Welcome to the next installment of the Pemigewassett Alumni Newsletter. In this edition, we will preview the coming summer with an update on 2019’s campers, staff, and facility.
Pemi’s 112th campaign provides a healthy mix of campers from around the country and the world. Boys from twenty-six states will travel to Pemi for the summer, along with a recent record number of international campers. Seventy-five campers will be with us for the full summer and all told, two hundred and fifty-three boys will be Pemi campers. Approximately 30% of our campers this summer are legacies, boys whose father, grandfather, uncle, etc. were once campers or staff members. Alumni have been wonderful advocates of the Pemi experience, spreading news about camp far and near. We are very thankful to all members of our community who share the joy of Pemi.
Our retention of 2018 campers was very high, with roughly 85% of those eligible to do so choosing to return. Seventy-two boys will be in their first summer at Pemi and on the flip side, fifty-five boys will be in their fifth, sixth, seventh, or eighth summer! We love having this range of Pemi experience, as our savvy veterans are eager to welcome new camp friends to the Pemi family. Every Pemi camper remembers his first summer at camp and how warm and supportive the community was during their first few days. In order to create this environment, we speak to all veteran campers about how to demonstrate leadership with a friendly, guiding hand.
Pemi West, relocated to Colorado this year, has eleven participants. Click here to read about the newly revamped Pemi West Program. Excitement surrounds the tremendous outdoor opportunities with our partner, Deer Hill Expeditions, from canoeing down the San Juan River, to service with the native Navajo population, to hiking in the San Juan Mountains. Stay tuned for updates and pictures!
The boys are in for a real treat this summer with the staff that Team Pemi has assembled. In the counselor ranks, 80% of our cabin staff were once Pemi boys, former campers with a burning desire to return to share their love of camp with the next generation. Sixty percent of our counselors have been staff members before, many for multiple summers. This veteran group of counselors will set high leadership standards for the entire counseling staff.
Most Program Heads return to Pemi from 2018, complimented by newly appointed Program Heads who’ve come directly from the talent pool of Pemi-grown instructors. Michaella Frank, in her fifth Pemi summer, will run our music department; Sam Papel will be our Head of Trips; Nick Davini will be the Pemi West Director, Erik Wiedenmann will be the Head of Staff; and Will Meinke will be our Assistant Head of Staff and Head of ACs. Three-year veteran staff members, Chloe Jacques and Hattie McLeod, will run the sailing program and canoeing program respectively.
Our Division Heads have vast Pemi experience: three are former boys with multiple years on staff and the fourth is a five-year veteran counselor. More details about our staff will be forthcoming with the traditional self-introductions in the next edition of the Pemi Blog. For now, we profile one of our Division Heads, Nick Bertrand.
Nick Bertrand leads the Senior Camp in 2019. Nick’s Pemi story began in 2006 as a camper. After eight years as a camper and a stint on Pemi West in 2014, Nick will be in his fourth year on staff. A rising senior at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, Nick is a Biomedical Engineering major with a minor in Mechanical Engineering. His affinity towards science and math started early in life with an interest in solving puzzles and problems. The Biomedical field offers an opportunity to investigate the way our bodies interface with technology, a study that fascinates him.
This past spring, Nick earned valuable work experience at a five month co-op program with the Engineering Materials Group of Parker Hannifin Corporation. After graduation, Nick hopes to work with prosthetics in a research and design role. Nick is a member of the men’s varsity soccer team, the Sigma Alpha Epsilon social fraternity, and Theta Tau, the professional engineering fraternity.
Serving as the leader of the Senior Camp brings back memories of Nick’s first summer at Pemi in 2006. “My parents dropped me off in junior camp and left to bring my brother back up to seniors. I was terrified, looking around the cabin at the other beds, not really hearing my counselor Michael Bryant instruct me on how to organize my stacks of clothes. Then two boys in the cabin came right up to me, introduced themselves, and asked if I wanted a tour. Ben Conklin and Matt Kanovsky made it so easy for me to adjust to camp life just by being kind and helpful to me. I credit them a lot for my love of camp because if they had not been so nice right off the bat, who knows what would have happened that first year.”
Nick is excited about his role as the Senior Camp Division Head. “I remember my years in Senior Camp quite well because of how much I enjoyed them. This year I hope to bring that same level of joy to the boys. Seniors typically get a few more privileges than the rest of camp, and I hope to create an environment where they can show that they truly deserve these privileges by becoming leaders and being engaged in all aspects of camp.”
Pemi’s tireless Buildings and Grounds team continues their excellent work in beautifying our wonderful facility. Improvements and enhancements can be seen throughout camp. Here are a few highlights:
– Substantial work was done this fall installing larger culverts under the camp road to improve the flow of the streams off of Pemi Hill.
– A new recycling platform was poured behind the loading dock of the Mess Hall to refine our collection efforts.
– Upper 1 and Lower 5 received a fresh new interior look with new bunks, shelves, and a refinished floor. The most lavish feature in the updated cabins are newly-designed windows that glide gently to the side, allowing for improved airflow and also brilliant protection from any weather.
– Along with U1 and L5, other Intermediate Hill residents will enjoy a stunning new Polar Bear stone-path that replaces the steep, wooden stairs.
– New stand-up paddle boards will grace Lower Baker Pond, along with the Malibu ski-boat and its rebuilt engine.
– The office floor was refinished.
– Improved hot water tanks will fuel showers in the Intermediate Shower House, a new roof protects the Junior Lodge, and the three Squish houses have been updated.
Some exciting plans are in the works for new capital improvements, but stay tuned for more word on that in a future Pemi publication. Until then,
Good luck, long life, and joy!