Pemi Counselor Internship Initiative

In the fall of 2018, Pemi identified an emerging challenge and started to brainstorm. Increasingly, our best staff members were finding it difficult to return for that third or fourth season, the one where their wisdom and experience make a huge difference for the Pemi community. Instead, in this intensely competitive national work climate, they felt pressure to diversify their resumes by securing a professional internship to improve their odds at landing an ideal job. So we thought, our alumni and parent networks are vast; let’s connect our most talented counselors—the ones we really want to keep in the fold for an additional summer or two—with a 4-to 6-week internship designed to take place between the end of their undergraduate school year in the early spring and before the start of their summer work at Pemi. By facilitating our counselors in this way, we might also allow them to extend their time at Pemi, taking on positions with increased responsibilities that they are unlikely to be offered in other work settings. We called our idea the “Pemi Counselor Internship Initiative.”

The Program Launches

For over a century, counselors at Pemi have developed essential life skills that are sought after in the wider world: leadership techniques, oral and written communication skills, time-management routines, the ability to solve problems and guide others to do the same, and all while working with others in a communal setting. Generations of counselors who have graduated to the broader working world tell us that these skills that they acquired during their summers as counselors at Pemi have served them incredibly well in any number of professional work settings.

So, last winter, we asked three alumni about Pemi’s idea to facilitate meaningful connections for our counselors through professional internships. They not only responded enthusiastically, but each went on to create a spring internship position within his field, allowing three talented Pemi counselors to gain crucial professional experience and to return to work at camp for the summer. We give hearty thanks to Greg Bowes (Albright Capital, Washington, D.C.), Bob Hogue (In-Depth Engineering, Columbia, MD), and Roger McEniry (Dolan McEniry Capital Management LLC, Chicago, IL) for helping us launch the Pemi Counselor Internship Initiative.

Year 1 of the Pemi Counselor Internship Initiative

Daniel coaching 10 and Under Basketball

After nine summers at Pemi—seven as a camper and two as a counselor—Daniel Bowes hoped to return to Pemi in 2019. Daniel, an Economics major in the College of Business and Economics at Lehigh University, also sought a traditional internship in financial services, economics, or consulting fields that would be a valuable steppingstone to serve his long-term professional goals. Daniel was conflicted, as an internship would rule out a return to Pemi, even though he was ready to assume a position at camp that would give him greater managerial experience.

Alumnus Roger McEniry, managing partner of Dolan McEniry Capital Management LLC, started his Pemi career as a camper in 1967 and after six summers, began a distinguished career as a Pemi counselor and Division Head. When Roger learned about Daniel’s professional goals, he sponsored a 5-week internship positioned between Daniel’s last exam at Lehigh and his first summer obligation at Pemi so he might, “learn new, practical skills and build his resumé and then return to Pemi to fill an important role that would benefit the camp community.”

While at Dolan McEniry, Daniel was exposed to the intricacies of the corporate bond market, from researching market factors to investing protocols to evaluating the quality of companies. Daniel shared, “I learned how to act professionally in an office setting, received resumé guidance, and went through mock interview situations. I continued my practice with Microsoft Excel and applied concepts from class work such as financial statement analysis.” Daniel entered his internship with excellent “soft skills” that he’d developed as a counselor at Pemi, including listening closely and communicating clearly, team building, and personal accountability, which served him well in building rapport with his new mentors. “The investment team was generous with their time, expertise, and patience,” said Daniel. “They gave me meaningful projects, provided excellent guidance, and encouraged questions.” Roger was equally positive. “We loved having Daniel at Dolan McEniry. He was great to have around, made a solid contribution in a short period of time, and learned a lot.”

Ned presenting Daniel with his 10 Year Tie

Daniel’s 2019 summer, his 10th total at Pemi, was also a great success. Assuming the demanding position of Junior Camp Division Head, he oversaw a staff of 10 counselors and 40 boys and did an excellent job guiding our youngest Division. His peers awarded him with the Joe Campbell Award at the end of the summer, given to the Pemi Counselor who brings (among other attributes) integrity, generosity, and happiness to others. Daniel’s two summer opportunities—an internship in finance and an increased position of leadership at Pemi—both contributed to his continued growth (and his standout resumé), while both organizations benefitted from his participation.

Pemi counselors Ned Roosevelt and Patterson Malcolm shared similar outstanding experiences. Ned’s 5-week internship at Albright Capital in Washington, D.C. offered him the chance to enhance his technical skills in Microsoft Excel and Bloomberg Terminal but to also learn about the field of emerging markets private investments. Ned is currently a Senior at Wheaton College studying Business Administration and Management. In being able to have a solid internship and then return to Pemi in the role of Lower Division Head, Ned said, “A large part of why my experience was so positive during my internship was because of the support from the people at Albright Capital. I, in turn, wanted to help create a positive experience for everyone at camp this summer.”

Patterson, majoring in Engineering at Swarthmore College, was given the rare opportunity at In-Depth Engineering in Columbia, MD, whose core business is the development of software systems for the United States Department of Defense. Patterson was given challenging and rewarding tasks, furthering his coding skills to improve himself as an engineer. He noted, “In-Depth really used their program to help further the development of their interns. I felt supported from the top-down and part of the team.” Patterson is currently exploring the possibility of joining In-Depth for further employment in the future.

Patterson coaching 12 and Under Soccer

In both cases, their practical experience in a professional setting furthered their understanding in their respective disciplines and subsequently enhanced their managerial and supervisory roles at Pemi. Again, a win-win for all involved and a model of the Pemi network in action.

Next Steps

Given the successful launch of this program, we are looking to further grow the Pemi Counselor Internship Initiative, and are asking members of the extended Pemi community—especially our Alumni and Parent networks—to consider sponsoring an internship for a qualified, ambitious staff member who will bring the strong skills and community values developed through his work at Pemi.

This year’s veteran staff members are particularly strong, and are looking for experiences in the following fields. If you are involved or connected in any of these areas, or are in another field and interested in sponsoring an internship or by assisting in professional networking, please be in touch.

  • computer science
  • engineering
  • politics
  • finance
  • marketing & advertising
  • publishing

Thank you for supporting the Pemi community in our ongoing efforts to retain strong role models at camp while remaining relevant in today’s competitive environment. Key internships will allow us to keep these outstanding young adults—Pemi’s “culture bearers”—for one or two more summers where they can do a world of good for campers before they move on to their future successful professions.

Kenny Moore

Defining Photos of 2019

Each fall, photos from the previous summer are compiled to create a picture book for prospective campers, current families, and alumni. Here are a few favorites, enjoy!

From one of Pemi’s newest traditions, the Junior – Senior campfire. During the first week, every Senior camper is assigned a Junior buddy to mentor.

R. Hambleton set to perform at the 2019 Vaudeville Show during the 4th of July. For the first time, Vaudeville was held outside on the lawn by the Junior Lodge.

Now in its fifth year, our Opening Day Food Drive – Cans from Campers – continues to provide crucial summer supplies to our local food pantry. To learn more about this wonderful community service initiative, click here.

Lowers tramping over Mt. Chocurua during a three day trek in the White Mountains.

One of Pemi’s most popular occupations, Nature Photography, now takes special trips to capture Nature’s stunning beauty.

Now partnering with Deer Hill Expeditions, Pemi West made a triumphant return to Colorado and a new era for the program, focusing on canoeing, service, and mountaineering. To learn more about Pemi West for 2020, click here.

C. Nook on the bump during a dramatic win for the 10 & Under Baseball Team.

P. Cowles during a dominating performance for the 15 & Under Baseball Team.

Our female staff members are an invaluable part of the Pemi staff. Click here to read more about their vital role at Pemi.

N. Andersson working on his Junior Nature Book in the Nature Lodge. He passed the field test and earned his Pemi Brave award.

A new stage and layout for our annual Gilbert & Sullivan performance, this summer’s show – The Mikado.

… and finally drops in the West.

Kenny Moore Promoted To Director

Kenny Moore

The Pemi Board of Directors, together with Danny Kerr, are thrilled to announce that Kenny Moore will be joining Danny as fellow Director, effective immediately. Kenny’s much-deserved promotion marks the final step of a management plan that was conceived several years ago in order to bolster Pemi’s top leadership for decades to come.

Danny reports, “I am delighted to join the Pemi Board in welcoming Kenny to his new position. Kenny and I have worked closely together, side by side, over the past six years as Director and Associate Director. What a pleasure it now is to have Kenny ascend to the position of full Director! I look forward to many summers working with Kenny and offering campers a life-changing experience on the shores of Lower Baker Pond.”

Kenny’s tenure at Pemi already spans decades. First arriving in 1992 as a camper in Junior Five, he progressed all the way through the cabin ranks, finishing up in the Lake Tent in 1997. In 1999, he began his long and distinguished staff career, first as an Assistant Counselor and, over the next twenty-one years, moving up the ranks as Cabin Counselor, Junior, Upper, and Senior Division Head, Head of the Waterfront, Assistant Director of Athletics, Head of Program, Assistant Director, Director of Alumni Relations, Director of Pemi West, and Associate Director. The number of roles he has assumed must be some sort of Pemi record and attests to his love of Pemi and ability to step in wherever he is needed.

Kenny and Sarah with their son, Winston

Even as a camper, Kenny demonstrated an unparalleled enthusiasm for Pemi’s program and culture, throwing himself into every day with a cheerful energy that brought everyone around him along for the ride. In 2002, his infectious good humor and innate capacity to foster community garnered him the Joe Campbell Award, an accolade given by peers to the staff member whose character and impact on Pemi recall one of the best and most beloved counselors in Pemi history. Kenny’s long service on staff has progressively revealed the organizational ability, the meticulous attention to detail, the vision, and the judgment required of a leader, but the irrepressible sense of fun that was there from the very beginning will unquestionably be one of Pemi’s great blessings moving forward.

Kenny graduated from Kenyon College and earned his master’s degree in Education from University School’s Teacher Apprentice Program at Ursuline College before going on to teach and coach at Lake Ridge Academy in Cleveland. He is married to Sarah Evans, his high school sweetheart, fellow Kenyon grad, and third generation camper herself. Their son Winston, born in September of 2017, has already reserved his bunk in Junior One for the summer of 2025.

Kenny, Danny, and the Board are extremely excited for him to join Danny as a full partner in the team mould of the original founders of Pemi. Please join us in congratulating Kenny on the latest step in his distinguished Pemi career and in celebrating our good fortune in having him assume a deserved place in the top echelon of Pemi leadership.

Tom Reed, Jr.

#8: Final Toast and Clive Bean’s Review

2019 Newsletter # 8

Pemigewassett Newsletter Number 8, 2019

Incredibly, Pemi’s 112th season is now officially out of the planning calendar and into the history books. It was a wonderful summer by any measure you care to apply, among our sentimental favorites being the verve and volume with which singing in the mess hall was regularly conducted, the moxie and mayhem of Bean Soup, the grit and determination of our sportsmen in the athletic arenas (dry and wet), and the number and unquestioned sincerity of tears shed as the boys said farewell to their counselors, each other, and the physical place on Saturday morning. Put as simply as possible, 2019 was a banner Pemi season.

As has been our custom in recent years, this number will be comprised of Danny Kerr’s toast at our final banquet, held Thursday, August 15, and Clive Bean’s review of The Mikado, whose blockbuster two-day run occupied the previous two evenings. So, with no further ado, Danny and Clive.

May I propose a toast?!

Here’s to the summer of 2019 at Camp Pemigewassett, the 112th in Pemi’s rich and storied history. A summer that began seven weeks ago for campers, eight weeks ago for staff (“We. . . all. . . got your back, yeah, we all got your back!”), nine weeks ago for those attending Clinic Week, and 12 weeks ago for the grey beards and D-Heads who met in Gloucester, Mass for our “May Summit”….. held this year in June, as we began sharing our dreams, designs, and visions for this Pemi season. How bittersweet to reflect back on the summer of 2019 and to think of bidding you farewell the day after tomorrow, as we all head back “from whence we came.”

Truth be told, the summer of 2019 really began months before then, way back in October of 2018, when scores of our returning campers and families sat by their computers until the stroke of midnight on Oct 11th to apply for summer Pemi’s 112th edition. And congratulations to Billy Murnighan, whose application was the very first one we received that early morning. Who will be the first camper to apply for 2020?

Here’s to a summer that concludes as late in the summer as it ever will, with leaves on Route 25A turning an autumn tint and Pemi boys playing roof ball in the evening with barely a shred of daylight left, a summer that by all accounts has been a marvelous success.

Here’s to the 253 (exactly) campers who graced the shores of Lower Baker Pond this year, campers from 25 states—half of the states in the union!—and from nine countries around the world. Here’s to the 74 campers who made the decision to attend sleep-away camp for the first time, to the 22 who have collected, or will collect, their five-year bowls. And yes, Isaiah Abbey, Gordo Robbins and Elliot Jones; here’s to campers in their eighth summer at Pemi.

Here’s to the talented and dedicated counselor staff of 2019. What an exceptionally strong crew we have this summer! Thank you to those cabin counselors and assistant counselors, the young men who share such close quarters with their boys and who, for some inexplicable reason, are able to inspire, mentor, and capture the imagination of their campers in ways their own parents and we senior staff cannot.

And big, big ups to our Division Heads this summer, D. Bowes, Rosie, Andy, and Bert. What a “Dream Team” to have leading cabin life.

Cheers to the incredibly hard working crew that Reed Harrigan leads each day with vigor, dedication and love; Frank, Neven, Dennis, Barbara, and Judy; to our Office Managers extraordinaire, Heather and Kim (and to Kim’s perfect score on ACA Day!!!); and here’s to Dottie who somehow manages time for us all, even me, and attends to tasks both large and small as she cares for our community with a heaping dose of maternal wisdom, grace, and love. Oh! And there’s the guy she’s married to, leader of singing, writer of newsletters and Bean Soup articles, source of historical fact and perspective.

Big ups to our Dining Service Director Tom Ciglar and his crew, who tackled the herculean task of providing a community of 275 with delicious meals three times a day and did so with a smile, a sincere desire to meet the needs of everyone in the community, and with freshly baked bread each day, too.

Here’s to Mr. Moore, my fellow director whose love for Pemi is so evident as he manages staff, campers, alums, transportation, the daily and weekly schedule and so much more. I wish I had a Mets’ victory for every question he’s answered this summer!

Cheers to Deb Pannell (and Hannah!) and all the creative endeavors down in Art World (Wow! What an Art Show!); to Charlie and Andy, our Athletic Directors, and all the coaches in the athletics program who always put Pemi’s values of sportsmanship, improved skills and participation first. Double boom!

Kudos to Sam Papel and the Trippies who sent scores of trips tramp, tramp, tramping (and paddling) out to the majestic mountains and the mighty rivers both near and far.

Here’s to Jonathan, Taiko, and Sabrina for another remarkable G & S performance, and to our magnificent music mama Michaella for another summer of beautiful harmony and song.

To Chloe, Charlotte, Hattie, Mark, and Mollie and all the exhilarating, yet safe, fun we had sailing, canoeing, and waterskiing on LBP; to Brian for his “Grateful” approach to running wood shop; to Coach Chris on the tennis courts, Larry (50 summers!) and Deb in the Nature Lodge, Steve on the archery range…and all of the other instructors who brought major energy and mojo to occupation periods every day.

And let’s not forget Head of Occupations, Wendy Young, who oversaw the schedule of 253 boys this summer with proficiency, thoughtfulness, and a positive vibe each day; or our dynamic dual Heads of Staff, Erik and Will, who offered leadership and accountability at every turn.

And thank you to our truly amazing Health Staff—Allyn, Rachel, Mary, Billy, Liz, and Dr. Sabrina—for bringing an expert level of care and professionalism I’ve never seen in my many years as director!

Here’s to Penny, bus driver extraordinaire, whose safe and dependable driving was matched only by her immediate love of Pemi.

Here’s to the things that were unique at Pemi in 2019: outside Vaudeville, times two; “victory” cheers in the Mess Hall; a clean sweep of events on “Moose Day”; more staff children running around preseason than I can ever recall; buffet lunches and dinners to combat whatever that was; an outdoor Sunday Service in front of the Shop; a last inning comeback win in a counselor baseball game for the ages; a mystery horse named Patch patrolling center field; and this splendid weather, unmatched in recent memory, so many stunningly beautiful days, with crisp mornings, blazing afternoons, and that peaceful golden haze across the pond at day’s end that we never tire of admiring.

Here’s to all-camp events at Pemi: Bean Soup, when we laugh at ourselves and anticipate “things to look for”; Campfire, when we entertain ourselves with story, song, poems and Devil Sticks; and Sunday Meeting, when we have an opportunity to pause and reflect on topics such as three legendary Pemi staff members of the past, the adventures of our Pemi Westers, 2019, and the certainty that we all have unique and distinguishing talent.

Here’s to our twenty-four 15-year-old campers, to their combined 102 summers at Pemi (yes, you heard that right!) and to the lifelong friendships they’ve created. I know from personal experience that someday you’ll participate in each other’s weddings, be godparents to each other’s children, and hopefully become the next generation of counselors at Pemi. And thank you, especially, for reminding us how cool it is to be the oldest boys at camp, in all of the best and the right ways.

And of course, here’s to the Reed and Fauver families who, in their loving, wise, and supportive ways, continue to expect nothing short of excellence from each of us every summer, and who see the stewardship of Camp Pemigewassett as their chance to make the world a better place, one boy at a time.

Here’s to Camp Pemigewassett, 2019.

Good Luck, Long Life, and Joy!

 

And now for a review of this year’s Gilbert and Sullivan performance by celebrated Northwoods critic, Clive Bean. 

Clive Bean Reviews The Mikado

The Baker Valley’s hottest musical theater ticket this past week wasn’t Dear Evan Hansen or even Hamilton but rather Camp Pemi’s very own Mikado. Director Jonathan Verge was clearly inspired by the time-honored Bean Soup horse-beating joke and decided to whip the venerable G&S warhorse into an entirely new shape, re-kitting Titipu’s schoolgirls in contemporary plaid mini-jumpers instead of kimonos (not to mention their black, Sia hair-dos) and re-equipping their male admirers with iPads and iPhones to go along with their traditional fans. Gone were the traditional sets, lovingly created by Betsy Reed back in the ‘60s, replaced by sliding flats and hanging lanterns that turned the Lodge into a veritable Japanese tea house—or, considering the show’s frequent references to death by chopping, slicing, and dicing—into a veritable Benihana Steak House.

Larry Davis, Nick Gordon, and Sabrina Lawrence

Larry Davis, Nick Gordon, and Sabrina Lawrence

Anchoring a strong cast were Larry Davis, reprising the role he was born to play, the insatiably ambitious one-man cabinet and Lord High Everything, Pooh-Bah (this year looking frighteningly like recently-deceased French designer Karl Lagerfeld); Nick Gordon as Ko-Ko, the cheap tailor in the $300 suit, who finds himself as Titipu Town Executioner and bounces between romantic relationships as uncontrollably as Brad Pitt (and we should add that Nick, like Larry, had played his role before, clearly knowing it just as well as he knows the back of his own fan); and Sabrina Lawrence, whose acting captured to perfection the charmingly vain and flighty Yum-Yum, while her singing struck this reviewer as perhaps the best that the Pemi Opera House has ever witnessed.

Donald Turvill, Landon Burtle, and Bennet King (with bodyguards)

Stealing Yum-Yum away from Ko Ko was Donald Turvill, our itinerant Scottish showman/guitarist, typecast as the wandering minstrel Nanki Poo (Nanki Poo being, of course, Japanese for “Where’s the nearest pagoda?”). His relaxed and somewhat snide manner was a perfect counterpoint to Nick Gordon’s twitchy, OCD mannerisms, and made perfect sense of why Yum Yum opts for artful youth over semi-neurotic middle age. Landon Burtle sang the part of the town second fiddle Pish-Tush to perfection, while Bennet King charmed the audience as the blood-curdlingly dark Mikado himself. Not since Austin Powers’ Mini Me has so much evil been packed into such a small package—the chilling effect being amplified in Bennet’s case by his arriving on stage strapped to the back of Pemi’s own consummate Dr. Evil, Rosie.

Chris Ramanathan, Connor Queenin, and Scout Brink

Chris Ramanathan, Connor Queenin, and Scout Brink

Rounding out the female leads were Chris Ramanathan, a strong and convincing Pitti-Sing; Connor Queenin, as the self-proclaimed, trail-runner-wearing, bloodthirsty cougar Katisha (clearly inspired by Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada); and Scout Brink as Peep-Bo. Scout’s comic acting in one scene positively brought the Japanese tea house down, while her elegant fan dance to Queenin’s plaintive “Alone and Yet Alive” recalled the time in the 1920s when Doc Reed persuaded Isadora Duncan to come to Wentworth to fire up the Pemi boys for Tecumseh Day, performing her infamous “Bloomer Girl” gavotte.

Both the male and the female choruses struck us as particularly strong and well prepared this year. We’ll refer you to the cast list at the end of this holiday season’s Bean Soup for all the staff names (in case you didn’t memorize them from your program and can’t find them on the back of your own fan), but campers Noah Andersson, Elijah Dorroh, Ben Herdeg, Nathan Gonzalez, and Henry Moore seemed born-to-the-manner nobleman, exuding arrogance and privilege. Meanwhile, Luke Young, Jon Ciglar, Jay Williams, Oscar Andersson. Andreas Geffert, Dexter Wells, Lucas Gales, and Lucas Vitale developed their entirely new roles as businessmen with all of the money-grubbing verve of long-time wolves of Wall Street. Meanwhile, camper Schoolgirls Austin Greenberg, Noah Littman, Jesse Orlow, Anders Morrell, Carter Glahn, John Poggi, Ethan Smith, Clay Johnson, Luke Gonzalez, and Oskar Lewnowski performed so convincingly in their plaid mini-dresses, white knee socks, and bobbed wigs that many of their own parents, sitting in the audience, completely failed to recognize them. Chris Johnson, though, did say that one of the cuter girls reminded him of pictures of his wife Ashley when she was in seventh grade. Oh, we should definitely mention that one Schoolgirl seemed to have suffered a major mishap in during the make-up process. That said, Cole Valente still looked pretty darn hot with an inverted fake eyebrow stuck to his chin.

We’ll refer you to Bean Soup yet again for the names of Katisha’s wonderful Security Detail (X-treme dudes to a man!) and those, too, of the clearly accomplished Stage and Light Crews. Quick mention, though, to Stage Manager Luke Larabie, accomplished actor from past shows who fulfilled the Pemi mantra of trying something new this season, and puppeteers Hannah Roadknight and Carmen Facciobene, who gave us a charming, backlit visualization of “The Criminal Cried as He Dropped Him Down.” It was clear that Carmen is every bit as good with a fake snickersnee as he is with real devil sticks.

Taiko Pelick

Finally, a nod to Johnny Saras for uncorking some true (and previously completely hidden) virtuoso work on trumpet—and huge, huge kudos to pianist Taiko Pelick, who followed up on six grueling weeks accompanying rehearsals with a truly majestic performance at the keyboard. Her capacity to play all of the score’s requisite notes and chords and, at the same time, to highlight the melodies for the occasional lead who needed reminding was truly remarkable. If a professional pit orchestra could ever be boiled down into ten fingers, it would be named Taiko.

We’ll leave it at that. It was a very good show. We hope you were able to be in the audience. And if not, be here next year when The Pirates of Penzance sail their swashbuckling way back into the Baker Valley for 2020’s G&S extravaganza. What better run-up to that November’s election than a show about dishonest men who are finally persuaded to become true patriots?

–Clive Bean

And with thanks to Danny and Clive, both, we bring this last epistle of the 2019 season to a close. We wish a happy and healthy autumn to all of you and look forward to sending out the holiday copy of Bean Soup in early December. Pemi parents of 2019, don’t be surprised if your sons disappear with the volume as soon as they tear it from its envelope, re-surfacing only after three or four hours of chuckling behind a closed door. From past experience, we know they’ll be willing to let you all have a look after they’ve read it, cover-two-cover, the requisite three times. For now, farewell, and thank you for your kind attentions.

                                                                                    Tom Reed, Jr

 

#7: Setting the Standard

2019 Newsletter Number 7

[This week’s letter comes from Associate Director Kenny Moore]

On Tuesday, August 6, two visitors from the American Camp Association (ACA) spent the day at Camp Pemigewassett as part of our regular accreditation process. Every five years, we host an official visit to share our policies and procedures with the ACA. The national organization sets forth industry-accepted and government-recognized standards and accredits more than 2,500 camps throughout the country. ACA visitors are all camp professionals who volunteer their time to ensure that camps across the country are following the best practices in the camping industry. Five years ago, I became an ACA visitor, which provided me with a wealth of knowledge about the accreditation process and also the camp industry as a whole. We can gain so much from sharing our ways of doing things with like-minded peers and learning about similar institutions.

Just this past winter, the ACA revised their accreditation standards in an effort to streamline the process and to better meet the needs of camps in the present day. The new organizational scheme is broken down into seven sections, each with a primary focus on the operations of a camp. These apply not only to residential camps but also to day camps, short-term camps, summer programs at schools, and vendor groups using camp facilities. Here are the seven sections:

CR – Core/Foundational
AD – Administration
FA – Facilities
HW – Health and Wellness
ST – Staff Qualifications, Training, and Supervision
PD – Program Design and Activities
PA – Program Aquatics

In total, these sections list one hundred and seventy-six standards, many of which have multiple components. For each standard, there are a few ways to demonstrate compliance. The ACA stipulates whether written material is required or, alternatively, an observation from the visitor or a discussion of policy from the Camp Director. For example, CR.5 – Conditions of Facilities, Equipment, and Vehicles – “Are buildings, structures, grounds, equipment (including vehicles, if applicable) and activity areas maintained in good repair, and kept clean, safe, and sanitary?” Our description of our maintenance procedures and the visitor observation covers this standard.

Or AD.5 – Transportation Information for Parents – “Are parents or guardians of campers who are transported to/from camp provided written information? (Written documentation required).” We share materials and our transportation information as found in the Parent section of our website along with our safety rules for van/bus travel. This demonstrates compliance. There are some standards that ‘Do Not Apply’ to Pemi, such as PA.7 Swimming Pools (our lake does just fine for swimming and boating, thank you) or PD.16 Pony Rides (and we haven’t had horses here since the 1930s). These are scored as DNA.

The accreditation process starts early in the spring when Elizabeth Snell, the New England ACA Standards Coordinator, contacts Danny and me. She connects us with two other camp professionals to schedule an official visit day later in the summer as well as a pre-visit to get the ball rolling. The pre-visit includes thirty-five standards that are either scored by written documentation or Director interview, most of them falling into the Administration category. In April, Danny met with our visitor and shared our policies covering these standards.

Kim Malcolm's bookshelf

Kim Malcolm’s bookshelf

Also in April, our wonderful administrative coordinator Kim Malcolm began to organize Pemi’s personnel and materials for the official visit. Kim has successfully guided Pemi through multiple ACA visits over the past few decade, and we are incredibly lucky to have her spearheading our efforts. Adding to this year’s challenge was that, as I noted, the ACA updated their standards since our last visit in 2014. We all needed to spend time with these newly written and organized standards to be sure we understood these new requirements together with the new location of old standards.

Visit Day

While the accreditation process is a matter that technically involves only our staff, this year the campers got wind of what was going on and really took an interest. They know and love Pemi and wanted to be sure the visitors saw us for what we are. A signal that we were ready for our visit day came over loud and clear in the Mess Hall on Monday evening. In lieu of one of our traditional Tecumseh Day cheers, the crowd of interested boys excitedly chanted, “Na Na Na Na, Na Na Na Na, Hey Hey-ey ACA!” Each repetition was louder and quicker, adding palpable energy to the Mess Hall.

The tour on Tuesday morning started in the kitchen to check out Tom Ciglar’s operation in full swing. Visitors looked to be sure that the kitchen works in a clean and efficient manner. Tom showed us the walk-in-fridges, his dry storage, the dish-cleaning area, and the mechanical dishwashers, describing each and every process we use to ensure safety and cleanliness.

Next up at Buildings and Grounds, Reed Harrigan walked us through each of the bays of the maintenance shed, pointing out the locked cabinets containing hazardous materials as well as the electrical, water, and other utility maps that explain the infrastructural workings of Pemi. A quick trip then behind the shed, to see the Pemi fleet of vehicles—one school bus, four rental 12- or 15-passenger vans, and three rental cars, each equipped with a mileage log, fire extinguisher, first aid kit, and emergency flares.

Dr. Sabrina DeStefano

Dr. Sabrina DeStefano

Dr. Sabrina DeStefano toured our visitors through the Health Center, showing them the facility with the necessary secure storage for medications, our record-keeping process (thanks CampMinder!), and our quiet rooms for boys needing to rest and recuperate. After the Health Center, we visited Lower 1 to check out one of our permanent sleeping quarters. One of the visitors grabbed a broom and reached up to press the test button on the smoke detector, which beeped cooperatively in compliance. Then it was on up the hill to the Intermediate Shower House and Pagoda, to inspect one of Pemi’s bathroom facilities.

Next, we visited the Nature Lodge to hear Larry Davis discuss the Nature Program, most notably the Wild Foods occupation and the annual caving trip. (Larry, by the way, is a long-time ACA visitor himself, and is a wonderful asset to have in hand as we prepare to be visited ourselves!) Larry’s training and experience easily covered the requirements for both special programs. Brian Tompkins then showed us around the wood shop and its power tools, a place where safety is obviously paramount. Our visitors checked to be sure that guidelines were posted and that the operation followed them to a T.

Kim and Ken and our ACA visitors

The visitors then sat down with Kim and me at a picnic table in the sun to review the standards that we witnessed during our first walk-about. We positively cruised through the sections, as Kim had all of our paperwork arranged in precise order. When asked about our hiring policies (AD.24), Kim presents the documents explaining our process, starting first with our hiring checklist. “Here is the application for staff members, their reference checks, notes from their interview with one of the directors, and their results from the mandated background check.” Our visitors inspect each document, note that we are in compliance, and move on to the next standard. After an hour of paperwork, I take our visitors to observe a few more of our specialized activities.

Specialized Activities

The ACA defines a Specialized Activity as one that requires equipment or tools that necessitate supervision by a skilled adult. Archery, woodshop, hiking trips where cooking on the trail is necessary, or competitive sports where protective equipment is used (Lacrosse, Soccer, Baseball) fall into this domain. Our staff provides excellent supervision within all these activities either through their own experience in the field or through specific training.

Safety comes first on the Archery range

Safety comes first on the Archery range

At the waterskiing dock, Molly Malone explained how she runs her program, the use of lifejackets, and other aquatic safety regulations specific to her area. Chloe Jaques was teaching sailing from the safety boat as our visitors checked out the rules and safety guidelines for proper boating that were clearly posted in the Boathouse. At Senior Beach, Charlotte Jones discussed our process for classifying swimmers through our required swim check and also the buddy system we use for ensuring safety during Free Swim. On the Archery range, our visitors witnessed Steve Clare running the range in a safe, efficient manner, noting the correct use of equipment (in line with conspicuously posted rules), locked storage for bows and arrows, and documentation of the appropriate staff training.

The day was a tremendous success. ACA standards for accreditation allow for the taking of a few “No” answers to the hundreds of questions, but Pemi came away from this with nothing but “Yes’s”! Our visitors noted Kim’s complete understanding of the standards process, and in fact joked about hiring her away from us for their own camps’ next review. Pemi’s key operational areas—the kitchen, buildings and grounds plant, and the Health Center, all hummed along on an impressive level. We are so fortunate for their care, constant eye towards safety, and unfailing hospitality for all of us at Pemi. Moreover, our program heads demonstrated their extreme competency in running their areas in a safe and structured way that was, at the same time, fun and exciting. It was a true team effort across the board. You may not be surprised to learn that the boys, that evening in the mess hall, followed up on their earlier “Na Na Na Na” effort with a rousing chorus of “Perfect Score!”

–Kenny

[That’s it for now. We look forward to getting back to you next week with Danny’s season-summarizing Toast from Thursday’s Final Banquet and the legendary Clive Bean’s review of The Mikado, which opened last night in the Pemigewassett Opera House.]

#6: Tecumseh Day through the Lens of a Camera

Pemigewassett Newsletter #6

This week’s newsletter comes, as promised, from Charlie Malcolm. A history teacher and head coach of the boy’s varsity soccer team at the Northfield-Mt. Hermon School in the off-season, Charlie has been our Athletic Director for close to three decades. His ability to motivate Pemi coaches and teams to be keen, well-prepared competitors and, at the same time, flawless sportsmen is an annual marvel here.

How Pictures Tell Stories:
Rendering Tecumseh Day through the Lens of a Camera

Every year, I write the Week Six Newsletter summarizing our annual athletic competition with Camp Tecumseh.  In the last five years, I have written about the day from the Juniors’ perspective, the Seniors’ perspective, the Sports Center blow-by-blow version, and the quick summary of the day followed by an extended description of my trip in the Allagash Wilderness.  This year, I’ll provide you with a brief overview of what transpired and then discuss some of my favorite photos taken both home and away that capture why this particular Tecumseh Day was special.

All season we have been blessed by incredible weather and also by photos from Dottie Reed, Tom Reed, Johnny Seebeck, and various trip counselors and program directors as they capture the essence and daily wonderment of Pemi and the White Mountains of New Hampshire.  When I went through this season’s Tecumseh Day images, I was blown away by the quality and by the way so many photos captured a critical moment of a game or an essential lesson of the day.

Before I dive into the images with a corresponding narrative, I want first to walk through the build-up to the day, and what transpired in terms of wins and losses.  For various reasons, this Tecumseh Day felt especially good, and perhaps I should explain why. But let’s first start with what happened during our contests by the numbers.  We played Tecumseh in twenty events (baseball, soccer, swimming, and tennis) in the following age groups: 10-and-unders, 11s, 12s, 13s, and 15-and-unders. Our baseball program went 4-1, Tennis 3-2, Swimming 1-4, and Soccer 0-4-1.  In terms of overall age group records, the 15s finished 3-1, the 13s 2-1-1, the 12s 2-2, the 11s 0-4, and the 10s finished 1-3.

Pemi lost by the overall score of 8-11-1, but handily beat Las Vegas odds makers by 2.5 wins.  The Las Vegas line undoubtedly placed weight on the sub-par showing against Camp Kingswood a week earlier; on the limited one and a half weeks Pemi had to prepare, compared to Tecumseh’s three weeks; and on Tecumseh’s having twelve to fifteen additional campers in each of the 10, 11, and 12 age groups—odds that would be tough to overcome.

I’ll be honest, when the Las Vegas line of 6.5 wins for Pemi came in early in the week, I was shamefully leaning towards the under. Perhaps the three straight days of 90 degree temperatures shaded my analysis of our chances as the younger kids fought through the heat. Also, I had met with my counterpart from Tecumseh on Monday and knew the numbers for each division traveling to Pemi. Don’t worry, I didn’t share my concerns with the Pemi community, nor did I go to an off-track betting establishment and place a poorly considered wager.

What I didn’t sufficiently weigh was that our Seniors were doing an outstanding job inspiring their fellow Pemi campers to believe in each other and to give 100% in every contest.  I also didn’t quite appreciate the effect that outstanding coaching from a veteran Pemi staff—many certified Pemi warriors—would have on our boys. Ned Roosevelt, Patterson Malcolm, Henry Day, Nick Bertrand, Will Meinke, Andy MacDonald, Julian Webster-Hernandez, Nick Bowman, Charlotte Jones, and Chris Johnson are all veteran coaches or former campers who never back down.  Another influence I didn’t quite factor in was how many of our critical athletes playing central roles are the sons of former Pemi campers, raised on stories of mighty battles against our rivals from Camp Tecumseh. We are rolling out teams with boys named Cowles, Nook, Snyder, Applebaum, Burke, Greenberg, Judd, Broll, Schweagler, Silloway, Wyman, Somp, and others…they were not raised to wilt on this day of all days!  Nor did they!

You could feel the momentum building in the Mess Hall from the midpoint of the season. Once the Second Session boys arrived to join our Full Session campers, the Seniors unleashed “I believe…I believe that…I believe that we will win!” “Two more days,” and  “Where are my dogs at?” These exuberant, spontaneously wild cheers in the Mess Hall clearly had their effect.

While the 15s were amping up their energy and focus all week, the younger campers met the challenge of preparing with a wide range of success.  Just keeping track of shin guards, baseball gloves, tennis racquets, and swim goggles proved to be a fulltime job for the Junior Camp staff and this Athletic Director.  However, the Seniors instinctively found the delicate balance of inspiring younger campers without creating anxiety or nervous energy. This year they spoke from the heart and hit the perfect tone for the day.

Andrew Roth and Isaiah Abbey—both rehabbing from significant winter knee surgeries—were dealing with the crushing frustration of not being able to play in their last Tecumseh Day. Yet these Pemi veterans chose to provide steady leadership by channeling their personal disappointment into positive energy, selflessly lifting the boys.  I looked out at the excited boys in the Mess Hall and searched for the right words to set the tone. Seeing the Seniors’ commitment to the day and watching the community gradually become more unified shaped my message to the boys before they started the day of competition. Even so, something special was happening that I didn’t fully appreciate at the time.

Each year I send the boys off with some parting wisdom usually dredged from deep in my soul after years of Tom Reed Sr. mentoring me as a boy and as an athletic director. For Tom, the purpose of sports and especially our competition with Tecumseh was for each one of us to embrace the competition in a spirit of decency and respect for our opponents, making the most of the chance to embrace our shared humanity when we are most vulnerable to the self-serving temptations of competition.  For Tom, humility, hard work, and integrity were the most important attributes that coaches and players should uphold when representing Pemigewassett. Tapping my inner Tom Reed Sr., I merged his wisdom with the leadership the Seniors were providing the community to offer these final words before the boys left the Mess Hall for competition:

We play this day not to win “the hat,” but to become a better community.  The day will challenge you to be the best version of yourself, whether you are in the heat of the battle or on the sidelines cheering.  So much about this day is about coming together, lifting each other up, staying engaged in every contest, competing for each other, and having the courage to compete to the last whistle, pitch, serve, or race.  If at the end of the day we are a stronger, more committed community, and if each of you can look in the mirror and say, “Yes, I gave it my all” while upholding unwavering sportsmanship, then Tecumseh Day will be successful, regardless if we win “The Hat” or not.  This day will test you; that’s why we do it. Let’s go out there and compete for each other and become a stronger community.

Let the Games Begin…at Tecumseh

When you look through the photos of 10’s baseball, you can see and feel the intensity of a close game.  I want to highlight two players, Luke Young and Chase Nook, who met the challenge and helped carry their team to an inspiring victory.  Their stories capture to perfection how this day of competition creates opportunities for personal resiliency.

Luke Young calling his shotIn the last inning, with Pemi trailing 1-0, Chase Nook was standing on first base after working a critical lead-off walk. Luke points to the distance…is he calling his shot?  Luke is the younger brother of 2018 Fauver Baseball Trophy winner Sam Young, easily one of the best baseball players in camp who pitched a no-hitter for the 11’s baseball team last year on this very field.  From the shadows of his older brother, Luke Young delivered a mighty blow that split the Tecumseh outfielders and rolled fittingly all the way to Munger Hall, named after the legendary college coach and Camp Tecumseh director.  Luke stood on third as the Pemi faithful and bench went wild…and unleashed an even bigger smile.

After giving up a lead-off homer to a Tecumseh batter, Chase Nook immediately shook off self-doubt and battled to hold Tecumseh at bay for five straight shutout innings, giving Pemi a chance to seize the lead in the last inning. Think about it, your first batter takes you deep, the home team is going wild, and as ten-year-olds you’re on the road…and then you lean in and dominate!

With both camps surrounding the field and cheering wildly, the little big man on the hill got in the zone, blocked the pressure of the moment, and struck out the first two batters before finishing the game with a diving catch to secure the final out. Chase has the uncanny ability to slow the game down and focus with laser precision. His poise and moxie on the mound are essential ingredients to competing on Tecumseh Day. All week long, Chase had provided his age group with outstanding leadership and, when it mattered most, he delivered an effort for the ages.

With the 10’s baseball game triumphantly completed and the 15’s baseball game already starting, the crowd switched venues to watch the remainder of the 15’s Tennis match—4th singles.  Every coach, player, and fan at Tecumseh, from both camps, was watching this epoch tie-breaker that would determine the outcome of the 15’s Tennis match.

Pemi fans

Luca McAdams missed a week of practice to allow a sprained ankle to heal. Coach Nick Bertrand made the crucial decision to move the brash, competitive Luca from first doubles to 4th singles, sensing Pemi’s depth through doubles was sufficient to make this key change once he realized Luca was fully recovered.

Luca is a gamer and was an ideal athlete to embrace the pressure and challenge of a deciding match.  With the fans cheering wildly after each point, Luca delivered another clutch performance for the ages to secure an 8-6 super tie-breaker victory.  As the word reached the 15’s baseball team just starting the first inning, Pemi’s bats erupted with joy and confidence.

Pemi Alumni Power

With the winds of momentum clearly in Pemi’s sails, our so-far undefeated 15’s baseball team (6-0) sent their ace to the mound, Pierce Cowles.  Both Pierce and Chase Nook are sons of former Fauver Baseball Trophy winners, Peter Cowles and Bill Nook respectively. Cowles is no stranger to competitive baseball games as he has pitched Fairfield, CT deep into the Little League Playoffs, often at the expense of competing for Pemi.  He straddled the rubber, looked in at the catcher, and dominated his opponent with guile and determination.

At Pemigewassett: Playing the Next Game

While the story at Tecumseh was about individual perseverance, pressure, momentum, and steely competitors delivering big-time performances, at Pemi the boys were learning something about confidence, perseverance, staying focused when things aren’t necessarily going well, and the power of community and positive coaching to push individuals and teams forward.

While the 13’s swim team was falling to a talented Tecumseh squad, our 12’s soccer players were battling one of Tecumseh’s deepest teams.  As mentioned earlier, our 10s, 11s, and 12s were taking on much larger age groups in their contests and Tecumseh’s depth was particularly advantageous on the soccer field.  Giacomo Turco spent one summer as a Tecumseh camper before switching to Pemi and is always a warrior on Tecumseh Day as he takes on his former camp. Giacomo was the man of the match for Pemi. Though he made one spectacular save after another, he was noticeably upset after giving up two first half goals in net. Nick Bowman, a former Pemi goalie and Soccer Trophy winner, zeroed in on Turco to help him channel his frustration into determination, and we all watched as Giacomo continued his brilliant play in the second half of the game.  Turco then went on to deliver an outstanding effort for his winning tennis team. And after lunch, with energy to spare, Giacomo led his 12’s baseball victory by crushing a two-run double to provide the winning margin of victory. It’s a long day for our athletes and the positive coaching shown by Bowman is an essential ingredient in helping the boys reach their collective potential. For Giacomo, he just needed to reset before once again becoming a Tecumseh nightmare.

While Assistant Coach Bowman re-channelled Giacomo’s focus for the second half and the rest of the events to follow, Coach Patterson Malcolm rallied his team to fight to the final whistle.  At 3-0 and fifteen minutes to play in the game, Patterson astutely pulled off his tennis players to save their energy for the tennis match. As a coach, you must make critical and, at times, excruciating decisions on when to push for a result and when to back off in a given contest.  When Patterson sent in the reserves in this match, the Pemi faithful kept cheering the lads on, and the 12s hustled and scrapped until they managed to tilt the field in their favor, forcing the Tecumseh coaches to keep their starters in the game. Pemi’s efforts created several scoring chances as they pinged the crossbar and sent another off the post.  They fought their way to a respectful and inspiring finish to their match, building critical confidence for the remainder of the day. Next man up, play to the final whistle, positive community energy, positive coaching…all of these factors were in play and set the 12’s up for a very strong finish to the day.

As I mentioned before, there are big momentum swings on this day, and resiliency, the ability to leave a disappointing loss and move on to the next event, is a critical component of the day and an essential life lesson.   The 13’s soccer team came out flat after losing their swim meet 19-41 to start the day. With Tecumseh pounding at the door, Pemi’s goalkeeper, Ben Buie, kept the team in the game until they discovered their inner strength to compete.  To be honest, many of the Pemi fans initially watched this match passively as their team was pinned down in their end.  After Tecumseh finally scored, the Pemi community, with a little encouraging, woke up and lined up along the brown fence and began cheering enthusiastically, urging the boys to scrap and compete.  Andy McDonald’s team, after a fantastic week of preparation, responded with an effort worthy of their investment and received high praise from the veteran Tecumseh counselors on the sidelines. They were facing a Tecumseh team with six or seven high-level club players and they needed to respond with a desire to win big tackles and swarm defensively as a team.

Pemi evened the score when two pressing Pemi players stripped a Tecumseh defender and Fischer Burke deftly chipped the goalie.  When the crowd began cheering, the effort and determination that followed were the key factors that set up the goal. Pemi battled for 35 more minutes and earned a well-deserved tie against one of Tecumseh’s best teams in any age group.  With the tie, the 13’s had found their mojo and went on to win their remaining tennis match (6-1) and baseball game (6-3).

Afternoon of Competition

There is energy in both mess halls when the score of the day is close.  Pemi found themselves down only 4-5-1, and our collective spirits were high. The afternoon events test our athletes with fatigue and pressure as both camps strike to win each contest.  At Pemi we won 12s baseball and 13s tennis while dropping 11s Soccer. At Tecumseh, the 15s soccer and 10s Tennis lost to leave the score 8-6-1 for Tecumseh heading into the final swim meets and 13s Baseball game.  Pemi would need to win four of the remaining five events to win the hat.

Every boy who stepped up to the starting block knew the day was close and that he would have to muster his last ounce of energy.  Tecumseh’s overall depth at the waterfront made it especially challenging for us to win not only individual events but also have the depth to pull together two relay teams.  Nonetheless, in two of the races, Pemi had a shot in the final relay to win the meet.

Despite Pemi’s best efforts, Tecumseh was able to win three of the final swim meets. However, the 15s reminded us all that you must push yourself in the final race to give your team a chance.  When Tecumseh’s first place lane was disqualified, the 15s were in the position to win the meet, and they did!

At Pemi, the 11s ran into a very strong Tecumseh team while the 12s battled to the final race in another close meet.  While the swimmers gave every last ounce of effort, the 13s baseball team under Henry Day’s leadership kept the pressure on Tecumseh.

On the mound for Pemi was Billy Murnighan, sports glasses on and with the best “flow” in camp.  Like Nook and Cowles, Billy is a gamer who competes in sports without an ounce of nervous energy; he just goes about his business and gets results when the pressure is mounting on others.  One of the reasons campers like Billy are able to find this athletic nirvana is the positive coaching and community that has their backs as athletes. By the time Billy took the mound, you could feel a stronger community emerging at Pemi and witness an excellent coach by his side.  Billy delivered five innings of all-business baseball, leading his team to a gritty 6-3 victory. It was an amazing accomplishment, given this young man had already swum in the meet, played a shutdown outside midfielder in a physical soccer match, and delivered a 6-1 tennis victory.  It’s Billy’s unassuming, quiet leadership that often is the magic necessary to defeat a quality opponent like Tecumseh.

As the buses return to Pemi and the community gathers to meet our 15- and 10-and-under age groups, everyone is genuinely feeling deep appreciation for the day and our community’s response to the challenge of taking on a worthy opponent.  For the 15s, this is one of the more emotional moments of the summer, as they realize that they have competed in their last Tecumseh Day as campers. As the boys emerge from the buses and vans, the majority of them are wiping away tears as they come to grips with the passing of time, the end of being a boy at camp.  Fortunately, all of these young men can look in the metaphorical mirror and feel proud of their efforts, accomplishments, and most importantly, their collective leadership of the Pemi community. And if we and they are lucky, these boys will one day return to Pemi as coaches to impart the very wisdom and resolve they received from countless staff members over their years at Pemi.

Gratitude: The Final Lesson

One of the most important aspects of leadership and character Tom Reed Sr. would highlight for our community is the critical importance of expressing gratitude and respect for your teammates, coaches, officials, and most importantly, your opponent.  In the ideal sports world, a great sports competition is cemented by mutual respect, and each athlete, coach, and spectator is a guardian of this collective experience.

Perhaps the most important factors making the 2019 Tecumseh Day an exceptional experience were the total class and sportsmanship of the Tecumseh community.  Over the years, the relationship between our camps has only gotten stronger. As I moved through the day from greeting Tecumseh as they arrived on their buses to our final dinner in the dining hall, the feedback was universally positive. These are great kids led by excellent staff.  I watched kids thank bus drivers as they left the bus, teams collectively clean up their benches after every contest, thank referees and umpires regardless of the outcome, reach out and helped a Pemi competitor up after a hard tackle or injury, and compete with skill, conviction, and a genuine respect for the game.  I never like to lose to these guys, really, but the genuine respect we have for Tecumseh was only enhanced by their style and humility as they pulled out a hard-fought victory.

As for the Boys of Lower Baker, you can feel that we’re a tighter, more cohesive camp since Tecumseh Day.  The boys enthusiastically signed up for trips to Mount Katahdin, the Mahoosucs, Greenleaf Hut, and the Pemigewassett Wilderness.  Our younger campers are a little more independent and confident as they walk through camp. During Week Six occupations, our athletes are now embracing the Nature Program, practicing for the Mikado, painting in Art World, or off on a trip as they fully engage in all that Camp Pemi has to offer. There could be no surer evidence that Tecumseh Day, win or lose, makes us a better camp.

–Charlie Malcolm

Thank you Charlie, for everything!

We look forward to welcoming our kind readers back next week, for a newsletter from Associate Director Kenny Moore.

 

#5: Utopia Reconsidered

2019 Pemi Newsletter #5

There we sport on land and water,
Far from Eve’s disturbing daughter
(Though perhaps we hadn’t oughter.)

– From “Pemi,” by Dudley B. Reed

 

2019 Female Program Staff. FRONT: Sabrina Lawrence, Hattie McLeod, Hannah Roadknight, Charlotte Jones, Fiona Walker, (Sabrina DeStefano, MD) BACK: Chloe Jaques, Michaela Frank, Wendy Young, Deb Kure, (Dottie Reed), Scout Brink, Taiko Pelick. Program staff not pictured: Molly Malone, Deb Pannell

Women have been central to Camp Pemigewassett from the beginning, but their roles have happily evolved since our founding in 1908. Truth to tell, they were unquestionably most important to Pemi in the early days as nothing more or less than mothers to our campers and staff—positions that obviously loomed large in every individual male life but that we’d never suggest afforded women much honor or prestige at camp itself. Founders Gar and Win Fauver and Dudley Reed were all married when they launched Pemigewassett that first summer and, in fact, Doc Reed’s wife Clara had been persuaded to part with her wedding silver to come up with the purchase price of our first pair of draught horses—far more crucial to the fledgling operation than any sterling flatware or tea service. The hard facts, though, were that the wives of the first directors and of the early “masters” of music and nature instruction spent their days in almost complete isolation from the campers and counselors, dining in their own facility on the Hilltop above camp and cordially excluded from all public occasions save for a Sunday “church service” (with hymns and all—a feature of our mildly sectarian early days) and the frequent performances of the famed Silver Cornet Band. Everything else—Birthday and Final Banquets, Bean Soup, campfires, and so forth—was designated “boys only.” The early thinking was evidently that if camping in the Army was all-male and yielded disciplined, physically-hardened, and tightly-bonded soldiers, then the formula “weren’t broke” for summer camping either.

Head of Program, Wendy Young

Head of Program, Wendy Young

Although the skewed gender situation was “industry standard” for boys’ camps at the time, the second generation of Pemi directors’ wives arguably picked up the torch that had been consequentially lit by Rosie the Riveter in the man-depleted economy of WW II America. Betsy Reed, wife of Dudley’s son Tom Reed, Sr., teamed up with Scott Withrow in 1951 and established the Pemi Gilbert and Sullivan tradition, herself starring as Josephine Corcoran in the inaugural HMS Pinafore. Bertha Fauver, who had met Gar’s son Al in the White Mountains while she was an undergraduate at Smith College, frequently joined her husband in dispatching and picking up hiking trips and, in addition, played a central role in seasonal logistics and supply. At one point, there was some discussion of Betsy and Bertha establishing a sister camp to Pemigewassett, but that never came to pass, and the mission of Pemi remained resolutely male—no girls as campers, no young women on the teaching staff, and (hard as it may be to believe now) no mixed dining. When the current mess hall was built in the spring of 1966, what we now call “the small dining room” was formally designated as “the Ladies’ Dining Room.” Wives of directors and program heads had moved off the Hill to take their meals within mere yards of the boys, but a stout wall remained in between.

Associate Head of Nature, Deb Kure

Associate Head of Nature, Deb Kure

Enter the late sixties and early seventies, when so many things began to change so radically in the United States and across the wider globe. Perhaps the first betokenings we saw at Pemi involved sideburns and shaggy locks, the occasional pair of round, blue-lensed John Lennon shades, bell-bottoms at Sunday meeting, and Beatles or Jefferson Airplane covers at campfires. Many of the old restrictions fell in this new age of liberalism and enlightenment, as female office staff and nurses alike attended and contributed to Bean Soup, vaudevilles, and campfires. It wasn’t until the 1980’s, though, that Pemi hired its first woman as part of the program staff—as a key contributor, in other words, to the camp’s central educational mission. The operant thinking, conceived and urged by a number of the younger members of management, recognized that scores of our alumni had sworn through the years that they’d never lived in a place that came closer to embodying the ideal human community than Pemi: structured but fun, caring, appreciative of wit and wisdom, challenging but supportive, joyful, open-minded. Their lists of treasured qualities might have varied some, but they all sounded distinctly Utopian. But what message was Pemi sending, some of us asked, when you create a nearly ideal communal culture but include women only on the periphery—as nurses, in the office, in the kitchen? I’m not sure the term “patriarchal” was as current then as it has become, but the case seemed clear and, in 1984, Director Tom Reed, Sr. hired the first female staff member: Meg O’Neill, from the Washington D.C. area. A student at Mt. Holyoke, Meg came to us through her cousins in the Magovern family and taught and coached tennis for four eventful seasons, achieving bona fide legendary status.

Head of Sailing, Chloe Jaques

Head of Sailing, Chloe Jaques

There have been women working in program positions every year since, either in-camp or on the specialist trip crew. In some ways, they are “ancillary staff,” as they can’t practically serve as live-in cabin counselors, as the vast preponderance of our male staff do. But, these days, every Junior cabin has a woman associated with it, someone to be part of the reception team when the boys first arrive, someone to sit at the cabin table in the mess hall, someone to help with inspection clean-up or cook-outs across the lake, someone to be part of the little family that is each cabin. Meanwhile, when they’re out and about teaching and coaching in their various areas of expertise and enthusiasm, they are quietly but unmistakably making the point that anything boys can do, girls can do just as well. Well before Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe stepped into the global spotlight to demonstrate their dynamic leadership and stellar play, Pemi boys have been taught and inspired by women in almost every activity we offer. If Pemi still feels Utopian, it’s incontrovertibly a gender-balanced Utopia we’re now talking about.

Prior communications have already introduced the women of 2019’s excellent staff (and half-way through the season, we’re more convinced than ever that this year’s aggregate group is unparalleled in their energy and commitment.) Let’s take a moment to acknowledge, though, that something like half of our program areas are headed by a woman this summer. Wendy Young is a certified athletic trainer at Northfield Mount Hermon School during the winter and serves as Pemi’s overall Head of Program, planning and overseeing the weekly occupations that are at the heart of our educational mission. Last week’s superlative newsletter by Larry Davis echoed our delight that, as Larry steps down as Nature Head after fifty years of service, Deb Kure—now in her 12th Pemi summer—is set to pick up the torch, having already demonstrated her world-class chops as an outdoor educator. Charlotte Jones has rejoined us in the midst of her medical school course for another year as Head of the Waterfront (and celebrated Tecumseh-slayer with her 15-and-under swim team), and is set to receive her 5-year silver bowl. Chloe Jaques heads Sailing for the second summer, having taken over from the accomplished Emily Palmer. Molly Malone, a high school orchestra teacher in Chippewa Falls, WI, has rejoined us for year five as Head of Waterskiing, while Michaela Frank’s long and excellent service has now earned her the position of Head of Music (not to mention her coaching 11’s basketball). Hattie McCloud, back for a third year, is not only heading Canoeing but is also the official Pemi Bugler (and arguably earning the sobriquet “Mother [or is it ‘Sister’?] Time.”) And finally, Deb Pannell, a 5th grade teacher outside of San Francisco, is back for her sixth summer of making Art World one of the most exciting and creative realms your sons could ever venture into.

Head of Waterskiing, Molly Malone

Head of Waterskiing, Molly Malone

We thought you might be interested in hearing from this talented and dedicated group of women, so we asked each of them to respond to a few simple questions: “What do you imagine yourself saying about Pemi forty years from now?” And, “Do you think it’s important for women to serve in program positions at camp. Why?” Many of their answers to the first question echo those we have heard from our male staff for years. “I think the philosophy and goal to create an environment where kids can unplug, try new things, and make lifelong friendships is exactly what kids need in today’s society.” Or “Pemi made me realize when people are truly with the people they are physically with (and not preoccupied with cell phones) they really get to know each other.” Or “I’ll talk about the shared transformational experiences, youth and adult alike.” Or “Working at Pemi kick-started my desire to follow a career in teaching.”

Others spoke more directly, as you might expect, to the social challenges inherent for some in any “single sex” institution. “While coming into an all boys camp as a female counselor and program head is one that many people would consider to be daunting (including myself), it has been one of the best experiences in my life. I really enjoy being a role model for the boys. Working with them has been great, and they really respect you.” Or “Working here has equipped me with the skills required to work in male-dominated workplaces, as it allowed me to see this not as a barrier but as an opportunity to harness.” Or “I have grown so much, both in confidence and as a person. I have made so many lifelong friends and been given so many unique opportunities to try new things and become the leader that I am.”

Head of Canoeing, Hattie McLeod

Head of Canoeing, Hattie McLeod

To a one, respondents felt it was crucial for women to fill program positions at Pemi. Multiple people spoke to the importance of what we’ve called the Lower Baker “Utopia” reflecting the gender realities of the world outside the “Pemi bubble.” “A female-less existence is not what campers will encounter in any of their life, so let’s have the best of females to learn with here.” Expanding on the simple notion of the “realistic presence” of women were remarks like this: “I think it’s very helpful to have women on staff in general. I think it is a bonus to have them in leadership positions.” “The boys at Pemi will learn from and look up to both male and female role models in the real world, and it is important we provide that within the camp community.” Two respondents spoke to the need to “normalize” the idea of women in positions of leadership to allow for a fairer and more balanced future. Aside from modeling leadership or expertise, one woman made the simple but compelling point that “Pemi campers learn a great deal from the positive behaviors they observe. Respectful interactions among the women and the men on the Pemi staff serve as valuable examples for young boys.” And, finally, two comments spoke to our taking advantage of some arguably innate differences between men and women. “Diversity in gender has the added benefit of providing diversity of opinion, which allows better decisions to be made.” And then this: “I have heard from the boys who miss home that it is often their moms that they miss. It’s good for them to have ‘camp moms.’” (One wonders if a boy would be as willing to probe this particular aspect of his summer experience if there weren’t a woman around to listen.)

Head of Art, Deb Pannell

Head of Art, Deb Pannell

Now, let’s hear from the boys. I didn’t ask them to speak about our subjects as “women in the staff”—just as members of the staff. The group I consulted included: Carter Glahn, Richard Lewis, Anders Morrell, Jake Landry, Jackson Heller, Charlie Broll, Giacomo Turco, Charlie Orben, John Poggi, and Owen Wyman. On Wendy Young: “She does so many things for Pemi”; “Wendy is so hard working. She’s always doing things in the background to make everything work.” On Deb Kure: “Wow! What energy! And all of it always positive”; “She’s so enthusiastic it’s catching”; “A great teacher, really great!” On Charlotte Jones: “C.J. is really nice, always encouraging us to do our best, even if we’re not doing so well”; “She makes hard work fun, but she never makes it too hard.” On Chloe Jaques: “Chloe’s a great teacher, and she’s so kind”; “She’s always willing to help, no matter what she’s doing, even if she’s in the middle of something”; “What a nice person. Great accent, too.” On Molly Malone: “Molly’s a great teacher, too. Always supportive”; “She gives me the best tips, everybody, really”; “Man, is she patient. She’s never negative and, when I make mistakes, she never makes me feel bad about it. She just makes me see how to get better.” On Michaela Frank: “Energetic, funny, welcome, inclusive, that’s what I think she is”; “She always puts others before herself. She’s so encouraging.” Hattie McLeod: “I took canoeing with Hattie, and she’s a super teacher. Very organized but kind”; “She always says ‘Hi’ to me, and she learns everybody’s names”; “Hattie’s really funny for an English person.” And on Deb Pannell: “Deb is really energetic…and she’s so helpful and patient”; “She’s always in Art World, and makes everybody feel good about what they’re doing”; “Deb can be stern, but not too stern. I think she’s great at keeping everybody on task and just expressing themselves.”

Let’s wrap this us by coming back around to the excerpt from “Pemi” with which we began. There’s no question that Pemigewassett has been a very male enclave through the years, but I like to think that, when he wrote one of our signature songs way back when, Dudley Reed was very much aware that, although “sporting…far from Eve’s disturbing daughter” may have had some appeal and utility, it also risked straining some overarching propriety. Why else express that final, “though perhaps he hadn’t oughter” doubt? So, “perhaps” even in our earliest days, the ideological groundwork was being laid for cracking the artificial gender barrier and empowering some bona fide ladies to come in and demonstrate that one man’s “disturbance” can easily become another man’s “productive shake-up.” In any case, even the most stodgy and aged of us are more than willing to allow that, these days, some of our most charismatic and inspirational leaders are women. Long may it be so!

Head of Waterfront, Charlotte Jones, and Head of Music, Michaela Frank, flanking Dottie Reed in a “Proud to be Eve’s disturbing daughters” t-shirt, designed by then-Pemi staff member, Katie Schuler, ca 2006.

–Tom Reed Jr.

[Stay tuned for next week’s number and Charlie Malcolm’s account of Tecumseh Day, 2019.]

 

#4: Dr. Larry Davis: Reflections on 50 Years at Pemi

2019 Newsletter #4

This week’s newsletter comes from Larry Davis. We’ll let him introduce himself and the occasion, but it goes without saying that reminiscences from Pemi staff about a half century of service to camp are a real rarity. We can’t think of a more appropriate topic for one of our weekly communiqués.

Fifty Years of Teaching Kids About Nature at Pemi: Reflections on Then and Now

This is my 50th summer of teaching kids about nature at Pemi. While these anniversaries are arbitrary, it does seem to be a good time to reflect on where we were back then, where we are now, and how we got here. I started in 1970. Out there “in the world,” the Apollo 13 accident happened on the way to the Moon. The Viet Nam war was raging, and many men my age (21 at the time) were headed into that quagmire. It was the year of the first Earth Day. In the USA, the voting age was lowered to 18. Gasoline cost 36¢ per gallon and a bottle of Heinz Ketchup cost 19¢.

At Pemi, Tom Reed, Sr., Al Fauver, and Doc Nick were our three Directors. The only women on the staff were Kay Richards, our office manager, and two nurses. Women were not allowed in the Mess Hall for meals; they ate in the Big House “up the hill.” Two campers brought food up to them in a big box with long handles for carrying it. Women were also not allowed at camp fire or Bean Soup. All campers were here for seven weeks and occupations were in two-week blocks. Sunday meeting was “Church” (although that was changing), and we traveled to trips and athletic events on benches bolted onto the beds in the back of open trucks. 1970 was also the first year on staff for future Director Rob Grabill. Like me, he was never “a boy” (Pemi parlance for having been a camper).

For the rest of this newsletter, I’m going to focus on changes over the last fifty years in the Nature Program at camp. We’ll look at the way things were and how they’ve evolved into the way they are now. Enjoy!

People

Clarence Dike with the boys' butterfly and moths collections on the wall. Note the cut-off bird wings at the top left. A bit gruesome, but that’s what they did in the 1930’s.

Clarence Dike with the boys’ butterfly and moths collections on the wall. Note the cut-off bird wings at the top left. A bit gruesome, but that’s what they did in the 1930’s.

Clarence Dike, an English teacher and amateur naturalist from Atlantic City, NJ, ran Pemi’s nature programs for 42 years, the last being 1969. He was 79 when he retired. My run began the very next year. They were big shoes to fill, and as a 21-year-old geology graduate headed for grad school in the fall, I was out of my league (more on that later). In his later years, at least, Clarence had an assistant, a cabin counselor, helping him. I too had an “assistant” in my first year, and a good thing, too. He was Dr. William D. (“Dave”) Winter, a prominent Boston pediatrician and world-class, albeit amateur, moth expert. He had been “a boy” in the 1930s and learned directly from Clarence. Although I was nominally head of the program, he gave me the support and inside tips that I needed to be successful. He was the first of the extraordinary people that it has been my privilege to work with, and to learn from, over the years.

Rob Grabill helping Rob Wheatcroft make a butterfly net. (1973/4) Dr. Wheatcroft is currently Rohm Professor of Oceanographic Education at Oregon State University

Rob Grabill helping Rob Wheatcroft make a butterfly net. (1973/4) Dr. Wheatcroft is currently Rohm Professor of Oceanographic Education at Oregon State University

In 1971, Rob Grabill stepped into the role of nature assistant. By now I was a University Teaching Assistant working with undergraduates but still did not have a feel for how to work with 8-to-15-year-olds, especially in fields outside of geology. Rob was a natural, and not only did I learn more about butterflies and moths from him, but he also showed me the way to teach kids and get them excited about the insect world. Rob was very active in teaching nature until he became the Director, and, even then, he kept his hand in throughout his tenure by teaching the occasional lesson, leading a field trip, or taking kids out at night late in the summer to sugar for underwing moths. Rob’s magnetic personality and his status as a first-class athlete helped the program to grow in popularity, and we soon needed a third person to work with us. For several years, this was Hugh Bennett, another “bug” person (see a pattern here?). He was followed by many more, each of whom brought his (and later her, too) own set of skills and interests to us, further enriching our offerings.

Russ Brummer

Russ Brummer

By the 1980’s, things had grown enough that I needed a “number two” (fans of Star Trek will recognize this sobriquet). One of the first “number twos” was Russ Brummer, a former Pemi camper and later “Pagoda Boy,” who was studying biology and environmental science at St. Lawrence. Russ was (and is) a fantastic birder, knowledgeable about all things natural, a person with limitless curiosity, and beloved by both kids and his fellow staffers. Among his other accomplishments was, as part of his master’s work at Antioch-New England Graduate School, the creation of “Junior Environmental Explorations,” the program we still use to introduce new Juniors to nature. He also essentially ran the program during my year and a half part-time hiatus while I was working for the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services.

When Russ stepped away to full-time middle school science teaching, he was replaced by Christine Taylor, a person with a background in Forestry, then Paula Goldberg, a PA working in a pediatric cardiology practice and a great lover of spiders.

Deb Kure with camper, working on maps in Phillip Reed Memorial Nature Library.

Deb Kure with camper, working on maps in Phillip Reed Memorial Nature Library.

Finally Deb Kure, the current “number two” and soon (2020) to be “number one” as I step back from the role of program head and “retire” to the fun part, teaching, joined us in 2008. Deb had attended, as a just-graduated geology student at the University of Rochester, our first Nature Instructor’s Clinic (designed to teach instructors from other camps how to run their own nature program at their own camps) in 1993.

If I were to evaluate myself as a program head, I would say that my true genius was to give each of these colleagues the room to try out and refine their ideas, which were then added to the program. From each of them, I also absorbed as much as I could of their knowledge, enthusiasm, teaching techniques, and passion. The one thing we all had in common was an intense curiosity about the world around us and a willingness to answer a great question with, “Gosh, I have no idea, but let’s find out!”

The Building

Views of Nature Lodge: (A) Shortly after it was built c. 1930; (B) 2019

Views of Nature Lodge: Shortly after it was built c. 1930, and in 2019.

Interior of Nature Lodge Shortly after it was built (c. 1930). We still have and use the two tables with birch log legs.

Interior of Nature Lodge Shortly after it was built (c. 1930). We still have and use the two tables with birch log legs.

The Nature Lodge itself has both stayed the same and changed profoundly. Originally built around 1929, the Paul Moore Strayer Nature Lodge is a 36×18 foot (648 square feet) space with the long side facing the lake. As the picture shows, there were only two lights, naked incandescent bulbs, one over each of the two work benches on the side of the building facing uphill. Needless to say, despite the abundant windows, the building was very dark on a cloudy day and most of it was unusable during August evenings. On one of those evenings, Bertha Fauver (Al’s wife) walked in and, ever practical, noticed this fact, and the naked bulbs were soon replaced with 6-foot florescent fixtures (still here!). The following year, we added two more of these on the lake side of the building and have since added several spot lights at each end. The amusing thing about the lights is that each is on its own switch, except the middle spot light, which has two switches, one by the uphill door and one by the lake-side door. In today’s energy-conscious world, this means we are able to use only the lighting we need at a given time, no more. That original building had two big wooden tables (visible in the picture). We still have these, although we have rotated one 90°.

Interior of Nature Library shortly after it was built (c. 1996)

Interior of Nature Library shortly after it was built (c. 1996)

The big change was the construction of the Phillip Reed Memorial Nature Library in 1995. This 24×13 foot (312 square feet) addition increased our space by 50%. (By the way, right now is the first time in my fifty years that we’ve actually made these measurements!) It houses part of our library of nearly 1,000 books (field guides are in the main building), shelves for camper collections and mineral specimens, wall space for pictures and a bulletin board, two library-style tables and chairs (some say the most comfortable in camp) and our small nature “office” (where I am writing this newsletter). Both rooms are both spacious and cluttered. They house storage space (never enough), exhibit space, teaching stations, work benches, our teaching collections, and much more.

Teaching Philosophy

This is probably the area that has changed (as opposed to grown) the most in my time here. I came to the job as a practicing scientist (geology, of course!). Starting with Russ Brummer, all the “number twos” have also been scientists as have many of the teaching staff (many geologists, many “bug” people or ecologists, some biologists, a physicist or astrophysicist or two, and some engineers). This has led us to a very different approach than the one that Clarence Dike used, which was standard for his time.

Traditionally, the emphasis of nature studies at Pemi was on identifying and naming objects in nature. Boys captured butterflies and moths, collected ferns, flowers, and other plants and pasted them into books; put rocks in a box; and, in the early days, even shot birds and small animals and skinned them for display. Awards were given for the most specimens collected in each category (flowers, ferns, butterflies, etc.). This was the first thing that I changed. I felt that our program should be science-based and conservation -minded. We still collected things, but only one of each species. More emphasis was placed on the plant’s habitat or the animal’s behavior along with their places in the overall web of life. I instituted a “rule” that we would only display things in our building that came from our area. Exotic butterflies from Papua New Guinea are exciting and beautiful, but if we display those here it implies, to my mind anyway, that somehow what we have here is not “good enough.” Nowadays, this particular location-centered approach is known as “place-based” education. We established new criteria for nature awards, and I wrote a statement encompassing these that we still use today:

Prizes for various nature activities will be awarded not necessarily for the largest number of different specimens in a particular subject area, but to the boy who has, in the opinion of the nature instructors, the best understanding of what he has collected or of the subject area that he is interested in, who has the best-or­dered collection, and who, in particular, has the best ability, in the field, to recognize varieties and understand their relationship to each other.

Over the years, as each nature staffer added his or her own ideas to our approach, our teaching philosophy has evolved into one that I call informal, scientific, curiosity-driven, content-rich, place-based environmental education. It takes place mostly in the field so that we are actually seeing what we are discussing. It has proven to be a highly effective way to interest children in the world around them. We do have many practicing scientists (and even university faculty) who have gotten their start here. More importantly, however, we have turned out a huge number of future citizens who are aware of the world around them, its fragility, and our need to take care of it. On a lighter note, we’ve also turned out a huge number of people who know that being out in nature and seeing all kinds of “cool” stuff is just plain fun.

The Program

Occupations

In 1970, campers signed up for occupations in blocks that were two weeks long. There was no fourth hour so each camper had nine occupations over the course of a seven-week season (the last week was Pemi Week with no occupations). The choices were somewhat limited. In the nature realm, you just signed up for “nature” and, faced with 20 or 25 kids on the first day of the new two-week occupation block, we had to figure out what they were interested in and also how to satisfy those interests, especially given our limited staff. Later (1974 or ’75, but I’m not sure) we went to one-week blocks but we were still only listed as “nature”. In 1977, one of our staff members, John Ely, who had been a student of mine at Washington and Jefferson College, changed things forever. John was a serious student of beetles (most of the specimens in our reference collections were assembled by him). He wondered if he could offer a “beetles” occupation instead of just “nature”. This seemed like a terrific idea. So, I consulted the powers-that-be and we put it out there. It was an instant success. It was quickly clear that we ought to do this with all our areas of interest, and soon there were Rocks and Minerals, Ponds and Streams, Butterflies and Moths, Environmental Conservation, and many other nature occupations so that campers could choose what they’d like to learn about.

This illustrates just how growth in our program has taken place. Someone gets a good idea, we find a way to implement it, it works and becomes part of the overall “permanent” program. This requires a receptive program head, a dedicated instructor, and most importantly a camp administration that is willing to try something new. At Pemi we’ve always had the “try new things” attitude, and Directors and program heads have always been willing to put up the money necessary to start something new.

Over the years, mostly through this pathway, we’ve added photography, orienteering, wilderness survival, wild foods, and many, many more subject areas to our list of offerings. And we’ve expanded many popular occupations to include beginning and advanced instruction. Today, we offer five different occupations each week in each of the three morning periods. Some repeat every week. Others may come around only once or twice a summer. Overall, in a typical summer, we offer 30-35 different activities.

It’s also important to note that some of the occupations are generated by camper questions or requests. If they are interested, we’ll try to help them find out more. In fact, as I said above, we are curiosity driven, whether it be staff or camper curiosity. We are lucky to have a huge variety of habitats, geology, plants, animals, and features either on our own property or within easy striking distance, so there is lots to explore.

Trips

Beginning with my first year, we have augmented our morning instruction with afternoon field trips. When I found that we actually were in the heart of an old mining area, I couldn’t resist. We got in our truck and headed out to find some of the mineral localities that were listed in my old New Hampshire Mines and Minerals Localities book (I still use it). It was a bonanza! We quickly built a reference and teaching collection, and in the process the campers and I learned a huge amount about New Hampshire’s geology. One mine, the Palermo, turned out to be a world-famous locality. We still go every week, and we’re still finding new material.

In the old days, those trips were limited, as we had to compete with hiking trips and athletics for transportation. Now we have our own dedicated “Mobile Field Laboratory” (i.e., a nature van) and we take trips out most afternoons. Last week alone (when we had a visiting photographer teaching with us for the week), there were trips to Crawford Notch, the Palermo Mine, Franconia Notch and the Basin, north along the Connecticut River, and to a property owned by the Spiess family, who graciously allow us to visit. It is managed by Brian Van Guilder, a former Pemi staffer. It has 150-year-old sugar maples, waterfalls, beech trees with bear claw scratches, mushrooms, open woods, old stone walls, beautiful gardens, and more.

Reflection (Everything I know I learned at Camp)

Well, I have taken a long ramble through the woods and fields with you. It is time to wrap up with a bit of a reflection. A week ago Sunday, I did my annual Sunday Meeting. My title this year was “A Rock is in Back of it All, But Everything Else I Know About Nature, About Teaching, About Life, I Learned at Camp!” I started, in 1970, with a strong geology background that only got stronger as I completed my MS and PhD degrees in the field. That’s the “rock in back of it all.” But like so many others, I only knew about my narrow field and I had had little real teaching experience. My world was the world of academia, so it too was narrow. Pemi opened up worlds for me. I had a wonderful piece of the earth to explore and learn about every summer, my incredible colleagues and our campers taught me about teaching, and the community at Pemi taught me so much about life. All of these things I was able to take back to my university classroom and students, to my life outside of the classroom, and to colleagues near and far. And to think I actually got paid for that! Not bad at all.

[We offer profound thanks to Larry for this and, more importantly, for the underlying fifty years of unparalleled dedication to Pemi and everything our camp seeks to accomplish. His energy, vision, and innovative practices have been a constant inspiration to our staff and campers alike. We hope many of you can join us for a celebration of Larry’s long career in August.

 

#3: Trail Magic

Pemi Newsletter #3, 2019

Prouty volunteers

Prouty volunteers

Well, we’ve been busy. Take Saturday. At roughly 7 A.M., a group of campers joined Associate Nature Head Deb Kure in manning the local rest and refreshment stop on the bicycle route for the 38th Annual Prouty charity challenge. (The event, featuring multiple forms of fund-raising crowd participation, benefits cancer research and patient supportive services at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center.) This year’s community service participants? Charlie Koh, Brady Smith, Wilson Stavros, Cole Johnstone, Austin Greenberg, Philip Fauver, Barrett and Davis Bachner, Daniel Jones, Nathan Gonzalez, Charlie Shapiro, Landon Burtle, Connor Queenin, and Elijah Dorroh. The afternoon found a group participating in the annual National Butterfly Count. Joshua and Emmett Itoi, Leo Ventimiglia, Owen Wyman, and Ted Applebaum joined Deb, Nick Gordon, and Matt Cloutier to add data to that collected by two other central New Hampshire search teams. (Matt and Nick had both been part of earlier counts as campers!) They evidently identified over thirty species of Lepidoptera on a highly successful outing!

Meanwhile, on the athletic front, the morning featured a range of contests with our highly-respected neighbor, Camp Kingswood, followed by an afternoon of Baker Valley tournaments. Not that victories are everything (Pemi consistently touting supportive team play and good sportsmanship as far more important), we’re off to a good start this season. Veteran Director of Athletics Charlie Malcolm reports that we are 35-19-6 for the season. The breakdown by sport? Lacrosse is 8-0, Baseball 5-0, Soccer 5-5-5, Basketball 8-6-1, Tennis 8-7, and Ultimate Frisbee 1-1.

Finally, after a day chock-full of varied and worthwhile activities, the entire Pemi community retreated to the Campfire Circle for the third time this summer to enjoy a range of acts while the sun set brilliantly over Vermont way and a nearly full moon climbed high over Pemi Hill. It was a fitting capstone to a good week.

The second newsletter of the season was, unfortunately, already drafted when the camp community enjoyed one of the very best Sunday meetings in recent memory. It was inspiring enough that we felt it deserved to be at the heart of Newsletter #3.

As you’ll know from our initial 2019 communiqué, we’re fortunate to have back on staff two veteran trip leaders from past seasons: Sam Papel, who has taken over the Pemi Trip Program now that Dan Reed is pursuing his M.A. through his alma mater Middlebury College; and Nick Davini, who is heading up our inaugural Pemi West/Deer Hill collaborative outdoor leadership program in Durango, Colorado. (https://deerhillexpeditions.com/) Both of them already boasted considerable experience in wilderness travel and leadership, but they vastly augmented their outdoor credentials by spending the spring walking the southern half of the Appalachian Trail. Once the season is over, they will head up to Mt. Katahdin in the wilds of Maine and start south, finishing their trek at Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia, the spot where they left off to join us at camp.

Sam and Nick were both long-term campers and cut their wilderness teeth in the Pemi outdoor program. Specialist Trip Leaders in 2017 and 2018, they’d frequently spoken of their desire to join the ranks of AT through-hikers, and this spring, they finally did it. Many of your sons run into this fabled brigade of committed backwoods walkers every summer on New Hampshire sections of the AT—on Mt. Cube in our back yard, Mt. Moosilauke just up the Pemigewassett Valley, in the Franconia and Presidential Ranges, and even in the Mahoosucs on the NH/Maine border. Our knowing, then, that Sam and Nick were of their rugged number and had already covered the first half of the 2200-mile trek created real excitement as 250 of us assembled in the Lodge to hear their tale.

Sam and Nick: day one of the AT

Sam and Nick: day one of the AT

After a brief introduction, in which they laid out the storied geographical and historical particulars of the Trail, they jumped into a highly accessible set of reminiscences about the various stages and developments of their trek, using a wonderful set of iPhone images to move the narrative forward. They began at Springer Mountain, Georgia, on March 9th, when the southern Appalachians were still in the grip of winter. In late spring and summer, the trail is aptly described as “the Green Tunnel,” with so much of it running through heavily wooded areas. As Sam and Nick set off, though, the trees were still bare of leaves, and their initial photos were a study in brown footpath and gray bark. They described their arrival at Neel’s Gap, thirty miles into the walk, where something like 30% of aspirant through-hikers throw in the towel—and then literally throw their tied-together shoes up into a tree to bear silent witness to the physical and psychological challenges of the AT undertaking. One of Nick and Sam’s admirable decisions was not to romanticize the walk but rather to use it as an example of the grit and faith and sometimes-hard-to-come-by belief in one’s self that any huge project can involve.

Like any smart through-hikers, both of them had pared their equipment down to a bare minimum, quietly making the point for all of us that material possessions can sometimes be encumbering and are best set aside. Staunch New Englander Nick, though, had severely underestimated the grip that Old Man Winter could still exert in March south of the Mason Dixon Line. After virtually freezing to death in his superlight sleeping bag despite wearing all of his clothing to bed, he had to spring for something more thermally beefy to use until the nights became more temperate. Another good message for planning a trip or, in fact, a life.

Communal moment on the AT

Communal moment on the AT

One of the most moving observations they had to offer touched on the phenomenon of “Trail Magic,” the wonderful pay-it-forward ethos that characterizes not only through-hikers as a group but also the folks who live and work along the AT. There were multiple times, they said, when they turned out to have underestimated the amount of food they would need before they reached their next re-supply. Small wonder, as through-hikers burn through 6000-8000 calories each day, and being in a state of hunger all the way around the clock is an accepted condition of life. As they would fire up their stove, though, waiting to cook their last, solitary package of ramen, other hikers would somehow notice and, without ever being asked, come over and say, “Here, guys. Take these two cans of tuna. I’ve got more than enough, and I’ve got a couple of extra Clif bars, too.” They also spoke of a hostel owner, one of many who maintain economical roofed and windowed crash-pads along the way, who gave them a ride into a nearby town and insisted on housing them gratis. At any number of places where the Trail crosses a road, they said, they would find ice-chests stocked with cold drinks and candy—at others, bearded dudes with their grills fired up, flipping free burgers for the long-walkers. What was perhaps most elevating about their telling us this, though, was their saying that the unquestioning sense of community and care they witnessed reminded them, above all, of Camp Pemi.

Sam shared with us the difficulty of pulling out of the hike for a week when a bout of Achilles tendinitis proved to be impossible to overcome. He retreated to his parents’ home in Nashville to recover, totally missing the fabled Smoky Mountain section of the Trail, something all north-bounders look forward to with huge anticipation. Nick confessed that the week of travel without Sam took him to the greatest depths he experienced. They had often hiked separately, Nick usually rising with (or before) the sun, and Sam often indulging in the opportunity to sleep in. Yet they had almost always camped together and predictably came to depend on their shared sense of companionship and common purpose to recharge their psychic batteries. As he slogged, solo, through icy slush and mud, with his life completely scrubbed of any outside distractions, Nick thought back over the past and found himself dwelling, for some reason, not on the things he’d done well but instead on things he might do a little differently if he could go back and do them over. At one isolated shelter, luckily, an older hiker with the trail name “Pops” picked up on Nick’s discouragement and gave him exactly the pep talk he needed: “You’ve gotta leave all that heavy stuff behind, son.” This additional dose of “Trail Magic” and the constant support of fellow travelers sustained Nick until Sam was able to rejoin him further north, a reunion that reportedly included literal shouts of glee and leaps into the air.

Eventually they made their way north, finding themselves more and more often in terrain that offered spectacular views—craggy ridge tops, rolling alpine meadows, winding, sun-silvered rivers seen from on high. Spring greened the woods, and birds of a hundred varieties scored their walk with their songs. The weather could still throw the odd curveball, as when they were assailed by a thunderstorm on a high and exposed ridge and had to choose between 1) sheltering in place and risking hypothermia or worse and 2) charging on, very vulnerably, until they could reach the true safety of a lower elevation. They wisely chose the second option, but, once again, they offered their audience a valuable lesson in decision-making, all in the hyper-accessible and unforgettable medium of an exciting narrative.

1000+miles in. Time to head to Pemi.

Harper’s Ferry, 1000+miles in. Time to head to Pemi.

Nick and Sam described the huge sense of accomplishment they experienced when, on May 20th—73 days into their walk—they reached Harper’s Ferry, for all purposes the mid-point of the AT. At the same time, they were extremely sad to place their adventure on pause, even if they were setting it aside only temporarily in order to spend another rewarding summer at Pemi. Their audience, too, was sad to have the evening end, so engaging and stirring had their presentation been. Their perfectly chosen coda to the talk was a lovely performance by Michaela Frank and Jonathan Verge (accompanied on piano by Taiko Pelick) of the song “Heavy,” by Birdtalker, a band Sam knows from Nashville. It’s message? “Are you feeling fearful, brother? Are you feeling fearful, sister? The only way to lose that feeling . . . replace it with love that’s healing. Leave what’s heavy, what’s heavy behind.”

Once the music was over, the crowd burst into applause—for the performers but, I think, even more for Nick and Sam. They had managed, with understated perfection, to convey not only the joys and trials and rewards of the journey already completed but also their eager anticipation of the further joys and trials and rewards of their planned Fall odyssey. It was impossible to sit there and not entertain the fantasy of, one day, lacing on your boots and following in their tracks. Just as easy, though, was to imagine other goals in life that might be quested for with keen ambition and courage and resilience and quiet faith in one’s fellow travelers. Many of us thronged up to shake their hands. Many more of us sat quietly and contemplated the depth and inspiration of what we had just heard and seen. One of our wonderful thirteen-year-olds, William Webber, stood silently in front of the last projected image—Sam and Nick, smiling with their arms around each other, at their halfway point at Harper’s Ferry. He stood there for a good two minutes, just looking. I asked him what was running through his mind. “As I looked at the two of them, half way through their journey, I thought about us all being on our own journeys, too—all of us in the room, whether we think about it that way or not. It’s like we’re all travelling together.”

We asked some other boys what had been going through their heads as they listened and looked: Ben Herdeg (S1) “I’m not a hiker, but it made me want to do the AT”; Will Sewell (S2) “It was really interesting. I was always thinking, ‘What will they talk about next?’ Everything was well said”; Luke Larabie (S2) “It was pretty awesome! I was amazed how much time the trip took. I may not be physically up to it right now, but maybe in the future I’ll do it”; Denver Yancey (J1) “It was a fun talk. It must have been pretty tiring for them. I’ve been on the Trail in Virginia. I’m not sure I’d do the whole thing, ‘cause I’m not a big hiker. It sounded pretty hard”; Lucas Gales (S1) “It was interesting to see and hear what it takes. I’d never met anyone who did it before, and it was interesting to hear how they dealt with their emotions and injuries. I kept thinking, ‘How cool!’”; John Kingdon (U5) “Super cool! I didn’t know they had to push their bodies so hard. I’ve been on hikes with both of them, and they’re incredible hikers. But this really pushed them. It must be really rewarding”; Cameron MacManus (S3) “It was really interesting. It sounds like a really good experience. Maybe I’d like to do it in the future”; John Poggi (L4) “It was really cool. They did so many miles. Just crazy. They went 20 miles a day, and camped in tents every night. I probably wouldn’t be able to do it, but it was really cool how they made friends and bonded with strangers. And I liked their trail names” [Nick was “Lord Hobo” and Sam “Disc,” after his love for Ultimate Frisbee]; Frankie McLaughlin (J4) “I fell asleep”; Owen Wyman (S1) “At first, I wanted to do it, but after the Madison Hut trip, I didn’t. It’s so difficult, a lot harder than I would have guessed”; Mike Warmington (U5 and a native of South Africa) “Hiking that distance is so cool. It’s amazing how they managed it. They had amazing views. I’d love to do it some time, especially with everything they said about Trail Magic.” What comes through most of all in the campers’ responses is the healthy balance the talk maintained between inspiration and realism. Life’s about challenges that are most attainable and rewarding if they’re not undertaken lightly.

2019 Pemi West'ers

2019 Pemi West’ers

Speaking of challenges that follow organically from the Pemi experience, this year’s Pemi West’ers left camp for the western wilds before breakfast on Saturday. With Nick as the Pied Piper leading the way, veteran campers Ailer Thomas, Bennet Braden, Eli Brennan, Hisashi Lonske, Ian Hohman, Jacob Smalley, Matt McDonough, Max Blohm, Mitchell Chin, Quinn Markham, and Sam OHara piled into the vans for the ride to Boston’s Logan Airport. This evening, they’ll be in Colorado, set to begin their adventure, including a week-long canoeing trip on the San Juan River, five days community service with a local Navajo tribe, and a week’s back-packing in the lofty San Juan Mountains. We look forward to sharing some of their tales with you in the near future. For now, farewell for another week. We hope your summers are unfolding as happily and productively as ours.

–TRJR

#2: Trips, July 4th, Vaudeville…

Pemi Newsletter #2, 2019

Hello, once again from Camp Pemigewassett, where we are now over a week into the 2019 season. Despite an unusually wet spring in northern New England, our weather so far has been fantastic: warm, sunny days, punctuated by spectacular sunsets, fading into cool, star-lit nights. Lower Baker Pond, which three weeks ago hinted to a brave swimmer how a real polar bear feels paddling between ice floes, has quickly warmed to a point where our obligatory Week-One “polar bear dip” isn’t unlike jumping into a 300-acre spa, sans the water jets. With an excellent staff taking hold in the cabins and instructional areas, with plentiful and tasty food in the mess hall, and with a full cadre of campers throwing themselves into the season with energy and commitment, life up here is good. Let’s take the opportunity to say a few words about what’s been happening.

Bookend Trip

Bookend Trip

Pemi’s trip program is the most weather-dependent component of camp operations, and first-year Trip Director Sam Papel has made wonderful use of the days so far available to him. A half-dozen cabins have already enjoyed cookout suppers across the lake at Flat Rock and Pine Forest, a pair of Junior cabins have overnighted at the Adirondack shelter up on Pemi Hill, and cabin day trips have summited Mt. Cube, Mt. Moosilauke, and Rattlesnake Mountain (so named not for its herpetological population but rather for its profile seen from afar.) This last peak was climbed by Junior One and Lake Tent in our annual “Bookends Outing,” as our oldest Seniors (Elliot Jones, Nelson Snyder, and Timmy Somp) teamed up with the cabin counselors to squire our youngest Juniors (Gray Axel, Will Bartlett, John Hood, Richard Rider, Rudi Wei, and Denver Yancey) to the bald rocky top in a very admirable big-brotherly way.

As for more ambitious trips, last Tuesday and Wednesday saw Trip Leaders Will Katcher and Johnny Saras leading a group up craggy Mt. Chocorua, reputed to be the most photographed mountain in the Northeast. A stalwart Lower Intermediate crew of Porter Hutchinson, Chris Cappillo, Philip Fauver, Will Jones, Charlie Parkes, Priester Davis, Henry Sawin, and Emmett Itoi enjoyed the trip thoroughly, returning to camp tired but happy and full of engaging tales from the trail. Meanwhile, Nate Blumenthal and Pierce Haley traversed the southern end of the lofty Presidential Range with an Upper group made up of Davis Bachner, Julian Berk, Connor Emmert, Stefan Luedtke, Dalton Smith, Dez Starks, Fernando Hokello, and Daniel Jones. They climbed up out of Crawford Notch, one of the world’s most signal U-shaped glacial valleys, up to the Crawford Ridge, spending the night at the hyper-scenic Naumann Tentsite. The next day took them past Mizpah Springs AMC Hut and then up over Mts. Pierce, Eisenhower, and Monroe before they dropped down the waterfall-festooned Ammonosuc Trail to the Cog Railway Base Station and their pick-up. Few Pemi backpacking trips could cover such remarkable terrain over such a short stretch of time, and these boys, too, returned for Wednesday supper tired but happy.

The central pillar of Pemi’s varied program—this year as every other—consists of the wide range of instructional offerings we teach on a daily basis, quaintly named “Occupations.” While some camps run their campers through a pre-established set of activities, often in lock-step with their cabin mates, we allow boys to choose what they’ll be doing individually. While they are always encouraged to go further with established interests, we also try to create a climate in which they feel comfortable trying things that are completely new to them. Another significant difference between Pemi and our neighbors is that boys choose occupations for a full week at a time, working their way through thoughtfully pre-planned curricula in each area. To bring in an academic parallel, it’s as though they’re not just attending lectures; they’re taking courses. One extension of this principle is that most of our occupations are taught at beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels, so boys can stick with one area and really advance their skills and knowledge over the weeks and years. With this “expertise-building” shape in mind, our offerings evolve over the course of the season—in the Nature Program, for example, responding to each summer’s cycles as both flora and fauna emerge, thrive, and disappear. We thought it might be instructive, though, just to pass along the list of activities we offered in Week One.

In Art and Wood Shop: Dragon Eyes, Name Game, Ninja Rock Climbing, Sea Serpents, and Shop (Juniors and Lowers);

In Music and Drama: Auditioning and Gilbert and Sullivan, Character Building for Actors, Guitar (beginning and advanced), Piano (beginning and advanced), Mindfulness, Music Playing, Song Writing, Sound Painting, Stagecraft, and Ukelele;

In Nature/Photography: Animal Evidence, Birding (beginning), Butterflies and Moths (beginning), Environmental Sculpture, Junior Environmental Exploration, Junior Nature Book, Photography (advanced digital, beginning digital, beginning darkroom), Ponds and Streams, Rocks and Minerals, and Wild Foods;

In Sports and Athletics: Archery (Junior, beginning, intermediate/advanced), Baseball (for three separate age groups), Basketball (for three separate age groups), Canoeing (Lowers 1&2, Lowers 3&4, and Seniors Allagash prep), Lacrosse (for two separate age groups), Rugby, Sailing (Junior, beginning, and intermediate), Soccer (for three separate age groups), Swimming (instructional, Juniors 1&2, and Juniors 3&4), Tennis (for four separate age groups), Ultimate Frisbee (for two separate age groups), Wakeboarding, and Waterskiing (Junior, beginning and slalom).

Pemi celebrated the Fourth of July in perfectly clement weather, very much unlike the rainy conditions prevailing in Washington D.C. Tom Reed, Jr. kicked off the morning with observations in the mess hall that the flag we were all about to salute as it rose outside to the colors featured fifty stars all of the same hue, “united” in that fact just as the states they represent have long been united by common goals and interests. Sadly, he noted, hardening divisions between “red” and “blue” at many levels of state and national discourse and decision-making have troubled our union in ways that the vast majority of adults would love to rectify but that we seem to be struggling to bring to pass. Our brightest hope at the moment, Tom suggested, may well lie with the youth of America and the broader globe beyond, among whom the students from Parkland, Florida and Greta Thunberg and Malala Yousafzi stand out as inspiring examples of how those who have yet to grow into power can sometimes see and speak with a clarity and transcendent good sense that can elude those “in the trenches.” He urged the campers, as they were about to stand at respectful attention on the porch while Old Glory ran up the flagpole, to think about taking on the full mantle of citizenship sooner rather than later and to do their best to export the good social lessons they learn at Pemi to their school-year communities. Following that, we natives all joined with those British brothers and sisters in attendance this year in exemplifying identity in difference—singing, to one melody, both “America the Beautiful” and “God Save the Queen.”

For the second or third year running, Occupations ran as normal in the morning, but the sunny and warm afternoon featured the annual Fourth of July Parade (aka “The Pee-rade”), lately less a procession than a series of impromptu skits performed by each cabin group before a discerning panel of judges. This year’s offerings were, as always, a lively and inventive set of enactments of one or another aspect of global, national, or Pemi history. Garnering first prizes this year were the Upper Juniors, with a tribute to Nature Head Larry Davis (retiring this summer from that position after fifty years of stellar and brilliantly innovative service.) Stealing the act were Henry Shapiro as Larry Davis and River Hambleton as the sunny and sometimes frenetic Deb Kure, now assuming the mantle from Larry after years of inspiring service of her own. Among the Lower Lowers, Cabin One took top honors, with a stirring reenactment of the entire Battle of Fort McHenry in two minutes. As for Upper Lowers, Cabin Four carried the day with a skit called “Ever Since the Incident,” documenting the recent impact on our staff and their shopping habits of a recent diatribe against Walmart delivered by Drama Head Jonathan Verge. Philip Fauver was truly masterful as Pemi’s own Dr. Phil, sorting out and prescribing for those folks traumatized by Jonathan’s scathing anti-capitalist critique. Upper Three returned to Larry’s long and excellent run at Pemi with a fact-packed but hilarious “tribute quiz,” and Senior Two dusted their neighbors with a “Miss Pemi” dating show focused on what various staff members (and Miss Pemi suitors) might do to make ours an even better camp. Overall, the Pee-rade was an exemplar for witty invention, apt performance, and timely completion.

Vaudeville

Vaudeville

After supper we all retreated to the Junior Camp, where impresario Donald Turvill had arranged for the annual Fourth of July Vaudeville Show to unfold, al fresco, on the Junior Point. With the tranquil lake as a backdrop, third-year camper and guitar master Luke Larabie kicked the show off with a Jimi-Hendrix-style rendition of the National Anthem. Those who missed Woodstock fifty years ago might well have thought they were magically there, as the crowd sprawled on the grass enjoying the varied acts as the evening deepened. Other great camper performances included River Hambleton with King George’s “You’ll Be Back” from Hamilton, Michaela Frank’s ukelele group playing “My Girl,” Luke again (with Donald and Danny Kerr) in a three-way string jam, and Liam Stephan with a funky guitar blues. Staff members Jonathan Verge and Sabrina Lawrence showed truly professional chops with two vocal performances of their own, backed wonderfully by pianist Taiko Pelick. And closing the show proper, with the perennial crowd favorite “The Little People,” were counselors Matt Cloutier and Henry Day, experiencing a Pemi day as abbreviated as their foreshortened bodies. As milk, cereal, shaving cream, razors, toothbrushes, toothpaste, quiche, and a half dozen other materials and foodstuffs went everywhere but where they should have gone (the “arms” of their concealed co-counselors showed them no mercy whatsoever!), the crowd roared by turns their incredulous horror and full approval. And so, with a grandiose fireworks display orchestrated by Buildings and Grounds Head Reed Harrigan, ably aided and abetted by Nick Davini and Danny Kerr, a near perfect Pemi Fourth came to a rousing conclusion. Thanks to all who made it such a great day! Including all of the Founding Fathers (and Mothers!)

Well, let’s leave it at that. This past weekend featured some rousing sporting events with our Baker Valley neighbors, but we leave it to your sons to fill you in more succinctly and sensibly than we would probably be able to manage. Tune in next week, though, for more news (of the true variety) from our happy little corner of the Granite State.

TRJR