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2022 Newsletter #3

Hello from Wentworth!

It’s been another wonderful week here at Pemi as we rapidly approach the midpoint of the summer. One week from today we’ll be welcoming in our second session campers, having said goodbye to our first session boys the day before. Life will not slow down at all in the final days of first session, however, as we have another jam-packed week ahead. Before the next newsletter is written, two more hut trips will go out, along with two more backpacking trips for Lowers and Seniors, we’ll host both a swim meet and an archery tournament, the nature program will send out multiple trips, boys will learn from visiting photography professional Bob Rattner, we’ll have an intramural waterski tournament, the counselors will play their annual baseball game versus Moosilauke, the 16s will depart for Colorado, and we’ll have campfire, Sunday Meeting, and the Birthday Banquet! First session boys will be sprinting through their finish line, while the full season campers will regroup and enjoy a special day together on Monday. On top of all that, full season 14- and 15-year-olds will depart next week for canoe trips on the Connecticut River and Allagash Waterway respectively. It promises to be an amazing conclusion to the first session of Pemi 2022! For now, though, we’ll turn our attentions to this past week – and what a week it was!

Pemi campers and staff participate in the annual Butterfly Count project

The nature program continues to help boys make the most of their time away from the digital world. We had a number of special nature events last week, on top of all the typical activities offered out of the Nature Lodge. Highlights from the week included participation in the annual New Hampshire Butterfly Count, a field trip to the Franconia Notch and the Basin, and a canoe trip to Long Pond. On Saturday morning Matias Trinca, Luke Young, River Hambleton, Manfred Creane, Aubrey Bailey, and Barrett Bachner took part in the 19th annual Baker Ponds Butterfly Count. They joined volunteer teams from multiple states to help with the annual census of butterfly species in our area of New Hampshire. The results are then sent on to the North American Butterfly Association. This conservation work helps track populations and spot trends to help protect our native species. In other words, the boys directly participated in scientific field work to help preserve the butterflies around us – not bad for a summer camp activity! On top of having a great time and providing an important service, they thoroughly enjoyed being rewarded with a trip to Moose Scoops for some ice cream afterwards! Yesterday a group of campers – Luke Wiesel, Julian Blaustein, Princeton Jackson, Levi Cashman, Finn Pages, and Marcelo Emal-Langrand – made the drive to the Franconia Notch to explore and photograph the area. They started at the Basin, a beautiful natural pool that draws thousands of visitors each year, and then proceeded up the riverbed. Along the way they learned about the rocky surface they were walking over and the formation of the Franconia Notch, and they had the chance to take photos under the tutelage of Bob Rattner. Bob, a career freelance photographer and university lecturer who has traveled to over 50 countries for his work, is teaching a variety of photography activities this week, giving boys ample opportunities to take advantage of his expertise! We also sent a canoe trip to Long Pond with Deb Kure and Nick Davini last week. Juniors Timmy Lorig, George Reimer, and Julian Blaustein and Senior Barrett Bachner loaded into the van to go check out the nearby pond by boat, with their eyes peeled for plant and animal life.You could go in endless circles debating whether this was a marquee week for the Pemi nature program or simply business as usual, but no matter your stance on that, it’s safe to say that a large number of boys took full advantage of the chance to spend time enjoying and learning about the beautiful world around us here!

Will Bartett cruises to the finish line of the 1-mile run

The athletics program also had another busy, successful, and fun-filled week. In addition to the excellent instruction provided during activities and practices, Pemi boys competed against other camps in track & field, tennis, ultimate, lacrosse, baseball, basketball, and soccer this week. Standout performances included 11-year-old Patchett Grant winning two of his three matches for the 15s tennis team, Will Bartlett winning three events and taking second in the other two during the Pemi track meet, the 10s basketball juggernaut going undefeated in three games on Saturday – with stellar play from Dennis Taft, Tyson Madkins, Julian King, William Bonner, Jaxon Jennings, Will Dennis, Bryce Shine, Chris Castellano, and more – and Josh Lawson scoring his first ever lacrosse goal after two weeks of dedicated practice during activities. This past Saturday was BVT Day – BVT stands for Baker Valley Tournament, the name for our round-robin tournaments with our Baker Valley neighbors, Camps Kingswood, Moosilauke, and Walt Whitman – which provided boys of all ages the chance to play in multiple games and sports throughout the day. We hosted several events, travelled to others, and had a great day all around. Pemi’s boys demonstrated excellent sportsmanship and were fantastic teammates.

Luke Myre clears the bar with ease on an early jump

The Pemi track meet on Wednesday involved every age group and gave many boys the chance to compete in events such as long jump, high jump, or shot put for the first time. In addition to the aforementioned dominance from Will Bartlett, Pemi saw top-notch performances from Jackson Heller, Will Silloway, Jayden Ortiz, Luke Myre, and many others. The 13s high jump showcased both Pemi’s talent and our boys’ understanding of how to compete the right way. Pemi jumpers Ray Usechek, Josh Lawson, Jayden Ortiz, and Luke Myre were up against strong competition, especially from Camp Kingswood. As the boys kept (literally) raising the bar with each jump, the excitement levels rose proportionally. Usechek, Lawson, and one of the final three Kingswood boys eventually went out, leaving Ortiz, Myre, and two Kingswood competitors. Jayden had never high jumped in his life, yet he managed to keep soaring over the bar again and again. Eventually Jayden and the two Kingswood boys failed to clear the bar, leaving Luke with a chance to win it. He leapt up, scraped the bar on his way over, but didn’t dislodge it fully, securing a Pemi victory as he scampered off the mat. In the aftermath of this successful jump, Luke and Jayden found their two Kingswood counterparts, and all four boys congratulated each other on a great showing. There was no pouting and no tears from the runners-up; it was smiles all around as everyone recognized that they had just had the opportunity to face off against worthy competitors. This snapshot is just one example of the numerous times throughout the meet where boys from different camps celebrated the impressive victories of their “opponents,” demonstrating how being pushed to do your best is its own reward, regardless of any outcome. Many thanks to Charlotte, Chris, Andy, and the many other coaches who helped make the track meet such a fun afternoon!

Carter Notch hut trip

As if the nature events and athletic competitions weren’t enough, many Pemi boys also managed to both climb to new heights and descend to new subterranean depths in the past seven days! The Carter Notch and Lonesome Lake hut trips last week returned to rave reviews from all participants. The Carter Notch group – Austin Greenberg, Matias Trinca, Leo Martin, Merrick Chapin, Giacomo Turco, Leopold Colloredo, Alex Atkinson, and Calder Pickering – hiked the four miles up to the hut on day one; enjoyed the delicious food and cozy accommodations at the hut overnight; and then summited Carter Dome, Mount Hight, South Carter, Middle Carter, and Mount Lethe on day two as part of a 12.5-mile day! Meanwhile, the Lonesome Lake group – David Kriegsman, Toren King, Will Cahill, Ian Baldwin, Cole Johnstone, Andrew Cahill, Lincoln Thorner, and Will Jones – departed from the Basin, hiked up to the beautiful lakeside hut with views of the Franconia Range, had similarly excellent food and lodging, and then climbed along the Kinsman Ridge and up both North and South Kinsman before heading down to be picked up. All participants reported having incredible times, and several have already asked about going on subsequent hut trips this summer. Two additional backpacking trips went out last week, with Lowers Bennet King, Hugh Fogelson, Noah Littman, Graysen Woodbury, Dominic Watson, Jamie Gallagher, Lev Sarayli, and Connor Smillie hiking the Osceolas and Uppers Rowan Stewart, Niko Bennett, Max de Haut de Sigy, Felipe Henríquez Lindek-Pozza, Cyrus King, Leo Ventimiglia, Justin Hires, and Leo Fauver traversing the Southern Franconias.

2022 caving trip participants

Yesterday saw the departure of many of our 15-year-olds – Barrett Bachner, Merrick Chapin, Roman Gammino, David Kriegsman, Teddy Lear, Will Silloway, Boone Snyder, Matias Trinca, and Giacomo Turco – for the caving trip. Pemi has been leading caving trips, under the expert guidance of Larry Davis, since 1982 (read more here!) and generations of Pemi boys can attest to the awe-inspiring nature of the experience. While the boys have not returned at the time of this writing, updates from the trip are that all is going well. In the age of cellphone cameras, we’ve even received proof of a great trip before they’ve made it back to camp! With Lowers 4 and 5 heading out on day hikes later this week, every Pemi boy will have gone on a trip of some sort during the first session!

Day one of wilderness first aid training for our 2022 Pemi 16s group

Speaking of trips, Pemi’s 16-year-olds arrived at camp yesterday ahead of their three-week expedition in the American southwest. These ten boys – William Weber, Fernando Hokello, Jacob Kunkel, Charlie Orben, George Purdy, Ben Bouie, Jacob Raphael, Taran Doumboya-Danielou, Jon Ciglar, and Julian Berk – are at Pemi for two days of wilderness first aid training before they’ll board a plane bound for Durango, Colorado on Thursday. Pemi has once again partnered with Deer Hill Expeditions to provide our 16-year-olds with a wilderness trip that includes a week each of rafting, service work, and backpacking, with leadership training throughout. The boys will go whitewater rafting on the San Juan River, spend a week volunteering with a family from the Navajo Nation, and then go backpacking in the San Juan Mountains. This three-week excursion is an incredible way for Pemi boys to bridge the gap between their last summer as a camper and first one as a counselor, and it provides them with the trip of a lifetime alongside close friends. They’ll be joined by longtime Pemi trips veteran Nick Davini, who will work with Deer Hill’s guides to provide a thorough leadership development course during each section of the program. The boys will return to Pemi in August, and several of them will stay on for the last ten days of camp for the Counselor Apprentice Program. Stay tuned for updates and a recap of their trip in a few weeks!

Pemi campers offered food, drink, and encouragement to Prouty bikers

Pemi boys need not wait until they’re 16 to engage in service work, however, as a group of boys demonstrated this past weekend. On Saturday morning River Hambleton, David Kriegsman, Lev Sarayli, Merrick Chapin, Marcelo Emal-Langrand, Boone Snyder, Will Silloway, Evan Robicheau, Brecken Putzel, Angus Eslick, Danny Follansbee, and Cameron Mark left camp at 5:30am with staff members Michaella Frank, Chloe Springis, and Dexter Wells to volunteer at a refreshments station along the route of the 41st annual Prouty. The Prouty is a fundraising event that raises money for cancer treatment research, and for patient- and family-support services at Dartmouth Cancer Center. Pemi helped staff a refreshment and aid station at the top of the most challenging part of the 100-mile bike route that forms the marquee component of the Prouty fundraising events. Boys handed out snacks and drinks and cheered riders on as they cycled across Route 25A. These boys gave up their sleep, the chance to play in certain sporting events, and their free time to help support the riders who were going all in to end cancer. The Prouty has raised over $5 million so far this year, and we couldn’t be any prouder of our boys who volunteered to play a small part in this vital effort.

Big and little buddies meet at picturesque Junior Point

It might seem like there couldn’t possibly have been anything else that took place at Pemi in the last seven days, but this newsletter has barely scratched the surface. On Friday we had another Junior/Senior campfire, this time down at Junior Point. The boys gathered with their buddies to make s’mores while the Seniors gave guidance and advice to their Junior friends. The Seniors then helped the younger boys learn the words to the Junior Camp Song so that they can belt it out in the Mess Hall. It was such a fun night seeing the youngest and oldest campers genuinely enjoy spending time together! On Saturday night we had our full campfire, which included great performances from Fernando Martínez-Cabrera Gutiérrez on guitar, Oliver Nevius with a riddle, Julian Blaustein with a fun science fact, Merrick Chapin on the trumpet, Finn Cashman with a joke, Léopold Colloredo with the longest word in the German language, and a trio – Princeton Jackson, Micah Tolbert, and Kai Karsan – with an impersonation of head of staff Will Meinke.

Scout Brink, a veteran nature and archery staff member and 7th/8th grade science teacher, treated the Pemi community to an exercise in mindfulness during Sunday Meeting. Gathered in the Senior Lodge on the lakeshore, looking out on the water and hillside as the sun began to set, Scout guided us all through practices to help stay focused on the present moment. Pemi’s unplugged environment is the perfect setting to develop this important skill, and boys left feeling calm and appreciative. Never failing to miss an opportunity, the Bean Soup editors then led the boys in a seminar on mindlessness on Monday evening. They had the rafters ringing with laughter all night long as they continued in the Bean Soup tradition of employing no subtlety whatsoever while appreciatively mocking the prior night’s serious meeting. The Sunday Meeting to Bean Soup combination on back-to-back nights provides the perfect pairing, as boys can relax and recharge on Sunday before starting the week with the refreshing hilarity that is Bean Soup. These two nights illustrate how Pemi does both the serene and the absurd in equally great measures, and boys certainly need both!

All told it’s been another gratifying, productive, educational, and, above all, fun week at Pemi! The spirit and positivity at camp this summer have been remarkable to experience, and our boys are benefiting from the sense of community we’ve built over both the last two weeks and the last 115 summers. While it’s sad to think that a number of our campers will be saying goodbye in less than a week, it’s comforting to know that they’re well on their ways to having had the summer of their lives. The final week of the first session should be another magical one, and we can’t wait to welcome our second session boys for their time at Pemi!

A brief publishing note that with next week’s changeover schedule, the week four newsletter will be sent out on Wednesday rather than Tuesday.

– Pat Clare

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