Greetings Alumni and Friends. Here is the second installment of the Pemi Alumni Quarterly! The first edition outlined the 2015 summer, offering an update on Pemi’s facility, enrollment, and an in-depth look at our Senior Division Head. This edition highlights two Pemi Alumni, their memories of camp, and their lives since. Thanks to Jake Sargent (87-96) and Bill Bradford (43-53) for being profiled in this edition.
And finally, Things to Look For…the 3rd Edition slated for winter, will feature Alumni News, so please be in contact with any updates: new job, marriage, family addition, wonderful trip? We’d love to hear and share with the Pemi community.
Jake Sargent, an eight year Pemi veteran, former camper, and counselor lives in Washington D.C. with his wife Ann, and children Janie, Zander, and Nick. Jake is now a senior director for APCO Worldwide focusing his expertise on crisis communication.
He started his Pemi career in 1987 as a camper in Lower 5, with Robie Johnson as his counselor. During his camper years, Jake was a mainstay on the tennis courts, baseball diamond, and rifle range, earning letters in those sports all four years. One of his favorite memories as a boy at Pemi was summiting Mt. Osceola with his cabin. Upon finishing the hike, the boys jumped in a nearby stream, which started a love of jumping into bodies of water. Jake is a card-carrying member of the Pemi Polar Bear Club.
In 1989, Bean Soup incorrectly predicted that in 2014, ‘Jake Sargent [is] a dentist in Washington, D.C. He is popular because he is so nice. Patients love to go to the dentist even to get their teeth pulled.’ That same year, similar gracious sentiments were written about Jake, as he won the Senior Divisional Citizenship trophy, with the individualized inscription, ‘Quiet in word, but strong in deed, happy to extend himself to others in help and friendship, a superb camp citizen in every sense of the word.’ Jake won the Founders Citizenship trophy in 1990 as a member of Senior 3.
In 1992, Jake transitioned to being an Assistant Counselor in Junior Camp and immediately found a passion working with the youngest campers. During the school year, Jake studied government at Cornell University and from 1994-1996, held down the fort in Junior 1, demonstrating an uncanny patience and genuine joy working with 7 and 8 year olds. During those years, he won the Joe Campbell Award and served as a Bean Soup editor. It’s obvious that Jake’s years in Junior 1 prepared him well for his role as a
crisis communicator, helping companies weather big storms.
When thinking about Pemi, Jake reminisces, “It all began with rest hour. Sunday rest hour meant writing a letter home. Letters home meant thinking and writing with a little exaggeration; thinking and writing with a little exaggeration led to being a Bean Soup editor with Sky Fauver and Zach Rossetti. Thinking and writing with even a little more exaggeration led to speechwriting for Governor Schwarzenegger and after that a member of Congress. From there it was an easy transition to crisis communications.”
“Also,” Jake reflects, “rest time is part of our family weekend routine, which has been invaluable to raising our children and loving them even more. There are times when camp is more present in our lives than others. So take it all in when we are physically there, and then pack up the character, humility, skills, and friendships and take them with us when we’re not.”
Bill Bradford grew up in Rochester, New York, where his father was a pediatrician at the University of Rochester. In 1943, under the recruitment of Doc Win, (Edwin Fauver who served as U of R’s Director of Athletics), Bill attended Pemi and first lived in Lower 4 with Wes Merritt as his counselor. Bill would later enjoy the counseling tutelage of other Pemi legends, including Brad Jones and Joe Campbell. He always did have an eye for talent, as you’ll learn later! Bill enjoyed nature study, baseball, track, riflery, and acting during his camper days, even winning the 1946 Vaudeville Award for Best Actor.
Vivid memories leap to mind for Bill when asked about his camper days. “Of course the business of childhood is fun and these good things are available in abundance at Pemi; the Nature program (who will forget Mr. Dike!), the music and Mr. Waln directing the Pemi Silver Cornet Band, along with the trips up Pemi Hill, to the Rock, Mt. Cube, and Goves Falls, not to mention the Franconia and Presidential ranges. It’s a very rich experience and I was so fortunate to have been there.”
Bill spent his ten summers on the shores of Lower Baker, and even throughout his time at Amherst College, served as a counselor. After Bill’s years at Pemi, he earned his medical degree from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. Bill completed his board training in pediatrics in Boston, and then served as a pediatrician in the US Navy, before returning to Harvard as the Chief Resident in Pathology at the Boston Lying-In and Women’s Free Hospital, now Brigham and Women’s Hospital. In 1965, Bill moved to North Carolina to begin his work at Duke University, where he became a professor of Pathology in 1981. His passion for medical education led him to serve as the Director of the Residency Training Program in Pathology, and now in his current role on the executive committee for the Duke School of Medicine Admissions, reading applications and interviewing candidates. During his tenure at Duke, he also served as Faculty Chairman of Athletics, charged in 1979 with the task of hiring a new men’s basketball coach. I’d say Coach K fit the bill!
While at Duke University, Bill served as a volunteer physician at Camp Sea Gull/Seafarer in North Carolina, where in 2011, he celebrated 40 years of service to one of the largest YMCA camps in the country. He is no stranger to the camping world: “Overnight camping is a formative and life changing experience for youth in surroundings of health, safety and strong leadership. Those priceless days in the White Mountains at Pemi fostered enduring appreciation of natural beauty, sharing with others, development of skills, leadership, and confidence. Little did I know that my future would be in education and medicine, the groundwork largely formed by the leadership experience at camp.”
Bill and his wife Anne, have two children and four grandchildren.
Good luck, long life, and joy!