A note from Pemi Alumnus Jim Brown

The following note comes from Jim Brown, a former Pemi camper and staff member who was on the shores of Lower Baker from 1951 – 1957. He and his wife Karen stopped by for a visit this summer, and sent these thoughts along afterward to Tom Reed, Jr. His eloquence here speaks for the way a lot of Pemi alumni react when they revisit camp after a time away.

Hi Tom,

Thanks so much for a wonderful visit to Pemi today. Karen and I enjoyed seeing Betsy, Al, Penny and you, as well as meeting Dottie, Danny, Dwight, Matt, and other counselors and campers. So much seemed the same, and yet, so much was different. The lake and the facilities were beautiful as I remembered them, and yet, the campers were more enthusiastic and more interested in a variety of activities than I recall. Singing at lunch was a treat, and learning that part of a sports team was hiking down Mt. Cube to join their teammates at Camp Moosilauke for a sporting event was also telling.

So many wonderful activities and the camaraderie of boys joining together for a great summer of learning and fun. Beyond that, the staff, counselors and boys make up what has been, and hopefully, always will be, Camp Pemi. Congratulations to you and your associates for maintaining this wonderful spirit. Keep up your fine work and continue to provide a wonderful experience for so many young boys.

For me, almost 60 years ago and now, seeing Camp Pemi was a real treat! Thank you.

-Jim Brown

Thomas Lloyd Reed, Sr., May 3, 1916 – July 21, 2010

It is with a combination of sadness, appreciation, and – paradoxically – a quiet sense of rightness that we pass along word of the death of Tom Reed, Sr., long-time director and son of one of the founders of Pemigewassett. Tom died peacefully at his house on the Hill at Camp, surrounded by his family and by friends and colleagues of many years.

Tom had been challenged by failing health for a number of months, and it was remarkably gratifying for him to be able to make it back to Pemi in June. Once here, Tom was visibly buoyed by his return to the spot and to the community that he had given so very much to over the years. He attended the last meeting of pre-season staff training and gave his wonted inspirational speech about how something as routine as a distance swim can work true wonders in the life of a boy. He enjoyed the annual 4th of July Peerade, watched several baseball and soccer games from the sidelines, and, in a manner many of you will smile to remember, bellowed from his porch on one particularly sunny morning as sleepy boys stumbled out of their cabins, “Leap out of bed with a glad cry. Let’s do some jumping jacks and then into the lake!”

Tom was where he wanted to be, with the people he loved and who loved him. He saw the 103rd season begin with energy and purpose, and the contentment and solace which that brought him may have been what allowed him to slip away. The staff had been told several days ago that Tom was poised for his next big adventure, but word was delivered to the whole community this morning at breakfast by Charlie Malcolm in a very understated but powerful way, inflected by joy for a life well lived and a mission sustained.

More will be said about Tom in other settings, and to other audiences. Let me close, though, with the text of a wonderful tribute that was paid to Tom upon his retirement as managing director at the Final Banquet of the 1987 season. It accompanied a photo montage of that very successful season. Drafted by Fred Seebeck, Rob Grabill, Lance Latham, and Dean Ellerton, it does as good a job as could be done of summarizing the many blessings Tom brought to Pemi during the six decades he had already thrown into the running of camp. Two dozen additional years spent encouraging teams, leading songs, and imparting a long life’s worth wisdom to the many who looked to him for guidance have only solidified the incomparable legacy he leaves with us all.

Representing the members of the 1987 Pemigewassett family, I present to you this symbol of our affection for you and your lifetime of devotion to Camp. You have been our leader, our supporter, our advisor, our fan, our father, and our boss. This summer you have shared your yarns and anecdotes with us; you have graced us with your love of music, be it Beethoven on CD or The Junior Camp Song in the Messhall; you have encouraged us to be prompt, well-mannered, healthy, and clean; you have enjoined us to be intense and gracious sportsmen; and you have shown us, through your dedication to your job as Director and through your good humor, that one’s work can be a labor of love. Though you and Betsy will return to “the Hill” for many years to come (we hope), we shall sorely miss your prudent judgment, your warm words of encouragement, your meticulous organization, and your charming quips and jokes. More than any one person, Tom, you are Camp Pemi – and though camp will not cease to exist upon your retirement, it will change in subtle and meaningful ways. We therefore recognize tonight the end of an era, the changing of the guard. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for your unselfish and enduring love for Camp and for us all. And may God bless you and Betsy with good luck, long life, and joy.

For twenty-three years, Tom and Betsy continued to enjoy those blessings. They were the richly-deserved gifts that come to those who have themselves given so much. We will let you all know as plans evolve for remembering Tom and celebrating the great love he shared with his partner of seventy years.

“And when the battle’s over, he shall wear a crown in the New Jerusalem!”

–Tom Reed, Jr.
22 July 2010

“Building a Community: One Rock at a Time”

Dottie Reed, Head Administrator at Pemi, has a truly excellent feature story in the current issue of the American Camp Association’s Camping Magazine. In it, she talks about the wonderful (and relatively new) Pemi tradition of rock painting, and its rewards, which are both tangible and intangible. Here is one of the more fascinating paragraphs of the article:

The tangibles are paint, rocks, shingles, and brushes. The intangibles are collaborative decision making, stewardship of place, creative expression, reasoning and communication skills, and unplugged imaginative play. Campers come to recognize the interrelatedness of people, topography, and structures within communities as they position their “houses” along the river, and the “library” in the center of town. They even find ways to express opinions on sustainability and ethics, as was the case when one camper painted a blue and gold Walmart to anchor the outskirts of our “Pemi Rocks” town. His nine-year-old friend countered with a painted rock positioned across the street: a sign that simply stated, “Buy Local.”

Read the full story, titled “Building a Community: One Rock at a Time,” here.

Summer 2010: Newsletter #3

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Greetings yet again from Zip Code 03282, where we are enjoying our third straight week of clement weather. The long spell of sunshine has allowed the full program to move along at a great pace and, even if the emerald luster of the grass has morphed ever so slightly towards brown, we’re liking it all pretty well. Polar Bears are anything but chilly, bringing to mind, well, seals lounging on a marina dock in Monterrey. Today’s occupations unfolded seamlessly, including new offerings like Sam Seymour’s innovative “All about Lower Baker Pond” (a “pan-eco” study of our lake that would make Al Gore proud) or Anna Ciglar’s “Celtic Knotwork,” and we look forward to Deb Kure and Cody Ladden’s equally innovative Nature offering “In the Night,” entering its second iteration once the sun has set over Pemi Hill. (No, not shades of True Blood and Twilight, but a rich combination of astronomy, optics, and nocturnal zoology.) Trip leaders Peter Scheuermann and Paige Wallis are finishing up an 8-mile paddle on the Connecticut River with Peter Montante, Owen Grey, Jonathan Kenkel, Ian Lewis, Owen Ritter, Oren Wilcox, Andy Kradjel, Nate Kraus, and Gus Walsh.

Meanwhile, Lower Seven is setting up their tents at the Eliza Brook campsite in the Kinsman Range, as part of their three-day; various denizens of Uppers One and Two look forward to a stream-side repast at the Rattle River Shelter, first stop on their four-day in the Carters; and Upper Three is sitting down to an honest-to-goodness dinner table at the Greenleaf AMC hut high on the shoulder of mile-high Mt. Lafayette. To quote the ubiquitous t-shirt, “Life is Good.”

Last Saturday was Kingswood Day, as teams in four different age groups competed in soccer, baseball, and basketball with our neighbors from Lake Tarleton. As Athletic Director Charlie Malcolm summed it up afterwards, it was an extremely friendly affair, and even though Pemi came up short on aggregate wins, 5-7, the contests were close, spirited, and conducted with flawless sportsmanship.

Sunday began with Danny Kerr delivering an inspiring meditation on heroism, striking while the LeBron James iron was still red-hot to speak about the kinds of people who have influenced him the most, in terms of consolidating the values and perseverance one needs in order to live a productive and ethical life. First among them was Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founder of the Special Olympics, who memorably said that the mark of the mature man was not the wish to die nobly in pursuit of a great cause but rather the desire to live humbly in pursuit of one. Danny followed with somewhat more private tales – about Dick Hoyt, a father who has participated in over a thousand races (Iron Man competitions among them) as the “team-mate” and motive force for his disabled son Rick, and about Barnes Boffey, the legendary director of Camp Lanakila – before ending with a vignette on Martin Luther King. The boys were spellbound, and when Danny had finished, more than a few were moved to forget our longstanding tradition of “no applause” for Sunday meeting messages.

Danny’s thoughtful and clearly inspiring musings were delivered just after breakfast, making room in the evening for, yes indeed, the airing of a tape of that day’s World Cup Final between The Netherlands and Spain. The Lodge was full of both orange and blue shirts, as Charlie Malcolm had earlier enjoined all attendees to don the colors of their favorites. But in the buzzing crowd (sans vuvuzelas, thank goodness) were actual representatives of the two countries involved – Max Van Paasschen and brothers Kai and Per Soderberg hailing from the land of windmills and superior skaters and the trio of Diego and Pepe Periel and Rodrigo Juarez joining us from Iberia. It’s not often we let current events find their way so quickly and directly into the life of the camp, but when Andres Iniesta slotted the ball into The Netherland’s net in the 116th minute and the Pemi crowd went wild, it was clear that plugging back in for this particular event was a pretty acceptable idea. Diego, Pepe, and Rodrigo are still on “nube nueve” (does it translate?), and word is that Max, Per, and Kai haven’t sighed deeply for at least twenty-four hours.

Other bits and pieces of what has been a great week since our last communique? Thursday last witnessed the institution of what may become a new Pemi tradition: “Chillin’ with Lit.” After four days of temperatures pushing 90 degrees (very rare in these parts), the thought was to do something that capitalized on the heat rather than simply enduring it. Tom Reed, Jr. announced in the messhall that he would be reading a story down at the senior beach at 8:15pm, and that everyone was free to come and listen from the water, immersed up to their necks in the cooling billows of Lower Baker. Expectations were that maybe twenty or thirty boys would be lured down to so elevated a cultural event. But when the assembled crowd was finally counted, one hundred souls had gathered to hear Tom’s reading of W. F. Harvey’s “August Heat,” a finely-crafted tale in the Poe vein that documents the dire effects thermal stress can have on the human psyche. (If you’ve never read the piece, check it out here.)

Sent into the water by Ken Moore, with the oldest campers closest to the lane lines and the youngest closest to shore, the boys took a comfortable and cooling pose and listened with a rapt attention that evoked the wedding guest enthralled by the Ancient Mariner. One of the nicest things about the whole affair was that it could just as well have been done at camp a hundred years back, in its opening seasons: no electronics; nothing trendy; just scores of over-warm people listening to a good yarn in a truly cool setting while the sun set tranquilly in the west. Should we again be hammered by heat, be it in July or August itself, we may just repeat the event, and we welcome your suggestions for appropriate readings.

Sunday, Jeff Greene re-energized one of his most successful brainchildren; his account follows.

In the real world, there is no such thing as Quarter Century Doubles, but it’s an idea that makes a lot of sense at camp. In our version, the age of the two doubles partners must equal 25 years – no more, no less. At camp, this creates a unique tournament format, where you end up with some very interesting combinations, although some are naturally better than others. Usually, as in all other doubles, the best-balanced teams who work together and communicate effectively on the court tend to do the best. However, we always get some surprises, and Sunday was no exception.

The event went very smoothly, with both the main draw and a consolation draw for first-round losers to ensure that everyone got to play at least two matches. Twenty-one teams entered our tournament, which meant that forty-two players overall participated in the event – almost 25% of the population at Pemi. To get that many campers playing in one afternoon event on just five courts required coordination and precise scheduling, but it all ran like clockwork and was an impressive collective feat indeed by players and staff alike. An executive decision was made to play the finals of both divisions a day or two later so that we could hype the events conclusion. The finals, conducted on Tuesday, pitted the top seeds, Arthur Root (12) and Sam Davitt (13) against the unseeded combo of Nick Barber (15) and George Enman (10).

Meanwhile, in the finals of the consolation draw (or “back draw”), we had Dana Wensberg (14) and Leonard Schmitz (11) vying for the title with C.J.Klinsky (13) and Adair Simpson (12). The results? Nick and George defied the odds-makers to triumph in the main draw, and a rare shower halted play in the back draw before the winners could be determined.

Any time that we run an in-house event, we’re looking for active participation on a broad scale, solid competition rather that lopsided matches, and exemplary sportsmanship all-round. By all accounts, this event (which had taken a year’s hiatus) lived up to all expectations. Keep up the good work, fellas. (And many thanks to Jeff both for running the tourney and giving us this account!)

Finally, we’ll hear from Zach Barnard on an event that, every year, anchors our efforts to have the oldest boys at Pemi take the youngest campers under their wings as mentors and friends.

Junior One and Lake Tent, properly known as the “bookends” of Camp Pemi, took a trip to the Flat Rock Café on the evening of July 12, 2010. Four canoes, firewood, three boxes stuffed with sloppy joes, buns, PB&J, cookies, juice and marshmallows, eleven paddles, eleven life jackets, and eleven hungry bodies later, we found ourselves paddling across Lower Baker Pond. Nick Barber steered Jack Hahn and Quinn O’Keefe; Teddy Gales steered Spencer O’Brien and Darren Mangan; and Zach Barnard steered Harrison Potts and Henry Seebeck. Mason Challinor and Chris Dollman, future Alagashers, led the group with their spectacular canoeing skills. The lake was bright gold, energized by the evening sun. We arrived at Flat Rock in great time and enjoyed some fun games.

We bonded over the famous “One Duck” and Teddy started a fantastic fire. Chris cooked the sloppy joes over the fire, and Nick, Mason, and Zach helped with serving, including a stellar PB&J performance by Mr. Barber for Harrison. We ended the evening with roasted marshmallows by the campfire, a thorough search for trash in and around the campsite, and a quick paddle back to camp to catch Bean Soup. The evening was a blast, and Junior One’s bonding time with the senior-most boys far exceeded prior expectations. The boys of Lake Tent showed a maturity and patience that was perfect role-modeling for the Juniors. We are all certainly looking forward to more excursions together, learning about our surroundings and each other on future trips.

We’ll close with that snapshot of camaraderie across the camper generations. We are looking forward, though, to seeing a number of you parents of full-season campers on the first of two visiting week-ends, beginning this Saturday morning. Travel safely to your rendezvous. A bientot.

— Tom Reed, Jr.

The Principles of Camp Pemigewassett

At the request of Director Danny Kerr, the senior staff at Pemi has written the following vision piece in which they enumerate the values and beliefs that shape Pemi.

1. A prime objective of being a camper at Pemi is having the opportunity to try and learn a variety of activities and occupations.

By being involved in and trying a variety of offerings, campers learn to appreciate the activities they are not familiar with and better understand and respect the campers and staff who lead or are involved in these activities.

Variety helps counteract the hyper-specialization that is so prevalent in schools and is so much a reality for children in America.

Involvement in a variety of occupations is a way to explore who you are and fosters the courage to grow and mature as a person.

It also encourages self-directed learning in a high reward/low risk environment and allows you to determine what may not be your passion, an important lesson as well.

2. Pemi is a joyous place.

Humor is an important aspect of being at Pemi. Humor lets us celebrate what we do and who we are, but it also helps us keep things in perspective.

Music is an important part of this joyous atmosphere, whether the music is all-camp singing, staff music, or the music campers enjoy in occupations. Music brings happiness and a sense of bonding to our community in part because it is something everyone can enjoy, be they professional musicians or campers who are simply singing in the mess hall.

We strive to achieve the highest professional standards in all our endeavors, but accept the reality that things don’t always go as planned. It is part of being human to make mistakes, and important to understand that they are inevitable and can be part of the happy reality of camp.

3. There are many ways to affirm and to serve others at Pemi.

Living intentionally is one way to affirm and serve and is a prime way to develop our sense of community. Living intentionally often means developing personally as you are learning to help others.

Role-modeling is everyone’s job at camp and is a primary way that we help the community to understand what it means to live intentionally.

Camp is a place to redesign or reinvent yourself each year, in large part because it is a safe place to grow and mature.

4. We always strive for and hold the community to the highest standards in everything we do.

We help campers look for and profit from the expertise that is around them on a daily basis during the summer.

The pursuit of the highest standards teaches as important a lesson as achieving the final product.

Showing respect for ourselves, others, and our setting, be it in camp or out of camp, is a vital standard to hold ourselves to.

5. Caring and inspiring relationships are at the core of the Pemi experience and are the driving force at camp.

Relationships made at camp are life-long, life-changing, and based on the common experience of being at Pemi.

These relationships are often cross-generational, are inclusive, and have within them the same standards of high expectations and responsibility that we try to achieve in all other facets of camp life.

Summer 2010: Newsletter #2

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Dear Pemi Parents and Friends,

What a wonderful first week we have had! The energy of the boys and the staff has been amazing, the weather quintessential New England (until this most recent heat wave), and the smiles on the faces of the whole Pemi community have been inspiring. Each night as I walk through the divisions it is wonderful to see the flashlights and headlamps in each cabin, signs that counselors are reading stories to their campers as they begin the process of learning to live harmoniously in a group of their peers.

The first week of camp has been a whirl-wind of activities, with trips heading out into the White Mountains and beyond, occupations in full swing, contests against other camps under way, and traditional evening activities, like Bean Soup and Campfire, there for the community to enjoy. The busy week culminated with a number of Independence Day activities, including the annual “Pee-rade,” Counselor Hunt, and Vaudeville Show in the Lodge. More on the Pee-rade in a moment.

Trips began this week with day outings to favorites like Mt. Cardigan, Mt. Cube, and Mt. Moosilauke. In the past few days, three- and four-day overnight trips have gone out to the Sandwich Range, the Kinsmans, and the Carters; and today, the second of two jaunts to AMC huts in the high Presidentials has also hit the road. Individual cabins have been enjoying delicious suppers prepared over an open fire at Flat Rock and Pine Forest, right here on Lower Baker Pond. Wow! Tom Reed Jr. estimated that 120 campers went out on trips last week, and we’re just getting warmed up.

One other trip highlight worth noting was the first of two annual Caving Trips that Larry Davis led to Schoharie, New York. Stay tuned for details on the trip in a future missive.

“Occupations,” which are the four hours of skill and activity teaching, began Monday, June 28. Campers participated in such occupations as the Silver Cornet Band, Beginning Butterflies and Moths, Archery, Introduction to Photography, Temari Balls, A Capella, Conditioning, Wood-working, and Instructional Swim, to name just a few. Department Heads and their staff spent a great deal of time planning each hour, and the teaching that followed was meant to lay the groundwork for the contests, trips, and performances which we also enjoyed during the week. A second week of occupations is just finishing and we look forward to witnessing the lessons learned from week two very soon.

As for contests against other camp, teams have played baseball, basketball, lacrosse, soccer, tennis, and even Ultimate Frisbee this week against our friendly rivals from Camps Moosilauke, Kingswood, and Walt Whitman. Some highlights of these contests included Nate Kraus coming up big as goalie for 15-and-under Lax (especially noteworthy as this was Nate’s maiden voyage in goal) and Jonathon Kenkel’s hat-trick during a Baker Valley soccer game against Walt Whitman.  The week of contests culminated in our annual day of competition against Moosilauke, which included fabulous play all-around, excellent sportsmanship, and the continued commitment to give every boy on the team quality playing time. For those of you keeping score at home. Pemi won six of these games, come up short three times, and tied one. Here’s a run down on the day from Athletic Director Charlie Malcolm:

This past Saturday, on a spectacular summer day, Pemi played their annual contest with their friends from Upper Baker, Camp Moosilauke. Doc Nick’s wonders, the Pemi 10-and-under baseball team, traveled to Moose and lost a close game 4-3.  Grant Noble pitched three scoreless innings in relief, and Pemi fought its way back to a 4-3 deficit with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 6th before having the door shut for the Moosilauke victory.  Also at Moose, the 11’s soccer team jumped out to a 4-0 halftime lead as Jamie Nicholas and the German twins, Christopher and Leonard Schmitz, combined with the Spanish connection of Pepe and Diego Periel to put Moose on their heels for a 6-2 Pemi victory.  The 11’s basketball team dropped their morning contest 19-16 despite a gallant effort provided by Lorenzo Ortiz, John Stevenson and James Pumphrey.  At Pemi, the “flagship” 15’s baseball team jumped out to a 7-0 lead behind excellent pitching from Dan Murphy and Nick Barber.  Timely hitting by Barber and Max Hernandez-Webster and aggressive base-running by the team kept our visitors under constant pressure.  The 13’s tennis team defeated Moose 3-2 behind stellar singles play of Ryan Meltzer and Alex Baskin and the inspiring doubles play of Sompy Somp and CJ Klinsky.  The 13’s soccer team played to a spirited 0-0 draw.  Ben Nicholas creatively orchestrated the attack while Carl Pohlman dominated the back line for Pemi.

After a much deserved rest hour and plenty of hydration, Pemi looked to continue their strong effort and commitment to each other.  The 10’s tennis team won a hard fought match 3-2 as Nick Toldalagi and Cortie Fischer lost close matches to talented 11s players while Patterson Malcolm delivered a 6-3 win to push Pemi to the victory.  The 12’s basketball team lost 25-14 to a very talented Moose team with Jack Purcell and Matt McCaffrey providing Pemi with inspiring play.

With Pemi holding a slim 4-3-1 lead in the overall standings, the Pemi 13’s baseball crew provided a decisive blow with a convincing 12-1 victory.  Daniel Reiff delivered a prodigious shot deep into neighboring Camp Merriwood to set the offensive tone while Michael DiGaetano drove in four runs with three hits.  Zack Leeds and Ryan Cassidy shut down the Moose bats with stellar pitching.  The 15’s lax team finished the day with an impressive 7-1 win.  Nate Kraus, under short preparation, delivered a 93% save rate while Gus Walsh was silky in his distribution on the attack and Nate Williams found the back of the net several times.  The sportsmanship and spirited play were equally impressive for both camps as Pemi carried the day 6-3-1.  This Saturday Pemi will take on their friends from Camp Kingswood before going up against Lanakila and Tecumseh in subsequent weeks.

As mentioned, the annual Pee-rade was one of the many highlights of Pemi’s Independence Day observances. Here’s TRJR’s take on this year’s edition, augmented by Dottie’s documentary photographs:

The Juniors!

Pemi’s Fourth of July celebrations have been highlighted, for as long as anyone can remember, with a splendiferous parade – fondly re-dubbed “The Pee-rade.” This year was no exception, and the 2010 edition was right up with the very best. In the distant Pemi past, every cabin mounted a “float” – some on wagons, some in wheelbarrows, some mounted on a cot hand-carried like a sedan chair – which passed by the judges’ stand like a flotilla of comic medieval pageant wagons. A few featured some dialogue, but the majority were tableaux vivants depicting memorable moments from national and Pemi history – The Boston Tea Party, Washington Crossing the Delaware, Betsy Ross sewing the first flag (and, naturally, the first Pemi T-shirt), or the Four Docs of Pemi plowing the camp potato patch with an infamously stubborn team of horses named Prince Helly and Mary Ootch (our own version of the Myth of Sisyphus). As modern drama emerged when the pageant wagons gave way to static performances in the courtyards of inns, so has the Pee-rade morphed into a series of comic skits acted out in front of the cultured Pemi Ancients who judge them. While most of the skits are planned little more than forty-five minutes in advance, their verve and inventiveness can be dazzling. Nothing like giving creative boys a captive audience (bearings gifts of Skittles) to get the inventive juices flowing like oil through a faulty blow-out preventer.

Lower 3

This year, as for time immemorial, the whole Junior Camp combined forces in a single act, less (we think) owing to their innate modesty than to a calculated scheme to get Skittles for all. Dressed in a stunning array of red, white, and blue, the lively denizens of Juniorville belted out a hearty rendition of “It’s aGrand Old Flag” that stirred our patriotic souls to the roots. Shades of “We Are the World,” with a cast of fifty and an average age of ten.

In the Lower Lowers, runners-up were Cabin One led by Brit Counselor Matthew Wadge, doing his best Simon Cowell impression in “Lower One’s Got Talent.” Tom Moore made a fair bid to take top honors with a stirring version of the camp Grace, but this year’s Susan Boyle was John Stevenson, reprising his act from the previous night’s campfire, crooning “Hey, Soul Sister” while strummin’ on the ol’ ukelele. The divisional crown, though, went to Lower 3 with a possibly actionable docu-drama on the famed Pemi sport “Frisbee Running Bases,” stressing the “Hammering Techniques” that staff are alleged to employ on the hapless camper participants. That Neil Band (Anderson Cooper for the Day) made the game sound like something invented by the Khmer Rouge seemed to please the sensation-crazy judges. We are pleased to confirm, though, that the humor the boys were going for was a kind that apparently depends heavily on exaggeration.

Lower 7

Coming in second in the Upper Lowers was Cabin Five, who re-enacted (or imagined) the job interviews of various Pemi senior staff, Charlie Malcom and Sam Seymour among them. Frighteningly like Associate Head of Nature Den Kure was AC Wesley Eifler, who managed to impersonate the most energetic soul and infectious teacher at Pemi in ways that sent the real Deb racing for a mirror to make sure she wasn’t already looking into one. Top spot, though, went to Nick Ridley’s crew in Lower Seven, with Sparky Brown, Hugh Grier, Nathaniel Kaplan, Sam Larson, Zack Leeds, Finn Tierney, and Max van Paasschen posing as an elegant septet of Michelin-attuned diners having to put up with the limitations of Pemi cuisine, deceivingly touted by Nick in a way that assure his future in deceptively varnished television infomercials if he ever chooses that route.

Upper 1

You really “had to be there” to appreciate fully Upper Four’s revamping of a Larry Davis Maine Story presented just last week and centering on a Down East farmer who lets his neighbor repeat his own fatal dosing (with turpentine) of his ailing cattle just because his simple comrade asks about the attempted cure and not about the results. Transplanting the narrative to Pemi and replacing the ill kine with campers and the turpentine with Germ-X Hand Sanitizer (a Pemi staple), Dan Murphy as Danny Kerr and Nick Butler at Tom Reed, Jr. would have brought down the house, if the Pee-rade hadn’t been an open-air affair. Snatching away the Skittles, though, was Upper One’s paean to the Birth of the Pemi Kid(s), with Alex Truitt as the long-suffering Mom and the core narrative bearing a suspicious resemblance to the tale of the Annunciation and the birth of Jesus. (Assertions of Pemi’s sanctity could hardly be pressed any further.) Diehard fans of Monty Python might have felt the torch had been passed to Ben Walsh’s own loony crew.

Senior 1

Finally, the Seniors were paced by Lake-Tenters Chris Dollman, Mason Challinor, Nick Barber, and Teddy Gales in an equally loony skit about Mason travelling back in a plywood time machine (undoubtedly built with hand tools in our own Woodshop) to the first Pemi Bean Soup season in 1910. Perhaps because the moral cribbed so thoroughly from The Wizard of Oz, though (Mason jetting back to the future intoning “There’s no place like home!”), the judges – who value originality above all else – gave the nod to Senior One. Their deal? A politically fractious examination of the new Pemi Package Policy (flat packages only, on a minimalist scale, and only infrequently). Just when it seemed the very institution of Pemi would combust amidst the heat of the debate over the new rules, up stepped Abe Lincoln to take a bold stand for the inherent (and, yes, God-given) fairness of uniform package size and delivery schedule. Actually, it was Dan Fulham, who looked for all the world like the Stove-piped Log Cabin Nation-saver himself. But any skit which so thoroughly confuses the triumphs of the Nation with the trivialities of Pemi invariably sweeps the judges away, and this year was no exception.

All in all, it was a Grand Old Seventy-five minutes of Pee-rade, and not even the sight of four score and seven staff members plunging off the high dive after being caught in the ensuing Counselor Hunt generated more camper smiles than 2010’s inspired acts.

Here’s to 2011!

I want to mention an exercise I did with senior staff (Charlie Malcolm, Kenny Moore, Larry Davis, Brian Mitchell, James Finley, Porter Hill, Tom Ciglar, and Tom Reed Jr.) in May, which gave me great insight into the Pemi “experience.” I asked this group what they thought were the Values and Beliefs that shaped Pemi, and this question inspired us to write a “vision piece,” which has been posted on the Pemi Blog; enjoy!

Finally, let me hasten to thank you parents specifically for sharing your sons with us this summer. I know from experience how hard it is to stand back and let them develop and grow elsewhere, without your having the chance to see and be with them at this exciting time. Please know that we take this responsibility very seriously and feel tremendous gratitude for the days and evenings we have with the wonderful boys who make up Pemi 2010.

–Danny Kerr

Summer 2010: Staff bios

The 2010 Pemi staff atop Mt. Cardigan during pre-season training.

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, and this summer is no exception. While for a few of the staff this is their first summer at Pemi, the vast majority has years and years (and in some cases, years and years and years!) of experience on the shores of Lower Baker. We are grateful for their dedication and work ethic, impressed by their multitudinous talents, and humbled by their dedication to Pemi.

Cabin Counselors:

Zachary Barnard (J1): A former Pemi camper, Zach is entering his sophomore year at Boston University. He is from Savannah, Georgia, and he’s greatly looking forward to seeing new parts of the world, making new friends from around the globe, and pursuing a newfound passion in psychology.

Michael Zabar (J2): From New York City, Michael was a camper at Pemi for seven years. This is his first summer as a counselor. A rising sophomore at Tufts University, Michael will be instructing in soccer and basketball this summer.

Jeremy Keys (J3): A rising senior at Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA, Jeremy is from Downingtown, PA. A huge Philadelphia Eagles and Phillies fan, Jeremy runs track at Dickinson and has played the cello for over 10 years. “I heard about Pemi from one of my best friends (Dwight Dunston) who told me it was an amazing opportunity to have fun working with kids, build outstanding relationships with great people, and try new things. I am excited for my first season at Pemi and am looking forward to a memorable summer.”

Michael Benham (J4 and Junior Division Head): From Grafton, NH, Mike is a graduate of a five-semester program at the Collective School of Music in New York City, majoring in Electric Bass Performance. Mike took the winter off from school, save for studying privately on the upright bass. This spring, Mike completed a month of residency at the Zen Mountain Monastery in Mt. Tremper, NY. He’ll be teaching jazz, bass, ensembles, and Zen meditation. “I aim to make myself a resource to juniors and camp staff and build a burnin’ quintet.”

Alastair Bowman (J5): Originally from Middlesbrough in the North East of England, Alastair has spent much of his life living abroad, including Nigeria, Oman, and Scotland. He has finished high school and taken a gap year before starting a course in Philosophy at St. Andrews in Scotland. “During my gap year I completed a charity trip to India and look forward to a summer at Pemi, where I hope to help the campers have as good a time as I am sure I will.”

Alexander Hadden (J6): From Weston, MA, Alex has just completed his freshman year at Elon University where he will be majoring in Communications. This will be his ninth summer at Camp Pemi, his third on staff. He will spend most of the summer on the waterskiing dock teaching wakeboarding and waterskiing.

Conner Scace (JT): From Mishicot, WI, Conner recently graduated from Elmira College where he majored in Biology. Conner will be teaching various nature occupations this summer. “I developed an interest in insects over the course of three visits to the Smithsonian. I will be moving to New Haven, CT, to start my master’s in Environmental Science with Larry Davis in the fall.”

Matt Wadge (L1): Hailing from Salisbury in the UK, Matt has just finished a gap year and will be heading to Bangor University in North Wales to study Marine Biology and Oceanography. “This is my first season at Pemi, and I am looking forward to having a great summer.”

Henry Eisenhart (L2 and Lower Division Head): Henry is a rising junior at St. Lawrence University. This is his eighth year at Pemi and his second on staff. This summer he will be teaching baseball, soccer, basketball, tennis, and music. “I learned a lot last year, and now am ready to continue that learning and take on the role of lower-lower division head.”

Alex Reese (L3): This is Alex’s eighth summer at Pemi, his third as a staff member. From Wyomissing, PA, Alex studies psychology and economics at Johns Hopkins University. “This summer at Pemi, I hope to spend a lot of time on the baseball diamond and tennis courts preparing for Tecumseh Day.”

Erik Wiedenmann (L4): Hailing from Berlin, Germany, Erik moved to the USA to study Visual Arts and Literature at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Tufts University, respectively. After four years as a camper, this is his first year back as a cabin counselor. His interests include drawing, painting, and sports. “I am very excited to be back at Pemi, and am looking forward to another fantastic season.”

Will Clare (HT): From Manhattan, NY, Will is currently a student at Miami of Ohio, having previously attended The Loomis Chaffee School. “I will be teaching lacrosse and various other sports, and this is my tenth season at Pemi.”

Ted McChesney (L5 and Lower Division Head): From Richmond, VA, Ted is a rising senior at the University of Virginia where he double majors in history and French. This is his tenth year at Pemi, and this summer he will be teaching tennis, baseball, swimming, soccer, and basketball. “I am looking forward to another great summer on the shores of Lower Baker.”

Kevin O’Brien (L6): Hailing from Potomac, MD, Kevin was on the Junior Olympic archery team for Maryland and Virginia before heading to Kenyon College, where he is a rising junior. An avid rugby player, Kevin is a neuroscience major with a focus in bio-psychology and comparative neuroscience. This is his first summer at Pemi, where he is the Head of Archery.

Nick Ridley (L7): A returning counselor from North East England, Nick will be a third year chemistry student at Edinburgh University this fall. “I spent my first season at Pemi last year and since then, having had a wicked summer with the guys in Lower 7, I’ve been desperate to get back out here. I’m really looking forward to catching up with some of the faces from last summer over the next seven weeks.”

Ben Walsh (U1): Ben is returning for his ninth year at camp (his third on staff) after spending a gap year in the Middle East. In the fall he will be a freshman at Carleton College. This summer, he will spend the majority of his time coaching baseball and soccer.

Fitz Stueber (U2): Currently at Washington and Jefferson College, Fitz is an international business major who also plays varsity soccer. This is Fitz’s sixth year at Pemi, his first on staff. This summer he will be teaching soccer and woodworking.

Mark Winter (U3): This is Mark’s first year at Camp Pemi. From Newcastle, UK, Mark is in his second year at Leeds University in England. This summer he will be teaching percussion.

Sam Seymour (U4 and Upper Division Head): A rising senior at Vassar College, Sam has spent seven years at Pemi. This will be his third year on staff. Sam is looking forward to working with this year’s very strong lacrosse staff and continuing the program’s winning tradition, as well as teaching basketball, goalkeeping, and nature occupations. “My exposure to the nature program at Pemi has been very exciting. I’m hoping to continue learning under the guidance of our stellar nature staff while passing that knowledge along to the campers.”

Cory Fauver (S1 and Senior Division Head): This will be Cory’s eleventh season at Pemi, including Pemi West. He will be the head of the windsurfing program this summer, in addition to coaching soccer and ultimate Frisbee. Cory is a rising junior at Carleton College. “This year I hope to assist the senior campers in taking leadership roles across camp.”

Alexander Buteux (S2): Zander hails from Madison, NJ, and attends the University of Denver, studying engineering and business. A goalie on the Division 1 men’s lacrosse team, Zander will be instructing lacrosse, soccer, and windsurfing. This is his eighth summer at Pemi, and first as a counselor. “I took five summers off in between and I’m very excited to see the other side of the camp experience.”

Dwight Dunston (S3 and Senior Division Head): Dwight just graduated from Dickinson College where he majored in English and minored in Poetry. This fall he will be entering a Master’s program in Poetry at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England. Here at camp, he will be teaching basketball, track & field, poetry, and comedy improv. “In my second year here at Pemi, I hope to once again provide a safe and exciting atmosphere for the campers where they can grow and learn new things from the counselors and also from each other.”

Chris Dollman (LT): A native of Edinburgh, Scotland, Chris is a rising junior at the University of St. Andrews where he studies Financial Economics. Chris will teach sailing and soccer this summer. “This is my second year at Pemi – the Pemi bug got me! I plan to build on the really enjoyable year I had last year and make the 2010 season memorable.”

Assistant Counselors:

Austin Blumenfeld (Assistant Counselor J1): This is Austin’s fifth summer at Pemi. In the fall, he will be a senior at Horace Greeley High School in Chappaqua, NY. Austin will be teaching baseball, track, and tennis. “I look forward to having a great summer with the campers.”

Willy Rittling (Assistant Counselor J2): From Brookline, MA, Willy graduated from Brookline High School this past June and will be attending Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY, this fall. A three-year Pemi veteran, Willy will be teaching running, windsurfing, and other water sports this summer.

Adam Sandler (Assistant Counselor J4): This will be Adam’s eighth summer at Pemi and his first on staff. Adam will be teaching lacrosse, swimming, and fishing. “Pemi has been my home away from home since I was nine years old and I am really excited to be a part of the staff that makes this place so special.”

Richard Komson (Assistant Counselor J5): From New York City, Richard is a rising senior at the Loyola School in Manhattan. He spent six summers as a Pemi camper and attended Pemi West last summer. This summer Richard will teach nature occupations as well as athletics.

David Bowes (Assistant Counselor J6): David is entering 11th grade at Mercersburg Academy in PA. Originally from Stamford, CT, he now hails from Washington, DC, along with his brother Daniel (a camper this summer). “I love sports and competition, and hope to play college lacrosse. I currently swim as well, and will be playing football for the first time in the fall. Pemi is a long tradition in my family (my grandfather and father attended), and I am very excited to join the Pemi legacy this summer.”

Aidan Daniell (Assistant Counselor L1): Aidan just graduated from Brooks School and will be heading to Wesleyan University in the fall. Aidan will be teaching waterskiing, lacrosse, and soccer. “I decided to be an Assistant Counselor here at Pemi because I loved it here so much as a camper. I hope this summer I can help to create the best experience possible for the campers and counselors.”

William Sargent (Assistant Counselor L2): A recent graduate of the Westminster School, Will will be a freshman at Union College next year. This summer at camp he will teach tennis, lacrosse, and various waterfront activities. “I also hope to go on a couple of camping trips throughout the summer.”

Andrew McChesney (Assistant Counselor L3): Andrew is a rising senior at Millburn High School where he plays both hockey and lacrosse. A six-year Pemi veteran, this is Andrew’s first time on staff. This summer he will be spending most of his time on the lacrosse field or at the boathouse.

Wesley Eifler (Assistant Counselor L5): A rising senior at Choate Rosemary Hall, Wesley is from New Canaan, CT. He was a camper at Pemi for seven years and, after taking one year off, he is back as an AC. This summer he will be teaching baseball, photography, and sailing. “Over the course of the summer I would like to bring back occupations like improv and guerrilla theater.”

Cody Ladden (Assistant Counselor U1): From West Boylston, MA, Cody just completed his junior year at West Boylston Middle/High School. Passionate about nature, weather, and the outdoors, Cody will be teaching nature, archery, and swimming this summer. “I hope to make many excellent friends during my first summer at Pemi.”

Jay McChesney (Assistant Counselor U3): Hailing from Richmond, VA, Jay is a rising senior at St. Christopher’s School where he plays squash and lacrosse. This is Jay’s seventh summer at Pemi, and he will be teaching lacrosse, swimming, and sailing. “Pemi is the place where I first learned how to sail and it is something I really enjoy now. I hope I can pass my love for sailing on to Pemi campers.

Bridgid Ruf (Assistant Counselor): This is Bridgid’s second summer at Pemi. Hailing from Southport, CT, Bridgid just graduated from the Lawrenceville School and will be attending Wellesley College in the fall. Bridgid also plays viola and piano. “I am looking forward to teaching music lessons, performing at campfire and Sunday meetings, as well as participating in the Gilbert and Sullivan show this summer.”

Olivia Walsh (Assistant Counselor): From New Canaan, CT, Olivia is a rising junior at Northfield Mount Hermon School. For the past eight summers Olivia has been a camper at the Aloha Camps, but she is excited to spend this summer at Pemi with three of her brothers. A varsity rower and soccer player, Olivia will be spending most of her time this summer teaching swimming and sailing. “I am really looking forward to these next seven weeks.”

Program Staff:

Jamie Andrews (Trip Counselor): Jamie has returned for his twelfth summer at Pemi and fourth year on staff. He is looking forward to sharing the pristine beauty of the White Mountains with campers. Jamie is a rising junior at Kenyon College, majoring in Political Science. In camp he will be instructing at the waterfront and on the rugby pitch.

Ian Axness (Head of Music): After moving to NYC last September, Ian is currently working with various arts institutions as a freelance accompanist, music director, and intern. This will be his fourth summer at Pemi. He will be teaching piano, instrumental group improvisation, and Gilbert & Sullivan occupations, in addition to performing/accompanying throughout the season. Also very excited to serve as Co-Head of Campfire and Bean soup editor!

Anna Ciglar (Head of the Arts Program): Anna is back for her eleventh summer at Pemi. She teaches middle and high school science at a small private boarding school in Rindge, NH. She plays the bagpipes and competes all over New England as a piper. She is also an instructor in Scottish Highland Dancing. “At Pemi I teach things like Ukrainian eggs, temari balls, and duct tape crafts. I can usually be found in the company of my 4-year old son, Jonathan, who wants to be a Pemi kid when he is bigger.”

Larry Davis (Director of Nature Programs and Teaching):  A geologist, caver, flautist, and former NCAA soccer referee, Larry has spent 41 years on the Pemi staff. He received his AB from Washington University in St. Louis and his Ph.D in Geological Sciences from the University of Rochester. During the off-season, Larry is a professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of New Haven.

Porter Hill (Assistant Administrator): This is Porter’s twentieth summer at Pemi, his thirteenth on staff. Currently a third-grade teacher at Greenwich Country Day School, Porter will spend the first few weeks of the summer at Pemi teaching soccer, baseball, and nature.

Evan Jewett (Head of Shop): Evan has spent the last several years working as a cabinetmaker, furniture crafter, and finish carpenter. “I am excited to pass along my skills to Pemi campers. Along the way, I hope also to impart my great appreciation for finely crafted wooden pieces, be they artistic, decorative, or purely functional.”

Deb Kure (Associate Head of Nature Programs): After studying Geology at the University of Rochester, Deb attended the first Nature Instructors’ Clinic at Pemi in 1993. That led to seasonal outdoor science teaching and trip-leading jobs at outdoor schools, ranches, and camps across the US. After five and a half years as an Outreach Instructor with the Education Division of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, a move to New Hampshire brought Deb back to Pemi in 2008. “I’ve been delighted to be involved with such an in-depth nature program. Trips to area mines and geology hotspots of the White Mountains are an especial treat to enjoy with campers! A move this year to Austin, Texas, has made returning to the North Woods and the Pemi family each summer all the more mandatory!”

Noble Macfarlane (Trip Counselor): A native of San Francisco, Noble just graduated from Brown University. This is his tenth summer at Pemi. While not on trips, Noble will be instructing campers in competitive swimming, piano, and nature. Noble is also a lifeguard, Wilderness First Responder, organist, and mathematician.

Brian Mitchell (Head of Staff): This is Brian’s eleventh year at Pemi and his seventh on staff. This summer he will be the Head of Staff, overseeing counselor and assistant counselor responsibilities. He currently lives in Baltimore, MD, where he teaches upper school math at the Boys’ Latin School of Maryland. He is also the 9th grade Dean and a coach of JV boys’ soccer and lacrosse.

Ken Moore (Director of Water Activities): From Rocky River, OH, Ken is the Head of Waterfront and has also helped coordinate staff hiring for the past two winters. This is Ken’s eighteenth year at Pemi. During the school year Ken teaches history in the Upper School at Lake Ridge Academy and has recently been named Director of Alumni Affairs. Ken received his BA from Kenyon College and his Master’s in Education from the TAP Program in Cleveland.

Abby Reed (Co-Head of Junior Camp): From Carlisle, PA, this is Abby’s fifth summer working at Pemi (although she’s been around for many more summers!). In January Abby will graduate from Middlebury College, where she studies English literature and art history. “This summer I’m excited to be Co-Head of the Junior Camp, and I’m also looking forward to teaching swimming and nature.”

Dottie Reed (Head Administrator): This is Dottie’s twenty-third summer at Pemi, and the first as a year-round staff member. Though she’ll spend a few hours a day in the office, she hopes to be out and about with campers, enjoying art projects, conversations, and being a surrogate mom to anyone who might want one. “It has been a fascinating off-season, working on the new website, blog, and online capabilities. I hope you have enjoyed the results!”

Peter Scheuermann (Trip Counselor): This is Peter’s second year at Pemi. He is a rising junior at Carleton College, where he studies geology. Peter will spend the first session at Pemi before heading to Lima, Peru, in August for a study abroad program. “I hope to lead some great rain-free trips this summer.”

Fred Seebeck: Fred joined the Pemi family forty-seven summers ago, when he was in Junior 3. During the off-season he is a teacher and coach at the Loomis Chaffee School. “Since my first summer at Pemi, my experiences as a counselor and coach at Pemi have led me to a very fulfilling 34 year career in secondary education. I cannot fully express my gratitude for these gifts.”

Paige Wallis (Instructor): This is Paige’s first summer at Pemi. A rising junior at the University of Vermont, Paige studies English and history and will be teaching swimming and life guarding this summer. “I can’t wait to experience all that is Camp Pemi.”

Kelsey Wensberg (Childcare): Kelsey is returning as a second year staff member at Pemi. From Darien, CT, Kelsey attends Portsmouth Abbey School in Rhode Island. This summer she will be looking after staff children. “I’m looking forward to making many new friendships as I did last year. Pemi truly is a blessing and I’m so excited to be back once again.”

Johanna Zabawa (Co-Head of Junior Camp): This is Johanna’s sixth year at Pemi. From Afton, MN, Johanna works as a family social worker at Moreland Elementary School. This summer she is excited to be co-heading the Junior Camp and coaching baseball.