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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adventure on the Allagash

2016 Newsletter # 6

[This week’s communiqué comes from Director of Athletics Charlie Malcolm.]

Each summer I am asked to write a newsletter on Tecumseh Day. This year, our boys from Pemigewassett ran into a very deep, talented, and well coached Tecumseh camp and lost the day 5-14-1. The shining exception to the general order of the day was the Pemi tennis program, which won four of five contests. Under Chris Johnson’s masterful leadership, our tennis players consistently won tight contests with nerve and grit.

Tecumseh Day provides the community with a fascinating challenge and an annual philosophical conundrum.   For a full week, we ramp up our preparation while at the same time we send kids out for hiking trips, exploring bogs, and keeping our general program moving forward. While camp gets on with business, many of our Seniors begin to sense that camp and their time as boys here are finite and they desperately want Tecumseh Day to be a crowning achievement of this journey.   As I mentioned last year, they look for opportunities to lead the younger campers and search for the right message for a range of ages and levels of commitment to athletics.

At Pemi, the Senior division has several experiences that are coming-of age-opportunities able to create life-long lessons and memories. I am often struck by how many of the lessons and experiences garnered while pursuing athletics nonetheless apply to a plethora of settings. For example, I recently joined our 15s on the annual trip to the Allagash Wilderness in Maine. For well over twenty years, I have jealously watched the Pemi 15s leave for their adventure on the Allagash Waterway just outside Baxter State Park. The Allagash is considered the capstone experience for the Pemi trip program, but it was not available when I was in Senior 3 in 1980. In the 1990s, legendary trip counselor Reilly McCue led Pemi boys deep into the wilderness with Senior counselor Phil Burnett, and their stories and the joy the boys showed when returning home to Pemi only stoked my longing to come along for the trip.

As Athletic Director, I usually sneak out of camp for one trip a season. Last year, I went to Madison Hut and walked along the ridge of the Presidentials. It was a great experience until the long, steady march down tested this old timer. When openings remain for a given trip, I’m quick to tell the potential participants that I can only remember a handful of athletic contests from my time as a camper in the 1970s, but I can tell you in detail about my three-day trip to Osceola, my four-day through Zealand and Franconia Falls, and my many walks along the Franconia or Presidentials ranges.

Not unlike our 15s, as I step into my fifties, I can feel the jaws of time gnawing away at some of my trip dreams. I won’t use the word “Bucket List” for I don’t want it to sound like I just want to check off some list without genuinely appreciating the experience. Nor do I want to make this sound like a midlife crisis blog; this trip is clearly a “coming of age” opportunity for the boys willing to embrace the Allagash’s power” it was also a “coming of age” for me, but for a different reason.

I was at breakfast when Ken Moore and Tom Reed made me the offer for the Allagash; they needed a van driver to navigate the seven-hour drive and knew I would jump at the opportunity. With an extremely light athletic schedule during “changeover” week, it was an ideal opportunity to send me along with the Pemi 15s to the Allagash. After a few days with the boys working on my C and J strokes, I declared myself ready for the sojourn; however, I did wonder if I was up for the challenge. I’m fairly sure several of the boys were having similar feelings as they struggled to master some of the critical canoeing skills.

Allagash packing

industryOn Monday morning, the vans left Pemi at 6 AM and we headed down Route 25 to Portland, Maine, then headed north on route 95 to Millinocket. You can’t help but notice the challenges small businesses face in the seasonal tourist industry when you’re passing along this route on an annual basis. After a long drive north along Route 95, we arrive at Millinocket, an old mill town and the gateway to Baxter State Park and the Allagash Wilderness. Over the last ten years two of the largest mills in town closed as digital media’s declining demand for paper hit this aging town fairly hard. Signs along the main street captured a debate over whether to make Baxter State Park a National Park. Many of the young people have left town to find work from Bangor to Boston. Those that remained found a community wrestling with limited employment opportunities and the opiate scourge that shakes many of our rural and declining urban areas.

We arrived at Katahdin Outfitters just as a storm was rolling in and we quickly loaded the trailers and vans with our gear. The boys worked together unloading our U-Haul Trailer and selected their paddles and life vests that were soon wrapped in a big blue tarp. The outfitter vans left Millinocket and within ten minutes we were out of cell reception and heading down logging roads, deep into the wilderness. Our driver Paul has been hauling Pemi into the wilderness for the last twenty years and quickly asked for an update on Reilly McCue. I let him know that Reilly was running an incredible fishing and hunting guiding service out of the North Shore of Boston. Paul shared a story about how he “accidently” hit a few partridges on the road and Reilly jumped out of the van and quickly de-feathered and zip -ocked the meat for the first meal of the journey. Ten jaw-dropping Pemi boys had watched with a range of emotions as Reilly made quick work of the game.

As we drove deep into the back woods, Paul shared with me the process of timbering the region, and some of the local struggles living in this far-flung locale. I asked how climate change was affecting the Allagash region and he provided three examples. The moose population was significantly down because tics have been moving further north and emaciating the moose. He had never seen turkey vultures in this region before, and bass were now populating trout-only lakes. While we talked, the boys watched the pine trees rush by and a raven carry away an unlucky red squirrel. Deer scampered, and the dust from the dry roads churned as the vans surged deeper and deeper into the wilderness.

After two hours, we arrived at Chamberlain Lake and began to unload the canoes and gear as dark clouds to our south inspired a touch of adrenaline to get the boys moving. Chamberlain is named after the famous Civil War colonel of the 20th Maine that fought gallantly at Little Round Top at the Battle of Gettysburg. We stopped briefly for a group photo, and I wondered how these twenty boys would respond to the Call of the Wilderness. Would they come together as a group and return to Pemi changed by the experience?

Pemi Allagash group

15s: Reed O’Brien, Reed Cecil, Jackson Morrell, Thaddeus Howe, Nick Bowman, Andrew Kanovsky, George Cooke, Nolan Katcher, Lucas Gaffney, Will Adams, Henry Jones, Ethan Elsaden, Nick Carter, Dash Slamowitz, Tucker Jones, Sam Beesley, Rafe Forward, Jake Cronin, Pierce Haley, James Minzesheimer. Staff: Zacc Dwan, Jackson Reed, Harry Morris, Charlie Malcolm.

Fortunately, the storm that hugged the southern horizon moved away and the boys arrived at the Boy Scout campsite with plenty of daylight to set-up their tents and begin the process of preparing dinner. Harry Morris, counselor of Senior 3 and former trip counselor, prepared each group’s supplies, from tents to meals, all while running his cabin and meeting the demands of camp in the waning days of the first half. Anyone who has worked at Pemi knows that these points of transition are fairly time- and energy-consuming, so well done, Harry! As we went to bed Monday night, a nearly full moon began to rise somewhere just to the northeast of Mount Katahdin. At the time we had no idea how important this moon would be to our coming adventure.

Allagash coffeeAt 5 AM on Tuesday, I awoke to the first light of the day and thus began the ritual of the coffee. Unlike my Seniors, I tend to wake at the crack of dawn when camping in the backcountry. The process involves sliding out of your tent as quietly as possible, trying not to wake your tent mate, grabbing a pot and walking down to the lake for water. The birds harken your arrival and a family of loons across the bay peer with mild interest at the stranger on the shore. With the water in the pot, you light the Coleman Stove, boil the water, slowly pour the water through a coffee filter, relishing the smell of the ground beans and the quietness of being the first one awake. For about twenty minutes it is just the birds, the gentle sun, the sound of soft waves, the fresh chill in the air, and the hot coffee warming your hands and soul.

Allagash planningIt wasn’t long before I was joined by Jackson Reed, and Senior counselors Harry and Zacc Dwan. Over coffee, we discussed and reviewed our plan for the day. When choosing to paddle the lake section of the Allagash, you are blessed with a diversity of landscapes and challenges. If the wind is calm and there are no storms to negotiate, the lake route is fairly ideal for paddlers of a range of abilities and provides a diversity of wildlife. If the wind howls, the trip leaders have some fascinating and challenging decisions to make. One of the down sides of battling weather concerns the first night we arrived was that we were unable to knock off a few miles of Lake Chamberlain before setting up our tents. These miles would soon pose a challenge for our respective teams of canoers.

After a hearty breakfast, the lads broke down their tents and loaded the canoes with their gear and twenty buckets of supplies. The weight was evenly distributed in the canoes and amongst the group. As we turned out of our sheltered campsite, we soon realized the wind was going to pose a significant challenge for the group. The first group hugged the south side of Lake Chamberlain while my group decided to cross the lake at the narrowest section and make our way along the northern shore. The wind barreling down the center of the lake made neither option particularly inviting. The first group only made it two of the eleven miles planned for the day when they realized progress was fairly futile in the winds that were now gusting close to 30 mph. My group crossed the lake at the narrowest point and began pulling their canoes along the rocky northern shoreline, a slow and arduous process testing balance and grit. Whenever a point jutted out and cut down the wind, the boys paddled to the next exposed shoreline. We were able to cover 4.5 miles in seven hours; however, by late afternoon it was clear we needed change our plans.

Camp Nugent

Camp Nugent

Jackson and I found a deserted Camp Nugent, a seasonal hunting cottage with a cove protected from the wind and a grassy lawn to take a nap and have dinner. We all settled down to wait out the wind, many boys choosing to succumb to a well-deserved nap as Jackson prepared a meal of pasta and tuna fish. By 8:30 PM, the wind began to significantly die down and both groups decided via radio to push forward to our original planned destination. With a clear night and a full moon just beginning to rise from the east as the sun set in the west, the boys felt refreshed and excited for the adventure. I have to admit, I was tired and sore and was wondering what I was doing on this trip. Some of the boys were feeling and sharing some of their concerns, but the mood of the group began to change. As the moon boldly rose from the backdrop of Mount Katahdin, we all felt our spirits rise and began to paddle with positive energy and a renewed sense of adventure.

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Harry’s group crossed Lake Chamberlain and were soon on our tail as we made our way to the Lock Dam Campsite. The moonlight sparkled on the water and the white caps disappeared as the boys made up seven miles in two hours of paddling. There were some anxious moments as we hunted for the Lock Dam in the moonlight but we soon found our destination just as the wind began to pick up once again. It was an incredibly long first day for the boys as we pulled the boats ashore, set-up our tents, and fell fast asleep. Jackson set out a lamp to help guide the arrival of the second group and we were soon all together again.

Allagash sunrise

Lock dam was built in 1841 to help control the flow of water into the Penobscot River in order to improve the transportation of timber down the river. The boys awoke at 7 AM and began the arduous process of repacking the canoes for our trip to Eagle Lake. There was a debate whether to rouse the boys earlier to beat potential wind, but the length of the previous day and the possibility of more moon-lit paddling made sleep our choice of action.

We were not certain what we would find once we left the sheltered region just below the dam, for the the next day’s journey on Eagle Lake had the potential to be even more exposed to wind.   As we turned the corner and once again paddled west, the boys were met with dispiriting and relentless gale force winds that eventually forced both groups to find shelter. Fortunately, Thoreau Island serenely beckoned our boats and the boys, tired from the previous day’s challenges followed by another tough morning of paddling, were incredibly grateful to find a place to wait out the relentless wind. I imagine the politics and tension of the 1850s made the Maine Wilderness a special refuge for Thoreau in 1857. (Perhaps the politics of 2016 might make all of us also long for a Thoreau Island!)

Allagash nappingWhile the boys napped, I went with Harry and a few boys to explore the island where Thoreau made his summer retreat of 1857. We had learned some lessons from the first day and were quite content waiting out the wind with the hope that it would eventually die down. The boys napped, played cards, went for a swim or joined me for explorations of the island. At our campsite table, the boys shared and discussed their favorite book from the previous school year.

Allagash cardsFortunately, the winds once again died down and we loaded the canoes as the evening moon began to rise. We paddled for close to eight miles, as the lake was incredibly calm. The moon rose blood-red to our northeast, and I began to notice the boys were paddling with cleaner strokes and in tighter formations, allowing the lead boat to create a wake and decrease the resistance. It took 48 hours of hard paddling, but a team was beginning to emerge and the pace of our progress dramatically increased with each stroke of the paddle. Our broader appreciation for the adventure had reached a tipping point.

With the moon as our guide, we arrived at Eagle Lake campsite at 11 PM. We had now covered over twenty-five miles, negotiating tough winds, personal doubt, and previous expectations about a Huck Finn-like paddle down the Allagash River. In the first two days, we all had to adjust our aspirations for the trip. Some of the boys had images of rapids and gentle paddles down the Allagash River with little awareness of wind and open lakes. The lake route of the journey was magnificent in its beauty, as we saw eagles, osprey, loons, and stunning views of Mount Katahdin, but the physical demands and the uncertainties of when the wind might ease up tested each member of the group.

With everyone paddling with a partner, trying conditions can create negative energy that undermines the group’s ability to paddle with economy and direction. Each boy has a choice of whether to provide encouragement and push a little harder, wallow in self-pity, or swing somewhere in between. I know as I paddled in the bow of the canoe I didn’t always agree with the line chosen by my partner in the stern or understand how difficult it was to both paddle and steer when the wind relentlessly struck the canoe at various angles. I didn’t fully appreciate the challenge and success my partner Jackson was having keeping a consistent line until we switched seats and I realized that the wind easily defeated the counterbalancing C or J stroke. As a trip leader and coach, I found it interesting to watch each canoe crew work through a range of emotions. By the end of the second day of hard paddling, it was clear that the boys were stronger and beginning to embrace a broader appreciation for their journey. I also appreciated the care Harry Morris had taken in choosing canoe partners for this trip.

Allagash breakfastAt the Eagle Lake Camp site, the winds felt unusually calm when we awoke the next morning. I prepared chocolate pancakes for the boys, which were eaten with gusto and gratifying appreciation. We headed out toward a placid Churchill Lake with a few recommendations for fun and exploration from our good friend Reilly McCue. Our first stop was a bridge where the boys could jump into the water. Each boy launched into the cool waves, a fresh and exhilarating experience. After bridge jumping, we searched for Thoroughfare Brook, an ecosystem loaded with birds, brook trout, and moose.

Thoroughfare Brook

Thoroughfare Brook

At the entrance of the brook, we saw two moose, and Jackson identified dozens of birds. Kingfishers announced our arrival and escorted the canoes up the brook. I broke out my fishing rod and landed several brook trout that the boys later cooked and ate on Ritz crackers. The brook, shielded by wind, provided the boys a very different experience as we paddled deeper into the wilderness. The beauty was breathtaking, although I have to admit I was a little sad knowing our trip was nearly over.

After our adventure in the brook, the boys entered Churchill Lake with a stiff wind…at our backs, for once. Each canoe team desperately tried to build the most efficient sail from tent flies, raincoats, or tarps – with a wide range of success and failure. As we sped across Churchill, we soon saw the dam leading to the Allagash River, our final campsite and our launch site for our last stage of the adventure. We arrived at the campsite a day before the Ranger station was celebrating the Park’s 50th Anniversary. Rangers, past and present, and families with deep appreciation for the incredible beauty and transformational experience were flooding into the camp for the big celebration. A large pit filled with timber was set ablaze to build coals for the big baked bean cook-off the following morning.

The next morning, the boys carried their canoes to the launch of the Allagash Rapids. Jackson met with the team and reviewed the various strokes and maneuvers to successfully navigate the rapids. Each morning, the Allagash Ranger Station releases more water to lift the level of the river and create Class Two rapids. As the boys launch their canoes and point their bows down the river, they look for rocks and the “v’s” that emerge between two rocks, creating deeper, safer water. They quickly realize it is critical to keep paddling hard and hit uncertain water with speed. After each stretch of rapids, the boys wait for the trail canoe to join the group. In thirty minutes, the boys traveled a distance that had once taken us six hours in the wind. I couldn’t help but notice and appreciate my group’s cohesion and self-confidence. When the canoes reached our exit location, each boat waited and helped the next canoe out of the water.

Our return with Paul in the van took just under three hours to cover the nearly fifty miles of canoeing we covered in four days. We helped unload the gear and repacked the U-Haul for the long drive home to Lower Baker Pond. We consumed copious amounts of pizza while a television set on CNN dumped the latest tragedy in Munich. It was a little surreal to have been away from civilization for five straight days, seeing only a handful of people, yet we were quickly reminded of a complex world awaiting all of us. We asked the waitress to change the channel and we blissfully consumed the pizza and held onto the joys and innocence of our adventure.

~ Charlie Malcolm

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.

 

Alumni Magazine – 2016 Preview

Welcome to the June Edition of the Pemi Alumni Newsletter, giving you a glimpse of the summer ahead. It’s been a busy, active off-season for Pemi, and the details follow. Enjoy!

Facility Update

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New hearth, and communal area around fireplace

Work on Pemi’s facility begins immediately after closing day in August, and this past year, Reed Harrigan and his Buildings and Grounds team began the project of restoring the Senior Cabins.

Re-pouring the fireplace hearth, updating the interior of the cabins with fresh bunks and shelves, refinishing the historic floors, adding necessary electric updates, and power washing the exterior brought new life to these iconic structures. Inside, we re-configured the bunks to allow additional space around the fire-place, creating a communal area for each cabin to use during the evenings.

Many of the electrical lines around Pemi have been buried, enhancing our natural views throughout camp. In Junior Camp, the cabin porches received an additional banister to aid in drying bathing suits and towels, and an upgrade on their bunk beds. B&G also converted the Junior Lodge Porch to be the center of the Waterskiing World, with specific storage areas for skis and wakeboards, and lifejackets.

This spring, the team devoted time to improving the Small Dining Room in the Mess Hall; replacing the ceiling and electrical work, and adding new bathrooms for our visitors and female staff members off the back. The trained eye will also noticed new shingled roofs on the library and Senior Lodge.

As you can see, it’s been an incredible busy year for Reed and his team. We are so so thankful for their energy in maintaining the facility, making it one of the best in New England!

Enrollment Update

Over the winter, wonderful enrollment leaves Pemi primed up for the 2016 season. Of those able to return this summer, 82% chose to do so, a spectacular statement to the fun had on the shores of Lower Baker in 2015.

For 2016, we have 85 boys for the Full Session, and 86 for each 1st and 2nd session, totaling 257 boys. Seventy-six campers will enjoy their first summer at Pemi, approximately 29% of the camper population, whereas fifty-five boys will be in the fifth or more summer, or 21%. We love that ratio, allowing our savvy veterans the chance to spread the Pemi love to a new era of boys. We are also thrilled that we have sixty-eight legacy campers this summer. In addition to Pemi traditions, it is beautiful to see camping as a family tradition for so many.

Our campers come to us from 25 states, in 129 separate communities, and 8 different countries, including the United Kingdom, Spain, Venezuela, France, Mexico, Hong Kong, and Papua New Guinea. We have more than 10 boys coming to Pemi from at least 8 states, including New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, California, and Vermont.

The Senior Lodge before and after

The before and after shots of the Senior Lodge Roof!

Pemi West

It has been a banner year for Pemi West enrollment too, with a total of 14 participants heading to Olympic National Park for their 4.5 week outdoor adventure. This will be the first time in ten years that we have a co-ed trip and  two groups participating at the same time.

Pemi West participants now begin and end their journey in New Hampshire, arriving a few days before the boys to become certified in Wilderness First Aid. They then fly together to Seattle, where Dave Robb, Pemi West Director, is on site to pick them up. We are very excited to reinstitute rock climbing into the Pemi West curriculum this summer.

In 2014, we added a Counselor Apprentice Program for Pemi West participants, offering a two-week option for those interested in experiencing Pemi life from the staff perspective. We have 8 participants in the program this year, who will be capably guided by veteran Staff member, Sam Seymour.

Pemi Board Update

Camp Pemigewassett is governed by a Board of Directors, charged with the general oversight of the operation of Pemi, both programmatic and fiscal, ensuring that camp fulfills its mission.

Pemi’s Mission – See further specifics here

Since 1908, Camp Pemigewassett’s abiding mission has been to inspire and support boys aged 8 to 15 as they find their own distinctive paths in becoming self-reliant, caring, and successful young men with a passion for all that they do.

The group is comprised of up to 11 members, representing both of Pemi’s founding families (including the fourth generation of owners) and non-family members. Current board members include: Tom Reed (President), Fred Seebeck (Vice-President), Allyson Fauver (Treasurer), Penelope Reed Doob, Peter Fauver, Fred Fauver, Jameson Fauver, Dan Reed, Roger McEniry, and Greg Bowes.

New interior of Senior 2

New interior of Senior 2

Board members serve three-year terms, with the possibility of serving up to three terms before cycling off. They meet six times annually, twice in person, and four times telephonically addressing large, big picture topics and strategic issues. Work is also done through a variety of sub-committees addressing specific strategic areas, including Governance, Recruitment, Scholarships, and Capital Improvements.

A number of recent projects, including the refurbishment of the Senior Cabins, the extension of the Senior Lodge, and the new staff house, are examples of Pemi’s Five Year Capital Improvement Plan. This plan, crafted by the board, is strategically identifying ways to maintain and improve the physical plant long into the future.

Staff Profile – Henry Pohlman

Almost every summer there are a few former campers who return to Pemi after years away to serve in the counselor ranks for the first time. This summer, after five summers away from the shores of Lower Baker, Henry Pohlman is back, and we are thrilled to have him. 

Pohlman Cousins

Neal, Carl, and Henry Pohlman

Henry’s first summer was in 2006, as an 11 year old in Lower 2 with Jack Bierwirth as his counselor. Pemi was not a new concept to Henry, as his father John attended camp in the late 70’s and served on the staff in the early 80’s. In fact, John’s brothers Bill and Bruce also spent time at Pemi, following in their fathers’ footsteps, Jim Pohlman, who was the family’s first connection with Pemi. Dock Nick recruited Jim through an Oberlin College connection; Jim attended Oberlin and played tennis for the Yeoman.

Henry’s cousins (Bill’s sons), Neal and Carl also attended Pemi as campers in the 2000’s, adding to the impressive tally of summers under the Pohlman family name, Thirty-four summers now in total for this 3-generation Pemi family.

Henry is a rising Senior at Denison College in Ohio, double majoring in Biology and Neuroscience. After taking a Neuroscience class during his Sophomore year, Henry became fascinated with the field, finding the many intriguing parallels with other sciences; psychology, biology, chemistry and even philosophy. This next semester, Henry will participate in a directed study in neuroscience focused on public outreach. “I’ll be designing a series of presentations over the semester tailored to different communities, such as the neuroscience of aging to a retirement community, or concussions to high schools coaches. I’m very excited to undergo this project, as presenting is one of my greatest academic joys.”

Denison Soccer

Seeing the field

Beyond the classroom, Henry is a member of the Mens’ Soccer team at Denison. Next season, he will be one of the captains, hoping to lead the Big Red to the NCAA Tournament. Henry, a defensive midfielder, guided Denison to a 13-3-1 record in 2015, consistent placing in the top 25 national rankings.  He is also a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity serving as the philanthropy chair.

This summer, Henry is excited to coach soccer and to help out on the waterfront. He can’t wait to hike again in the White Mountains, with a newfound appreciation for these experiences. “As a camper, I did not give the hikes we went on nearly enough credit, one of the coolest places to go hiking in the country.” One of his most memorable moments was a day hike up Mt. Washington, experiencing the infamous wind on the summit, and great camaraderie with his fellow cabin mates.

U4 '09

Upper 4 in 2009

Henry also fondly remembers his 2009 Upper 4 Cabin, led by his counselor Sam Seymour. Henry remembers Sam as always in a good mood, making sure that every camper got the most out of every day. “As a counselor, I’m hoping to emulate that same mentality, and push my campers to not waste a day, because looking back, the summer does fly by.”

Stay tuned to the first newsletter of the 2016 summer, which will include more details on all of Pemi’s 2016 staff.

As always, we encourage our extended Alumni family to swing by to see Pemi firsthand, should your travel plans point you towards the shores of Lower Baker. We’d love to stay connected in person, or virtually, and I invite all Alumni to actively participate in our growing Alumni network. Please submit Alumni Notes, attend Alumni Events, and help connect us to ‘lost’ Alumni.

Interested in being featured in the fall’s newsletter? Let me know! Have personal or professional news to share? E-mail me, and you will be included in the Winter release of Alumni News.

Good luck, long life, and joy!

Kenny Moore

Introducing Pemi’s 2015 Staff Members

2015 staff, Mt Cardigan

2015 staff, Mt Cardigan

Each pre-season we ask our staff members to submit a short bio for this first blog post of the season. Introducing Pemi’s 2015 staff…

Danny Kerr (Director): This will be my 6th year as director at Pemi and I am looking forward to another terrific summer. During the school year, my wife Julia and I live in Keene, NH. We have three boys aged 25, 23 and 20. When not doing the director thing, I very much enjoy coaching baseball at Pemi, playing the guitar and basketball with the boys, and recruiting any camper or counselor I can to join the legion of small, but dedicated, New York Met fans, seemingly a futile effort at this point. See you on the shores of LBP!

Tom Reed (Director and Head of Trips): I was brought to Pemi as a two-week-old child and I have been a camper, counselor, and staff member for well over fifty years—long enough to know I like the place. I am just wrapping up a thirty-eight year career teaching English Literature and film at Dickinson College—my ‘other job.’ I will be running the Trip Program at Pemi, writing weekly newsletters, leading messhall singing, and working with the ‘Mikado’ production…and likely a few other odds and ends as well.

Ken Moore (Assistant Director): Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, I moved with my wife, Sarah, to New Hampshire in July of 2013 when I began working for Pemi year ’round, serving as Alumni coordinator, overseer of Pemi West, and point person for social media and general outreach. We live in Plainfield, near Kimball Union Academy where Sarah serves as the Director of Marketing/Communications. This will be my 23 summer at Pemi.

Dottie Reed (Head Administrator): This will be my 28th summer at Pemi. Though I work year ’round for camp with a range of responsibilities, during the summer I facilitate Pemi’s connection with the outside world with photos, newsletters, counselor reports, blog articles, and other such communications. My office window is always open for visits when I’m not out and about enjoying Pemi’s beautiful camp grounds. During the off-season, I live in Carlisle, PA.

Kim Malcolm Kim Malcolm (Administrator): This is my 24th 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 7th 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 – Andy Calver (Co-counselor with Sam): Hello! I’m from London and this is my second time in the states, first time on the east coast, and my first year as a Pemi staff member where I’ll be spending a lot of time on the soccer field. I’m looking forward to meeting all of the Pemi boys and to doing my very best to make it a marvelous summer for all.

J1 – Sam Papel (Co-counselor with Andy): This will be my first year on staff, but 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 have just completed my freshman year at Vanderbilt University where I am studying mechanical engineering. I have been looking forward to my return to New Hampshire, and I am very excited to experience Pemi from a new perspective!

J2 – Teags Burnham (CC): This will be my second summer at Pemi. I am from Fletcher Vermont and attend Clarkson University in Potsdam New York. I enjoy cooking, playing hockey, and guitar as well. This summer I will be teaching various athletic activities such as soccer, lacrosse, tennis, archery, and water sports.

J2 – Jackson Seniff (AC): My name is Jackson Seniff and I am from Coronado, California. I am 17 years old and entering my junior year at Coronado High School. I swam and played water polo for Coronado for 7 years and am currently coaching rugby and throwing the discus and shot put for the track team. I was a camper at Pemi for 2 years and was a part of the 2014 Pemi West Program. While at Pemi this summer I plan to teach and coach in both waterfront and rugby occupations.

J3 – Ridley Wills (CC): I am an upcoming sophomore communications major at TCU. I am from Nashville, TN and I was a camper for 8 years. At Pemi I participated in everything from nature to baseball. I cannot wait to give back to this place.

J3 – Matt Kanovsky (AC): I am from Briarcliff Manor, New York, and am currently a rising senior at Regis High School in Manhattan. This will be my 10th season at Pemi, including Pemi West, and I am eager to get back into the camp community. I am excited to teach nature, photography, and “how to have fun”…!

J4 – Wes Eifler (CC; Division Head): I was born and raised in Connecticut and I am a senior at American University where I am studying Elementary Education and History. This summer will be my 12th at Pemi and my 5th on staff. This year I worked in the 4th Grade at the National Presbyterian School. Next year I will continue my student teaching and finish my teaching degree. Throughout the summer I will be coaching baseball and instructing in other activities around camp. I am thrilled to be back at Pemi for another summer!

J4 – Andrew Appleby (AC): My name is Andrew Appleby and I’m from Houston, Texas. I am originally from Darien, Connecticut but moved to Houston 3 years ago. This will be my 6th year at Pemi and my first year on staff. As a camper I enjoyed sailing, swimming, hiking, all the sports camp offers, as well as the great nature and wildlife all around camp. I am outgoing and love working with kids. I am excited to be back on the shores of Lower Baker Pond.

J5 – Will Henry (CC): My name is Will Henry and I’m a rising sophomore at Lawrence University in Appleton, WI, where I am currently studying politics, religion, and linguistics. This is my third year on the Pemi staff, and I’m looking forward to teaching canoing, archery, and waterskiing. I’m also going to get out on as many trips as I can, and maybe even try my hand and voice at a little theater.

J5 – Zach Leeds (AC): This will be my 8th summer at Pemi (including Pemi West) and first summer on staff. I live at Northfield Mount Hermon School where I will be a Senior next fall. I am looking forward to coaching soccer and baseball this summer.

J6 – Max Breschi (Co-counselor with Gus): I am from Carlisle, Pennsylvania and I just finished my first year at Bates College in Maine. This will be my first summer at Pemi where I mainly will be with the lacrosse program. I am looking forward to a great summer with everyone!

J6 – Gus Walsh (Co-counselor with Max): After a brief absence from Camp Pemi, I’m glad to be returning this summer. While I’ve been away, I graduated from St. Paul’s school and had an amazing gap year experience. My travels led me to an orphanage in Tanzania, a marine conservancy in Madagascar, Chinese language institute in China, and a memorable trip to the Middle East. I’m excited for my first semester at Macalester College this fall. Boom.

L1 – Luke Raffanti (Co-counselor with Thomas): I’m from Northern California. I am excited for my first summer at Pemi, where I will assist with this year’s Gilbert and Sullivan show, The Mikado, and teach piano. In May I graduated from Oberlin College, where I studied piano and environmental studies.

L1 – Tom Strnad (Co-counselor with Luke): I am from Palo Alto, California and am currently heading into my junior year at Penn State University where I study Energy Business Finance. This summer will be my fifth at Pemi and first on staff. I’m looking forward to coaching sports, archery, and everything in between. It’s going to be a great summer and I can’t wait!

L2 – Theo Nickols: I am from Northumberland, U.K, Hadrian’s Wall country, I am coming back to Pemi for my second season. 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 fantastic summer!

L2 – Zach Popkin: I’m from Washington, DC and I’m excited to be returning to Pemi where I was a camper for five years. This will be my first year as a staff member. I just graduated from the Maret School and will be attending Dickinson College in the fall. I’m an avid sports fan and look forward to working this summer with the nature program and coaching various sports occupations.

L3 – Thom Kelly (CC): I’ve just completed my second year at Cardiff University (Wales, UK) studying biotechnology and genetics. I am taking a training year this September in Germany, so you may well see me hurriedly trying to cram the German language into my head! I have experience with ecology in the UK, and I really look forward to working alongside staff and campers to experience all the Pemi nature program has to offer this summer!

L3 – TH Pearson (AC): I am from Hastings on Hudson, NY, and this will be my second year on staff. I recently graduated from Hastings High School, and I will attend Sewanee: The University of the South in the fall. I am excited to help the campers with sailing, photography, and lacrosse this year.

L4 – Nathan Nacheff (CC; Division Head): This will be my sixth year at Pemi, second year as a counselor, and first year as the Division Head of the Lower Division. I am from Short Hills, New Jersey, but I go to school at Hobart College where I am currently a rising junior. I spend my time at school studying English and Economics, as well as writing for the school website. I plan to be in the wood shop quite a bit this summer, as well as on numerous sports fields. I am eagerly looking forward to another wonderful summer at Pemi!

L4 – Michael DiGaetano (AC): Hello my name is Michael DiGaetano and I am from Piedmont, California, which is in the heart of the bay area. This will be my 7th summer at Pemi and my 2nd as a counselor. I love swimming, basketball, hiking and pretty much everyone that Pemi has to offer. I will be mainly working by the waterfront as a lifeguard and swim coach.

L5 – Chase Gagne (CC): I am from Goffstown, New Hampshire. This spring I completed my sophomore year at the University of Maine where I study wildlife ecology, and this year will be my first at Pemi. My passion lies with insects, both aquatic and terrestrial. I am thrilled to be able to teach occupations that will help campers develop a knowledge and appreciation for bugs of all shapes and sizes!

L5 – Ned Roosevelt (AC): This summer will be my seventh on the shores of Lower Baker Pond and my first year as an Assistant Counselor. I’m from New York City, and am currently a rising senior at Northfield Mount Hermon School. I play Varsity Tennis (2 years) and am the manager of the National Prep Basketball Champion Team (3 years). 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!

L6 – Max Livingstone-Peters (CC): This will be my eighth summer at Pemi. I’m from Middlebury, Vermont, and attend Flagler College in Saint Augustine, Florida. This summer I’ll be heavily involved in the waterfront and swimming program, as well as a bit on the soccer pitch and in the ski boat. I feel very lucky to be at Pemi again and am looking forward to another amazing summer.

L7 – Nick Davini (CC): I’m a rising sophomore at the University of New Hampshire, and this is my seventh year at Pemi, third on staff. I’m a recently declared Anthropology major, and plan on being a Spanish major or minor in the future as well. This year, I’ll be a cabin counselor, focusing mostly on the woodshop, archery range, and various athletics.

U1 – Dylan Quigley (CC): I am originally from Hopewell, New Jersey. I spent my high school years at a boarding school north of Boston. I lettered in soccer, basketball, and baseball. After high school I went to college out in Minnesota, and have spent the past two years living and going to school there. I spent five years as a camper at Pemi and haven’t been back in six years, and am looking forward to returning as a counselor.

U1 – Michael Kerr (Trip Leader): This will be my third year as a counselor at Pemi, and my first summer as a Trip Leader, a position I’m especially looking forward to having attended Pemi West. I spent last year as a student at Champlain College studying psychology. I look forward to leading hikes through the Green and White Mountains of New England.

U2 – Jed Cutler (Co-counselor with Toby): I live in Shoreham-by-Sea, which is on the south coast of England. I am interested in music and play a number of instruments mainly of the stringed variety. I have recently been teaching myself the piano and trumpet. This will be my first year at Pemi and I will be teaching guitar. I’m looking forward to this summer.

U2 – Toby Pilkington (Co-counselor with Jed): I’m from Manchester England and this is my first summer at Pemi. I study Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Science and I’m really excited to coach tennis, teach guitar, and to get involved with the Nature Program.

U3 – Andy MacDonald (CC): I reside in sunny Scotland in a city near Glasgow called Stirling. I’m a massive sport lover and will hopefully be showing the boys how it’ done when it comes to tennis and soccer. I’m currently at University in Dundee studying Sport & Management. I look forward to the summer ahead and I’m sure I’ll love my 1st year at Pemi.

U3 – Matt Bolton (Trip Leader): Hello all! I’ll be returning for my 4th summer here at Pemi and my 3rd as a Trip Leader. I use my summers in New Hampshire as a beautiful excuse to escape the daily grind of New York City, where I work as a part-time grocer, part-time freelance designer while studying Fine Art at New York University. I can’t wait to spend another season sharing the beauty of the White Mountains with the boys!

U4 – J.J. Strnad (CC; Division Head): I’m from Palo Alto, California and I just finished my third year at St. Olaf College where I play football and am majoring in math and computer science. I’m very excited for my fifth summer at Pemi and my second on staff. In addition to being a division head, I will be helping out with the many sports that Pemi offers.

U4 – Harry Morris (Trip Leader): Hello! I am from West Hartford, Connecticut. This will be my seventh summer at Pemi and my second year on staff. I have just graduated from Wofford College and I am looking forward to spending another summer leading trips through the mountains!

U5 – Will Meinke (CC): This is my 9th year at Pemi and 3rd on staff. I’m a rising senior at Fairfield University, majoring in Environmental Studies. I’m excited to help out in waterskiing, soccer, and more.

S1 – Ty Burnham (CC): I’m from Fletcher, Vermont, and this will be my 3rd year at Pemi. I went to Northfield Mount Hermon, and graduated with a degree in Finance from the Isenberg School of Management. This summer I look forward to teaching canoeing, coaching soccer, and helping out wherever I can.

S2 – Fritz Windover (CC): Hello! My name is Fritz Windover and I am returning to Pemi for my second summer. While I call Bennington, Vermont home, I currently reside in Lewiston, Maine while attending Bates College. I’m excited to get back to coaching soccer and ultimate frisbee.

S3 – Erik Wiedenmann (CC; Division Head): I was born in Berlin (Germany)—the son of an American mother and German father. After completing high school in Berlin, I moved to the United States and enrolled in a five-year Dual Degree Program (BA/BFA) between Tufts University and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, majoring in Comparative Literature and Illustration. Since completing the program in 2014, I spent the past year traveling around South America and Asia as part of an artist research project. I was a camper at Pemi for four summers (2002-2005) and also went to Pemi West (2006). I returned to Pemi as a counselor in 2010 and am delighted to be back once again this year.

LT (CC) – Jesse Pritchard: My name is Jesse Lee Pritchard and this is my first year at Pemi. I graduated from Yale University in 2014, where I played varsity basketball for four years and majored in English. This past year I began teaching American Literature and coaching basketball at Northfield Mount Hermon. I have heard only great things about Camp Pemi and am excited to join such a strong community.

Program Staff

Kim Bradshaw (Trip Leader): I’m from Nottingham in the UK. My interests at home and away are football, hiking, camping out, being an adult instructor in the ACF and having lots of fun and making memories. This is my first year at Pemi and I intend to make it as fun & memorable as possible. I am going to be a trip leader so walking, enhancing team work, sight-seeing and exploring is going to be what I will be doing this summer. Let the memories begin.

Laura Bubar (Head of Art): I’m back for my second summer at Camp Pemi as Head of Art. I am an artist, photographer, and middle school art teacher in Freeport, Maine the land of L.L.Bean. I can’t wait to dive into new and exciting art projects this summer!

Tom Ciglar (Messhall Manager): Happy to be returning to Pemi after 5 years away, this will be my 14th year at Pemi. I’ll be helping to manage the Messhall and teaching various occupations. I live in Rindge, NH with my wife Anna and son Jon. During the school year I’m an administrator at a small boarding school.

Steve Clare (Head of Archery): I live in Cornwall in the UK. I’m a self-employed substance misuse teacher & support different schools with specialist lessons. I coach kids soccer & run two under-11s teams. My interests include Everton Football Club, Formula 1 motor racing & DJ’ing. I have a 14-year old son called Morgan—I’m a little older than most overseas staff!! This is my first year at Pemi and I’ll be instructing archery & helping with footie (soccer!). I can’t wait to join the team & help ensure the boys have a great summer.

Sara Crayton: Hi! I’m very excited to join the Pemi staff this summer as part of the Nature Program! I’m from Farmington, Pennsylvania, and just graduated from Washington & Jefferson College with a biology degree. I’m passionate about ecology and can’t wait to share that with the campers this summer.

Larry Davis (Director of Nature Programs and Teaching): This is my 46th year at Pemi. My ‘day job’ is Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of New Haven where I teach geology courses at both the undergraduate and graduate level. I have AB and AM degrees in Earth Sciences from Washington University in St. Louis and a PhD from the University of Rochester. In the past, I was an intercollegiate soccer referee. I enjoy playing the flute, chasing waterfalls, and teaching geology in the field

Dorin Dehls (Head of Music): I can’t wait to start another fantastic summer! This will be my seventh year at Pemi. During the school year I teach as an elementary music teacher and chorus director in West Haven, CT. I greatly look forward to beginning production of the Gilbert and Sullivan show The Mikado, hearing the sounds of Silver Cornet, Rock Band, and A cappella rehearsals throughout camp, filling the Mess Hall with singing, and watching the performances at Campfire and Vaudeville once again.

Michaella Frank: I am so excited to be working at Camp Pemigewassett! 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! This will be my first year at Camp Pemi and I will be assisting in several activities but my main activities will be basketball and vocal and instrumental music. I am so happy to be given the chance to work at Camp Pemi and I can’t wait to meet new people and make friends with everyone.

Chris Johnson (Head of Tennis): I am thrilled to come back for my second year at Camp Pemi as Head of Tennis. I am a proud resident of Cleveland, Ohio and a huge, but long suffering, Cleveland sports fan. During the year I teach fourth grade, coach boys and girls tennis, and coach a little basketball as well. I hold a Masters Degree in Administration and serve on the Executive Board of the Ohio Tennis Coaches Association. My wife, Ashley, and my two kids, Clayton and Lauren, are looking forward to joining me again this summer at camp.

CJ Jones: Hi! My name is Charlotte, but most of my friends at home call me CJ. I come from Salisbury, in the south of England and this will be my first visit to America. I am a triathlete and love to swim, so I was thrilled to see just how big a lake Pemi has to offer. I am looking forward to exploring the beautiful countryside surrounding Camp and am very excited to join the Pemi team as a lifeguard, getting to know all the children and staff and to working with you all this summer.

Nate Kraus (Pemi West; Trip Leader): I can’t wait to be on the shores of Lower Baker for what will be my 9th summer at Pemi! I’m a rising Junior at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY, where I am majoring in anthropology and minoring in Management & Business. I’ll be spending the first four weeks of the summer hiking with 16-year old Pemi alumni in Olympic National Park. Upon my return I’ll lead hikes as a trip leader at Pemi back in New Hampshire. It should be a great summer!

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 US. During the school year I’m an Educator with Quarrybrook Outdoor Learning Center in southern New Hampshire. We are excited to be celebrating the Nature Program’s 90th season this summer!

Harry MacGregor (Head of Shop): 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 5th year at Pemi.

Molly Malone (Head of Waterskiing): I am from Chippewa Falls, WI where I am the high school orchestra teacher. My passion in life is waterskiing, and I am so excited to be the Head Waterski Instructor at Pemi! In my free time I ski as much as possible (water, cross country and downhill), run and lift, travel, play violin in our local symphony and piano at church. I am looking forward to a fantastic summer!

Becky Noel: I’m so excited to return for my second summer at Lower Baker Pond, to get back into Pemi’s music programme and onto the waterfront. This past year has been my first at the University of Manchester, UK where I study anatomical sciences, play for the water polo team and have been involved in musical theatre. I can’t wait to have another wonderful summer with the boys!

Emily Palmer (Head of Sailing): I am originally from Hampshire, England but spend most of my time either in Canterbury at University learning history or in Minorca, where I spent my last three summers. This year however, I feel it is time to move on to bigger and better things and am very excited to be at Pemi. I’m first and foremost a lover of sailing and windsurfing so will be spending most of my time teaching these areas, this said I thoroughly enjoy all sports so hopefully will get to teach a range of activities. Can’t wait to meet everyone and begin this epic summer!

Paige Wallis (Head of Swimming and Waterfront): I am originally from Vermont and graduated from the University of Vermont in 2012 with a degree in English and History. This past year I worked in Waterville Valley, NH as a dorm parent at the Waterville Valley Academy and as the Freestyle & Snowboard Coordinator for WVBBTS. This will be my 6th summer at Pemi and I am looking forward to another great season!

Ben Walsh (Head of Staff): I will be returning to Pemi for my twelfth summer following an exciting first year as a teacher at Forman School in Litchfield, CT. I hope to provide the staff with well-coordinated, fun options as they look to find things to do outside of camp on days off. This summer I hope to perform for the first time ever at campfire, be a true contender in the ‘What is it?’ contest, and craft something yet to be named in the shop. I look forward to helping throughout the athletic program and around camp in general.

Caretakers of our Physical and Mental Well-Being

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

HBA Akinci (Kitchen Staff): I was born in 1992 in Istanbul and attending in Bosphorus University in Teaching Physics Department. This is my first year at Camp Pemi and first trip to US. I am thrilled to have a chance to meet different people and culture. I believe that it will help a lot to improve my English. I will be working as kitchen staff. I like to play basketball and swimming. I believe that I am really good with children and students. I did teaching physic and math to the students at mid school level. Also, I love to be in the nature especially catching fish and I like to travel with my friends.

Viachesla Barshchevskyi (Kitchen Staff): I’m from Ukraine, city Kyiv (this is the capital) that will be my first year in Pemi. In fact my first time overseas as well. I will be working as a Kitchen staff and I have some experience in this kind of work from my Local camp in Ukraine! I’m a second year student of Kyiv national lingustic University and my major is tourism. I so glad that I will be working at Pemi and will do my best to contribute to the boys’ great experience.

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 six seasons ago, first as a bus driver and maintenance person, then as an instructor in canoeing and kayaking. This is my third year as year-round Facilities and Grounds Director. I am excited for everyone to see the new staff house and other changes that have taken place since last summer.

Emily Martyn (Nurse): This is my second summer as a Pemi nurse, and almost certainly the first time Pemi has employed a midwife! In May I received a Master of Science in Nursing from Yale University to become a nurse-midwife. (I am not planning on using those skills at camp). My certificate in nursing is from Yale as well, and I also have a BA from Kenyon College. I look forward to a happy and healthy summer!

Debbie Spencer (Nurse): I am a native Floridian, transplanted to New Hampshire 2 years ago. I have spent many summers on Great Pond in Maine and on NH’s Lake Winnipesaukee. I have been a nurse for 36 years with experience in trauma, procedural, and school nursing. This will be my 1st year at Pemi, and I’m thoroughly looking forward to keeping you all healthy so you can spend your days having fun, fun, and more fun. I am ready to help in anyway I can. You will also see me in my free time working on a quilt.

Elaine Kiessling (Head Chef): I have three children, one granddaughter and another grandchild due in October. I also have four rescue dogs. I am originally from CT and have lived in NH for eleven years. I spent over 20 years in Emergency Medicine before I returned to my first love, cooking! I work as a head chef for Woodsville High School during the school year. Summer camp is my happy time though. I love cooking from scratch and working with local foods. This is my first year at Pemi. I hope everyone will let me know some of their favorite foods so I can incorporate as many as possible into our menus.

Tomasz Gapczynski (Kitchen): I’m from Poland and I’m 24. In Poland I study history (mainly medieval times) and help my parent at running their company. At Camp Pemi I will work as a Kitchen Assistance and this my first time at Pemi. This is going to be a great time here. I love nature, so the localization of the camp is just perfect.

Mert Turan (Kitchen): I am from Izmir and I am studying at Sabanci University in Istanbul. This will be my 1st year at Pemi. I enjoy playing tennis and soccer. Also, I like to travel anywhere. I look forward to being part of kitchen.

Visiting Professionals

Andy Bale: I began making photos 27 years ago as a sophomore in high school. My career has taken many forms, with the most rewarding one in 2001 when I was given a chance to teach a photography course. I was totally hooked. Currently I teach at Dickinson College in Carlisle PA. Most recently I’ve been working with the Ese Eja, a small marginalized indigenous tribe in Peru and in late 2016 a hardcover book will be published through a generous grant from The Genographic Legacy Fund of National Geographic. I have some wonderful projects planned for campers, including pinhole photography, cyanotypes, and light painting. I will be running an occupation called Location Photography where we leave camp each day in search of new and exciting places to photograph.

Stephen Broker: My career in science education included 25 years teaching physical and life science courses in the New Haven, CT Public Schools and 8 years in university graduate administration at Wesleyan University and the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. I also taught as adjunct lecturer at Yale College, University of New Haven, and Quinnipiac University. My academic interests center on ecology and evolutionary biology. My field research is on breeding Peregrine Falcons and Common Ravens in Connecticut and marsh birds at Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

 

 

 

Meet Pemi’s 2014 Staff

2014 Pemi Staff

2014 Pemi Staff

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cabin Counselors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Assistant Counselors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trip Leaders

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

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

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

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

Program Staff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Caretakers of our Physical and Mental Well-Being

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kay Withrow Thomson, July 18, 1943–January 16, 2014

Kay Withrow Thomson

Kay Withrow Thomson

It is with a great sense of loss that we pass along word that Kay Withrow Thomson has died.  Kay was a uniquely vibrant member of our summer community from 1978 through 1992, as the wife of Music Director Scott Withrow and the mother of Grant Wilkinson and Nikki Wilkinson Tropeano. Kay’s contributions to the spirit and welfare of Pemi were legion. They were highlighted not only by her stellar vocal performances at Sunday meetings and in our Gilbert and Sullivan operettas but also, just as irreplaceably, by a buoyant, witty, and energetic disposition that brightened the day for everyone she encountered. If the Pemi Kid were to have a grown-up female counterpart – cheerful, tireless, always functioning at top speed, bringing heart, generosity, and commitment to every activity from belting out the camp songs to cheering on the boys out on the soccer pitch – it would be Kay.

Kay’s professional accomplishments are too many to enumerate here, but her resume gives ample testimony that she brought to her “off-seasons” the same dynamism and engagement she brought to her summers with us. Given Pemi’s long and vital association with Oberlin College, it is significant to note that, following Scott Withrow’s death and Kay’s subsequent marriage to Haskell Thomson, Kay joined the Oberlin administration, ultimately serving as Vice President for Development and Alumni Affairs. In retirement, Kay and Haskell moved to Massachusetts, but Kay’s lifelong commitment to education and service led to her becoming a founding Trustee of Antioch University New England.

Kay was born in Derby, England, on July 18, 1943. Those of us who are Anglophiles are, among all the things that endeared Kay to us, particularly delighted that she never lost her charming native accent – that or the irrepressible spirit that brought her country through the global conflict she was born into the midst of. She left us on January 16, 2014, after a prolonged illness, at home and surrounded by her family. Memorial contributions are welcome and should be mailed to VNA Hospice, 434 Route 134, Suite D-3, South Dennis, MA 02660 OR memorials to St. Christopher’s Church, 625 Main Street, Chatham, MA 02633.

To draw on the words of an old Pemigewassett salute, often alluded to at times such as this, Kay’s battle is over; may she wear her much-deserved crown with all of the dignity, beauty, graciousness, and verve that she brought to every day of her life.

~ Tom Reed, Jr.

 

Ander Wensberg’s Next Chapter of Pemi Involvement

AnderWensbergSm

Ander Wensberg

As things wind down at the end of a highly successful season, we would like to take a moment to extend our profound thanks to Ander Wensberg for four years of energetic and productive service on the Pemi Board of Directors. Ander is not leaving us but will now assume a central role conceiving and creating a new Pemi Advisory Committee, broadening the scope of counsel and experience on which camp is able to draw. Ander joined the Board in 2009 at a key time of transition and he served a vital role ushering Pemi into a new era. His expertise in media and especially video was instrumental in upgrading the Pemi website. He also masterminded and oversaw the process by which Bean Soup has been digitized and made available to Pemi alums in electronic form.

Along with his brother Peter, Ander arrived at Pemi as a camper in the 1970s and proceeded up through the ranks to cabin counselor as one of the truly charismatic leaders of camp. Aiding and abetting him was longtime friend Fred Rittner, whose campfire and vaudevilles skits with Ander still set the bar for Pemi lunacy and laughter. Ander and wife Lisa’s son, Dana, was also a longtime Pemi camper, and their daughter Kelsey a staff member for multiple summers.

The entire Pemi community joins the Fauvers and Reeds in thanking Ander for his many contributions of spirit and effort over the years, and we look forward with great expectations to this next chapter of his Pemi involvement.

As we envision an Advisory Committee comprised of members whose skills and expertise are targeted to meet the current and ongoing needs of running a top-flite and well-rounded boys’ camp, we invite alumni to contact us with their suggestions and insights. Ander and we are keenly interested in your thoughts.

 

Newsletter # 7: Pemi’s Nature Program

Matt

Matt Kanovsky, 8-year Pemi camper

Most people who are new to Pemi are struck by the breadth of opportunities offered. Indeed, we encourage our campers to stretch their boundaries of experience by exploring our four program areas: Sports, Nature, Music Art & Drama, and Trips. However, we like to think that equally impressive is the depth of instruction that an older camper can enjoy should he choose to hone his skills in a particular area. This past Sunday, several of our 15-year old campers spoke on the role that Pemi has played in their lives. Matt Kanovsky, in his 8th and final year as a camper, reflected on his experience with Pemi’s Nature Program and how he was able to dig deeper and deeper as his interest in the natural world grew. How fitting, then, to have Larry Davis, Director of Nature Programs and Teaching, offer this week’s newsletter, in which he describes how this particular program area has responded to the “thirst for more” from campers who develop passion and focus.

Pemi’s Nature Program encompasses a wide range of activities including collecting trips, day-long excursions to places such as Crawford Notch, informal outings, and overnight caving trips. But the heart of the program is our formal instruction, which takes place during the occupation periods. Each week we offer 14-16 different activities over a range of “skill” levels, from beginning to advanced. For example, during Week 6 we taught at the beginning level: Rocks and Minerals, Butterflies and Moths, Ponds and Streams, Junior Nature Book, Birding, and Nature Drawing; at the intermediate level: Wild Foods, Digital Photography, Rocks and Minerals, Darkroom Photography; and at the advanced level: Mosses, Caddisflies, Butterfly and Moth Field Studies, Reptiles and Amphibians, and Bush Lore, for a total of 15 choices. Over the course of the summer, we offered a total of 37 different activities. Some appear every week, others appeared a couple of times, and a few appeared only once.

In this newsletter, I want to tell you a bit more about our occupations. While I will describe a range of these, I want to focus especially on some new, advanced ones that we developed this year. Our hope was not only to offer some challenges to the campers who spend a lot of time with us in the Nature Lodge, but also to give everyone a chance to explore aspects of our environment that they might not have noticed in the past.

Traditional Occupations

Some of our boys come to us with extensive experience in nature field studies. However, most do not. So, we want to offer attractive activities, in a variety of areas, that will allow them to begin their exploration of nature. While time and space do not allow a detailed description of these, I can discuss some of the characteristics that these “introductions” share.

(1b) Per at StreamFirst, our overarching objective is to get the boys to look at and observe the world around them. We want to help them “see.” This idea is stated in our Mission Statement for the Nature Program (modeled after one written by Allen H. Morgan of the Massachusetts Audubon Society):

To capture the attention of the inquisitive mind, bring to it an affection for this planet and all of life, and to foster an intelligent understanding of man’s position in the natural balance of things.

In order to do this, we have to take them out into nature, not just talk about it. We want to show them, not just tell them. Our 600 acres provide us with a wonderful variety of plants, animals, rocks, and more to look at, and we can easily access most of what we need to see during an occupation week of five, 50-minute periods.

(2) R&M Deb:Plate T (D)Second, all our beginning occupations have set, detailed lesson plans. Our objectives include introducing the boys to the “nature” of the subject matter. For example what “makes” an insect or a butterfly or a moth. Or, “what’s” a mineral? We also want them to learn how an animal lives, how a mineral is formed, why some plants like shade and others like full sunlight…. We want them to learn about basic collection and preservation techniques. Finally, we want them to become familiar with some of the basic terminology that scientists use to describe things, not too much jargon, but enough so that they can read further if they wish (and many do).

Lastly, we hope to bring them to the point where they will formulate their own questions. “Why do moths fly toward light?” “Why are the leaves on the seedlings in the forest so big?” “Why can’t the piece of coal that I found in Mahoosuc Notch come from there?” Science is about questions, not memorization of facts. You must seek answers directly from nature and only observation of what’s “out there” can lead you to them. This gets us back to the first objective that I mentioned, getting the boys to look at and observe the world around them. If they do this then the questions (and maybe, the answers) should follow.

Staff

If we are successful in our introductory occupations, then we leave the campers wanting more. In order to provide this, we need staff with specialized knowledge. Beyond that, they also need to understand about teaching in the outdoors and that is one of the reasons why we run a pre-season Nature Instruction Clinic.

This summer we worked hard to find staff that could fill some of the gaps in our knowledge base. As most of you know, both Deb Kure (Associate Head of Nature Programs) and I are geologists. While we have extensive knowledge of most things natural, it is generally of the self-taught variety. We have always had a “bug person” too, most recently, Conner Scace (who was back with us as a visiting professional this year). His bug “specialties” are ants, wasps, and bees, along with dragonflies and damselflies. We wanted staff with formal training in ecology, wetlands, other insect groups, and related areas such as nature photography. We were very fortunate to find excellent people to fill our gaps. I’d like to reintroduce them to you.

Daniel (“Danno”) Walder has a degree in conservation biology from Plymouth University in England. He has done research on bracken in the British Isles and has also worked on projects in Mexico and Spain. Prior to arriving at Pemi, he spent many weeks trekking in Sri Lanka. He comes from a farming family. His knowledge of ecology and wildlife is extensive.

Kevin Heynig is studying for a degree in biology at Northern Michigan University, with an ecology concentration. His interests focus on aquatic insects and their environments. He has done research on caddisflies in Lake Superior and field research on other aquatic insects.

Mark Welsh is studying biomedical science at the University of Dundee. Besides his abilities in biology, he is also a serious photographer who works with both film and digital media. He said in his application materials, “Photography is a great passion in my life and I would relish any opportunity to pass it on to anyone, be they young or old!”

Matt Cloutier will be entering Middlebury College this year, studying for a degree in biology with an emphasis on entomology. Matt became passionate about butterflies and moths as a Pemi camper and, in 2011, was the 12th recipient (since 1974) of the Clarence Dike Memorial Nature Award.

Conner Scace (Visiting Professional) just completed his M.S. degree in environmental science at the University of New Haven. He did thesis work, with me, on fish populations in interior ponds on San Salvador Island, Bahamas. In the fall he will be entering a one-year-long program that will end with his becoming a certified biology teacher in Connecticut. As I said above, his passion is ants and related insects. We were very fortunate that he was able to join us for three weeks this summer.

Stephen Broker (Visiting Professional) is newly retired from teaching ecology in New Haven Public Schools. He also taught wetlands ecology at the University of New Haven. He is the Connecticut State Bird Recorder and an expert in “reading the landscape,” that is, reading the record of human occupation from characteristics of the landscape as seen in the field. Steve’s father was waterfront director at Pemi in the late 1930s so his week with us was, in a way, a homecoming for him.

New Occupations

While we have always had “advanced” level occupations in butterflies and moths, geology, and various insects, and specialty occupations in non-flowering plants, wild foods, photography, and wilderness skills, the backgrounds of our staff allowed us to offer many new and even more advanced activities this summer and to substantially update some that we have offered occasionally in the past. It is worth listing them all below before I use the rest of my time and space to describe a few of them.

Caddisflies
Bees and Wasps
Ants
Aquatic Insects
Dragonflies and Damselflies
Butterfly and Moth Field Studies
Ecology
Animal Homes and Signs
Reptiles and Amphibians
Wetlands Ecology
Bush Lore
Reading the Landscape
Mosses
Advanced Darkroom Photography
Mushrooms

Caddisflies

caddisflies

Caddisfly larvae cases and adults

Caddisflies are aquatic insects with a two-stage life cycle. The larvae are fully aquatic and most build cases out of twigs, stones, or leaves. They feed on detritus, small insects, and plants. The cases serve as both camouflage and protection. But, since they have to drag them around while foraging, the construction material depends on how heavy they need to be to keep the larva from being washed away. So, if the habitat is a stream, then sand or small pebbles are used. If a shoreline or quiet pool, then leaves or twigs might be the choice. In fast-moving streams, the cases are attached directly to rocks and, rather than foraging, the larvae wait for the stream to bring food to them. The case construction and design is specific to a specific species (which in turn is adapted to live in a specific habitat). The adults are the reproductive stage and, as is common with many aquatic insects, they do not feed. All of this forms the background for this specialized occupation. Both adults (they fly readily to light) and larvae (along with their cases) can be collected and observed. Most important, however, is the observation of how they adapt to their preferred habitat and the questions about why they have those specific adaptations. This can lead to thinking about trade-offs between protection and energy expenditure for foraging versus the energy obtained from the food. We have at least 30 different kinds of caddisflies here (maybe more as we are just beginning to look at them) so the possibilities for study are wide.

Ants

Ants

collecting ants

Of course, anyone who’s ever had a picnic, knows about ants. They are everywhere. At Pemi, we have at least 10 kinds and some, such as carpenter ants (they tunnel and bore into wood) and Appalachian Mound Builders (they bite) are troublesome. Regardless they all display a sophisticated level of social organization that can be observed both in the field and in captivity. Our ant occupation includes study and discussion of social organization, observation of foraging behavior, collection of examples, collection of queens, and temporary establishment of captive colonies for observation in the Nature Lodge (later released back into the environment). Sometimes we get to observe ant “wars” where two separate colonies battle over territory. The questions that can be generated are legion. How and why did ants develop the social structures that they have? What are the advantages of this structure? Why are almost all ants female and almost all sterile (except the queens)? As always, we try to generate answers to these by observation in the field (which includes the uncertainties) rather than by looking up the answers on the internet (which, of course, are always right).

Ecology

Quadrat

Ecology quadrat

Ecology is, of course, a very broad field of study. The main purpose of this occupation is to teach the campers about data collection techniques, analysis, and interpretation. This summer, we looked at plant distribution and diversity in several Pemi habitats including grassy fields, open meadows, and the forest floor. The basic tools for this work include a “quadrat” (basically a one-meter-square “frame” that can be placed anywhere), a hand lens, and identification books. The quadrat is used to “select” areas of equal size and all plants and animals within it are counted and catalogued. Our grassy fields are, of course, manmade habitats. Forest floors are in deep shade while open meadows are usually in full sunlight. This selection of habitats provides starkly contrasting examples of diversity (the number of different species) and population (the number of individuals of each species). What we found was that the manmade habitat was the least diverse (we prefer to have our grassy areas just grass and spend hundreds of millions of dollars assuring this result). The open meadows were the most diverse, with the forest floor in between (although with generally low diversity). These are, however, just facts and the fun comes from asking “why?” and then testing the possible answers to see what fits best. This is, of course, the scientific method. But, instead of just talking about it, in our ecology occupation we are actually doing it. Beyond that, this is no canned laboratory experiment. We are generating questions to which we really don’t know the answers.

Butterfly and Moth Field Studies

fieldWe have been collecting butterflies and moths at Pemi since the beginning of the Nature Program in 1929. Of course, back then, this is how nature was “done.” While we continue to collect butterflies and moths, we have tried to modernize it. We limit collection to just one of each species. We teach proper collection and preservation techniques. We strongly encourage the labeling of collections not only with the name of the species, but also with information about when and where it was collected. Still, this is only one of the ways that these insects are studied today. One important newer technique is to capture, mark, and recapture. This is a way of estimating population numbers. It works particularly well with butterflies. A location is chosen and butterflies are captured. But, rather than killing them, their wings are marked (using an indelible pen) so that the individual can be identified. Then, they are released. The key is to return to the same site on successive days. Of course, some of the captured butterflies will be ones that are already marked. In fact, the more days you do this, the more greater the percentage should be of marked butterfly recaptures. Through a series of arithmetical manipulations of the data, it is possible to estimate population numbers based on the proportions of new captures to recaptures. The real power of this technique is when it is used in successive years to observe population changes (and we intend to do this). The questions generated from the data (again, just “facts”) might include why different species have different relative populations, how populations change over time, how populations change with changing plant succession (could be coupled with the techniques of ecological quadrat studies), and much, much more.

Bush Lore

BushLoreBesides natural history studies, our program also includes some introduction to wilderness and outdoor skills. Bush Lore was first introduced by Nuwi Somp in the 1990s. Nuwi brought the bush savvy that he gained in the jungles of Papua New Guinea to us here in New Hampshire. He built, with the campers, fish traps, snares, fish spears, and other tools using age-old techniques and patterns from his homeland. His only rule was that you had to eat whatever you caught. It turned out, however, that what worked in PNG did not necessarily work with our animals here—a very interesting lesson. This year we instituted a new version of this. It included map and compass reading, tracking, a discussion and simulation of hunting skills that would have been used by Native Americans here in northern New England, a discussion and simulation of field dressing of animals, shelter building, tinder bundle firestarting, and more. In other words, we tried to present, in five days, as complete a snapshot of ways to survive in the woods while living off the land as we could. This could also be followed by more advanced activities where we actually try to build skills in some of the shelter building, wayfinding, and tracking techniques.

Conclusions

I hope that you have enjoyed this foray into our new, expanded list of occupations. We instituted these because we wanted to offer our campers a chance to go beyond introductions. Older campers need new challenges as they continue to return. We need to be able to keep the interest of both the boy who wants to specialize and the one who has been here for seven or even eight years and who wants something new. I believe that we have succeeded. We will continue to refine the occupations that we have instituted this summer (along with those that have been in place for years and years) and, I hope, produce new offerings in years to come.

~ Larry Davis
Director of Nature Programs and Teaching

In Pursuit of “The Hat”

Hat_groupNow that cheers in the Pemi messhall are erupting spontaneously in anticipation of Friday’s  annual competition with Camp Tecumseh—an athletic rivalry that dates back to 1908—it seems timely to reflect on the symbol of the day known affectionately—and reverently—as “the hat.” Where did the hat come from and what does it represent? 

_____________________________________

 

Saturday, August 12, 1967

Throughout the new mess hall, raucous laughter and cheering, fueled by unbridled excitement, emanate from every corner.  The energy is palpable, visible in every smile on every face in the building.  Cheers ring in the rafters: “P-E-M-I sis boom bah, Pemigewassett, Pemigewassett rah rah rah, 10-and-Under Tennis! 10-and-Under Tennis! 10-and-Under Tennis!!” The underdogs have triumphed for the first time in 11 years, in itself a magnificent accomplishment, but in light of their 9-3 loss just a few weeks before, that triumph reflects unbelievable levels of commitment, determination and cooperation among the 200-plus assemblage. Seven wins, five losses – an incredible community feat!  Gradually, at first mysteriously, the energy in the building diminishes; the noise abates. Heads start to turn toward the enormous glass facade of the structure, through which one can see another group of 200, the boys, counselors and director of Camp Tecumseh, approaching the mess hall from the outfield of our big diamond. We rise, bewildered, as the group draws closer, several Pemi counselors joining Tom, Al and Doc Nick on the porch. Meanwhile, Director George Munger leads his campers and staff up the steps of the mess hall, beckoning Tom Reed over to his side. Over four hundred people go silent now, wondering what Mr. Munger has on his mind.  Extending his hand to Tom, Mr. Munger says, “Tom, Al, Dr. Nichols, and all of you men of Pemigewassett, I represent all of my friends at Tecumseh in offering you our sincerest congratulations. We are deeply impressed with the work you have devoted to turning the tables on us and triumphing today. The spirit and effort we witnessed on the fields from all of you was extraordinary.” Mr. Munger pauses, evoking considerable clapping and some whistling. Settling the crowd with one hand and doffing his tattered straw hat with the other, Mr. Munger goes on: “Let this hat stand in testimony to your incredible work today, Camp Pemi. Our respect for you, our friends and competitors, has never been greater. On behalf of every one of us at Tecumseh, I thank you as I stand in awe of what you have accomplished!”

The Era of “The Hat”

Thus, already 59 years into a unique intercamp rivalry (the two camps first competed with one another in 1908), Pemi and Tecumseh began the era of “The Hat.” In 1967, three age groups, 10-and-Unders, 12-and-Unders and 14-and-Unders, competed in four sports: baseball, swimming, tennis and track. By 1970, Pemi’s next victorious year, soccer had replaced track as the fourth event (when the Tecumseh track meet began a new era as an invitational event comprising up to half a dozen camps). Yearning to include more boys in the competition, both camps gradually agreed to add more age groups, resulting in the five that compete today: 10-and-Unders, 11’s, 12’s, 13’s and 15-and-Unders.  And when the camps’ seasons shrank from eight to seven weeks in length, the current one-day home/away protocol was created. Today, the iconic Munger hat, long since bronzed and transformed into a trophy, symbolizes the longest and probably most passionate camp sports rivalry extant, a rivalry that eclipses most colleges’, as Tom Reed, Sr., often pointed out.

George Munger and Tom Reed, 1993

George Munger and Tom Reed, 1993

Tom Sr. also liked to remind us of the value of facing challenging competition. An impressive four-sport varsity athlete at Oberlin College, Tom certainly spoke from experience and from the heart. Despite the outcome of the day from year to year, every summer Tom inspired us to embrace the intense level of competition that Tecumseh perennially brought to the day, insisting that only by attempting to match and transcend the best Tecumseh had to offer could we play our best. No one ever doubted this, and as we have seen in recent years, in the multiple contests decided by one run, one match, one goal, or two points, the two sides truly do inspire the very best out of one another.

While the Beatles proclaimed that “All you need is love” in the summer of 1967, our mantra at Pemi was decidedly different. On the heels of the 9-3 loss at Tecumseh in early July, the Pemi staff, galvanized by swim coach Terry Sweetser, recognized the potential of the Pemi athletes and quietly decided, one and all, to take the athletic program to a higher level. Team practices consumed all of our time other than trips, meals, occupations and sleep. The investment of campers and counselors in the determination to beat Tecumseh was universal, and the real goal was simply to inspire the best out of every Pemi athlete. In that regard, August 15, 1967 was an unqualified success for the Pemi community.

July 27, 2012

Charlie_HatKidAlthough subsequent Pemi wins have been few – 1970, 1983, 1998, and 2012 – the striving and bonding that accompany our annual preparation for Tecumseh/Pemi Day have frequently matched the levels of that 1967 season. In 2011, for example, when Pemi managed an overall tie (see highlight video), despite obvious disappointments, few would argue that the camp community coalesced into a stronger, tighter family after all those games. And on July 27, 2012, once again the power of 200 plus individuals aimed at one goal inspired innumerable amazing performances (see highlight video). As Tecumseh Athletic Director Mark Luff noted, we should try to infuse our school and community sports teams with similar levels of dedication, intensity, sportsmanship and mutual respect that Tom Reed, Sr. and George Munger avidly promoted for so many years. And as Pemi Athletic Director Charlie Malcolm reflected during the 2012 celebration—with The Hat appropriately showcased on the mantel under the original Pemi Kid—though in 10 or 20 years we might not recall the score of any one contest on Tecumseh Day, as long as we live we will never forget our teammates with whom we worked so hard to triumph. “This Hat does not represent winning; it represents our journey together.”

– Fred Seebeck