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Defining Photos of 2023

As we count down to the end of 2023, we want to take a moment to look back on some of the highlights from another incredible Pemi summer. Pemi’s 116th summer was filled with kindness, laughter, friendships, and the foundations of lifelong bonds. While we could never hope to capture all that magic in a mere ten photographs, consider these images a representation of the joy, growth, and community that we were fortunate enough to share in 2023. Before flipping the calendars and our minds to 2024, we’re taking this moment to look back in deepest appreciation on all those who were a part of Pemi 2023!

While many, perhaps even most, Pemi summers owe much of their success to the 15-year-olds who lead camp, 2023 saw an especially seasoned, dedicated, and kind group of Seniors. As the Three Wise Men Plus Jackson demonstrated at many a campfire, they were also a humorous bunch. This recent campfire staple brings guaranteed laughs and lets a group of 15-year-olds showcase their humor while bringing campers of all ages, as well as staff, into the act. A perfect representation of full community involvement and joy!

Many people outside of Pemi, especially those in the northeast, might well remember the 2023 summer for its heavy rain. At Pemi, however, we’ll remember it for all the fun we had regardless of the weather. Down in Junior Camp, grey skies and the occasional downpour were no match for the pure fun of a game of frisbee running bases. This Pemi favorite once again thrilled boys and counselors alike in 2023.

We may have had some rain, as mentioned, but the beautiful New Hampshire weather was also plentiful, allowing boys to enjoy lots of time on Lower Baker Pond. Here, a group of Lowers takes a break from a canoe trip across the lake to spend some time lounging in the water. We’re so fortunate to enjoy the run of our quiet, pristine lake, and on chilly winter days, there’s not much better than thinking back to a sun-soaked afternoon on Lower Baker Pond.

2023 was a banner year for music at Pemi! Under the tutelage of head of music Dan Fulham, Pemi artists thrived as they thrilled us all summer long. The summer featured an impressively large number of band and ensemble performances, perhaps none more exciting than the rock offerings of Blue Day. From Vaudevilles to campfires to our inaugural first session music and drama showcase, Pemi campers were treated to acts of the highest caliber in 2023.

One of our favorite annual traditions is Dunkin’ Docs, which takes place on the opening morning of second session. Our entire full session community meets down at Junior Point for a special Polar Bear that includes doughnuts and hot chocolate after the plunge. We firmly believe that the full season experience remains the perfect way to enjoy all that Pemi has to offer, and we love this opportunity to gather together with this core group of seven-week campers and the full staff.

How to capture a summer’s worth of friendship and laughter in one photo? This effort gets pretty close. Even the seemingly mundane moments at Pemi, such as hanging out on the porch with your buddies, produce side-splitting peels of laughter, deep conversations, and the simple yet unrivaled pleasure of just relaxing in the company of others. The boys of Senior 1, seen here, enjoyed many such moments this summer and are primed to step into leadership roles as 15-year-olds in 2024.

We’re constantly encouraging Pemi boys to try something new during their time at camp, and we do our best to walk the walk. In 2023 that included a production of the new-to-Pemi comedy The Somewhat True Tale of Robin Hood. This farcical retelling of the classic Robin Hood legend featured star performances at every turn, including Everett Wooldridge, seen above, as Robin Hood. Alongside Johnny Thibault, River Hambleton, Manfred Creane, and many others, Everett and his Merry Men had us roaring with laughter.

Speaking of star performances… Those campers and staff who were at home for Tecumseh Day 2023 saw a piece of Pemi history and lore take place right before their eyes. Noah Katz pitched Pemi’s first ever perfect game against Tecumseh! With 15 strikeouts on 18 batters faced, Noah displayed sheer dominance as 12s baseball cruised to a 9-0 victory. While the bats speak to the fact that the victory was indeed a true team effort, it has to be said that Noah put on one of the best individual performances in the storied history of our rivalry.

Our theme for 2023, first laid out to the staff during preseason and then emphasized all summer long, was kindness. The four winners of our Divisional Citizenship Trophy serve as the embodiment of the kindness displayed throughout the summer by every member of our community. Whether it was 15-year-old Senior winner Archer Knight going out of his way to make a homesick Junior laugh, or a quiet moment in the cabin where 12-year-old Lower winner Sam Chapin reminded his cabin-mates how to treat others, Pemi campers lived out our theme to the fullest. In a world so often lacking in this crucial virtue, this simple yet profound theme did wonders for every member of the 2023 Pemi family.

With the theme of kindness in mind, we return to where this series of photos started: the campfire circle. To close out every campfire, we lock arms and sing The Campfire Song, written by Doc Reed, one of Pemi’s founders. As we gaze upon a stunning sunset down Lower Baker Pond, we ask the eternal Pemi question, “I wonder if anyone’s better for anything I’ve done or said, and whether good will in the heart may offset mistakes of the head?” We hope and trust that every member of the Pemi family is better for their time spent with “a group of the nations’ best,” as The Campfire Song‘s lyrics not-so-modestly call the Pemi family. Those of us lucky enough to spend summer after summer at Pemi certainly know that we are. So as we flip the page and march forward into 2024, we do so thinking back on that theme of kindness. As is said at the close of every session, we hope that our community members continue to bring a little bit more of that Pemi kindness back into their lives at home.

Wishing you good luck, long life, and joy heading into 2024!

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