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2023 Newsletter #5

Hello from Wentworth!

The second session of Pemi’s 116th summer continues to benefit from gorgeous weather as our campers enjoy the full range of what Pemi has to offer. From trips to games to campfire and more, it’s been a stellar week here at camp. On Friday the Allagash and Rangeley Lakes canoe trips returned, meaning that we finally had the entire contingent of campers together. Our second session boys have fully settled in, while our full session guys have eagerly embraced their new peers, and already it feels like this community has been together for weeks. The weekend saw a beautiful day on Saturday followed by campfire on Saturday night around the campfire circle. On Monday preparations ramped up for our annual day of competition against Camp Tecumseh, with teams working throughout the week to be ready – more on that below. Nature trips, hikes, wood shop projects, archery awards shooting, play practices, and so much more continue this week as well. It’s another full, fun week at Pemi!

While all of the trips offered at Pemi have the chance to transform boys’ perspectives by taking them into beautiful natural settings, often for the first time in such a fashion, the Allagash canoe trip stands alone as the true capstone offering of the Pemi trip program. Open only to full session 15-year-olds, it’s a weeklong journey to a remote northern section of Maine where the boys can spend a week fully immersed in nature. It’s a remarkable experience that campers truly remember for decades. This year’s trip was led by four experienced Pemi staff members: Nick Davini, Matt Cloutier, EJ Burnett, and Quinn Markham. Nick has written up a trip report for publication in Bean Soup, and I’m excited to be able to share part of it with you here:

The Allagash Canoe crew!

This year’s canoe trip on the Allagash Waterway was one of swift waters, good weather, and many laughs. The 15s showed up in strong numbers, with 19 young men – Stefan Armitage, Alex Atkinson, Atticus Barocas, Teeden Boss, Andrew Cahill, Will Cahill, Finn Cashman, Austin Greenberg, Jackson Heller, Cole Johnstone, Archer Knight, Jake Landry, Tommy Newman, Jaime Nieto, Colin Ross, Paul Schwaegler, Lincoln Thorner, Leo Ventimiglia, and Will Jones

We divided our large group into two and sent half of the boys down the Chase Rapids under the guidance of Matt Cloutier and Quinn Markham. After waiting half an hour for the first group to get through the rocks, the second group launched with EJ Burnett and me. These Class 2 rips were the first and most aggressive section of white water on the trip. More importantly, they started our week with a roaring good time, aided by the Allagash Ranger who trucked our gear downriver, leaving our canoes nimble and unburdened in the case of a spill.

Paddling the Allagash

At the bottom of the rapids, we had sandwiches and our only thunderstorm of the week. We waited under spruce and fir trees until the elements were more favorable, and then launched again to find our next campsite only a couple of miles downstream. Adjacent tenting areas at Chisholm Brook accommodated both groups and gave us a lovely setting for fishing and drying out gear…

The final miles of the river bid us a serene farewell. Rays of sunlight reached us through the morning clouds, and several more sections of rapids ensured that we would not forget this trip. A signpost marked the end of the waterway, and houses began to appear as we approached the take-out point. By 9:30 am, the vans were fully packed, the canoes left in neat rows for the outfitters to retrieve, and we began our long journey home. Our route traced the Canadian border for a couple of hours, and then we broke south toward Pemi. We rolled into camp around 10:00 pm on Friday and completed a successful trip to the Allagash.

Be sure to check out Nick’s full write-up in this winter’s edition of Bean Soup!

The 14s Rangeley Lakes trip with Reilly

While these boys were off on Allagash, several more trips went out as well. On the first full day of the second session, a group of 14-year-olds left for their own canoe trip to the Rangeley Lakes in Maine, joined by head of fishing Phil Landry and legendary Pemi trip counselor Reilly McCue. The crew – Chase Riley, Luke Young, Carter Glahn, Joshua Lawson, Luke Myre, Sam Pentz, Sam Reed, Luke Gonzalez, Frankie McLaughlin, and Rohin Shah – enjoyed three days on the water where they bonded as an age group, sharing laughs and making memories. Meanwhile, two groups of boys headed out for some of our premier hiking trips: Greenleaf and Madison Springs Huts. These AMC high huts are two of the most spectacular mountain settings that Pemi campers ascend to. The Madison Springs group consisted of Tomas Yafar, Andrew McCullough, Johnny Thibault, Gavin Stannard, Jayden Davis-Smith, and Samson Charron. Accompanied by counselors Danny Carey and Jacob Kunkel, they had the opportunity to ascend Mt. Madison on day one, eat delicious meals prepared by the hut crew, and then trek across the Presidential Range, culminating in the summiting of Mount Washington. They had clear views and wonderful weather throughout! Under similarly great conditions, Connor Smillie, Felipe Henríquez Lindeck-Pozza, Vittorio Campanile, Dominic Watson, Noah Littman, Bennet King, Ethan Onysko, and Wynn Wilfrid, along with staff members Michaella Frank and Oliver Giraud, hiked up to Greenleaf Hut before traversing the Franconia Ridge. On Tuesday afternoon trip counselors Danny Carey and Quinn Markham took Angus Eslick, Nick McCay, Timmy Lorig, and James Wasnick on a day-hike up nearby Mt. Cube. The second session has had some amazing trips so far, and many more are planned!

Photography trip to the Basin

The Nature program has also continued its run of excellent trips this summer, including more special photography and birding trips. Nick McCay, Brian Lorig, and River Hambleton joined Deb Kure, Andy Bale, and Nick Gordon on trips to Jacobs Brook in Lyme, NH and The Basin in the Franconia Notch. The Basin is one of the most beautiful yet easily accessible natural features in the White Mountains, and with all the recent rainfall it presented the opportunity for some especially wonderful photographs. The latest iteration of Birding Before Breakfast saw Roger Kriegsman, Sasha Honig, Finn Cashman, Ezra Otubusin-Reese, Anthony Evans, James Wasnick, Miles Taylor, Timmy Lorig, Dylan Sandral, Brandon Lyu, and Andrew McCullough travel down the road to Upper Baker Pond to observe and listen to a variety of native species.

Here at camp, meanwhile, boys have been enjoying the full repertoire of Nature program activities. Henry Bloede, Charlie Foster, Sasha, Honig, Ryan Kittredge, Brian Lorig, and Colin, Danny, and Will McDermott are participating in all sorts of whacky and fun experiments during Weird Science, while Stefan Armitage, Kirin Clark, River Hambleton, Justin Hires, Henry Hornblower, Ryan Kittredge, Thomas McNelly, and Oliver Nevius are learning about the cosmos during second hour Space! and then getting to observe the stars using Pemi’s telescope at night. In and out of camp, before Reveille, and after Taps, the Pemi Nature Program offers boys so many fun opportunities to explore the world around us!

Campfire Saturday night

On the arts and performance front, Saturday’s campfire saw another round of inspired acts from young Pemi musicians. The Soundpainting activity of Connor Davenport, Noah Katz, Oliver Nevius, Toven Putzel, Anthony Evans, Graysen Woodbury, Everett Wooldridge, Wills Waitzkin, Brandon Lyu, and Nick Sargent dazzled with their improvisation skills. The Beginning Guitar group of Anthony Evans, Roger Kriegsman, and Ezra Otubusin-Reese impressed us with their skills and their courage to get up and play an instrument they’d been working on for only four days. Well done, boys! A collection of campers and counselors – Ryan Aronis, Adam Aronis, Noah Littman, Vittorio Campanile, Princeton Jackson, Miles Waitzkin, Joshua Lawson, Bennet King, Patrick McLaughlin, Victor Campanile, and Henry Moore – sang a fun, if borderline ridiculous, version of “Call Me Maybe.” Other acts included another joke from Finn Shapiro, Heyward Hodge reading a story, Julian Blaustein with more knowledge for us, and Larry Davis closing the set list out with his story about a hot air balloon ride gone astray. During a summer when so much has been moved inside, it was so great to be gathered around the fire staring down the lake at a beautiful, calming sunset.

Soccer practice out on the pitch

Pemi’s athletes have been focused this week on preparing for our annual competition against Camp Tecumseh. Our rivalry with our friends on Lake Winnipesauke dates back to 1908 and continues on Friday. Pemi boys relish the opportunity to compete against Tecumseh because they’re a challenging adversary who push us to be our best while sharing our commitment to playing the right way. This year our 10&under and 15&under teams will travel to Tecumseh, while the 11s, 12s, and 13s will compete here at Pemi. All five age groups play soccer, tennis, baseball, and swimming, meaning that there are 20 total events on the day. In addition to playing against each other, we share meals with the campers and staff from Tecumseh. It’s a special sight to see a group of boys go straight from an intensely contested baseball game to the lunch table with their competitors and then right back out to the soccer pitch. The act of breaking bread with each other ensures that the spirit of competition remains friendly and sportsmanlike. We know of no other tradition quite like this one. The camp that wins the most events on the day keeps The Hat – the trophy that goes to the winning camp – for the following year. Be sure to check in on our social media accounts (Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter) throughout the day for updates on how it’s going!

In the buildup to Tecumseh Day, the Pemi community rallies together, and we see our oldest boys step up as leaders. This year’s 15s have done a great job of building camaraderie and spirit, with boys such as Jackson Heller, Max Weber, Jake Landry, Austin Greenberg, Cole Johnstone, Porter Hutchinson, Chris Cappillo, Teddy Rose, and many, many more inspiring their younger peers. Leading by example, our 15s demonstrate how to work together, look out for your friends, be a good teammate, and put others before self. More important than the outcome on Tecumseh, we cherish the opportunities this day creates to build community here at Pemi. No matter how we do, we know that we’ll be back together afterwards, closer for having strove towards a common goal.

Junior Archery, week 5

In the midst of these preparations, life continues apace at Pemi. As I sit writing, I can see Haben McNulty, Jeffrey Eng, and Rafe Romine playing horseshoes outside of the office; Ethan Onysko and Justin Hire are playing a piano duet; Luke Gonzalez, Connor Davenport, Brandon Lyu, Stefan Armitage, Johnny Thibault, Graeme Newman, and Manfred Creane are in a heated ping pong tournament; and Dennis Taft, Tyson Madkins, Anthony Evans, Ezra-Otubusin-Reese, and Frankie McLaughlin are shooting around on the basketball courts. Down in Junior Camp, boys are playing tetherball, working on their dam in the stream, playing cards out on the grass, and continuing to get to know their new summer friends. That’s just a snapshot of what I’ve personally seen and heard in the last ten minutes; there’s so much more going on at all times. The fun never stops at Pemi!

We’ll be back next week with updates including news on Tecumseh Day, our family visiting weekend for full session boys, a special set of events on Sunday afternoon, and, of course, the highlights that fill each and every Pemi day. Remember to follow along on social media on Friday for updates on Tecumseh Day.

– Pat Clare

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