Stations of Life’s Journey

2017: Newsletter # 5

It’s been a momentous week at Camp Pemigewassett. No, there haven’t been any further floods (although it did rain a little bit more.) No victory on Tecumseh Day (yet! – and despite the fact that we did very nicely against Camp Moosilauke last weekend!) And no announcement of a Pulitzer Prize for the Bean Soup editorial staff (although Dan Reed and Wes Eifler did scribe some wonderful celebratory limericks for the annual Birthday Banquet.) No, instead, roughly eighty first-session campers said goodbye to us last Monday morning, while eighty second-sessioners arrived on Tuesday to start their own 2017 seasons. It’s especially gratifying when parents retrieving their sons report that their boy’s first words after a crushing hug were, “I’m definitely coming back for seven weeks next year.” It’s equally buoying to see returning veterans bouncing out of their cars and running over to old friends, taking exactly 2.5 seconds to fall into the kind of excited jabber you couldn’t interrupt with an air-raid siren. Session Two is off to an energetic and happy start, with our June arrivals very clearly getting a second wind from last Tuesday’s reinforcements. It doesn’t hurt, naturally, that the aforementioned Tecumseh Day is coming up this Friday. The annual showdown with our archrivals of the past 108 years never fails to get the Pemi engine running at peak RPMs.

Also most definitely revving up the week, though, have been the returns of the two major expeditions we mount every summer – the Allagash Canoe Trip and Pemi West. Both groups rolled back into camp on Friday: Pemi West at 9:30 P.M. and the Allagash van on the stroke of midnight. There are many ways for a boy to extend himself at Pemi, whether he’s a special devotee of athletics, the arts and music, nature, or the trip program. Nothing we do with our fifteen-year-olds, however, offers quite the challenge embodied in the sixty-to-seventy-mile, five-day paddle down the Allagash River through the untamed wilderness of northern Maine. Yet, exciting and demanding as this inland voyage may be, it has to take a second seat to the exacting, life-altering mountain leadership program that is Pemi West. Every year, eight to twelve Pemi veterans aged sixteen or seventeen (sometimes with interested boys or girls who haven’t been with us in Wentworth) set out for Washington State’s Olympic National Park for three and a half weeks of wilderness backpacking, mountaineering, and rock-climbing. The program unquestionably builds on skills and interests acquired at Pemi East (with many participants having in fact cut their teeth on wilderness adventure up on the Allagash!), but advanced training in Wilderness First Aid, glacier travel, and various other skills required in mountaineering and rock climbing make the course as personally groundbreaking as it is exciting. Participants learn to assess their capabilities relative to challenges of multiple sorts, make wise decisions and carry them out with determination and good judgment, and, perhaps most important of all, cultivate a selfless and supportive group ethic that makes for collective success on the trail and, for many years to come, elsewhere as well. The Allagash boys come back to Pemi as leaders of their fellow campers. The Pemi West crew come back as all but assistant counselors and, as often as not, become our very best cabin counselors in subsequent years.

Allagash Trip

2017 Allagash trip

2017 Allagash trip

This year’s Allagash trip was led by veteran Pemi trip counselors Harry Morris and Nick Davini. Under their skilled guidance, Brodie Fisher, Teddy Foley, Miles Schiff Stein, Frank Applebaum, Eli Barlow, Scott Cook, Nathan King, Elliot Muffett, Suraj Khakee, and Owen Lee left camp a week ago Monday, just as the sun was rising across the mist-filled valley. Harry and Nick had decided this year to bypass the sometimes wind-bound Allagash lakes and return to the river section of the waterway, which consists of a 63-mile paddle from Churchill Dam to the Village of Allagash. Including the out and back drives of nearly 500 miles each, the group spent five days away from camp, one more than usual for this outing. They paddled each day from about 8 AM to 3:30 or 4:00 PM, giving them plenty of time on the river as well as allowing them to relax at the excellent campsites that grace that stretch of the waterway. As in past year’s, the group saw multiple moose, over a dozen bald eagles, and lots of other wildlife not typically seen here in New Hampshire. The boys, report Harry and Nick, were absolutely excellent this year. They had been in training for three weeks, paddling on our pond on a daily basis, learning the various strokes required for a demanding river passage, learning how to deal with and recover from capsizing, and trying out the skills of portaging. They had also been on two preparatory river trips, such that when they finally hit the Allagash, they were practiced and confident, and thus able to appreciate all the more the magnificently wild setting through which they travelled. Harry and Nick were especially impressed with everyone’s willingness to lend a helping hand to others when the need arose. A tight-knit group even before they left, they returned sun-bronzed and happy, bonded together even more closely through the rigors, and the pleasures, of the trip.

Pemi West

This year’s Pemi West group was comprised of Pemi veterans Dash Slamowitz, Sam Beesley, Pierce Haley, Jackson Morrell, Reed O’Brien, Will Adams, George Cook, Nolan Katcher, and Andrew Kanovsky. Under the experienced guidance of Pemi West Director Dave Robb and his co-instructors Tim Heltzel and Regan Narin, they quickly learned everything they needed to know about organizing their 40-50-pound packs for ease of carrying and quick access to crucial gear; planning, provisioning, and cooking their meals; setting realistic goals for the day’s travel; situating their campsites; moving across glaciers with ropes on their harnesses, crampons on their boots, and ice axes in their hands; glissading and self-arresting after falls; and scores of other skills and necessities for backcountry travel. Once they had mastered the basics and repeated them enough for them to become reflexes and routines, each participant took his turn as leader of the day, assuming total responsibility for everything from determining wake-up time and their optimal route to deciding upon their final destination. Dave, Tim, and Regan were always in the wings, shadowing the group, but Pemi’s “mountain leadership” program required exactly that of all the boys in turn: leadership, with all of the challenges, opportunities, uncertainties, doubts, realizations, and rewards that being a leader involves. In the wonderful talk they gave to the entire Pemi East community this past Sunday evening, they spoke eloquently about the self-knowledge that comes from being in charge of a group you care about and having to decide, in the moment, what the best way might be to work with a number of other strong-minded individuals in order to achieve an important goal. There were also 24-hour solos, when each participant became his own Thoreau on Walden Pond and had a chance truly to digest what he had gone through on this mountain odyssey, how it was all changing him, how different the coming months and years might promise to be as a result.

2017 Pemi West group

2017 Pemi West group

It was all such a daunting prospect, for starters. Two and a half weeks in the backcountry, carrying everything you need, save for what you will unpack from the back of a friendly llama at the resupply ten or twelve days in! Sam Beesley’s remarks on Sunday were especially revealing. The first several days on the trail, he literally wasn’t sure he could make it. Though a seasoned distance runner, he had never encountered anything this taxing. His thoughts were all about how infernally heavy his pack was, how he had made a mistake ever signing on for this, how slogging through two more weeks seemed a complete impossibility. Even as he wrestled with these doubts, though, he could imagine another Sam, a future Sam, who might look back on all this with a profound sense of pride, pleasure, and accomplishment. Mile by mile, day by day, the self-doubting boy in the woods somehow became the proven and joyous traveler through the wild, and Sam’s personal prognostications solidified into a reality. “As we all finished the last three miles of the trip by ourselves, I realized that I wanted to stay longer. And as we camped in the front country and as we got further and further from the Park and deeper into civilization, I missed the wilderness more and more. I missed the quietness of it, the solitude and feeling of self-sufficiency that comes with spending weeks in the woods. The need to get back to the natural world was not one I had ever felt before. I’m pretty sure the Sam who was first counting down the days till the end of the trip would find the Sam who wished the trip would never end was kind of insane. But I guess you don’t know how good you’ve got it until it’s over.” It’s hard to know how better the philosophical and personal payoffs of a rigorous mountain adventure might be expressed. Everyone in the Lodge knew that they were witness to lives that had been irrevocably enhanced, even transformed. Oh, the lucky ones (this year’s Allagashers among them) for whom the Olympic Range might be next summer’s play- and proving ground alike!

Distance Swim

Distance swim

Distance swimmer

Many Pemi West participants have indeed first worked up an appetite for the rigors of extended wilderness travel on the Allagash waterway. Pemi is not unique in believing that boys and girls thrive best when they are introduced to appropriate challenges at just the appropriate age, but we do try to structure many things at camp in a way that allows our boys to match being satisfied with things they’ve already mastered with the boldness needed to take on things they’ve not yet tried. Historically, one of the most dependable building blocks of self-validation and confidence has been the “distance swim,” the half-mile, staff-escorted swim that qualifies a boy to take out a boat on his own or with a fellow camper. Hard as it may be to believe, some boys arrive at camp never having swum in anything other than a pool – or perhaps in the wave-tumbled shallows of the ocean shore. The prospect of swimming the equivalent of 30 to 35 pool lengths when you can’t even see the bottom (let alone count on being able to touch it if you tire) can be extremely daunting to an eight-, eleven-, or even fourteen-year-old. It hardly matters that staff members are just feet ahead in a rowboat, with their life-saving tube at the ready. You still feel very much alone (and I am remembering the feeling distinctly, almost with a chill, as I write this sixty years after my own first distance swim!) You wonder whether you have it in you to move past the first fifty yards – to the second – to the tenth – to the fifteenth. But, as the chilly waters seem almost to warm with your extended effort and the float that is your destination grows from the apparent dimensions of a Lego spied across an amphitheater to a sofa cushion viewed from the coffee table, you get that giddy feeling that you’re going to make it. Maybe your biggest worry now, in fact, is that, when you pull yourself up, arm-weary, onto the float, your smile will be so broad and crazy that your counselor will be forced to chuckle at your extravagant pleasure. “Of course I could manage,” you’ll want to say. “Never the slightest doubt! (And boy, are my arms exhausted!)” You look forward to the cheer of acknowledgement in the mess hall that night – even though you’ll blush when you hear it. Playing Frisbee running bases that evening, you’ll pause to recall what you’ve managed to do – and that silly smile may bloom once again. That night, after taps, as your counselor starts to read the next chapter of Treasure Island, you’ll think quietly to yourself, “Maybe I’m more like Jim Hawkins than I thought.” These are the little steps, of body and mind, that mark so distinctly our progress as we grow up, get stronger, believe in ourselves.

We’ll close by looking at the Distance Swim from a slightly different angle –a perspective offered by former Director Tom Reed, Sr., who left us in 2010. What follows is a transcription of a recording made in May of that year. It speaks, as we have spoken above, to the way boys can rise to challenges in a fashion that changes them forever for the better. But is also speaks to the incalculable satisfaction that can be derived from creating an atmosphere in which that change can happen. The boy may swim, but the giddy smile may belong as much to his counselor as to him. (Ask Kim Bradshaw who, just this past week, watched with delight as Jon Ciglar and Kieran Klasfeld, with whom she had been working for three summers, finally waded ashore after managing The Big Swim.) Somehow, inevitably, we are all in the water together. 

(Tom usually told this story at the last meeting of staff training week, the night before the campers arrived.) 

With regard to why we’re all here tonight, and for the remaining seven weeks of the season, it’s become customary for me to speak a little bit because of my long experience at Pemi myself. Some people may be here to make a huge salary. Don’t expect that to be the case. Others will come for a variety of reasons, but I want to explain, in a short story of what happened at Pemi one summer not too long ago, why we really are all here, every one of us. 

We had a camper I’ll call Matthew who was with us for two or three summers about twenty or twenty-five years ago. He was one of these appealing but somewhat ineffectual kids who really couldn’t do much that was likely to impress other campers, or even some of the staff. He was put in the Junior Camp, the only new kid in his cabin, and like all the other Juniors started out learning occupations (as we call the morning activities) including swimming. At Pemi, all campers must swim the half mile from the Senior Beach to the Junior Beach before they’re allowed to take boats out by themselves, as opposed to going out with a counselor. Well, so Matthew started out on this swimming program along with some other kids, and he wasn’t making much progress, and he and other people in the Junior Camp surely noticed that he wasn’t making much progress in other areas either. He didn’t seem to make new friends, he didn’t seem to get much better in tennis, or any activities like that. Meanwhile, all of the other Juniors, as usual, were making progress, sometimes immense progress, in other areas. So Matthew often seemed to be adrift, kind of a, oh, I don’t know how to describe him, in this sea of activity around him. 

Now, here’s where the story really starts. I think he must have become afraid of swimming somewhere else, because he was a very slow learner in the water, and while the other boys made rapid progress, he hardly made any progress at all. And he hated it. He would sometimes hide, and the counselors would have to come and find him, and almost drag him out to the swimming area. And they hated themselves for that, and he hated them too, I suppose, for that. But he made slow progress through the season. First it was swimming from dock to dock, then around the Junior swimming area, and finally to the Junior Point and back – quite a short distance, but significant psychologically in this case, I think.

And then comes the end of the summer, or nearing the end of the summer, with two days left to go, and Matthew still hasn’t swum his distance. He’s the only boy who hasn’t, and everybody in camp knows that. So what do the counselors do? Should they start him out on that swim, with the knowledge of what a huge thing it would be for him if he made it; or what an awful thing it would be if he tried and failed, with no time left to repeat. But they decided to do it, and just two days before the end of the season.  

I remember I was in the office with Holly Gardner, our secretary, working, when a little Junior ran by the open window and yelled in at us: “Matthew’s swimming his distance!”

Well, the sound of those words still sends a chill up and down my back. So Holly and I ran out onto the porch of the Lodge and, sure enough, there was Matthew in the water about fifty yards out, with a row boat ahead of him with two counselors in it, one rowing – you could hear the creaking of the oars – and the other holding a bamboo pole out over Matthew’s head (just off the stern of the boat) so that Matthew could grab that any time he wanted to for help. And there was a third counselor, Brad Saffer, the head of the swimming program in the Junior Camp that year, who, very unusually, was swimming in the water with Matthew, singing songs, mostly Gilbert and Sullivan songs, because Brad had starred in the show the night before and was going to again that night. And you could see the arms of Matthew rising laboriously above the water, and hear occasional conversation.  

As I say, Holly Gardner and I were working, and we came out and we saw this apparition, and we watched for a couple of minutes. And suddenly, unexpectedly, there was utter silence, and out of this silence, from across the water, came this little boy’s voice saying, “I’m gonna make it!” 

Well, I don’t know if I ever heard more thrilling words in my life to this day – except perhaps when [my wife] Betsy said “I do!” And Holly felt the same way. We both began to cry, and by this time, about half the camp was along the shore, watching Matthew make progress. And this is really significant, because with only a couple of days left in the season, boys who were good friends were much more likely to play tennis with each other, or some kind of activity like that, than to watch an eight-year-old boy swim in the lake. But there they were.  

Holly and I ran down to the Senior Beach, and by that time probably two thirds of the camp was there. And as Matthew came out of the water, the campers ran out to meet him, to shake his hand, and pat his back, and rub his hair and so on. And I wish you could have seen Matthew’s face, which really resembled the rising sun. I don’t think there was a person there who didn’t know what Matthew must have been thinking: “I did it! I did it all, every stroke of the way, all by myself.” (He wasn’t, of course, old enough yet to appreciate the full contributions the counselors had made.) And Matthew’s face also said, “If I can do something this hard, at which I wanted to give up, at which I had to work so hard all summer, and do it all by myself, then there may be nothing in life ahead of me which will be too hard for me to do.” Now if any of you who are or will be parents consider the full impact of this, you’ll know how important that was. I think the word “miracle” is not too strong to describe it. And then that night in the Mess Hall, Matthew had perhaps the longest, loudest cheer in Pemi’s history.

So that really is why we’re all here. Every one of you can do something somewhat like that for one of our campers; and if you can, do it. It doesn’t have to be big and dramatic, like Matthew’s story. Any little improvement here or there can work as a minor to a major miracle in a boy’s life. So we’re delighted to have you all here, and we’ll be working together on this and other important projects all summer. Thank you, and good night!

Baker Pond. The Allagash. The glacier-clad peaks of the distant Olympics. Crucial stations, all of them, on a life’s journey of growing confidence and consequence.

(Tune in next week for an account of Tecumseh Day 2017, penned by our storied Athletic Director, Charlie Malcolm.)

–TRJR

Take a hike!

Finalizing your plans for the upcoming holiday weekend? Why not take advantage of the extra time and anticipated gorgeous weather to get outside and take a hike!

Pemi’s trip program, one of our four core program areas, offers Pemi boys a variety of trip options from day hikes, to overnight trips, to AMC Hut adventures. For each trip, Pemi’s trip counselors work with the boys to pack all the necessary items in order to be prepared. Many of you are familiar with Pemi’s packing list, which includes a backpacker’s equipment list on the bottom.

Rob Verger, a former Pemi camper, counselor, and trip counselor, recently authored an article in Popular Science, that provided seven essential tips for a successful day-trip. You can find the full article by clicking here. Over many years, hiking countless trails in New Hampshire, Rob shares the following tips:

  1. Be nice to your feet
  2. Dress the part
  3. Layer up
  4. Stay hydrated and energized
  5. Expect the unexpected
  6. Include the finish touches
  7. Don’t forget a backpack

One or more of these will surely jog the memory of many Pemi Alumni. Perhaps you remember a Pemi hike where the unexpected happened, or when you needed to dig into your pack to pull out your raincoat? We welcome your stories and memories in the comment section below!

Rob finishes his article with the following closing, we agree entirely!

Having everything you need on your back for a day outside gives you an independent feeling. And that feeling is even better when you’re enjoying it while eating cheese and pepperoni on a breathtaking summit.

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!

 

 

Allyson Fauver Joins Pemi’s Administrative Team

As reported earlier, Pemi’s Board of Directors and the nine members of the fourth generation of Pemi’s two founding families have met both in person and via phone on several occasions over the past couple of years to lay the groundwork for a smooth transition to Pemi’s future. While many of the third generation will continue to be presences at camp during the summer and serve both in supportive and hands-on ways year ’round, we are eager to make provisions for more practical experience for those who’ve expressed interest.

Allyson Fauver

Allyson Fauver

With that in mind, we’re delighted to introduce a newcomer to Pemi’s staff, though she is far from a rookie. As a “G4” member, Allyson Fauver spent many beloved summers at Pemi, living “up the Hill” along with her grandparents, Al and Bertha Fauver, while her father Fred was on staff and her brother Jon was a camper. In 1999, Allyson served as support staff for Pemi West. More recently, she’s worked behind-the-scenes as a board member and now serves as Treasurer.

With preparations for the 2017 camp season upon us, Allyson’s role is expanding to assist director Danny Kerr with numerous administrative tasks previously overseen by Dottie Reed, including supporting parents and staff through the crucial and involved process of submitting required forms. As a self-proclaimed “organization, paperwork, and details person,” Allyson couldn’t be better suited to serve Pemi in this central capacity. (In the meantime, Dottie and Tom are enjoying settling in to their new home in Sarasota, Florida, and look forward to being at Pemi for the summer!)

Allyson’s favorite memories of growing up on the shores of Lower Baker? I never wore shoes. The Nature Lodge was my favorite spot, especially the aquarium of mussels, frogs, and minnows, the rock polisher, and the bank of ferns out back. Cookout was my favorite meal of the week, and I loved helping deliver crates to cabins from the back of the big truck. (I’m sure I was a big help.) I always looked forward to the costumes of Gilbert and Sullivan, and was eternally delighted by Tom Reed, Jr’s, ‘I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General.’” 

Allyson earned a BA in International Studies from Marlboro College in Maine and a JD from the University of Maine School of Law. She currently lives in Bozeman, Montana, where she is the founding partner of Solve, a team of three colleagues dedicated to supporting nonprofit and social profit institutions.

We’re thrilled to have Allyson in the trenches and know that our community will benefit greatly from both her professional skills and her deep love of Pemi.

~ Dottie Reed

 

 

 

 

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

 

Introducing Pemi’s 2016 Staff

Camp Pemigewassett's 2016 staff

Camp Pemigewassett’s 2016 staff

Each pre-season we ask our staff members to submit a short bio for this first blog post of the season. Introducing Pemi’s 2016 staff…

 

Danny Kerr (Director): This will be my 7th year as Director at Pemi and my 44th at summer camp and I’m only 29! This fuzzy math aside, I am looking forward to another terrific summer in 2016. When not doing the Director thing, I very much enjoy coaching baseball at Pemi, playing the guitar and basketball with the boys, and recruiting any camper or counselor I can to join the legion of small, but dedicated, New York Met fans, reigning NL Champions!

Tom Reed (Consulting Director and Head of Trips): I first came to Pemi as a two-week-old in June of 1947, and I’ve been at camp for all but about five summers since. I recently retired as Professor of English at Dickinson College, but I continue to run the Trip Program at Pemi, lead singing in the messhall, write weekly newsletters, and make sure the loons on the lake feel appreciated.

Kenny Moore (Assistant Director): This will be my 24th summer at Pemi, with the last 18 as a member of the Staff. During the summer, I serve as the Program Director and occasional swim coach. Alumni Relations, Pemi West, and general outreach are my main winter tasks for Pemi. Plainfield, NH is now home, (born and bred in Cleveland) with my wife Sarah, dogs Gertrude & Wentworth, and Harriet the horse.

Dottie Reed (Head Administrator): This will be my 29th summer at Pemi where I’ll continue to do what I can to make the season run smoothly. Tom and I recently moved out of our house of 26 years in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Our Pemi cabin ‘up the hill’ will be home into October, when we’ll start the trek to our new abode in Sarasota, Florida, officially earning the title ‘snowbirds’ as we embrace our new NH / FL life. Really?

Kim Malcolm (Administrator): This is my 25th year at Camp Pemi. During the offseason I live at Northfield Mt. Hermon School with my husband Charlie and 2 children. I am also a physical therapist.

Heather Leeds (Administrator): I’m excited to be working in the office for my 8th year at Pemi! During the winter I live at Northfield Mt. Hermon School with my husband Greg and our three children. I am director of Full Circle Elementary School where I also teach.

Cabin Counselors (CC) and Assistant Counselors (AC)

J1: Ray Seebeck (CC). After a great freshman year at Colby College, I will return to my home city next fall to chase my dream at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I am one of six Seebecks to spend summers on the shores of Lower Baker. This will be my first summer back since being a camper from ’05-’07. I plan to teach a sketchbook occupation, as well as help out in tennis, baseball, and on the waterfront. I am excited to reconnect with the Pemi community, and to help build a safe environment for personal growth and self-discovery.

J1: Per Soderberg (AC). My name is Per Soderberg, I am 17 years old and come from Sarasota Florida. This will be my 9th summer at Pemi; I attended Pemi as a camper for 8 summers and now this is my first on staff. I like to draw, sculpt, and build in my free time and hope to become an engineer in the future. I plan on helping in the nature lodge, wood shop and art building this summer.

J2: Zach Popkin (CC). I’m from Washington, DC, and I’m excited to be returning to Pemi for my second summer on staff and where I was a camper for five great years. I just completed my freshman year at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania where I am studying Econ and running on the Track Team. I’m an avid sports fan and look forward to working this summer with the nature program and coaching various sports occupations.

J2: Jack O’Connor (AC): I’m a rising senior at New Canaan High School and will be working in the tennis, sailing, and woodworking departments this summer. I’m the oldest of six kids and my youngest brother Chris will be here this summer.

J3: Harry Cooke (CC). Hello! I am Henry ‘Harry’ Cooke, hailing from Manhattan. I am a rising sophomore at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania where I double major in English and Philosophy. This will be my seventh summer at Pemi and first as a cabin counselor. My interests include film, writing, hiking, and swimming. I plan on spending this summer at the waterfront as well as instructing sailing, swimming, or dramatics, including performing in the upcoming Gilbert & Sullivan production. I am looking forward to a great summer!

J3: Zach Leeds (AC). This will be my ninth summer at Pemi, and second on Staff. I just graduated from Northfield Mount Hermon, where I live during the year, and I will be attending Colgate University next fall. I am looking forward to coaching soccer and baseball this summer.

J4: Nick Hurn (CC). This is my first year at Pemi, and I’m coming all the way from the UK to join the staff. I’m currently in Medical School at the University of Manchester. I’ll be on the swim staff and teaching arts and crafts, so I’ll be helping out across camp. I’m already counting down the days to summer and can’t wait to meet everyone!

J4: Bryce Grey (AC). I am a rising senior at Avon Old Farms where I play on the varsity football and wrestling teams. My home is Duxbury, MA and I am here at Pemi for my 6th summer. I’m looking forward to working with many of the guys I went through camp with for years. I play the trumpet and hope to teach some music, to coach sports, and maybe even to lead some yoga stretching.

J5: Wes Eifler (CC / Division Head). I was born and raised in Southern Connecticut and am a recent graduate of American University where I received a degree in Elementary Education. This winter I worked as a student teacher in the 1st grade at Bethesda Elementary in Maryland and then as a 2nd Grade and 5th Grade teacher in Rockville, Maryland. This summer will be my 13th at Pemi and my 6th on staff. Throughout the summer I will be coaching baseball and writing Bean Soup. I am thrilled to be back at Pemi for another summer!

J5: Nicholas Pigeon (AC). I’m a former Pemi camper who attended for 5 years. I now return as an assistant counselor and am excited to experience Pemi from another viewpoint. I hope to pass on my passion for nature, soccer, and basketball to Pemi campers and make the most of this summer. I currently live in Santiago, Chile, but starting this September I will be attending American University in Washington D.C, studying international relations.

J6: Sam Davitt (CC). Hi everyone! I’m a sophomore at Washington University in St. Louis from Boston, MA studying mechanical engineering. I spent five summers at Pemi from ages 11-15. I enjoy playing tennis and soccer and have spent my last three summers honing my skills as a tennis coach. At Pemi, I plan to teach tennis, soccer, and archery, and I’d love to learn how to sail. I’m excited to be back at Pemi this summer!

J6: Harry Tuttle (AC). This will be my ninth summer at camp! A lifer at Pemi, I spent eight years on the shores of Lower Baker Pond as a camper where I went from Junior One to the Senior camp. I hail from Dedham, MA and Hyannisport, MA. I attend The Governor’s Academy where I play soccer, lacrosse, help with Special Olympics, and sing/dance/act in school musicals. I am looking forward to spending time on the soccer field and the waterfront at Camp, as well as performing in the G&S production.

L1: Jackson Reed (CC). This will be my 12th summer at Pemi or Pemi West and fifth on staff. Born and raised in the northeast, I have studied, lived, and hiked in California and Washington for the past fifteen years. With a Master’s in International Policy Studies, I like to travel, especially in India and Nepal. These days, when not abroad, I help to produce dance and art festivals around the U.S.

L2: Luke Raffanti (CC; first half). I’m very happy to be returning to Pemi for my second summer. I graduated from Oberlin College in May ’15 in Piano Performance and Environmental Studies. Since then, I spent the year back in my hometown in Northern California, teaching music and accompanying. I’ve also kept active as a performer of classical music, with a special interest in doing benefit concerts for causes that interest me, such as advocacy of indigenous peoples, and environmental justice. As the pianist at Pemi, I play for mealtime songs, for Sunday Meetings, and for the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta at the end of the summer.

L2: Andrew Brummer (CC; second half). I am a recent graduate of Colgate University where I studied Economics and Geography. I am a 10-year Pemi veteran who is lucky enough to have a four-week window in my summer to spend at camp for the second half of the season when I’ll move in to L2 to allow Luke to focus on the G&S production. I will coach swimming and tennis and also lead a hiking trip if time permits.

L2: Jackson Seniff (AC). This will be my 5th year at Pemi. I am from San Diego, CA and a rising senior at Coronado High School. I love to swim and surf as well as pass the occasional rugby ball with my friends. I play water polo, rugby, and swim for my high school. I am a certified rugby coach and referee and have been coaching the Under 8 year old rugby team for 4 years. I plan to lifeguard the waterfront and help out with swimming occupations and teach rugby to all of those who are interested. I am excited for a great summer!

L3: David Lampman (CC). I am from Freeville, New York and this is my first year at Pemi. I will be entering my senior year as a biology major at Paul Smith’s College this fall. My interests include botany, ecology, natural history, and photography. I am looking forward to an exciting summer teaching these topics.

L3: Matt Kanovsky (AC). I am from Briarcliff Manor, New York, and will be a Freshman at Harvey Mudd College in sunny Southern California this coming August. This will be my 11th summer at Pemi and my second year on staff, as I try desperately to relive my days as a camper. This summer, I am excited to teach nature, photography, and how to come in 2nd place.

L4: Theo Nickols (CC / Division Head). I am from Northumberland, U.K, Hadrian’s Wall country. This is my third season as a counselor and first as a Division Head. I am currently studying Environmental Science at the University of Nottingham and I cannot wait to be coaching tennis and basketball again. Its going to be another great summer!

L4: Ned Roosevelt (AC). This summer will be my eighth on the shores of Lower Baker Pond and my second as an Assistant Counselor. I’m from New York City, and a rising freshman at Wheaton College where I will be playing on the tennis team.   I look forward to meeting you all and extending the same warm welcome to you that I received back in the day. I’ll be helping out with the sports programs, mainly tennis and baseball. See you on the courts and on the fields!

L5: Rob Leftwich (CC). I’m from the Midlands in the United Kingdom where I grew up in a small village called Knowle. I love music (especially Jazz), performance, and swimming, and I will be training as a Religious Education teacher in September. This will be my first year at Pemi and I hope to be a good Camp Bugler and help with/run some music and performance activities.

L5: Will Katcher (AC). I’m from Needham, MA, and this coming year I’ll be a senior at Needham High School. I run Cross Country during the fall, and track during the winter and spring. This will be my 6th year at camp, and first on staff, after spending 4 years as a camper and last year on Pemi West. I’m looking forward to helping out in all areas of camp, and maybe going out on a few trips. I hope to help every camper have the best summer possible!

L6: Michael DiGaetano (CC). I am from Piedmont, California and currently go to school in Santa Barbara. This will be my 3rd year as a counselor and my 8th summer on the shores of Lower Baker Pond. When I am not with the cabin this summer I will be spending a lot of time on the waterfront. I can’t wait for another great summer at Pemi.

L7: Henry Pohlman (CC). I hail from the great city of Madison, Wisconsin. I will be a senior next year at Denison University, where I study biology and neuroscience, and am a player on the soccer team. Off the soccer field, I enjoy hiking, fishing, most water front activities, and eating large amounts of cheese. I was a camper at Pemi for 4 years, as an 11, 12, 14, and 15 year old. Looking forward to another great year on the shores of Lower Baker Pond.

U1: Sam Papel (CC). This is my 2nd year on staff. I spent 8 years as a camper on the shores of Lower Baker and one on the slopes of Mt. Olympus with the Pemi West program. I was born and raised in Nashville TN and I am well used to being the resident Southerner at camp. I am a rising junior at Vanderbilt University where I am studying mechanical engineering.

U2: Andy MacDonald (CC). Hi, I’m Andrew MacDonald (super Scottish I know). I’m returning to Pemi for my second summer and can’t wait. I’m the counselor who was mainly mocked by the kids for my thick Scottish accent last summer. It’ll be interesting to see what hilarious stereotypes they throw at me this time around :). I’m about to graduate from a university back home with an Honours degree in Sport & Management. Hence it’s clear to see I love sport. I’m extremely excited to return to Pemi to coach soccer, tennis, and kayaking again. I’m also looking forward to seeing some familiar faces.

U3: Dan Reed (CC / Division Head). This is my 16th summer at Pemi (my 24th if you count my toddling years), and I am thrilled to spend another season at camp. I’ve just finished a year teaching Math & Science at a Boston charter school, and this fall will move to Windsor, CT, where I will teach English at the Loomis Chaffee School. This summer I look forward to finding myself on the tennis courts, in the Nature Lodge, serving up the Soup, helping to schedule occupations, and otherwise living the wonderfully busy Pemi life.

U3: Nick Bertrand (AC). I am from Hanover, NH and just completed 4 years at Northfield Mount Hermon. Next year I will be attending Case Western Reserve University where I will be playing soccer and studying engineering. I went to Pemi for 8 years as a camper, did Pemi West 2 years ago, and am returning for my first year as a Pemi staff member.

U4: Oisin Turbitt (CC). My name is Oisin (“O-Sheen”) I am from Omagh in Northern Ireland where I am currently studying Aerospace Engineering at Queen’s University Belfast. This summer I will teach in the nature program and coach some tennis on the side. This will be my first year at Pemi and I am looking forward to it!

U5: Will Meinke (CC). I am returning to Pemi for my tenth summer, fourth on staff. I am a student at Fairfield University in Connecticut majoring in Environmental Studies. This summer I will be helping out in the athletic and water-skiing departments. I’m look forward to another amazing summer on the shores of Lower Baker.

S1: Zacc Dwan (CC). I graduated from Dickinson College this year with a major in Environmental Studies. This is my first year at Camp Pemi and I will be involved in teaching basketball and helping out with all water-based activities. I am from Christchurch, a small city located on the South Island of New Zealand. I moved to Pennsylvania in 2012 to complete my final three years of college.

S2: Kilian Wegner (CC). This is my first year at Pemi! I’m of German origin living in the hills of Donegal in Ireland. I’m currently studying Communication Studies in my 2nd year at DCU. I’m an outdoor enthusiast so I’ll be involved with the Nature Program doing lots of fun stuff like photography and nature trips. I’m also a qualified soccer coach and a huge sports fan so I’ll be helping out in Soccer and other sports. I’m excited to get to know everyone!

S3: Harry Morris (CC / Division Head). This will be my 8th summer and, after spending my last 2 summers as a Trip Counselor, I am super excited to be a cabin counselor. I will be teaching canoe, soccer, and tennis occupations this summer.

LT: Darryl Mainoo (CC). I am British, a born and raised Londoner. I support Arsenal FC and have always had a passion for sport, especially for Football (I know I’m going to have to get used to calling it Soccer). In addition to sports, I am a bit of a computer nerd. I love everything to do with computer and technology having studied it (‘majored in’…see I’m getting the hang of this already) at University. This summer will be my first time at Camp Pemi so I’m really looking forward to working with the kids and helping to make their summer fun, enjoyable, and memorable. My time at Camp will revolve mainly around spending time getting to know and building relationships with the kids as well as coaching them in Soccer and helping them to develop their skills or pick up new ones entirely. I can’t wait to be a part of the team at Camp!

Program Staff and …

Kim Bradshaw. Heeey! It’s my second year at Pemi. I come from Nottingham (England) and I have just completed my undergraduate degree in sports science. I love playing football (soccer). I’ve been captain of Trent University women’s football for two years. Last year I was a Trip Leader and this year I will coach soccer along with some pretty awesome coaches. Bring on 2016 with more new faces 🙂

Georgie Brown. I’m 20 years old from London and am currently studying in Bath doing a degree in early years education. It’s going to be my first time at Camp Pemi and I’m looking forward to it. I will be a swimming instructor during my time at Pemi.

Laura Bubar (Head of Art). I am excited to be back at Camp Pemi following my first year teaching art at Freeport Middle School in Freeport, Maine. This will be my third summer teaching art down in Art World and I have some great new projects in store, as well as a few old favorites…More CHIHULY, perhaps? And SPACE GRAFFITI!

Steve Clare (Head of Archery). I live in Cornwall, the extreme SW of the UK. I’m a self-employed specialist teacher, working also as a cover teacher at a variety of schools. I coach two under 12’s football (soccer) teams & help coach an under 15’s team that my son, Morgan, plays for, whilst running a weekly community football programme for younger players. This will be 2nd year at Pemi as Head of the Archery Department & camp fire MC (I hope!!). I’m looking forward to returning & playing my part in the Pemi family!!

Nick Davini (Trip Leader / U4). I’m currently an anthropology major and rising junior at the University of New Hampshire. I recently completed a Spanish minor after studying in Granada, Spain this past semester. This summer will be my eighth at Pemi, and my fourth on staff. Hiking is a passion of mine, and I look forward to spending time in the mountains I came to love years ago. I also have experience in the woodshop, archery range, and Art World at Pemi.

Larry Davis (Director of Nature Programs & Teaching). This is my 47th year at Pemi (all on the staff). I hold an AB and AM in Earth Sciences from Washington University in St. Louis and a PhD in Geological Sciences from University of Rochester. In the ‘off’ season, I am Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of New Haven where I am also the head of the undergraduate program in Environmental Sciences. A former intercollegiate soccer official, I still love to watch the sport from the sidelines. I play the flute, tell Maine stories, love to travel, ‘collect’ waterfalls, and forage for, and cook, all sorts of wild edibles.

Dorin Dehls (Head of Music and Drama). I joined the Pemi family in 2008. My father, James Dehls, was a camper and counselor and now returns each summer as a visiting professional for a week each year. During the school year, I teach music for grades Pre-K through 4 in West Haven, Connecticut. I am very excited to begin work on Pirates of Penzance and to oversee all music and drama here at Pemi this summer season!

Michaella Frank: I am so excited to be working at Camp Pemigewassett for my second summer! I am from Avon Lake, Ohio. My interests include basketball, reading, swimming, hiking, singing, and playing the saxophone. Basically if it’s fun then I’m game for it! My main activities at Pemi will be basketball and vocal and instrumental music.

JP Gorman (Trip Leader / U5). My name is John (or JP) and this will be my first year at Pemi. I am from Baltinglass in Ireland and I am studying a double major in music and math in University College Dublin. I love all kinds of music and have dabbled in most sports too. I can’t wait to see what the mountains around Pemi have to offer!

Chris Johnson (Head of Tennis). I am thrilled to return for the third consecutive year on the shores of beautiful Lower Baker Pond. Back in Cleveland, I had a very busy year teaching fourth grade, coaching girls and boys high school tennis, and serving as Vice President of the Ohio Tennis Coaches’ Association. I look forward to another busy and fun summer on the courts!

CJ Jones. This will be my second season at Pemi as I loved my first summer so much! I’ll be working on the waterfront teaching swimming and hopefully on the tennis staff again. I really enjoy coaching the boys in sport as I’m a very active person myself and it’s an amazing feeling to see them improve so much over the season. At home in the UK, I’m a Biomedicine student on a masters course at Warwick University. Looking forward to meeting all the new staff and to catching up with the returners in June.

Michael Kerr (Trip Leader / U1). I am a 21-year old mountain and outdoor enthusiast from Keene, NH. I spend my off seasons as a full time children’s ski instructor in beautiful and majestic Telluride Colorado. I will be a trip counselor at Pemi for a second time this summer and look forward to completing my 4th summer at Camp Pemi

Deb Kure (Associate Head of Nature). Studying Geology at the University of Rochester sparked my love of Field Trips, and of learning and teaching outside! I’ve led outdoor science programs since then, through camps, museums, and trips programs throughout the U.S. During the school year I’m an Educator at Quarrybrook Outdoor Learning Center in southern New Hampshire, leading programs with pre-K through 12th graders.

Harry MacGregor (Head of Woodshop). I am a longtime resident of Canaan, New Hampshire with a professional background in commercial, industrial, and residential construction. I also owned my own business focusing on custom woodworking. I’m looking forward to my 6th year at Pemi.

Molly Malone (Head of Waterskiing). This will be my second year as the head waterski instructor. I had a blast being on the water so much last year, and can’t wait to teach people to ski again this year! I am from Chippewa Falls, WI and my ‘real’ job is a high school orchestra teacher. My main instruments are piano and violin, and I play violin in the Chippewa Valley Symphony. I am most proud of my ‘dancing’ orchestra called Wire Choir – a show choir with string instruments. Waterskiing is my passion in life! Let the summer begin!

Jennifer Mitchell. Hello, my name is Jen Mitchell. This is my first year Pemi and I am looking forward to a great summer. During the school year I work for Northern Illinois University at their Lorado Taft Field campus. I will be working primarily in the Nature Program this summer. I like traveling, learning new things, books, music, and nature.

Emily Palmer (Head of Sailing). I am from Hampshire, England and am currently in my third year of university as an undergraduate studying history at the University of Kent, Canterbury. I have captained the sailing team at university, but due to time restrictions this year have had to significantly reduce my time on the water, so I am very excited to get back out on Lower Baker Pond and be able to get boys interested in sailing. I also love to windsurf, which I hope to get going at Pemi. I am really looking forward to seeing everyone and having another awesome summer. Fingers crossed for some good wind.

Sam Seymour (Director of the Counselor Apprenticeship Program). As a Bay Area resident, I have just completed a master’s degree through UC Berkeley and UCSF focusing on medical device innovation and translational medicine. As I transition back into the working world, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to step in as Director of CAP. This will be my 9th summer at Pemi, and I look forward to contributing some of my experience to the next generation of counselors and Pemi staff!

Paige Wallis (Head of Swimming and Waterfront). Tweet! Tweet! This will be my 7th summer on the shores of Lower Baker Pond. I am originally from Norwich, VT and have spent the past two winters working at Waterville Valley Academy & WVBBTS. I am the Freeski & Snowboard Coordinator and a Houseparent in the dorm. This summer I look forward to working with an awesome swim staff and providing campers more opportunities to spend time splashing around in Lower Baker Pond!

Ben Walsh (Head of Staff). I am excited to be returning for my 13th summer at Pemi and second as the Head of Staff. When not assigning duties and time off I enjoy coaching and dabbling in activities that I did not explore as a camper! During the school year I teach history and coach the varsity soccer team at Salisbury School.

Caretakers of our Physical and Mental Well-Being

(We’re missing a few entries…they must be busy care-taking!) 

Jakub Adamski (Kitchen staff). I am 23 years old guy from Poland. I am studying finance and accounting at Poznan University of Economics. It will be my first time in the United States and at Pemi. I am excited for my first summer at Pemi!

Tawnya Beane (Buildings & Grounds). I’m so excited to work my first summer at Pemi in housekeeping! I grew up in southern New Hampshire. I love spending time with my family and friends, traveling, taking pictures, kayaking and listening to good live music.

Tom Ciglar (Director of Food Services). This is my 15th year on staff at Pemi. During the school year I live in Rindge, NH with wife Anna and our son Jon. I’ve worked at Hampshire Country School for over 20 years and look forward to taking on a new challenge this fall as I move into a new role as Director of Operations.

Nancy Cushman (Kitchen staff). My name is Nancy Cushman. I live in West Fairlee, Vermont, which is about 25 miles from camp. I cook the breakfast meal and I work in the bakery. This will be my 10th summer at camp.

Salih Gunbatar (Kitchen staff). Hello! I am from Turkey/Istanbul. I am a student at Marmara University and my department is Public Relations. I am interest in almost all kind sports. This summer is going to be my first year at Pemi. I would like to meet new friends and explore new cultures. It’s going to be chance for improving my language. I am looking forward to be at Pemi. See you at Pemi!!

Reed Harrigan (Head of Buildings and Grounds): I grew up in the Washington, D.C. area and graduated from Frostburg State College with a degree in Parks and Recreation. I decided that New England was where I wanted to be and took a job as recreational director at Waterville Estates, a resort community in Campton, NH. I then worked at a local high school, working with special education students and as a seasonal Forest Ranger in the White Mountain National Forest. I began working at Camp Pemi seven years ago, first as a bus driver and maintenance person, then as an instructor in canoeing and kayaking. This is my fourth year as year-round Facilities and Grounds Director.

Pawel Kopiec (Kitchen staff). I come from Katowice, a big city in Poland. I am a student at the University of Economics in Katowice and I really enjoy learning about business management. I’m sociable, ambitious, and friendly. I have big family and we are all in near contact and we like to spend time together. I like many activities such as running, playing volleyball, basketball, and even American football. My favorite team in NFL is New England Patriots and in NBA San Francisco Golden State Warriors. In addition I like cooking because I’ve tried a lot of dishes from around the world and even at home I sometimes cook new dishes for myself and my family. I like spending time outside because I also love climbing. My family and I have walked in the Tatra Mountains or the Alps. Two years ago I was on Zugspitze the highest mountain in Germany. I will be first time in Camp Pemi and I want to meet new people and be in touch with them and of course exchange experience with them.

Zosia Livingstone-Peters (Nurse). I am from Salisbury, VT. I graduated with an Associates Degree in Nursing from Castleton University in May 2016, and will sit for my national boards this summer. I am a veteran Pemi parent of ten years and have a family of 6, which include three boys and one daughter. I also hold a degree from Pratt Institute, 1989. My hobbies include photography, travel, archeology, cooking and swimming and of course caring for people! I love all aspects of nursing and am committed to providing sound nursing care for the 2016 Camp Pemi season.

Chris Moody PhD, CPNP (Nurse). I was born in Connecticut many, many years ago. I have two sons, both adopted from Russia. I’ve served in the Army for eight years as an officer in military intelligence. Educated at Duke University and Fort Bragg in North Carolina, Dr. Moody is in private practice as a child/adolescent psychologist and certified pediatric nurse practitioner.

Rachel Preston (Kitchen Staff). This is my first year at Pemi. I love cooking, outdoor activities, and art. I will be the assistant chef at Pemi this year. I plan on coming back as well. I am a new Englander by heart.

Berkan Say (Kitchen staff). I was born in Adana. Adana is small city in south side of Turkey. I lived there 14 years and then I and my family moved to Istanbul. I started Istek Private Ulugbey High School. I studied there 5 years with english prep class. Last year I studied hard because of university entering exam. This year I am going to Yeditepe University. I am studying civil engineering. My biggest dream is travelling the world. Because of this I want to want be pilot. I decided to start flight training after I finish university. This dream started when I was in London in 2011. This was my first abroad experience and I realised that world is big and I must see every culture because person understands meaning of life when person know new people and culture.

Adam Skorupski (Kitchen staff). My name is Adam Skorupski and I come from Poland. I’m twenty years old and I’m studying Accounting and Controlling at University of Economics in Krakow. I am interested in economy and business but I also enjoy spending time in a beautiful place like Camp Pemi. I am very lucky to have opportunity to visit this amazing space and working in this Camp will be a pleasure.

Pemi West

Corey Connare (Pemi West Instructor). After graduating from Kent State University, I fell in love with backpacking when I began working as a wilderness therapy guide in Vermont. My adventurous spirit has led me to foreign countries, it has encouraged me to howl with coyotes at the midnight desert moon, it burns bright with joy as I ski down mountains, and surely is the reason my heart beats so triumphantly while leading next generations on trips through the wild. I am grateful and proud to be a part of the Pemi family two years in a row.

Emmy Held (Pemi West instructor). This will be my first summer with Pemi and I’m beyond excited to be in Olympic National Park with Pemi alumni and adventurous teens! I’m a rising senior at Colby College in Maine where I’m majoring in Biology and Studio Art and I also ski, play rugby, canoe race, and lead outdoor trips.

Nate Kraus (Pemi West instructor). I’m thrilled to be back working as a guide with the Pemi West group. This will be my third time in Olympic National Park, and my 10th year being involved with Camp Pemi. I just spent my junior year with Skidmore College studying first in Vietnam, and then England. I am majoring in Anthropology and minoring in Business. Pemi West should be a blast!

Dave Robb (Pemi West, Director). I am an energetic and enthusiastic outdoorsman who enjoys crocheting and poetry as much as chainsaws and Carhartts. My pursuit of a career in Outdoor Education has taken me all across the country, from Maine to California to Texas to Washington, and has enabled me to live in some of the most beautiful places our nation has to offer. I am extremely excited for my 2nd season as the Pemi West Director, after which I will be working at The Alzar School in Cascade, ID teaching outdoor leadership and high school math.

Visiting Professionals

Stephen Broker. Having devoted the past 40 years to science education at high school, college, and graduate levels, I now focus on fieldwork in natural history with emphasis on breeding birds. This is my fourth year as a visiting professional at Pemi, where I offer occupations in the study of birds, forest and wetland ecology, and reading the landscape. My wife Linda and I live in Cheshire, Connecticut and Wellfleet, Massachusetts. My father, Tom Broker, worked at Pemi as waterfront director for 6 years in the 1930s.

Kevin O’Brien. After five summers as a cabin counselor at Pemi (1994-98), I am thrilled to be back again for a week this summer, teaching lacrosse and power yoga. During the school year, I am an instructor of English at The Hill School, a boarding school in Pottstown, PA. In addition to running a dormitory, I also coach soccer, basketball, and lacrosse. At the University of Pennsylvania, I played varsity lacrosse, serving as a tri-captain senior year. In 2001, I started practicing yoga in NYC with Elena Brower. As an athlete and student, I wish I had the opportunity as a Pemi kid to learn about yoga and mindfulness.

 

Links to Articles and Videos of Interest

Every so often we scroll through Pemi’s Facebook page to gather in one place all the links to articles and videos that have been posted over the previous months to make for easy binge reading/watching. However you choose to approach the list of links—clicking and absorbing all in one sitting, parcelling them over a few days, or picking and choosing only those that speak to you—we hope you enjoy the content. The links seem to fall into categories…

Slightly ironic, given that you’re connected right now:

Updates on Alumni in the news:

We all need a little help with parenting now and then:

On nature, the environment, and why going to summer camp makes, oh, so much sense:

And we’ll end with one of the best feel-good videos ever:

(Note: When you come across articles of interest that are appropriate to our wider camp community, please send them our way. We’d like to share them.)

 

 

 

 

 

AP Cites Pemi in Two Stories

Camp Pemigewassett in the News…

We like to think that with over 100 years of experience, Camp Pemigewassett has come to learn a thing or two. How especially nice for two Associated Press writers to consider Pemi as a resource for topics near and dear to us and to our camp parents, and for their stories to have been picked up—so far—by ABC News, Yahoo News, the Washington Post, and several regional online sources…

Visiting Day at Summer Camp Can Be Hard on Parents and Kids by Beth Harpaz, Associated Press Travel Editor

Old-Style Letters to Campers Can Be Tricky for Parents by Leanne Italie, Associated Press Entertainment and Lifestyles writer

Share the News

Pemi is a word-of-mouth camp, so please feel free to post, share, email, etc. these recent news stories. Thank you!

Want to Read More?

Pemi’s website provides extensive information to guide parents before, during, and after the summer camp experience. Read more about Visiting Weekends and Communication.

Cans From Campers: A Community Service Effort

Let’s Start a New “Season of Giving” with Cans From Campers

In June 2015, Camp Pemigewassett launched Cans from Campers, a food drive on the opening day of our season, an initiative in response to a growing interest in community service among our campers. Our focus was timely. We learned through the process that food pantries suffer a significant decline in donations during the summer months since food drives typically are held in November and December, the “season of giving.” Additionally, according to “Summer Shouldn’t Mean Hunger” in November 2015’s US News & World Report opinion section:

During the school year, approximately 22 million kids count on the nutrition they need from school meals. At the close of the school year, access to those meals ends and for far too many kids, summer break means struggling with hunger.

Cans from Campers was simple to implement. A conversation in the spring with the New Hampshire Food Bank in Manchester helped to identify a local food pantry, and a call to the head volunteer at the location provided us with the information we needed to coordinate our schedule with theirs.

In a pre-season email to our families and staff, Dan Reed and Sarah Fauver, members of the fourth generation of Pemi’s founding families, suggested they add a canned good or non-perishable when they packed camp gear for the coming weeks. As a fun twist to the idea, they also suggested that campers and staff consider bringing a can for every year they’d been at Pemi. (For several campers, that could mean 6, 7, 8, or even 9 items. And for one of our staff members, 46!)

Cans From Campers took place on our opening day in June and again in mid-July when our Second Session boys arrived. After being warmly greeted by Director Danny Kerr and Assistant Director Ken Moore, campers arriving by car came upon Dan and Sarah, who had staged a collection site near the office—a bright yellow kayak—just in case our campers came with a donation in hand. It didn’t take long to see that the food drive idea had been embraced enthusiastically by campers and parents alike. Even boys who came by bus and plane managed to wedge a can of tuna or a box of mac ‘n’ cheese into their luggage. By the end of the day, the kayak “looked like a cross between Noah’s Ark and a polyethylene cornucopia” (to quote that week’s summer newsletter).

Cans From Campers at Pemi

Many boys (and Dads who are alums) brought a can for each year they’d been a camper at Pemi

As the window of time for arrivals came to a close, eager helpers stepped in to count, sort, and organize the soups, cereals, canned vegetables, beans, and rice that filled and surrounded the vessel. Two days later, five campers—selected from 30 who volunteered—hoisted dozens of loaded boxes and bags into a camp van to personally deliver the bounty to the local food pantry during their open hours.

Cans From Campers at Pemi

Pemi campers load the goods into a van via assembly line and deliver them to a local food pantry

After our boys unloaded the goods, Ted, the head food pantry volunteer, gave an informative talk about the services they provide and the 351 families they serve in fourteen surrounding counties. Another volunteer referred to charts on the wall to illustrate how servings are calculated. Two refrigerators and a freezer hummed in the background, ready for the possible donation of soon-to-expire meat and produce—staples needed for a nutritious, balanced diet—from two local grocery stores. We learned that, unfortunately, one such dependable store had recently started to sell these items at deeply discounted prices rather than donate them.

Cans_talk

A volunteer at the food pantry gives a talk on the families they serve; a chart illustrates how to calculate servings

By all measurable means, our inaugural food drive was a tremendous success—with our modest camp community of 254 campers (from our two arrival days), plus staff donating over 800 cans and other non-perishables, serving well over 100 local families ranging in size from one to nine members and providing an appreciable contribution to the 3,052 meals served by the food pantry during the month of July.

While our goal was to provide a basic need for those less fortunate in our surrounding area, the opening day endeavor also had an extremely positive impact on our own camp community. A single camper’s simple and kind gesture upon his arrival quickly grew into a visually stunning, cumulative effort, achieved only when many work together. The spirit of generosity and community-mindedness and of respect and empathy in action—a culture that we aim to build each and every summer—was launched in a yellow kayak in the center of camp for all to see and consider.

Pemi boys and food pantry staff

Pemi boys and food pantry staff

When asked about his experience of going to the food pantry, Matthew McDonough, 12, said, “I’ve done food drives before at home (New Jersey) so I know it feels good to help. Mostly I was surprised to hear how many hungry families there are. When I think of New Hampshire, I think of going to camp and how rural it is.”

This coming June we’ll do our part and will host Pemi’s 2nd annual Cans From Campers. But just think; if food pantries regularly see a decline in donations starting in June, and if summer camps are gearing up at exactly that time, imagine the potential impact that summer camps across the country could have in fighting hunger in the rural or urban communities that surround them merely by adopting this simple tradition. After all, every summer camp has an opening day, and camps with multiple sessions have multiple “opening days” throughout the summer. All it takes is the suggestion that campers pack a can of food along with their bathing suit and sunscreen.

To that end, we’ll reach out to other camps in our area to relay our experience…the camps we typically see on the soccer pitch or baseball diamond, or camps that many of our campers’ sisters attend. If they’d like to host their own opening day food drive, perhaps we can coordinate efforts. The NH Food Bank stands ready to serve as a resource for camps that join in.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the idea catches on with summer camps all across the country? Camps could very well be a key player in helping to reduce the spike in summertime hunger experienced in the communities around us all. Perhaps Cans From Campers could even establish a new “season of giving.”

~ Dottie Reed

Cans_From_Campers_KayakLinks to further reading:
Feeding America
No Kid Hungry
NH Food Bank

Find your local food bank:
http://www.feedingamerica.org/find-your-local-foodbank/

 

 

 

 

Who Does The Laundry in Your Household?

“So, how many of you do your own laundry at home?”

I posed this question to six 13-to-15-year-old campers with whom I was having lunch last August. My tone was casual, but I was eager to deliver my speech.

I was prepared to tell them that they should have started doing their own laundry years ago; that assuming responsibility for their own laundry is an ideal way to develop time-management and planning skills that are invaluable as they face increasing demands from school and other activities. I wanted to tell them that with gadgets in their hands virtually from day one, young kids are perfectly capable of learning how to run a washing machine and dryer (and if they were to deny it, suggest it might be best for their parents to take away their phone for safe keeping).

Many years ago, taking a cue from Tom Sawyer, I told our daughter Abby—who at age 11 was eager to be regarded as grown-up and responsible and deserving of more freedom and privileges—that when she turned 12, along with some of the things she was asking for, she’d also be allowed to take over doing her own laundry from then on; because when she was 12 I’d know she was mature enough to manage the clothes washer and dryer. Suddenly the washer and dryer took on the cachet of machinery run by adults; earning the privilege of operating them became her keen desire.

And so, following her twelfth birthday party, the Celebration of Laundry took place. Abby carried her laundry basket full of clothes, sheets, and towels to the clothes washer where, to her great satisfaction, she engaged in each stage of choosing settings, twisting dials, and pushing buttons. Her pleasure in the task grew over the next couple of weeks as her little brother Daniel claimed that, since it was so easy to run the machines, it wasn’t fair that he wasn’t allowed to do his own laundry until he was 12.

No surprise; it didn’t take long for reality to set in. One hectic school morning, Abby remembered she had gym that afternoon for which she would have to change into her required green shorts and t-shirt or else suffer the humiliation of “getting points.” She dashed upstairs to her dresser with only minutes until the school bus was due to appear at the end of our street.

“Where’s my gym uniform? It’s not in my drawer!”
“Did you do your laundry last week?”

Abby shot me a look that I will politely translate as, “I can’t believe you’re serious about this.” When I suggested that her choices appeared to be digging through her laundry basket to unearth her (wrinkled, sweaty) gym uniform or getting points for wearing something else, the situation bordered on tragic.

I don’t recall which option she chose. But suffice to say that, having bestowed the same 12th birthday gift to Dan a few years later (by which time he wasn’t as eager, but at that point it was a given), I can count on one hand the number of loads of laundry that I’ve done for either of them in well over a decade. All it took was not stepping in to do the task—even when there might be consequences—combined with the conviction that they were perfectly capable of the chore. Over time and, yes, with a few mishaps along the way, each learned to plan ahead, create schedules, anticipate their needs, and ultimately take satisfaction in being responsible for a very basic and ongoing personal task.

So, back to last August in the messhall and my question, “How many of you do your own laundry?”

Four of the six campers nodded. They were quick to point out that their parents “had made them.” We laughed over the felted wool sweater and bleach-splotched jeans disasters. But they were just as quick to admit that doing their laundry had become routine and they actually preferred being in control. I didn’t even get to give my speech. I figured the two who didn’t do their own laundry were getting the message from their peers, much better than from me.

It struck me that the four boys doing the talking came from different parts of the country, attended both public and private schools, three had siblings and one did not. It came out in the conversation that one had a housekeeper who did all the cleaning but not the kids’ laundry. Interestingly, what they had in common was that these four were longtime Pemi campers, whereas the two teens that did not do their own laundry were new to summer camp.

Senior campers on "Laundry Crew"

Senior campers serve on “laundry crew”

Whether or not there is a connection between the fact that the guys who did their own laundry were longtime campers or not, I like to think that most parents who specifically choose “the Pemi experience” believe that age-appropriate opportunities to take on responsibility not only go hand-in-hand with privileges, but also give children the chance to develop valuable life skills. While doing laundry isn’t always fun, kids who assume ongoing responsibility for it get far more out of the experience than clean clothes.

If you think this might make a great birthday gift to your son or daughter, just remember Tom Sawyer. Sometimes it’s all in how you present it.

~ Dottie Reed

Feel free to post your own suggestions or thoughts on ways to help your kids take on responsibility (which in some cases might mean not helping them!)…