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2022 Newsletter #2

Good afternoon from another wonderful day at Camp Pemigewassett!

With ten days of camp under our belt, we’ve settled into a great rhythm and the summer is cruising along! Week 1 activities were fantastic, the 4th of July weekend included all sorts of highlights (much more on that below), and the second week promises to be every bit as fun as the first. Included below are just some of many countless magical moments that occurred during the last seven days. If you’d like to get an even more complete sense of Pemi 2022, be sure to log in and check out the photos that we post and view additional photos on Instagram and Facebook. We hope you enjoy this most recent written snapshot of Pemi’s 115th summer!

Leo Fauver in 13s basketball

The first full week of camp included a number of athletic contests, hiking trips, and nature outings. On the athletics front, boys donned their Pemi shirts for competitions in 15s, 13s and 12s soccer; 13s and 11s basketball; and 10s baseball, as well as a full slate of contests against Camp Moosilauke on Saturday (more to come on that). Some highlights from the week included Ian Baldwin with a 60-yard goal in 15s soccer to pull back a 2-2 draw; outstanding play by Leo Fauver in 13s basketball; and a great team win in 12s soccer versus Camp Kingswood with goals from Oliver McDonough and Bennet King, strong play from Noah Littman and Alvaro Otaolaurruchi, and an impressive goalkeeping debut from Ray Usechek. More important than individual standouts or team results, however, was the way in which boys, coaches, and refs (Pemi counselors) alike embodied the ethos of our athletics program: sportsmanship, participation, and teamwork were prized well above winning. Prime examples of how to exhibit these qualities came from Thomas McNelly, Jayden Ortiz, Rudy Wei, Ollie Fauver, Colin Pham, Jake Landry, and Tyler Jefferson.

“Bookend hike” up Rattlesnake Mountain with Lake Tent and Junior Two campers

The trips program had an equally successful week, with 18 cabins heading out for day hikes within the first six days of camp. Groups of Pemi boys summitted Mounts Cube and Rattlesnake, and along the way they also learned the Pemi way of hiking. This includes ideas such as leave no trace, leave a place better than you found it, respect others who are out trying to enjoy some peace and quiet in the woods, and treat the natural world with the care and reverence it deserves. Many boys were out for their first ever hike or their first trip to the top of a mountain. The successful ascent to an alpine peak leaves boys feeling accomplished and proud of themselves, especially for the many campers who overcome uneasiness regarding heights, the woods, or both. It’s a moment to cherish! As mentioned last week, two groups of boys were also out on multiday backpacking trips, and both of those excursions returned with tales of fun but challenging hiking and meaningful bonding. A number of additional trips will head out this week, including stays at Carter Notch and Lonesome Lake Huts – two huts in the Appalachian Mountain Club’s network in the White Mountains. The boys on these trips will join the long Pemi tradition of being treated to a hot dinner and breakfast at the hut, as well as a comfortable bed to sleep in. Our former campers and staff routinely tell us that the hut trips are right up there with their fondest Pemi memories, so stay tuned to hear about the wonderful experience these two groups will undoubtedly have this week.

Early morning birding trip

Not to be out done, the nature program also led a variety of exciting expeditions over the last week. This included a 5:45am Saturday morning birding trip led by Nick Gordon, Deb Kure, and Wayne Scott. Wayne’s time at Pemi goes back over 20 years, and it was a special opportunity for this group of boys – David Kriegsman, Matias Trinca, Stefan Armitage, Barrett Bachner, Wallace Snow, Finn Pages, Vikram Jay, Julian Blaustein, River Hambleton, Aubrey Bailey, Lev Sarayli, and Noah Goebbels – to get out into the field with such a talented birder. Among many other sightings (such as robins, a hairy woodpecker, cardinals, and red-winged blackbirds), the group spied a common yellow throat mating pair, which, despite what the name suggests, is actually quite a rare find for these parts. The boys were back in camp in time for breakfast at 8am, and several of them then went on to participate in sporting events against Camp Moosilauke later that same day. We love seeing boys take advantage of the full breadth of the Pemi program!

Frank Roberts and son Dylan

We also took time last week – on July 1st – to celebrate a special (and brand new!) Pemi holiday: Frank Roberts Day. Frank is our head of buildings and grounds, and in honor of a milestone birthday this year, Tom Ciglar and the kitchen crew put on a special barbeque lunch to honor all of Frank’s contributions to Pemi and to celebrate his big day. Members of the music staff contributed live music from the Mess Hall porch to help create an even more festive atmosphere. Frank’s wife Erica, daughter Hazel, and son Dylan were all on hand to join in the party too! Pemi’s buildings and grounds crew, under Frank’s leadership, does a remarkable job of keeping this large, complicated facility up and running all summer. It was a wonderful moment to celebrate Frank and thank him for all he does to make Pemi such a beautiful, safe, and fun place to spend the summer. We look forward to many, many more years of celebrating Frank Roberts Day at Pemi!

10s soccer team

As mentioned earlier, on top of the birding trip on Saturday, we held a number of competitions against Camp Moosilauke that afternoon. At Pemi we had the 10s and 12s soccer and basketball teams in action, while down the road at Moosilauke the 13s and 15s basketball and lacrosse teams competed. On the whole it was a great day for Pemi athletics, with sportsmanship and teamwork once again the watchwords for our boys. The 13s lacrosse game was one for the ages and deserves special mention here. Pemi jumped out to a 6-0 first half lead, only to see Moosilauke methodically claw their way back in the second half. At the final whistle, the score stood 6-6, and we headed for a tiebreaker. One Pemi player, Luke Myre, faced off against one Moosilauke player. Their boy got the ball and had a breakaway on Pemi’s first-time goalie, Luke Young. One save in that situation would have been incredible, but instead Young managed to pull off three consecutive saves before finally controlling a rebound and getting the ball to Luke Myre. Myre took it the length of the field and calmly faked once before placing it past the Moosilauke goalie and into the back of the net for a Pemi victory. Both sets of players and coaches remarked after the game just how impressive a display of competition, teamwork, and determination it was by both sides. All in all, it was a wonderful day for Pemi athletics, with dozens of boys trying a sport competitively for the first time and dozens of other boys relishing the chance to compete in their area of expertise. Pemi gives boys of all abilities the chance to play together on the same team, and there are invaluable lessons about teamwork and collaboration that every participant picks up on.

Leo Martin and Jamie Gallagher on trumpet

Saturday concluded with another spectacular campfire down at Senior Beach. Leo Martin and Jamie Gallagher played the Star Wars theme together on trumpet; Julian Blaustein and Timmy Lorig quizzed the audience with science and logic riddles respectively; Julian King assisted his counselor Nate Kim in a slight of hand trick; Fernando Martínez-Cabrera Gutiérrez wowed the crowd with a Spanish rap; and Toren King, Will Jones, and Ian Baldwin reprised a favorite Pemi role with the return of the Three Wise Men. Continuing in our long tradition of master storytelling, David Kriegsman returned to the campfire circle with a Norse myth about Fenrir the giant wolf, Tom Reed read a chapter from the tale of Metal Boy, and Larry Davis finished the acts off with a duo of his classic Maine stories. We then locked arms and joined again in a stirring rendition of the Campfire Song.

Sunday Meeting this week featured Deb Kure, our head of nature, helping the community contextualize just how old Pemi is as an institution. She pointed out to the boys some things that Pemi is older than (Oreos, gas stations, transcontinental telephone calls, and more), as well as some events (the sale of the first Model T, the Cubs winning the World Series, and the Tunguska Event in Siberia, among others) that occurred in 1908, the year of our founding. Deb concluded by discussing many ways in which the physical features around Pemi have been here for centuries or millennia, and how our time here is a blink of the eye compared to these. The message of Deb’s talk centered around the idea that there’s both permanence and change here, and we should embrace both. It was both an entertaining and thoughtful presentation.

Graysen Woodbury, playing Kenny, is declared winner

Yesterday Pemi celebrated the 4th of July with many beloved traditions (read this old newsletter if you’re interested in more details on these events). After spending the morning kicking off the second activity week, the afternoon and evening were dedicated to our holiday festivities. The annual P-Rade took place down in Junior Camp after an extended rest hour/planning period. The Juniors put on their own division-wide float, and then the Lower, Upper, and Senior cabins each did a cabin skit. Our expert panel of judges reviewed each cabin, and winners will be announced shortly. Common themes this year included modified versions of Kenny’s history of the early days of Pemi from Sunday Meeting, behind-the-scenes looks at the inner workings of various cabin groups, and, of course, some historically suspect interpretations of the American Revolution. Lower 3 had an especially humorous and clever skit – entitled “Are You Ready to Rumble?” – where they imagined satirized versions of various members of the Pemi community engaging in a series of wrestling matches for the title belt as head of Pemi. In the end Kenny, as played by Graysen Woodbury, defeated Pat, played by Evan Robicheau. All of the sketches were highly entertaining, and every boy had a chance to get up in front of the whole camp and participate in a time-honored tradition.

A “caught counselor” entertains the crowd with his jump off the high dive

After the P-Rade wrapped up, we moved on to the most terrifying ten minutes of the summer: the counselor hunt. Staff members were given five minutes to hide anywhere around camp (except for in, on, or under manmade structures) and then campers had ten minutes (though it felt like ten hours) to find the counselors and identify them by name. Those unlucky souls who were discovered, including yours truly, were brought by their captors down to Senior Beach. From there they were transported by boat out to the high dive and then had to jump off in whatever attire they’d been discovered in. Luckily for the staff, we were graced with a beautiful day, so the long plunge ended with a rather refreshing dip in Lower Baker. As the event concluded, campers had their own chance to enjoy some time in the lake during free swim before heading off to a special holiday cookout.

Toren King on electric guitar

We gathered together yet again in the Senior Lodge after dinner for our annual 4th of July vaudeville show. Campers and staff members performed a wide range of musical acts, with highlights including Cairo Clapper on the piano, Leo Martin on the trumpet, Christian Moreno on the electric guitar, Toren King playing electric guitar and singing a Green Day song, and Fernando Martínez-Cabrera Gutiérrez on the guitar as well. Vaudeville allows members of the community to showcase talents that aren’t seen during a typical campfire, and it’s always an amazing experience to see just how skilled Pemi campers are. Vaudeville complete, we headed outside behind the Lodge and along the lake shore for the grand finale: a fireworks display put on by Frank Roberts and Sam Papel. On a calm and clear night, the pyrotechnics fired true to form and dazzled us all. Situated as we are in a narrow valley, the echoes of the booms are almost as loud as the initial bursts, creating a rollicking atmosphere. It was the perfect way to end a spirited day of celebration and community building.

The week ahead promises to be filled with even more moments of joy, laughter, and friendship as another amazing summer at Pemi continues to unfold. I look forward to sharing more highlights soon!

– Pat Clare

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