all!”

Larry Davis, having spent years and years caving, hiking, geologizing, and reffing, has worn out his knees and will be getting them replaced. The right one is scheduled to be done on January 23, the left in the fall. Should be good for another long stint after that! Larry just returned from ten days on San Salvador Island with a class.

John Evans, camper from 1990 to 1993, moved from Phoenix, Arizona to Orange County, New York. He and his wife Virginia own an environmental consulting firm. They enjoy traveling, cooking Italian food, and spending time with family.

ISO bicyclists! Fred Fauver is planning a two-week self-designed, self-supported bike trip in Bulgaria, taking place in early September 2017.  Why Bulgaria?  Well, as Fred says, “because I’ve never known anybody who has explored there, and the people, the terrain, and the history sound amazing. We’ll start in Sofia and head to the Black Sea with diversions into the mountains. Max group size will be six, and we have four, so far.” Let us know if this is of interest!

Emilie Geissinger moved to St. John’s, Newfoundland for graduate school, where she is earning her masters in Fishery Ecology at the Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Payne Hadden moved to Atlanta, GA after graduating from Colgate in May of 2016. He is working for a commercial real estate firm and has enjoyed it thus far. This past summer, he went on numerous hikes in Northern Georgia, some on the Appalachian Trail, and found it rewarding to compare the trails to his past experiences on the northern sections as a camper and counselor at Pemi.

For the last twelve years, Scott Hansen has lived in Bethesda, Maryland, and is working at Marriott International Headquarters overseeing guest technology. He is frantically working to incorporate newly acquired Starwood Hotels and travels frequently, with a recent trip to South Korea.

Andrew Heath ran into Porter Hill while walking in a park in Cos Cob, CT, where Andrew and his wife, Sandra, just purchased their first house.

Jameson, Josh, Chris, and Jon

Jameson, Josh, Chris, and Jon

Eric Kampmann, a second generation Alumnus, 1952-1953, credits Pemi for inspiring his love of hiking and the outdoors in his later years. He finished section hiking the entire Appalachian Trail in September of 2011, and continues to find ways to return to the trail whenever he can. “Pemi led me to the trail, which is a journey I still have not completed.” Eric’s father attended Pemi in the 1930’s, and Eric’s children, Alex, Peter, and Arthur were campers in the 1990’s. Eric is the CEO of Midpoint Trade Books in New York.

Josh King turned 30 this fall, and celebrated with an all Pemi game of paddle tennis with Jameson Fauver, Chris Ward, and Jon Weigel.

Michael, Leif, and Dan

Michael, Leif, and Dan

Michael Morrell, Leif Dormsjo, and Dan Kasper pictured at Game One of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park in Washington, DC. The Kasper family is happily residing in Denver, Colorado. Dan, Carrie, Dylan (now 3 ½ years old and a Junior Camper in the making) welcomed Rosalie Claire Kasper on June 29, 2016. Dan’s parents Anne and Tom Kasper, relocated from DC to Denver this past summer to join the clan on the edge of the Rocky Mountains.

Ted McChesney moved back to Richmond, Virginia and works for the CMG Foundation. CMG is a non-profit that does court ordered mediation for juvenile and domestic court. Ted is looking to go back to school next fall.

Erik Muller is still living in New York City with his wife, Christina. They just celebrated two years of marriage last September. Erik works for TubeMogul, which is an ad-tech company that was recently acquired by Adobe, as a software sales director. Christina and Erik love to stay current on Pemi news and are hoping to make a trip up next summer for another visit. They stopped in for a night two summers ago, and Christina fancies herself a ‘Pemi Kid’ now.

Dave Nagle recently changed employment. As of June 2016, Dave is a Process Engineer for Brycoat Inc, a coatings company in Oldsmar, FL.

Harry Norman, a member of the staff in 2014, is currently backpacking in Asia, traveling first in Thailand and then to Vietnam. He recently caught up with Teagen Burnham and Becky Noel in the UK.

Stephen Funk Pearson writes, “I’ve moved full time to my 1767 farmhouse (Butternut farm) in Belmont. I quit my Cambridge, MA home after 30 years, quit my Cambridge tv show (Psychic Fashion Show), quit my rock band (Pretentious Fools), quit my publishing biz (Pingibookstore) and will take life easy now, living and renting my lake cabins (cabinsonthecove.com) planting a garden, and enjoying country life year round again.”

Peter Rapeyle retired in 2012 as Headmaster of Princeton Junior School after 40 years in education. Currently, Peter is serving on four boards, teaching part-time at the Princeton Adult School and auditing courses at Princeton University, where his wife, Janet, is in her 14th year as Dean of Admission.

Victoria, William, Deckard and St. Nick!

Victoria, William, Deckard and St. Nick!

Austin Richards is living in Santa Barbara, CA with wife Victoria and his two sons William and Deckard. Austin thinks about Pemi quite a lot, reminiscing, “it’s the least changed place from my childhood, which I am so grateful for. I hope to send my boys when they are ready. Deckard is named after the protagonist of Blade Runner, a film I first viewed on Hanover Day, 1982. I recall that the only two Pemi folks that loved the movie that night were me and Andrew Harrison, and that many others complained about the incoherent plot! You were in good company: Harrison Ford, who played the Deckard character, famously hated the film.”
Austin continues, “my investigations into things I learned about at Pemi continue even in my professional life, as a research scientist at FLIR Systems, the infrared camera company. Years ago, Larry Davis took some of us lucky folks to the nearby Palermo Mine to prospect for fluorescent uranium minerals at night with black lights. They glow with green light. I recently came across an old Smithsonian research paper, which describes how certain minerals can fluorescence with infrared light when stimulated with blue-green light. I tried it with a sample of golden topaz and it works, though the fluorescence is very weak and you need a special camera to image it.”

Jake and Leif

Jake and Leif

The Sargent family hosted a rain-soaked Toast to Fall Bluegrass party in Blue Ridge Summit, PA on October 1. Leif Dormsjo, once a trip counselor, always a trip counselor, dressed appropriately for the weather. Future campers as well as Pemi Alumnus Jonas Beals joined Leif and Jake Sargent at the gathering.

Jack Stratton is the leader of a band called Vulfpeck, a popular American funk group that is gaining a wide-spread following. They have performed on the Colbert Show, Central Park’s Summer Stage, and the Brooklyn Bowl. Check the 2017 Tour dates, 2 shows in Brooklyn were just added, to see when Vulfpeck travels to your town.

Rob Verger has started going on camera regularly for FoxNews.com to talk about science and technology. He’s also a freelance contributor to FoxNews.com. Check out this recent clip!

If you made it thus far, you’re deserving of good luck, long life, and joy!

Kenny

Defining Photos of 2016

Each fall, photos from the previous summer are compiled to create a picture book for prospective campers, current families, and alumni. Below are a few favorites that are worth sharing, enjoy!

Aerial Shot - Drone!

Thanks to Alumnus Ted Orben for capturing this image via drone!

A beautiful Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

A beautiful Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. Butterflies and Moths continues to be a popular occupation at Pemi and relatively new to the schedule, the equally popular Digital Photography occupation.

Learning how to control the wakeboard with a picturesque backdrop.

Wakeboarding with a picturesque backdrop.

Hydration above tree line

Hydration above tree line

A Weird Science creation, the Nature Lodge always up to something.

A Weird Science creation

15 & Under Baseball shaking hands with Camp Tecumseh after their annual game.

15 & Under Baseball shaking hands with Camp Tecumseh after their annual game.

A spectacular image from Pemi West.

A spectacular image from Pemi West. Click here to see another favorite!

Slalom skier with good spray rounding the outer buoy.

Slalom skier finishing the course with good spray.

Mabel leading the Chorus of Wards in 2016's Pirates of Penzance.

Mabel leading the Chorus of Wards in 2016’s Pirates of Penzance.

...and finally drops in the West.

…and finally drops in the West.

Alumni Profiles

Greetings! Welcome to the next installment of the Alumni Newsletter, Alumni Profiles, highlighting two Alumni who each spent a number of years as campers and as counselors at Pemi. As we look forward to the next issue, Alumni News and Notes, I love to include information about you; did you start a new job? Move to a new city? Randomly ran-into another Pemi person? E-mail [email protected] to share today, and stay tuned in the next few months.

John Ravenal

In 1969, a ten-year old John Ravenal arrived at Pemi for his first summer as a member of Junior 4. After six years as a camper, John joined the staff in 1977 and would later serve as the Junior 1 Counselor for three summers in 1978, 1979, and 1981, with the later two summers being the Head Counselor or Division Head of Junior Camp. John distinctly remembers the familiar sights and sounds of being at Pemi. “Tattoo in the Junior Camp – the long bugle tune winding through the dusk, as campers dashed to their cabins and back out again to brush their teeth. Or looking through the low-burning campfire on the Senior Beach across Lower Baker Pond while singing the last lines of the Campfire Song.” Other memories include the camp traditions of Bean Soup and Gilbert & Sullivan, and more personal memories of long canoe paddles with friends and the bonds forged with cabin-mates in the cabin.

Senior 1 - 1973

SENIOR 1 1973 From L-R, on roof – Brett Raimondo & Will Moffett, in cabin – Mark Hansson & Jeff Hoyt, on chimney – Doug Winston & John Ravenal, on ground – Bill Bernhard, Ian Fox, and Stuart Grey, seated – counselor Peter Barnett

John attended Wesleyan University during his years as a counselor, earning his Bachelor’s degree in Art History. He followed his undergraduate degree with a Masters in Art History and a Masters of Philosophy in Art History from Columbia University. His education prepared him well for his career as a Museum curator. John was elected as the President of the Association of Art Museum Curators in 2009, and served in that position through 2011.

After serving as the Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art for the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Virginia, John became the Executive Director of the DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts in 2015. DeCordova is the largest park of its kind in New England, covering thirty acres with over sixty works as part of the sculpture park. Providing year round activities and rotating exhibits, DeCordova is vast resource worthy of a visit.

John credits Pemi for his love of nature and the outdoors, “especially hiking and camping, comes straight from Pemi trips, starting with Junior Camp overnights up Pemi Hill to five-day trips in the Rangeley Lake area and the Mahoosucs.” Other individual, specific memories are clearer for John, for example “when Tom Sunshine and I beat two senior counselors, Pete Barnett and Thom Brough in horseshoes, instantly becoming heroes among our fellow campers. Or when Dan Walker, Ken Troyer, and I tipped and swamped a Puffin during a sailboat race, something that’s nearly impossible to do, by forgetting to untie the jib sheet when coming about in a stiff wind.”

John acknowledges important lessons learned during his years at Pemi that have impacted his life and career. “The importance of civility, honesty, respect, and teamwork in creating and sustaining a well-functioning society. This was ever on view at Pemi, and those lessons have stayed with me.”

Campbell Levy

Campbell Levy works for Turner Public Relations, directing media relations on behalf of the agency’s travel portfolio. Working in tandem with major news outlets, such as the New York Times and Outside Magazine, along with freelance journalists, Campbell ensures that his clients receive top-notch media placement. “I get to visit all of the destinations and resorts we work with to personally research and vet new stories, oftentimes traveling with journalists to make sure they get their story.” A few of his clients include The Bermuda Tourism Authority, Hyatt properties, and Travel Alberta, where he will soon spend ten days of adventure focused travel.

Top Row (l-r) Counselor Kevin O'Brien, Jacob Wolkowitz, Max Linsky, Michael Sasso, Justin Fischer, James Finley, Taylor Morgan, and Tom Luders. Bottom Row (l-r) Chris Gillick, Dae Soon Acker, Porter Hill, Campbell Levy, and Jeff Wells.

SENIOR 3 – 1996 Top Row (l-r) Counselor Kevin O’Brien, Jacob Wolkowitz, Max Linsky, Michael Sasso, Justin Fischer, James Finley, Taylor Morgan, and Tom Luders. Bottom Row (l-r) Chris Gillick, Dae Soon Acker, Porter Hill, Campbell Levy, and Jeff Wells.

Growing up in Colorado, Campbell journeyed to Pemi as a first time camper in 1993 when he was twelve years old. The Levy family learned about Pemi from legendary Tennis Head Mac Dunlap, who was Campbell’s grandfather’s roommate at Dartmouth College.  That first summer at Pemi, Sky Fauver was Campbell’s counselor in Lower 4, and harnessed his constant energy by categorizing him as the ‘Energizer Bunny.’ After four remarkable summers as a boy, Campbell joined the staff as an Assistant Counselor in 1998, earning both his silver Fiver-Year-Bowl, and helping to bring bronze back to Lower Baker. Memories from that summer have been permanently etched in his mind. “Pemi shaped me immensely and continues to do so to this day. It taught me independence and confidence, I’m not sure I would have gained otherwise.”

Before beginning his career in Media Relations, Campbell enjoyed work in the outdoor/adventure industry as a backcountry ski, climbing, and rock guide, arborist, and park ranger. This work directly related to his experiences at Pemi. “Overnight trips at Pemi were the introduction that led me to becoming a backcountry guide. I attribute this in no small part to people like Riley McCue. I do maintain a healthy obsession with nature, including a continued passion for butterflies and moths via Larry Davis and Russ Brummer. I know I would not have become as enamored with nature and the outdoors as I have without Pemi.” Campbell continues to be an outdoor enthusiast, bicycling in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains near his home in Evergreen with his brother, and Pemi Alumnus, Christian.

Campbell was quick to recall many vivid memories of his time at Pemi. “Who can forget Senior life with Kevin O’Brien as my counsellor, and trips to the Pagoda with Max Linsky. I’ll also never forget the year as an Assistant Counsellor while hanging out with James Finley, Porter Hill and Chris Gillick.” Campbell offers some final advice, “Pemi is a rare place where you can start anew in an incredible variety of pursuits. You might find love for something entirely unexpected. Keep in touch with fellow campers, there’s nothing I love more than reminiscing with friends, and even those who I was not as close with at camp. Above all else, Pemi provided me with friends in surprising locations the world over.”

Thanks to John and Campbell, and remember, send in your Alumni News.

Good luck, long life, and joy!

Links to Articles and Videos of Interest

Back upon request! Every several months or so we pluck a sampling of links to articles and videos of interest from Pemi’s Facebook page that have been posted among our steady updates. Several of the links below were brought to our attention by Pemi parents and friends. Read all or sample some, but above all, enjoy! (Especially the final link; you just can’t help but smile).

Teens say they’re addicted to technology. Here’s how parents can help   Washington Post

I send my kids to sleep-away camp to give them a competitive advantage in life  Washington Post

Bean Soup Special Edition – May 2016  Pemi Blog

I Love My Kid — That’s Why I Send Him Away For the Summer   Popsugar

‘Forest bathing’ is latest fitness trend to hit U.S. — ‘Where yoga was 30 years ago’  Washington Post

The Business of Fun: How this 108-year old summer camp stays relevant   US Chamber of Commerce
(a 2015 article featuring Camp Pemi that resurfaced on social media this summer!)

Why Camp Counselors Can Out-Parent Parents NY Times

Alumni Magazine – 2016 Preview  Pemi Blog

Trying (and failing) to model bravery for my child  Washington Post

IMG_3789What Hiking Does To The Brain Is Pretty Amazing  Wimp

The Importance of Free Play for Kids Outside Magazine

Hey parents, just stop: Overnight camps are cracking down on care packages  Washington Post

My Favorite Vacation: Summer Camp  NY Times

Overnight summer camps are better for your kids than SAT prep classes  Toronto Star

What’s the Right Age for a Child to Get a Smartphone?  NY Times

Lessons from Camp: Free From School-Year Demands, Summer Camps Are A Key Venue For Social-Emotional Learning  Research from Harvard Graduate School of Education

How to raise successful kids – without over-parenting  TED Talk

Indians’ belief in Terry Francona shown in magical World Series run  Sports Illustrated, by Pemi alum, Ben Reiter)

Summer 2016 weekly newsletters From #8 through to #1, in case you missed one!

And finally, the best feel-good link of all!…2016 Slideshow

 

Betsy Mook Reed, May 15, 1917–June 13, 2016

Here, after a busy but excellent summer at Camp Pemi, is the follow-up promised in our earlier post noting Betsy Reed’s death on June 13th.

Betsy died at the Thornwald Home in Carlisle, PA, where she had been living since May, 2014. She was literally only four blocks from Tom and Dottie’s house in town, and she announced within a day of first arriving there that she felt “so safe” amongst such “lovely people.” “Aren’t we lucky?” was for months and months to come her most frequent utterance, always delivered with a twinkling smile. Betsy quickly became the establishment’s songbird, spontaneously breaking into lilting melodies at all hours, for all present – residents, staff, and visitors alike. Even on the morning of June 11th, two days before she died, she brought our visit to a close with her final song – wordless, without any real identifiable melody, but offered with an unmistakably brave and generous spirit, as though to say in the only way she could manage, “Let my last message to you be wrapped in a joyous air.”

Betsy Mook ReedFollowing Tom’s passing in July of 2010, Betsy had spent her winters in their beautiful apartment in Oberlin, Ohio, to which they had moved from Providence twenty-one years earlier. For decades, they relished the remarkable musical and cultural offerings afforded by the College and Conservatory, and Betsy had learned to embrace the Cleveland Indians at least as warmly as she had the Red Sox. (Tom, by the way, always maintained his boyhood loyalties to his White Sox.) After Tom’s death, she was lovingly looked after both in Oberlin and at Camp Pemi by John Peck and Phyllis Rothemich, dear friends from Warren, New Hampshire, who became family in every important way. All the while, she kept Tom’s ashes on a gate-leg table near her dining room chair, labeled with this handwritten note in which you might catch a whiff of her pragmatic whimsy: “The ashes of Thomas L. Reed, Sr. To be sprinkled at Camp Pemigewassett, Wentworth, New Hampshire, along with those of Betsy Mook Reed – when available.”

Betsy Mook ReedBetsy was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on May 15, 1917, the daughter of DeLo Emerson Mook, a prominent Cleveland lawyer, and Vivian Maynard Mook, a former grade school teacher. Vivian died when Betsy was only three, and for a number of years, she and her older brothers Emerson and Maynard were looked after by a series of housekeepers, not all of whom were, in Betsy’s estimation, perfect Mary Poppinses. After a number of years, though, DeLo married Lois Tuckerman, who became an almost ideal stepmother for the three children: brilliant, attentive, and forever determined to live a life of intellectual fulfillment in an age when women weren’t always afforded that opportunity. Lois’s one shortcoming, according to the ever-stylish Betsy, was that she didn’t care very much about the principles of fashion. (One of the most remarkable things about Betsy, as some of you will remember, was her startling adeptness at climbing one moment into painter’s clothes and transforming a room from ceiling to floor and then, ten minutes after cleaning her brushes, emerging from her dressing room looking prepped for an Richard Avedon portrait). Among the joys of Lois and Betsy’s life together, though, were the summers they spent at DeLo’s wilderness hunting camp in Quebec, where Betsy remembered fishing with First Nation guides and eating wild rice that they had harvested in the bottoms of their birch bark canoes.

As a graduate of Harvard Law School, Betsy’s father wanted her to attend Radcliffe, but Betsy had her sights set on a completely co-educational institution, and Oberlin College, some thirty miles from the Mook homestead in Cleveland Heights, became their compromise. Once at Oberlin, Betsy continued the involvement in choral music she had begun in High School, and she soon decided that a major in English best suited the love of the classics she had cultivated with a very literate father and stepmother. She was also quickly noticed as one of the most beautiful young women on campus, and when it emerged that she and the dashing Tom Reed (four-letter athlete and stellar English major in the class just above hers) were seeing each other on a regular basis, it was widely deemed a match worthy of Hollywood.

Tom and Betsy were married on May 17th, 1941, with Tom’s longtime best friend and Camp Pemi compatriot Al Fauver standing as his best man. Tom had begun his graduate studies in Art History at Harvard, but the war led him to enlist in the U.S. Navy, where he served on the medical staff in the Induction Center in New York City. Their daughter Penelope was born in August of 1943 – in New Hampshire, Betsy having retreated to her in-laws’ house at Pemi during one of the hottest summers on record. Son Tom Reed, Jr., followed in June of 1947, after which Tom, Sr., took a position on the Art History faculty at Brown University.

Betsy Mook ReedAs their years in Providence unfolded, Betsy’s love of working with children (together with a remarkable talent for woodworking that she had picked up who-knows-where?) led her to jobs, first, at The Gordon School and, then, at Providence Country Day School, teaching what was then quaintly dubbed “Manual Training.” Summers, of course, were spent at Camp Pemi, where in the summer of 1951, Betsy and Scott Withrow were the motive forces behind the first-ever Gilbert and Sullivan production at our camp, HMS Pinafore. The show featured Betsy as Josephine and the future mayor of Indianapolis, Bill Hudnut, at Ralph Rackstraw. She thereafter kept that ball in the air for well over half a century, making Pemi an incalculably richer place as a result.

Betsy’s later involvements in Providence included her taking an apparel design course at the Rhode Island School of Design (to which Tom had moved in the mid 1950’s) and then teaching the same at Providence’s storied Handicraft Club. Her circle of friends and former students in Providence was huge and appreciative, so when she and Tom moved to Oberlin in May of 1989, some of us were worried that she would miss the connectedness involved. Always outgoing and gregarious, though, she and Tom quickly established themselves as dynamic members of Oberlin’s community of cosmopolitan seniors. They continued to love and indulge in European travel, something they had begun with Penelope and Tom, Jr., on Tom, Sr’s year-long sabbatical in 1953-54. It was then, in fact, that Betsy first and indelibly established her capacity to travel with a modestly-sized suitcase yet emerge every day as though Edith Head and a dozen wardrobe assistants had seen to her apparel.

Betsy Mook ReedEffortless grace. That, whether it was apparent or actual, was Betsy’s essence. Her kindness flowed from her soul – instinctually, it seemed. She was willing to tackle absolutely anything and, by the time she had thought about it for a moment or two, her impeccable planning flowed into speedy execution and, thence, into most satisfactory completion. She was beautiful, but in a modest way that never called attention to itself. She sewed, and entertained, and built as though a needle and thread, Amy Vanderbilt’s books on etiquette and cuisine, and a hammer and Skil-saw had been the equipage of her cradle. In another age, she could have been anything. In her own, she was happy and fulfilled attending to the world she found around her – as an adoring but sometimes skeptical wife, a loving yet challenging mother (to hundreds of camp boys as well as Penelope and Tom, Jr.), an inspiring teacher, and a spirited fellow traveler to all who knew her. “Hurricane Betsy,” is what Tom, Jr. liked to call her – “wreaking order wherever she goes.” Order and joy.

A celebration of Betsy’s life will be held some time in the coming year, perhaps in conjunction with Pemi’s 110th Reunion next summer. In the mean time, contributions in her memory may be sent to Women & Infants Hospital in Providence, where Betsy volunteered; The World Wildlife Fund; or The Fred Rittner Pemi Campership Fund.

~ Tom Reed, Jr.

Final Toast, G&S Review, and on to Pemi 2017!

2016 Final Newsletter (#8)

Remarkably, as I write this, Pemi 2016 is within a whisper of its concluding hours. As we sit here on Friday afternoon, the mercury is pressing 90, but a brisk breeze from the west keeps conditions entirely bearable. The bulk of your sons are in the cabins putting the last touches on packing (which we dearly hope you will find to be satisfactory), but Timmy Coe, Spencer Hill, and a few other hardened tennis players are enjoying an impromptu last-minute doubles match, and there are queues at the ping pong tables as there have been all year long. So, in some ways, the last day of the season is like all the rest – hot and dry, but happy and active. The seventh ladling of Bean Soup will take place in just an hour, and we’ll dine a bit early (at 5:30) to leave room for the final campfire, which we hope an impending cold front will allow us to hold in its traditional spot on the Senior Beach. Then it’s cabin parties, perhaps another glimpse (weather permitting) of the spectacular Perseid meteor shower that many of us witnessed last night, and an all too hasty night’s sleep as visions of home-town sugar plums dance in everyone’s heads. It’s been a wonderful year, as Danny’s toast at last night’s Final Banquet made very clear.

Final Banqust toastHere’s to the summer of 2016 at Camp Pemigewassett, the 109th in Pemi’s rich and storied history – a summer that has come and gone, as it always seems to, in the blink of an eye, though in some ways it seems a lifetime ago that we all began to arrive in early June, way back when campers and young counselors were still attending graduation parties, fourteen Pemi Westers were still breaking in their hiking boots for their trip to Washington, and LeBron and company were finally hoisting an NBA championship trophy, making Cleveland the new “city of champions.” 

Here’s to a summer that concludes so late in August that leaves on Route 25A are already sporting a slight autumn tint, the Abbey boys are two weeks into their school year, fall athletic teams have begun to practice, and, as Pemi boys are returning to their cabins for an 8:30 taps, there is barely a shred of day light 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 258 (exactly) campers who graced the shores of Lower Baker Pond this summer, 86 of whom were here as full session campers – campers from 25 states of the United States and 7 countries around the world. Here’s to the 79 campers who made the decision to attend sleep-away camp for the first time, the 22 who have or will collect their five-year bowls, and (Yes, Henry Jones, Reed O’Brien, Andrew Kanovsky, and Dash Slamowitz!) here’s to campers in their eighth. 

Here’s to 2016’s talented and dedicated counselor staff at Pemi – 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 able to inspire, mentor, and capture the imagination of their campers in ways even their own parents and we senior staff sometimes can not.  

Cheers to the incredibly hard-working crew that Reed Harrigan leads each day with such vigor, dedication, and love: Tess, Tawnya, Dennis, and Chris; to Office Managers extraordinaire, Heather and Kim, who do so much more than manage the office; and here’s to Dottie, who “does the Dottie” each day, attending to tasks both large and small and caring for campers with her maternal grace, wisdom, charm, and a large helping of love, as well.

Cheers to the chefs and kitchen crew this summer, led by Tom and Judy, who tackled the herculean task of providing a community of 260 with delicious meals three times a day and reminded us that it can be done with a smile, a sincere desire to meet the needs of everyone in the community, and with freshly baked bread each day, as well.  

Here’s to Kenny, the “kid from Cleveland,” who masterminds our four-pillared program (with a hand this summer from Dan Reed), oversees transportation, Pemi West, the daily and weekly schedule, and so much more. Thank you, Kemosabe. I’d never want to do it without you! 

Cheers to Laura and all the creative endeavors down in Art World; to Charlie, our big-hearted Athletic Director and all the coaches in the athletics’ program who always put Pemi’s values of sportsmanship, improved skills, and participation first…. Double boom! 

Thank you to Tom and the trippies who sent scores of trips tramp, tramp, tramping over the mountains and paddling on the mighty rivers; to Dorin (and Maestro Luke) for another remarkable G & S performance and to her staff for a summer of beautiful music. 

To Emily, to Paige, and to Molly and all the exhilarating, yet safe, fun we had in AND ON the water; to Harry O in the shop; Chris (and family!) on the tennis courts; Larry and Deb in the Nature Lodge; Steve (and his collection of flies) on the archery range; and 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, aka Senor Stacks, for overseeing his charges with such proficiency, thoughtfulness, and humor every day. 

Here’s to the things that were unique at Pemi in 2016; the Birthday Bell, spike ball, the Lake Thing, blue water skiers and green water skiers, “Sting” rockets, Ru-tu-tu, O-At-Ka championship trophies, and a July 18th storm that was a stark reminder of the power of Mother Nature and the infinite – yes, infinite – capacity of one very good man and a chain saw.

Here’s to all-camp events at Pemi, Bean Soup when we laugh at ourselves and anticipate “things to look for,” Camp Fire when we entertain ourselves in front of some of the most majestic sunsets one will ever see – especially in 2016 – and to Sunday Meeting when we reflected on such matters as short cuts and short circuits, “old school” Pemi, and the extraordinary gifts Al Fauver gave to Pemi throughout his many decades on the shores of Lower Baker Pond.

Here’s to our 27 fifteen-year-old campers, to their many years at Pemi, and to the lifelong friendships 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 perhaps become the next generation of counselors at Pemi.

And of course, here’s to the Fauver and Reed Families 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.

Here’s to Camp Pemigewassett 2016. Good luck, long life , and joy!

And now, as in past years, the top drama critic of the award-winning Wentworth Times takes his measure of one of the highlights of Pemi Week and, indeed, of the entire season.

Clive Bean Reviews Pirates of Penzance 

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“Police” directing traffic

The Pemi theatrical season reached its apex this past Tuesday and Wednesday nights with 2016’s Gilbert and Sullivan production, The Pirates of Penzance. As one of our contributions to the town of Wentworth’s 250th birthday celebration this summer, we issued an open invitation to the local citizenry to attend this year’s show. Upwards of 40 did, and they enjoyed a thoroughly entertaining evening. Reading the Argument to the crowd prior to the first act, Tom Reed, Jr. pointed out that, fifty-one years ago, when a mess hall fire ruled out our performing Pirates at camp, Wentworth generously offered us the use of their town hall stage. In commemoration of that event, this year’s chorus of Policeman again directed incoming traffic in their Victorian “Bobby” costumes, as their predecessors had done over fifty years back out on NH Rt. 25. (How impressed unknowing motorists must then have been by the apparent sartorial traditionalism of New England constabulary!)           

Pemi Pirates of Penzance, Owen Lee

Pirate Lieutenant Samuel, Owen Lee

Tirelessly and flawlessly directed by Head of Music Dorin Dehls, this year’s show was as good as any in recent memory. Manning the keyboard once again was master pianist Luke Raffanti, a one-man orchestra whose remarkable ability to cover for minor vocal miscues amongst the cast was very much in evidence. The show opens, of course, with the male chorus copiously “pouring the Pirate sherry,” and this year’s buccaneers (Jamie Acocella, Will Adams, Harry Cooke, Whit Courage, Zacc Dwan, Michael Kerr, George Lerdal, Cam McManus, Kevin Miller, Braden Richardson, and Phineas Walsh) downed their imaginary Captain Morgan as avidly as fraternity brothers at a Fort Lauderdale bash. Fortunately, their lusty singing was in no way impaired by their overindulgence, and they carried the whole show on their broad and tattooed shoulders. 

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Wards of Major General Stanley

Far more modest and, we would assume, innocent than sorority sisters at the same Fort Lauderdale bash, the Ward’s chorus absolutely charmed the audience from their first appearance. Ted Applebaun, Julian Berk, Jonathan Ciglar, Andrea Geffert, Mac Hadden, Keiran Klasfeld, and Henry Moore looked positively ravishing in their gingham frocks, and their animated acting and spot-on singing easily matched the energy and impact of their “male” counterparts. Initially submerged in the coy ensemble were Christopher Ramanathan (as Edith), John Kingdon (as Kate), and Lucas Gales (as Isabel), but all three soon stepped up as soloists and positively wowed the crowd with their dramatic and melodic flair. (So charming and difficult to choose between were they that the Pirate King [played by Larry Davis] did his utmost to secure the favors of both Christopher and John – before being summarily reminded that even a nautical monarch couldn’t both have his Kate and Edith, too. (Apologies for a horrendous pun!)

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Rob, as Ruth

As the Pirate Lieutenant Samuel, Owen Lee was thoroughly professional (and accordingly earned this year’s Johnnies Plaque for Dramatics!), while real-life Brit Rob Leftwich played the infamous working-class cougar Ruth as though he had studied for decades with Betty White and Demi Moore. Rob’s powerful falsetto truly shone both in solos and in a series of dramatic duets and trios. If we ever stage Jersey Boys at Pemi, he is a shoe-in to play Frankie Valli. 

As mentioned, Larry Davis reprised his role as the Pirate King, combining bluster, braggadocio, and bathos in a way that only he can manage. Opposite him was Tom Reed, Jr. as Major-General Stanley, clearly relishing a role in which he had something close to a dozen children. “Given the Reed family’s historical under-production of offspring,” he was heard to say after the show, “it’s always tons of fun to play a man with a reproductive profile closer to that of the Fauver clan.” 

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George Cooke

Pemi police_smAlthough they appear only in the second act, the Policeman’s chorus of Eli Brennan, Dan Reed, Wesley Eifley, Ben Walsh, and Nelson Snyder stole the show. They got so quickly and deeply into their parts as inept and cowardly constables that this reviewer worries that, for weeks to come, they may all suffer severe cases of post-dramatic distress disorder. The same can be said in spades for George Cooke, whose Sergeant of Police came close to surpassing 2012’s Best-Ever Mike Plecha – and garnered George 2016’s Gilbert and Sullivan Award. In any case, if the show had been flagging in its second stanza (which it most assuredly was not), this half-dozen lads in blue would most certainly have dragged it, all by themselves, up to the level of truly memorable light opera.

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Oliver Giraud and Michaella Frank

If Pirates begins with the failed romance of Ruth and Frederic, it ends with the totally fulfilling match of before-her-time feminist woman-of-will Mabel Stanley and pirate-against-his-will-and-conscience Frederic. Playing the former with true musical accuracy and impressive dramatic flair was Oliver Giraud, whose off-season job as grade-school student on Florida’s Gulf Coast clearly leaves him feeling extremely comfortable advancing his personal interests in a seaside setting. And Michaella Frank, Pemi’s first-ever female cast in a male role, was arguably the best romantic lead a Pemi Pirates show has ever seen. She mastered the tenor range with the assurance of Andrea Bocelli, and combined her vocal brilliance with unequalled dramatic flair. Look for her to be in the running the next time Hamilton looks to replace its lead.

In sum, 2016’s Pirates of Penzance was a singular success, marked by great energy, musical precision, and singular playfulness. Special thanks, finally, to Producer Deborah Fauver, whose scores of hours ordering and organizing costumes and props made the show look as good as it sounded – and to the set crew of Reed Harrigan and Dennis Thibodeaux, who gave the cast the Cornish seacoast on which to have their loony fun. All in all, it was a spectacular team effort, easily one of the highlights of a wonderful camp season, and certainly a most appropriate treat for a White Mountain hamlet celebrating a quarter millennium of civic life and culture. As to anyone who knew and loved the Founding Director of Pemi G&S shows who took her grand earthly curtain call just this past June – we could most assuredly hear Betsy Reed crying “Bravo!” from on high.

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Producer Deborah Fauver, flanked by the leads of 2016’s “Pirates of Penzance”

On that distinctly beatific note, we’ll close our books on Pemi 2016. To those of you who entrusted your sons to us for the summer, thank you so much for sharing their energy, charm, and good natures. We look forward to spending another seven weeks with many of them in 2017. And for this year’s “graduating” fifteens, let us dangle the temptation of Pemi West in the coming summer – and, in the years to follow, the prospect of an actual paycheck just for hanging out with us in the snug little New Hampshire valley where so many memorable things always seems to happen.

— Tom

 

Pemi Remember this in the depths of February. Until 2017...

Remember this in the depths of February and March. On to 2017!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Meeting: Reflections on Al Fauver

2016 Newsletter # 4

How it happened so quickly we don’t know, but today we reach the mid-point of the 2016 season. While the eighty-five full-session boys plunge and slither at the Whale’s Tale water park in nearby North Woodstock, their eighty-five cabin mates call an end to their season and return to their homes (or perhaps head off to Nantucket or vacation points even more distant) for the remainder of the summer. It’s been a great three and a half weeks for them, marked by sunny weather, some stunning mountain and river trips, and an overwhelmingly successful athletic season. Add in the huge range of occupations Kenny Moore documented last week, a steady run of lively and entertaining special events, and scrumptious and copious output from our revitalized kitchen, and it’s no surprise that some of the farewells this morning have been especially wistful. Tomorrow, of course, brings us eighty-five eager new faces, and we ramp up again for the final session. We’ll be more than ready to go.

Speaking of readiness, eagerness, and going, the twenty Senior camp participants in this year’s Allagash expedition climbed into two of our Ford Transit vans at 6AM this morning and headed off to Millinocket for what is sure to be a highlight of their final year as campers. The party is sufficiently large that we’ve had to break it into two groups. George Cooke, Ethan Elsaden, Lucas Gaffney, Henry Jones, Nolan Katcher, James Minzesheimer, Reed O’Brien, Pierce Haley, Andrew Kanovsky, and Dash Slamowitz with paddle under the vigilant eyes of staff members Charlie Malcolm (finally getting to one of those peskily resistant on his bucket list) and Jackson Reed. Travelling within radio range, and often within eyesight, but by park regulations as a separate group, will be Reed Cecil, Sam Beesley, Nick Bowman, Jake Cronin, Rafe Forward, Thaddeus Howe, Tucker Jones, Jackson Morrell, Will Adams, and Nick Carter, led by veteran Trippie Harry Morris and first-year Kiwi outdoorsman Zacc Dwan. Their four-day paddle will take them through Chamberlain, Eagle, and Churchill Lakes and then down the moderate rapids below Churchill Dam to their pull-out in Umsaskis Lake. Look to their letters for more details, but count on their having a transformative experience, complete with bald eagles, moose, and myriad other unforgettable memories.

Al Fauver in his classic red truck. 1978.

Al Fauver in his classic red truck. 1978.

Pemi’s Allagash outing was inaugurated close to a half-century ago by Director Al Fauver, about whom many of you have heard. Al was the son of Pemi co-founder Edgar Fauver, and for many years counted the supervision of trips among his countless (and tireless) contributions to camp. As recounted in the Pemi blog, Al died this past winter at the age of 100 after a long and wonderful life. Hundreds of us were fortunate enough to have celebrated his century mark with Al last August, and as a second movement in our tribute to this transcendent Pemi figure, yesterday’s Sunday meeting was dedicated to telling the present camp population a little more about the man. Among the speakers were Peter and Jon Fauver, Al’s sons, and Larry Davis, head of our Nature Program. Their words overflowed with warmth and appreciation for Al’s contributions to every aspect of Pemi’s program and physical plant. Also sharing their thoughts and memories with a rapt audience were Tom Reed, Kenny Moore, and Al’s grandson Jameson Fauver. Their digitally-captured words follow.

First, Tom:

My father, Tom Reed, Sr. loved the hills and high peaks, but it was Al Fauver who made them my favorite part of the planet. Al had a vast knowledge of the White Mountains, something he consolidated as a member of the Appalachian Mountain Club’s elite Trail Maintenance Crew. Driving Al’s knowledge was a deep and abiding love for the New Hampshire wilds, something that must have played a part in his joining the history faculty at The Holderness School in Plymouth, just sixteen miles from here, where he made his off-season career.

Al ran the trip program at Pemi for over 35 years, having taken it over from his uncle, Doc Win Fauver, in the nineteen-forties. Al’s tenure was in an age before cushy frame packs, Gore-tex jackets, and lightweight backpacking stoves. The trips he ran were “old school” – blanket rolls and ponchos, high-top basketball sneakers, tarps instead of bug-netted tents. There was no tech craze for Al. He taught us to make do with the simplest equipment – adequate with no frills. A week of campcraft instruction preceded every three- or four-day outing, and we learned how to select campsites, how to tie knots, how to cut spruce boughs for our beds, how to string up a poncho to defeat the rain. You sometimes felt you were heirs to a school of wilderness survival that stretched all the way back to Lewis and Clark.

Flat Rock, Pemi Hill, day trips up Cube and Moosilauke, overnights at Greenleaf Hut or canoeing on the Connecticut River, three-days in the Kinsman’s, four days in the Mahoosucs – Al perfected them all. Even after severe arthritis kept him from hitting the trail himself, Al clearly loved sending others out to the rivers, and ridges, and high peaks that he had explored and loved as a younger man. He always sought you out personally after a trip, asking how it had gone, relishing every detail of weather and view and event. “Is that old fire warden’s cabin still standing south of Smarts?” he’d ask. Or “Did you find that huge pot-hole down beneath the falls?” The sparkle in his eyes as he listened told you everything you needed to know about the man’s passion. 

I was flattered beyond words when Al asked me to step into his shoes as Trip Head back in the 70s, and even now I constantly ask myself, when the trippies and I are discussing a route or something unanticipated pops up on a trip, “What would Al do?” In some ways, what I came to appreciate most about Al was his amazing sense of logistics. Working with two and a half trucks (remember what I said last Sunday about his little red pick-up!), he could get more trips bouncing around the White Mountains than I can generally manage with three vans and two big buses. If General Eisenhower had known about Al, he probably would have signed him on to help plan D-day.

Somehow, Al got to be known around camp at The Weatherman, not only our best prognosticator but also personally responsible for whatever happened with the sun and clouds and wind. What amazes me, in those days before satellites and computers and Doppler radar, is how often Al got his forecast right, fitting a half dozen trips into an eighteen hour slice of fine weather in between torrential rains.

It was actually one of the times Al got the weather wrong that he showed what a great boss and kind soul he was. He’d sent my cabin out for an overnight at the base of Mt. Carr (the big mountain you see from the messhall porch) predicting we would stay dry. We awoke at about 5 AM with raindrops plinking on our closed eyes. No sooner had we had a chance to contemplate how challenging it would be to start a fire in the mounting deluge – something big enough to cook our breakfast over – than Al sauntered into the campsite with a half dozen dry split logs in his pack. “Guess I didn’t see this coming,” said Al with a smile. “Thought I’d join you for breakfast.” Within fifteen minutes, Al had a roaring blaze going and proceeded to cook up the best batch of scrambled eggs and bacon any of us had ever tasted.”

Al was that kind of guy. You came to care about what he cared about. You came to love what he loved.

Next, Kenny:

Al Fauver.

Good Enough is the enemy of the best.”

A slogan taught to me by Al Fauver back in 2001. That year, I began work as Head of the Dock Crew, and Al was integral in teaching me the basics of building a safe swimming area, the nuts and bolts of dock work. He explained the process, very specific in nature on how to tackle this herculean task. The challenge: place two perfectly parallel and straight dock piers, exactly 25 yards apart. “Aim,” he said, “for the white birch just to the left of the notch on Sugarloaf (the hill on the far end of Lower Baker).” “If you follow that mark, the docks will be straight,” he finished with a glint in his eye. I stood there on the beach with the other rookie members of dock crew, and gazed towards the other end of the pond, searching for that white birch. I challenge all of you next time on Senior Beach to see how close this year’s dock crew was to Al’s white birch.

Al joined us that summer, hammering in the first pipe (“leg” in dock vernacular) when he was in his mid 80’s. We all stood around the dock, holding it in place, as he wielded the sledge with remarkable precision, landing the head of the hammer squarely on the pounding cap, sending the leg through the bracket and into the floor of Lower Baker. And when the feet, the pipes that sit on the sandy floor of the lake, were in place, we cranked the set-screw on the bracket to set the dock.  

“Is it level,” he asked. “Good enough,” someone in the group said. Al replied, “Good enough is the enemy of the best.” His comment, that slogan, resonated instantly with all of us. We suddenly realized we didn’t just want good enough, we wanted to achieve the best. That’s the standard that Al set in every task that fell to him. “Any task that’s worth doing is worth doing well,” Al would say. If you spend time and your energy, don’t you want it to speak well for you? Your hard work? Your dedication? Your work is a direct representation of you. That’s the standard Al set, and what we all worked towards.

Dock Crew is usually comprised of 6 counselors, each with a role, and if everyone works together, the task becomes very efficient. You have your sight guy, someone for legs, feet, ankles, the hammerer, the deep-water man, the leveler, and the setter. The rhythm of putting each dock in place requires each person to play his part, and when it’s all done right, it’s a beautiful thing. While the task may at first seem impossible, the challenge when embraced by all becomes a rallying cry, a goal for all to work for. But that’s the fun of it, too – working together towards a goal, with all members carrying their own weight.

Whenever Al tackled a task, he brought that good nature and fun spirit to the job at hand. I can’t tell you how many Alums speak to me about their experience on Al’s Crew, a collection of campers and young counselors who worked with Al on a variety of projects. They all comment about the life lessons that Al taught them: how to approach a task, how to work cooperatively together, and how to have fun while working hard.

At the end of each Pemi season, during the Staff Banquet, Al would always comment about how the docks were stacked for the winter at Senior Beach. The Dock Crew would disassemble the docks and stack them in very precise, neat piles, near the road. That way, they would be protected in the winter from the ice rising in the lake. Al would say after his annual inspection, “I know the quality of the Pemi Staff this year was strong, as those docks are perfectly stacked. This must have been a great summer”

The Dock Crew knew that Al would be looking, checking to see if they had the energy and pride in their work. Did they do just a good enough job, or did they strive for the best, even though stacking the docks is a tiny part of the many things done at Pemi? Think about what it represents: the attention to detail; the pride in finishing a task to the best of our ability; the teamwork necessary for accomplishing the goal. Those are the important things. Those are the symbols of Al’s legacy.

I will always remember Al for his good nature, his grandfatherly presence and advice to me in my years on staff, and his love for Pemi. If we all love Pemi, then we all love Al, as he was key in forming the ethos of the camp we cherish.

Finally, Jameson, his words delivered under the smiling gaze of Bertha Fauver, Al’s widow, sitting in the front row.

My name is Jameson Fauver and I spent eight summers here as a camper and three as a counselor. Al Fauver was my grandfather, and when I think of him, I think of a great man who took advantage of all the things and places the world had to offer. 

Al played the Tuba. Al was a swimmer at Oberlin College. Al was a sailor. Of course, he was an avid hiker and outdoorsman. And, some of my best memories of my grandfather are from sharing time on the golf course.

He lived to 100 years because he was blessed with good health, but also because he kept busy doing not just one thing but many different things. So, perhaps one lesson you can take away from looking back on Al’s life is that a true life – a full life – is about filling it with many different people you love but also finding many different things that you love to do.

As we all know, one of the things that make Pemi a special place is the huge range of program offerings. Not many places you can spend your summer offer the opportunity to explore Nature, Sailing, the Arts, Athletics, Music, and Hiking all in the same stretch of time, and for many of you, in the same day! Yet, an expansive program does not mean much unless you take advantage of it. After just a day and a half here on my current visit, I know that the spirit to trying new things is definitely alive and well here, something that would make my grandfather very proud.  

Yesterday, Danny asked me to coach the 15’s baseball game. I said “of course.” And then he said, “Most of the team is away so you’ll have to find some players!!” We were in fact two ballplayers short of nine. Fortunately, I was sitting with Emmanuel Abbey and Alex Zapata. They hadn’t played baseball in five years, but when I asked if they would play, they said, “Why not? We’re game. Who knows how well we’ll do or even if we’ll have fun! But you never know, unless you try.”

I think Al had that spirit in spades, and he would be happy to see how many of the people sitting in this room are taking advantage of the opportunity life gives us every day to try something new, speak with someone we don’t know, or to explore unchartered territory in every sense of the word. So please, in memory of Al, whether you have just a day left at Pemi this summer or three and a half more weeks, make sure to try something new.

Thank you all — and special thanks to Bertha Fauver, who fueled Al’s lively spirit for so many years.

And so we celebrated, with a clarity and forcefulness that no one could miss, the memory of a man who gave as much as anyone possibly could to the camp he loved so well. As you’ll gather from what Tom and Kenny And Jameson had to say, Al’s remarkable legacy is alive and well at Pemigewassett.

With that we’ll close. We look forward to being in touch again in a week’s time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Occupations

2016 Newsletter #3

[This week’s Newsletter comes from Assistant Director Kenny Moore. Kenny heads up our general program, and he offers here some observations on daily “occupations,” as we have long called our instructional activities, and on community service at camp as well.]

Each new week of Pemi occupations starts on Monday, although planning has begun the previous Tuesday. First, the Program Heads meet to map out the upcoming week. We’ll look at the pre-set general camp schedule; which trips are heading out, the athletic calendar, or other special events. These help determine what individual offerings each of Pemi’s Programs will be offering for the boys. The Program Heads will then reach out to their instructors to discuss occupation possibilities, and return their schedules to me. Combining them is a puzzle, as I balance options for every division each hour, and ensure that instructors are not double-booked. What results is a pretty amazing collection of choices, as evidenced by Week 3’s Occupation Choices. Click the link, take a look, and choose wisely!

Counselors review the week’s offerings with each of their campers individually to pick out a First and Second Choice for each hour of occupations. As you can see, some popular and space-limited occupations are deemed first-choice only: Waterskiing, Woodshop, Sailing, and Archery are extremely sought after and fill up quickly. Not a good idea for a Second Choice. Having a good back-up is essential!

More than 1,000 occupation choices are input for our 170 campers, and through a variety of filters, the result is 170 individual occupation schedules. Next up, staffing. Understanding how many boys are in a particular occupation – say Track & Conditioning with 22! – will help guide the number of instructors given to that occupation. Our teaching staff is comprised of a shade under 60 people, with some specializing in one program area and others being generalists who fill much-needed roles in a variety of areas. Camper-Counselor ratios dictate placement for water-related activities, as safety is always the priority.

On Monday mornings, all the hours and days spent planning the week come to fruition, as the entire community heads off to first hour, each with his individual plan of action. The occupation week lasts for five days, before we begin the process again. Once the hour is up and running, the opportunity to walk around camp and see the interaction between campers, counselors, and instructors is priceless. Witnessing boys trying something new and different, older boys assisting younger campers, and the joy of being together, outside, in this beautiful location shows the program in its most vibrant form. The dynamism truly gives the camp its energy. Here’s a peek….

woodworking at Pemi

Ian Hohman’s “inspection wheel”

Upper-Senior Woodshop is a two-hour block of time for our oldest boys to create and develop projects. Noah Bachner was in the midst of sanding his beautifully crafted Adirondack Chair, a project that he started last week under the guidance of Harry MacGregor, Pemi’s Head of Woodshop. Emmanuel Abbey appeared close to finishing his small chest, awaiting further help from Harry. Counselor Michael DiGaetano assisted Ian Hohman by hanging up Ian’s project, a job board for his cabin (U3). Ian wood-burned each of his cabinmate’s names on the wheel, along with various Inspection jobs on the mounting board, promising a daily spin to improve the efficiency of cabin clean-up. A Wheel-of-Fortune for tidy living spaces. Smart thinking, Ian!

Staying within our Art Program, a trip to Laura’s Art World illustrated a pretty spectacular scene; the interaction between our oldest campers and our youngest. Campers in her Hemp/Paracord Occupation ranged from Senior 1 (Patrick Snell & Suraj Khakee) all the way down to Junior 3 (Sam Young). Laura provided instruction for their first day’s lesson: learning how to braid. Next, I took a trip down the road to Junior Nature Book, a classic Pemi occupation dating back multiple decades, and found another group of campers of all ages. Lake Tent denizen Pierce Hayley assisted Juniors Kieran Klasfeld & Augie Tanzosh, picking up leaves of red-oak and striped maple for their books. Pierce, who has completed his Junior Nature Book (JNB), is studying for his JNB Field Test, a requirement for the Pemi Brave.

Nature drawing at Pemi

Henry Jones in Nature Drawing

Just up the road from the Junior Nature Book Occupation, I found Jack Cottman out in the field for Advanced Digital Photography. Jack was in search of insects for his macro-photography assignment, aiming to get as close as possible. Inside the Nature Lodge, Ray Seebeck led a group in Nature Drawing, another mixed-age occupation. Senior Henry Jones worked diligently on his dinosaur drawing, meticulously matching the image from his book. Walker Bright and Nate Broll followed his example, drawing the “eye of the tiger,” looming within a grassy landscape. The group is first practicing the skill of drawing from nature by sketching from a book. Later in the week, they will add color and choose a subject outside in nature itself.

The first two hours of each occupation week provide the best time for our Gilbert & Sullivan choruses to rehearse with very limited interruption. Last week, Major General Stanley’s Chorus of Wards learned their classic tune, “Climbing over Rocky Mountain,” and were asked to sing it without music. I think they fared pretty well. (Check it out for yourself.)  Sounds like they’ll be ready for Opening Night on August 8.

tennis at Pemi

Jamie Acocella

Over in Tennis for 12 & 13 year olds, Chris Johnson officiated a game of Tennis Survivor, a game designed to eliminate unforced errors. Each participant kept track of his own score, aiming to have the lowest possible. Points would accumulate for unforced errors, whereas points would be subtracted if the shot were a “winner.” Players would alternate shots, and Jamie Acocella and Mac Hadden worked seamlessly on one side of the net.

baseball at Pemi

Andreas Geffert

Next up in 12 & Under Baseball, sixteen campers worked between three hitting stations: soft-toss, the batting cage, and live-action batting practice on the diamond. Colgate-bound Zach Leeds threw meatballs to Andreas Geffert and Ollie O’Hara for batting practice, while Gray Klasfeld and Jonathan Gelb helped each other with their hand-eye coordination for soft toss.

soccer at Pemi

Coach Darryl Mainoo

Just beyond the baseball diamond on the Rittner pitch, the 15 & Under Soccer Occupation neared its conclusion. The group was locked in an 8 v. 8 scrimmage, focused on long range passing. Graham Winings did his best Kyrie Irving impression (Yes, I know, wrong sport. Stay with me) by offering up a perfect through-ball to the feet of fellow Clevelander Elliot Muffet, who, a la LeBron James, perfectly placed the ball past the keeper into the back of the net. (This born-and-bred Clevelander had to get one Cleveland Cavaliers reference in here somewhere, right?!) Before the scrimmage, coaches Ben Walsh and Darryl Mainoo instructed their nineteen players in two specific drills. First, partner-passing with increased width and distance, and then the three cone drill, a very precise rotating drill that allows each player to adjust to the varying distance of his passing partner. Tiering instruction by starting with an essential skill, building it up, and then applying it to a game environment is a tried-and-true method at Camp Pemi.

In Beginning Archery, Instructor Steve Clare spends the majority of the first day of each new week reviewing the rules for the range. His current group, he reported, was super attentive,  listening with great interest. This focus allowed the boys the chance to shoot two rounds of arrows with their remaining time. For beginners, Steve replaces the normally colorful Archery targets with blank canvasses, asking the shooters to just think about hitting the target. Aslan Peters did more than that, and had two perfectly hit center shots during the practice. As the group becomes more comfortable and knowledgeable in the coming days, Steve will guide them through sighting, scoring, and pace.

The routine of occupations provides the structure necessary for us to accomplish our goals of learning and/or improving upon a wide range of skills and knowledge bases. Older campers work alongside younger campers, allowing special relationships to form and grow. The connection between an instructor and a camper also strengthens as staff teach not only practical skills, but also other values as well: how to be confident in experimenting with something new, how to help out a teammate when in need, how to treat one another, and how to develop as an individual within our supportive, inclusive community. Occupations really are Pemi magic.

Community Service

In the very early days of Pemi, campers and counselors would arrive simultaneously to work on the facility for the current camp season. Since then, boys have always helped improve the facility by assisting the staff via Camp Aide jobs, or by giving back in other ways. Shop projects or other community-service-type initiatives have dotted the landscape for many years.

In recent years, Pemi campers have taken on a few Community Service initiatives supporting our surrounding communities. This is a great opportunity for the boys to connect with the larger Wentworth, Upper Valley, and greater New Hampshire communities. We’ve talked before about the Cans from Campers initiative, benefiting the New Hampshire Food Bank, which has been tremendously successful in just two years of existence. Other camps have joined the effort, and we anticipate that this project will grow dramatically in the next few years.

IMG_6192

Pemi’s Prouty Volunteers

For at least the last five years, Pemi, under the guidance of Deb Kure, has assisted The Prouty, a fundraising event to benefit Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s Norris Cotton Cancer Center. There are many ways to participate in this athletically-driven fundraiser, including golfing, rowing, walking, and cycling. More than 5,000 people participate in this annual event, and Pemi is proud to assist the cyclists that ride 77 or 100 miles. Our Stop And Go (SAG) site, next to the Mt. Cube Sugar Shack on the top of Mount Cube, is at mile marker 25 and has become a crowd favorite of the cyclists, owing to our good cheer and our food, intended to refuel and replenish.

This summer, we’ve partnered with the town of Wentworth to help celebrate our camp-town’s 250th Anniversary.  Pastor Margaret Bickford of the Wentworth Congregationalist Church led the way for the Celebration Committee, which has scheduled events each month for the town to gather together and celebrate their historic anniversary. Back on July 3, a group of Pemi Seniors traveled IMG_6158down to the Town Hall to assist the Committee for their Fourth of July event. “America, a Music Tribute,” was an inspiring performance and a genuine example of the strength of small-town America. Backed by a group of singers performing patriotic tunes, a narrator intermixed snippets of famous speeches in American History. Pemi provided refreshments, and worked to clean up the venue once the show ended. In addition, this week another group of Pemi boys will travel to the Wentworth Green, to paint the road-posts in preparation for the Market Day event on August 6. Pemi’s Silver Cornet Band will take the show on the road to perform at this annual event. And finally, members of the town will be invited to see our Gilbert and Sullivan show, The Pirates of Penzance, on August 9.

Our hope is that involvement in projects with the town of Wentworth will become a yearly phenomenon, further connecting Pemi with the surrounding community in ways that teach invaluable lessons about responsible citizenship.

–Kenny