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Instructional Activities | Staff Expertise

Camp Pemigewassett Newsletter #6

As we head into the home stretch of Pemi 2021, we have been blessed with our nicest run of weather so far this season! This has brought with it a flurry of activity, with boys participating in a wide range of events across all of our program areas. Art World is packed at all hours of the day, the Nature Program has been sending out daily trips to give boys the chance to engage in field work, and the Trip Program has hikers of all ages enjoying some spectacular climbs. At the moment four Seniors – Julian Berk, Taran Doumboya-Danielou, George Purdy, and Kai Stone – are on a four-day hike in the Mahoosuc Range, guided by Trip Leader Alice Riley and Assistant Counselor Thomas Nielsen. Meanwhile, a group of Uppers – Blake Riley, Greg Herrera, Cole Johnstone, Teddy Lear, Lucas Vitale, Chris Capillo, and Owen Whitcombe – are on a three-day hike along the Bond Cliff Trail in the Pemigewasset Wilderness, accompanied by Jack Davini and Bennett Braden. Several day hikes have gone out in the past week as well, including Junior trips to Stinson and Cardigan, and a Senior trip up Mts. Eisenhower and Pierce. All of these intrepid hikers are lucky to be enjoying these signature Pemi trips during this stretch of classic August weather! Back at Pemi, the cast of The Pirates of Penzance is hard at work preparing for next week’s performances, under the stewardship of director Beanie Lawrence and pianist Taiko Pelick. In every realm of the Pemi program, the boys are thriving!

Trip Leader Alice Riley, AC Thomas Nielson, and four seniors start their four-day hike in the Mahoosuc Range
15s Alex Newman and Priester Davis help with 10-and-under Basketball

Almost unbelievably, this week marks the final installment of our instructional activities for the summer. Boys have been engaged in some new and exciting offerings, such as Advanced Soccer Training for boys thirteen and older, Paddleboard Explore, Environmental Sculpture, Mandala Printmaking, Field Insects, and much more. With an eye towards next week’s Pemi Week events (which we’ll explain in more detail in the final newsletter), boys have also been engaged in activities like Triathlon, Competitive Swim, Sail Racing, and Archery. As often happens during Week 6, some of our oldest campers have also helped lead activities for younger campers in areas they’re passionate about. Alex Newman and Priester Davis, for example, have joined me in 10-and-under Basketball for the week. They have done a wonderful job teaching the game to younger campers and have picked up valuable leadership experience in the process. The opportunity for 15-year-olds to help out in this way gives our oldest boys a change of pace and boost of confidence while letting our youngest boys see great role modeling from their older campmates. Pemi’s amazing counselors and boys have pulled out all the stops to make sure that 2021’s activities finish on a high note.

Week 6 has also seen a number of spirited Blue/Gold events that have allowed boys to engage in heated but friendly competition. The Upper and Senior Blue and Gold teams combined on Tuesday afternoon for a swim meet down at Senior Beach. With so many boys out on hikes, the rosters were a bit light, meaning that several boys swam four or five different races, leaving them happily exhausted by suppertime. With Gold leading by two points heading into the freestyle relay, the meet all came down to the final leg of the final heat. Nathan Gonzalez and Fischer Burke – two of those boys who swam nearly every event prior – were neck and neck the whole way, but Nathan’s hand touched the wall 0.37 seconds ahead of Fischer’s, giving Gold a squeaker victory. It may not have had the same number of global viewers as Caeleb Dressel’s Olympic freestyle gold, but the excitement on the Pemi docks down the stretch was undoubtedly Olympic caliber. What’s more, Fischer’s attitude in defeat stood out as a powerful example of the sportsmanship and love of competition that Pemi holds in far higher regard than the result of any race. That same afternoon the Juniors and Lowers competed in a track and field meet that featured the long jump, shot put, and mile. Junior Gavin Moffat ran a blistering 6:06 mile, resulting in him not only winning the Junior division but outpacing all of the Lowers as well. Rohin Shah, Zach Pearson, Samson Charron, and Sam Chapin rounded out the top five with impressive times of their own. In the long jump, the Lower 7 trio of Jake Landry, Robbie Judd, and Sam Pentz finished 1-2-3, surely striking fear into the hearts of their upcoming Pemi Week pentathlon competitors. Gray Axel and Grant Gandhi had stellar jumps for the Juniors. Many shot putters had excellent throws as well, including Luke Young, Davis Morrell, and Rory Brooks. It was a fun afternoon for all who participated.

All of these exciting activities are made possible by the hard work, passion, and expertise of the Pemi staff. While most staff members are high school- or college-aged, Pemi boys also benefit from the expertise and experience of numerous staff members who are professional educators, coaches, and competitors. In the second half of this summer, we have been lucky to have three such folks join our ranks, and we want to take some time here to highlight them and acknowledge their contributions to the Pemi community.

Molly Malone – waterski

Molly Malone

Molly Malone is back for her 7th summer at Pemi to run our waterski program. In addition to working full time as a high school orchestra teacher, Molly also competes on the national level in slalom skiing. Throughout the winter she takes frequent trips from her home in Wisconsin down to Florida in order to train and compete. Molly will in fact be leaving Pemi in a few days to compete at the 79th Goode Water Ski National Championships in Illinois. Join us in wishing her good luck! Molly’s combination of professional teaching experience and a lifelong passion for waterskiing translates into truly topnotch instruction for Pemi skiers of all ages and abilities. Molly spends almost all day out on the boat helping boys improve, regardless of ability or experience levels. The patience transferred from teaching allows her to excel at getting young boys up on skis for the first time, while her competitive experience ensures that our highest level skiers are pushed to get better and better. This afternoon Molly will be running our first-ever Blue/Gold waterski tournament which will provide an excellent opportunity for boys to showcase their skills. In a sign of just how impressive Molly’s work is, Bean Soup broke with tradition this week and awarded her Staff Member of the Week, not for any humorous slip up, but rather in recognition of everything she brings to the Pemi community.

Kevin O’Brien – lacrosse

Kevin O’Brien

Also rejoining the Pemi community this half is Kevin O’Brien, who has stepped in to run the lacrosse program. Kevin was a counselor at Pemi back in the 1990s and has been here the past five summers as a visiting professional. This year we are fortunate enough to have him with us for the entire second half. During the year Kevin teaches English and coaches lacrosse at the University School in Cleveland. He was an NCAA Division One lacrosse player at the University of Pennsylvania and has taught and coached at a number of excellent independent high schools during his 20+ year career. Like Molly, Kevin can almost always be found in his program area. He spends countless hours providing both formal and informal sessions for boys to work on all aspects of their game. Kevin also manages to find time to teach Yoga activities, which have become very popular amongst Pemi boys. This summer Kevin has the special pleasure of being joined at camp by his son Henry, who is here for his first Pemi summer. Our lacrosse players and the entire community are truly lucky to have Kevin here for an extended period of time.

Enrique Polletta – woodshop

Enrique Polletta

Enrique Polletta is at Pemi for the first time this summer, and he has taken over as our new head of the Woodshop. He may be new to Pemi, but you wouldn’t know it if you were to walk into the Woodshop today. Enrique has dived right into Pemi life, and we’re already reaping the benefits of his presence. Enrique is another lifelong educator. He has taught all grades from pre-K up through 4th, worked in admissions, led student trips, and served as an assistant head of school. The son of a master carpenter, Enrique has worked with wood his entire life. He put his passion into unique action when one of his COVID projects included building a treehouse for his family. He especially enjoys working with and teaching boys to use hand tools. In his first few weeks at Pemi he has helped boys with projects ranging from building their “Pemi box” to constructing tables and more. Enrique has been an instant success, and Pemi is fortunate indeed that he was able to join our ranks.

These three Pemi staffers are just some of the dedicated and accomplished people who help our camp thrive. All of our counselors and staff are fantastic in their own right and have made equally significant contributions to Pemi 2021. As we head into the final days of the season, we are extremely grateful for the time and commitment of these remarkable individuals; they have been the ones to really make this a special summer on the shores of Lower Baker. They will continue to lead our boys as we go into Pemi Week, the final Bean Soup and Campfire, and the Final Banquet. While it’s hard to believe that we are approaching the end of the summer, we’re confident it has been one that Pemi boys will remember fondly for years to come.

                                                                                                            – Pat

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