• Alumni Magazine
  • Camp Pemigewassett
  • Pemi Alumni
  • Pemi History

Alumni Newsletter – 2017 Preview

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

2017 CAMPERS

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

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

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

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

PEMI STAFF

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

Don Webster instructing Pemi boys on the art of bunting.

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

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

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

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

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

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

FACILITY UPDATE

A new cross section joins together the traditional twin piers.

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

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

A new superb playing surface for baseball and lacrosse.

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

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

You may enjoy these, as well

Johanna Zabawa – Assistant Director

I am excited to share the news that Johanna Zabawa has joined the directorial team ...

The Distance Swim

Generations of Pemi campers have swum their distance, helping to establish this camp tradition as ...

Pemi Hut Trips: Part Two

If you missed Part One of our hut trip series, focused on Greenleaf Hut, here ...

Pemi Hut Trips: Part One

From their earliest days as Juniors, Pemi campers take to the trails to experience the ...

Cans from Campers Program Receives National Award

New Orleans, LA – February 6, 2024 Camp Pemigewassett is proud to announce that our Cans from Campers ...

Defining Photos of 2023

As we count down to the end of 2023, we want to take a moment to ...

Alumni News & Notes – Winter 2023

Greetings, Pemi Family! As we steadily march towards the end of an eventful 2023, I’m ...

Pemi West 2023

Pemi West provides former and new campers alike with the opportunity to hone their wilderness ...

Community Service & Engagement at Pemi

The Pemi experience provides innumerable opportunities for boys to have fun, try new activities, improve ...

2023 Newsletter #7

Greetings from Pemi! Hard as it is to believe, we’re well into the final ...

2023 Newsletter #6

Camp Pemi and our friends from Camp Tecumseh on Lake Winnipesaukee have engaged in a ...

2023 Newsletter #5

Hello from Wentworth! The second session of Pemi’s 116th summer continues to benefit from ...

2023 Newsletter #4

Greetings from sunny Wentworth! The sky is blue, the sun is shining, and it’s ...

2023 Newsletter #3

Hello from the shores of the expanded Lower Baker Pond! It’s been quite a ...

2023 Newsletter #2

Hello from the shores of Lower Baker Pond! On the heels of a wonderful celebration ...

2023 Newsletter #1

Greetings from Camp Pemigewassett! I’m thrilled to be sharing the first newsletter of the 2023 ...

2023 Pemi Staff

We’re under two days away from the opening of Pemi’s 116th summer! Our ...

Waiters & Camp Aides

As boys progress through their Pemi journey, the opportunities for new adventures and leadership increase. ...

Birthdays at Pemi

What could be better than getting to celebrate your birthday once a year, every year? ...

Reading After Taps

It should come as no surprise to anyone who’s ever been around boys aged 8...

2022-2023 Pemi Board Updates

Last fall, Pemi’s Board of Directors welcomed two new members and also saw the ...

Defining Photos of 2022

As 2022 draws to a close and winter begins to rear its head in earnest across ...

2022 16s Trip

In many ways, the 2022 Pemi West trip could be described as a homecoming. Our first ...

Bertha Hofstra Fauver – September 23, 1920 – October 1, 2022

We are saddened to share the news that Bertha Fauver died on October 1, just one ...

115th Reunion Newsletter!

After a hugely successful 2022 season, including record attendance at our third annual Family Camp, members ...

fireworks at Camp Pemi

Welcome back Johanna Zabawa!

I’m thrilled to share that Johanna Zabawa, a veteran staff member and great-granddaughter of ...

Karl Grafton See – October 2, 1970-September 9, 2022

Karl Grafton See, consummate Pemi boy, counselor, and lifelong friend, has died in Duxbury, MA ...

banner image newsletter 8

2022 Newsletter #8

Greetings from Camp Pemigewassett! I’m writing, sadly, not from the placid shores of Lower ...

2022 Newsletter #6

Good afternoon from yet another beautiful day in Wentworth, The weather here at Pemi continues ...