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2022 Newsletter #4

Good afternoon from a sweltering day here in Wentworth! 

The past week has seen a flurry of activity as we wrapped up the first session and started our second. We said goodbye to our first session boys with a wonderful banquet on Sunday night (more on that below) and then we welcomed in the second half boys with our traditional opening dinner of pizza and ice cream on Tuesday. It was bittersweet saying goodbye to the first session boys, but so exciting to have the energy of our new arrivals as they flooded into Pemi yesterday! With the second session off to a great start, we’ll take time in this newsletter to look back on the closing days of the first session and chronicle the opening of the second. 

Carter Notch group

Week 3 included a number of highlight-reel trips as four separate groups of boys got off camp for nights in the mountains. Additionally, several Junior cabins got to experience camping out at the Pemi Hill shelter, which is reached via a short but steep trail up the hillside behind camp. Junior cabins hike up after dinner, build a campfire, roast marshmallows, tell stories, sleep in the Adirondack-style lean-to, and then hike back into camp in time for breakfast the next day. Two hut trips went out during the week, one to Carter Notch and one to Lonesome Lake. The Carter Notch group – Leo Ventimiglia, Tommy Newman, Jayden Ortiz, Ollie Fauver, Charlie Zimmerman, River Hambleton, Rowan Stewart, and Nico Bennett – loved the delicious food and lodging at the hut, and then had a gorgeous day enjoying the views from the tops of Carter Dome, Mount Hight, and several other peaks as part of their 13-mile second day. The Lonesome Lake group – Will Silloway, Paul Schwaegler, Finn Cashman, Jesse Rho, Manny Smith, Aubrey Bailey, Will Sandor, and Marcelo Emal-Langrand – hiked up from the Basin to the lakeside hut, also enjoying an excellent meal and comfortable accommodations, and then traversed the Kinsman Ridge the following day. From the Lonesome Lake Hut, the boys had a great view of the Franconia Ridge, which another group of Pemi boys – Will Jones, Matias Trinca, Merrick Chapin, Austin Greenberg, Barrett Bachner, and Giacomo Turco – hiked along later that same week. That trip was a two-night hike that sent the boys up past Greenleaf Hut, across the Franconia Ridge, and down the Falling Waters Trail to their final night’s campsite. Despite not staying at Greenleaf Hut, the boys got to experience a classic Pemi trip in a new format and returned raving about the experience. The Lowers had a chance to get out for several days, as the group consisting of Anders Morrell, Sam Foley, Sasha Honig, Geoffrey Cook, Kai Karsan, Connor Davenport, Rudy Wei, and Alex Harwich hiked nearby Mount Moosilauke and took in the spectacular 360 degree views from its summit. As if these trips weren’t enough, the final pair of cabins – Lowers Four and Five – went out for a day hike up Mount Cube, meaning that every boy at Pemi for the first session went out for at least one hike!

BVT swim meet held at Pemi
Pemi swimmers swept the BVT swim meet

On the athletics front, a number of Pemi teams competed against other camps and continued our great run of sportsmanship, teamwork, and solid results this summer. Pemi hosted a 10s tennis BVT on Wednesday that gave our youngest tennis players the chance to play in three matches each. They handled themselves well, beating two camps and losing a tight match to Walt Whitman 3-2. Standout performances included two wins each from Danny Follansbee at #1 singles and Brice Shine at #2 singles, and three wins from Julian King at #3 singles. The #1 doubles team of Dennis Taft and Will Dennis defeated two of three opponents that they faced, and the #2 doubles team of Chris Castellano and William Bonner had a great showing as well. Our 13s tennis team also competed and overcame the absence of several top players due to hiking trips to have an excellent afternoon with the help of some 11- and 12-year olds. 11-year-old Patchett Grant continued his run of results against much older opponents, going 3-0 on the day. Other great performances came from Leo Fauver, Ollie Fauver, Luke Young, and Landon Shine. On the waterfront, Pemi hosted the BVT swim meet, and while it’s normally held in Camp Walt Whitman’s swimming pool, the change of venue to Lower Baker Pond gave our boys a nice opportunity to enjoy a rare home swim meet in the first half of the summer. Pemi’s swimmers won all three age groups – 11s, 13s, and 15s – giving us a clean sweep on the day. Excellent performances came from Boone Snyder, Alvaro Otaulaurruchi, Dominic Watson, Noah Katz, and Will Bartlett. The next day, we hosted an archery BVT and, once again, swept the competition at every age level, with Roman Gammino winning for the 15s, Rowan Stewart for the 13s, and Cairo Clapper and Levi Cashman scoring best for the 10s. While we were thrilled with all these results, the real victory came from the excellent sportsmanship and teamwork that were once again on full display. Highlights in this realm came from Dennis Taft, Will Bartlett, and Ollie Fauver who were all praised by their coaches for representing Pemi in the exact way we strive for! 

15s ultimate frisbee
15s ultimate vs Kingswood

On Saturday, Pemi’s teams squared off against Camp Kingswood for a full day of games across all age groups. This annual day of competition is a great opportunity to get a lot of contests in against our friendly neighbors, and we greatly appreciate the chance to play against a camp that shares our values of participation and sportsmanship. It’s also a good way for our boys to start preparing for another full day of contests coming up next week. Pemi’s 15s played baseball in the morning, followed by soccer and ultimate in the afternoon. They received great play from Will Cahill on the mound in baseball; Roman Gammino, Ian Baldwin, Lincoln Thorner, and Jesse Rho on the soccer pitch; and Barrett Bachner, Giacomo Turco, and 11-year old Noah Katz in ultimate. Merrick Chapin, Austin Greenberg, Leopold Colloredo, Archer Knight, Iñigo Otaolaurruchi, and Atticus Barocas displayed great teamwork throughout the day and helped keep their teammates focused and inspired. 10s soccer had a thrilling contest in the morning that saw Pemi build up an early lead only for Kingswood to come back and tie the game, and despite Pemi’s best efforts, it finished at a 2-2 draw. Pemi’s youngest athletes showed tremendous resiliency throughout the contest and kept positive attitudes even after giving up the lead. The 11s basketball team had a dominant performance, winning handily in a true team effort. Over at Kingswood in the afternoon, the 10s baseball team lost a tough one but had awesome play from Cairo Clapper, Will Dennis, Christian Moreno, and several others. Despite losing 3-2, the 12s tennis team turned in one of the best performances of the day. Kingswood’s team included a number of high caliber tennis players, but the Pemi boys battled hard and pushed them to the brink. It was a great display of resiliency against a more talented squad. Overall, it was a wonderful day for Pemi’s athletes as we rounded out our first half intercamp sports with a fun and competitive day.

art world t-shirt
Vikram Jay sports his custom designed t-shirt

During Week 3 activities and free time, Pemi’s music and visual arts programs continued to flourish as boys took advantage of a wide variety of offerings across multiple disciplines. Down in Art World, Head of Art Chloe Springis taught a t-shirt design activity where boys were able to take blank t-shirts, sketch a mock-up, and then see their creations come to life. It was so cool to see boys at the end of the week walking around in shirts that they had designed themselves, and even cooler to see that several boys chose to pay tribute to their cabinmates and counselors with their creations. Additionally, boys honed their musical skills via Beginning and Advanced Guitar, Ukulele, Soundpainting, and Songwriting. Boys worked throughout the week practicing and developing their skills, and then had the opportunity to demonstrate the fruits of their labor at campfire on Saturday night. Having the chance to perform what they’ve just been working on in a low stakes setting provides boys with an amazing opportunity to get up and perform in front of their peers. We love seeing the glow of confidence that a boy gets after he finishes an act that he may have been quite nervous about heading into it. Pemi is a perfect place for boys to gain the confidence to speak, sing, or act in front of a group.

nature photography field trip
Nature photography with visiting professional Bob Rattner

Over in the Nature Lodge, boys continued to explore and learn about the world around us (and the world above us, via the Space! activity). Boys in Space! learned about our solar system and galaxy as well as those far beyond our little corner of the universe, and then had the chance on several clear nights to go stargazing using Pemi’s high-powered telescope. Several other boys had the chance to go out with Head of Nature Deb Kure and visiting photography teachers Bob Rattner and Ted Orben to take photographs of some local areas. Henry Ravenesi, Atticus Barocas, Luke Wiesel, and Cameron Mark went to the Connecticut River for a photo shoot, and Barrett Bachner, Finn Pages, Luke Myre, Ricky Thurmond, and Luke Wiesel went to the North River Road to practice their skills and capture some great shots. As always, Wild Foods with Larry Davis remained one of the favorite weekly activities as boys had the chance to try perennial favorites such as Johnny cakes, fried rose petals, and mint tea brewed with leaves picked along our lake shore. Many boys continue to submit guesses for the daily What Is it? Contest, and we’re excited to see who emerges victorious at the end of the summer.

As we rounded out the first session, we said goodbye to our 16s on Thursday morning as they departed for their 3-week excursion in Colorado. As of this writing, the boys have just finished up the whitewater rafting portion of their trip and are on their way to the Navajo Nation for a week of service work. While there, they will also learn about and engage in a number of Navajo cultural events and traditions with their host family. We wish them well and can’t wait to hear more details about this incredible trip.

birthday greeting Alhasan Barrie
Birthday greeting from Alhasan Barrie

The end of the first session included a number of marquee events, including the finals of the quarter-century doubles tournament and a waterski tournament, and highlighted by Sunday night’s Birthday Banquet. The quarter-century doubles tennis tournament pairs up players whose combined age equals 25 years old. The final pitted 14-year-old Atticus Barocus and 11-year-old Patchett Grant against 15-year-old Giacomo Turco and 10-year-old Dennis Taft. After a hard fought match, the duo of Turco and Taft emerged victorious! In the waterski tournament, Charlie Knapp won the Juniors division while Merrick Chapin just edged out Charlie Rousseau in the main bracket. At the Birthday Banquet we take the chance to celebrate the members of our community who have their birthdays while here at camp. Every birthday boy and girl has their name displayed on a banner in the Mess Hall rafters and has a personalized limerick written in their honor and performed by the Bean Soup editors. We also enjoy homemade birthday cake after a delicious feast of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, cranberries, homemade bread, and salad. Then, campers and counselors share birthday greetings from around the country and world. We had a special birthday greeting this year from counselor Alhasan Barrie, who shared greetings from his birth country of Guinea in West Africa. The Guinean flag was added to the Mess Hall rafters, where we display the flags of every country from which a Pemi community member has joined us. All told, the night represented a wonderful celebration of both birthdays and the Pemi community that we built during these past three and a half weeks. The spirit of friendship, respect, and happiness from being together was palpable throughout the meal and there could be no doubt that boys were fully feeling the magic of another Pemi summer. 

The wave pool at Whale’s Tale is a huge favorite

After our final meal together on Monday morning, the first session boys loaded into their cars or headed to the airport to return back home. As Kenny shared with the Mess Hall on Monday morning, we hope that these boys take a little bit of the kindness and care for others back to their own communities. We’ll certainly miss their presence, and can’t wait to welcome most of them back for another summer next year. We also said a special goodbye to our two first session 15-year-olds, Roman Gammino and Jesse Rho. Their time as campers may have drawn to a close, but we hope to see them back at Pemi as members of Pemi West and counselors in the years to come. 

While the half-session boys were heading home, the full session boys loaded up the bus and headed over to nearby Whale’s Tale waterpark for a fun day of slides, rides, and wave pools. This annual changeover tradition is a favorite for the full season campers, who love the chance to bond together with this core group who join us for the full seven weeks. After the waterpark, boys returned for a special dinner followed by a movie in the Senior Lodge. The next morning, we all gathered down at Junior Point for Polar Bear, doughnuts, and hot chocolate. It was a fantastic opportunity for the full season boys and all their counselors to spend some time together before welcoming in our second session boys throughout the rest of the day.

Campfire Charlie Dubner on the sax
Veteran camper Toby Dubner performs at the first campfire

Between 10am and 4pm on Tuesday, we welcomed in roughly 90 veteran and new boys for the second half of the summer. Witnessing the excitement as car after car rolled across the bridge infused all of us with fresh energy and a renewed excitement for the next phase of Pemi’s 115th summer. When we were all gathered together in the Mess Hall on Tuesday night, you could tell right away that this will be a special three and a half weeks to come. Old friendships were being rekindled, new ones forged, and at every table, boys were visibly thrilled to be at Pemi with one another. After our delicious dinner of homemade pizza, salad, and ice cream sandwiches, we migrated to the campfire circle where we enjoyed a slew of impressive performances, including a saxophone solo from the just-arrived Toby Dubner and a song from juniors Sam Chapin, Danny Follansbee, Colin McDermott, and Gabri Hutchinson. We concluded, as we always do, with an all-camp rendition of the Campfire Song. Looking out on the lake, arms wrapped around each other, boys clearly felt at home in this wonderful summer community. The next three and a half weeks have so many exciting days in store for these boys, and we can’t wait to share all the wonderful occurrences ahead.

– Pat Clare

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