NEEEA Presents 2018 Educator Award to Larry Davis

New England Environmental Education Alliance presented their 2018 Non-formal Environmental Educator award to Pemi’s own, Larry Davis. For decades, hundreds of Pemi boys have enjoyed learning about our natural world and the environment under Larry’s direction as Head of Nature Programs. His commitment to teaching is second to none and has inspired generations to become more engaged with—and take greater responsibility for—their natural surroundings. Below is the citation for the award. 

Dr. Laurence ‘Larry’ Davis is Director of Nature Programs and Teaching at Camp Pemigewassett (“Pemi”) in Wentworth, NH. He has held this position since 1970 and, in 2019, he will be entering his 50th year. He is also Professor Emeritus of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of New Haven where he taught Geosciences and Environmental Education for 27 years. His approach to teaching has always been “hands-on,” in the field with observation of nature being the foremost skill taught. This not only leads to good science but also provides enjoyment, understanding of the world we live in and, for many, a spiritual element. He has worked with thousands of campers and dozens of nature staff members at Camp Pemi, and hundreds of students at the University of New Haven. Many campers have ended up in environmental fields and many others from both camp and the University, in environmental education.

Larry is largely responsible for the exemplary quality of education in the nature program at Camp Pemigewassett, which is considered to be one of the best in the country and has been nominated for the New England ACA’s Eleanor P. Eells Award for Program Excellence. Larry fosters enthusiasm and creativity in the campers and counselors. Many of the children at this camp grow into life-long nature enthusiasts who go birding, press plants, and collect rocks during their school year as well. Some of them have gone on to pursue careers in ecology. Larry’s  devotion extends to training environmental professionals as well by running a week-long training program for nature educators every year.

On behalf of NEEEA, thank you, Larry,  for your dedication to the field of environmental education.

Larry offered the following note in response to the award. “This award really reflects the hard work, dedication, and great ideas of all those wonderful environmental educators who have worked in our program over the years, especially Deb Kure and Russ Brummer who both continue to teach our Nature Instructors Clinic. I am also grateful to the first head of the program, Clarence Dike, who handed me a healthy, going concern to build upon. Finally, a huge amount of credit goes to the Reed and Fauver families who, along with Directors Rob Grabill and Danny Kerr, have supported the development and expansion of ‘Pemi Nature’ since its inception in 1926 and my arrival at Pemi in 1970.”

Pemi thanks Larry for his absolute commitment to teaching and we look forward to celebrating his 50th summer at camp with a celebration on Sunday, August 18, 2019!

Good luck, long life, and joy!

Kenny Moore

Pemi 101 – The ‘What-is-it?’ Contest

The ‘What-is-it?’ Contest is a daily contest sponsored by the staff of the Nature Lodge that challenges campers and staff to identify a specific specimen from nature. The item could be a rock, plant, or butterfly, etc. and it is the job of the respondent to submit the best answer possible.

How to participate?

Located right in the center of the Nature Lodge, ‘What-is-it?’ occupies the end of a table. On the table are little slips of paper, small, golf-sized pencils, and a brilliant red birdhouse. Your task? Look at the day’s specimen and try to identify it. Write your name, cabin number, and your guess on the slip, fold it up, and place it inside the red birdhouse. At some unknown time after taps, the Nature staff retrieves all of the submissions and records the guesses.

Overnight, the Nature staff will replace the specimen with a new one and reveal the answer from the previous day on an index card. Participants are encouraged to return to check to see if their guess was accurate from the day before AND to guess what the new specimen is. This process repeats itself every day but Sunday, and the system gives participants immediate feedback; you will know if your guess was correct within 24 hours.

Points are awarded for participation (1 point), general answers (2-4 points), more specific-on the right path (4-5 points), and finally the ultimate correct answer (6-7 points). Participants who continue with the contest accrue points daily and, after each session, winners are announced for the highest score in each division. The prize? A Nature Award featuring a stunning framed collage of natural specimens that you take home. You also get your name listed in Bean Soup; infamy for the ages!

What-is-it Rules?

The rules are simple. You may use any resource (books, displays, etc) in the Nature Lodge except for the Nature Lodge staff. In fact, you may not ask anyone else for help and must find the answer on your own. The challenge of independent discovery is the essence of the contest.

History of the ‘What-is-it?’ Contest

Clarence Dike, Pemi’s first Head of Nature Programs, started the contest in the 1930’s. The first mention of the contest appears in the 1937 Bean Soup. Since then, it has become a staple of the Nature Program inspiring boys and staff to visit daily to participate in this challenging endeavor. Not only do you need to be consistent with your dedication to the contest, but you must have a penchant for curiosity and a willingness to find answers on your own, using resources right at your fingertips. Taking nature occupations will certainly help build your base of knowledge, but further research is necessary for the true die-hards.

2002 – Near Perfect Score – 295/300 – Upper Camper Alex Dyer

Over the years, there have been some very competitive contests and some remarkable scores. Larry Davis, Pemi’s Head of Nature Programs since 1970 remembers one year when the front-runner (Ethan Schafer!) stopped submitting answers with just a few days remaining and got beat out by a more persistent peer: a clear example illustrating the steady diligence needed to win. Since 2015, Associate Head of Nature Programs, Deb Kure has managed the contest. Here are a few other notable factoids.

1982 – Highest Camp wide Participation – 170 people, campers & staff participated in the Contest

1990 – All Star Staff Division – Johnstone brothers compete in a special Nature Lodge Staff Division

2008 – Very Junior Award – Victoria Malcolm continues the tradition of Staff Children participating in the contest.

2015 – Upper Andrew Kanovsky and Lower Will Ackerman earned Full-Season Perfect Scores: 210!

Campers – Are you ready for the 2018 ‘What-is-it?’ Contest?

Alumni – Do you have memories of participating in the ‘What-is-it?’ Contest?

Share your thoughts and comments via the Pemi Blog.


Wrapping up 2015: A Chief, a Toast, and Clive Bean

Hello to one and all from the slightly muggy precincts of the Baker Valley, where true summer weather seems to be making a belated but assertive appearance. We’ve yet to deploy our Buckminster Fuller geodesic dome over the Pond and switch on the air, but the thought has obviously occurred to us.

Noah, center, flanked by past Chiefs

Noah, center, flanked by past Chiefs

It seems impossible that our 2015 campers left us one week ago! We hope and trust that they are all back in the bosoms of their families – be it at their real winter homes or at seasonal digs at Chatham or Edgartown – sharing happy memories of their time with us, but also picking up the threads of their non-summer lives with relish and determination. As many of you may have heard, the season ended on a huge high note, as one of our wonderful 15s, Noah Belinowiz, earned his Chief Award on the last day of the season – joining only twelve other alums who have garnered the honor over the past four decades. The distinction requires thorough and consistent commitment to and accomplishment in virtually every area of the Pemi program – athletics, trips, nature studies, and community service – and when Danny informed the curious and eager crowd in the messhall the last night of the season that Noah had made the grade, the response was thunderous. To add to the momentousness of the occasion, six of the previous dozen to have joined the unique tribe were present at Campfire – Jim Willard, Chris Carter, David and Henry Spindler, Brent Johnstone, and Noah Aberlin. What a well-deserved honor for Noah – and what a note on which to end the year! You could see in the faces of many younger campers gathered around the fire – Brent’s son Drew among them – the determination to “Go for it!” in the coming summers. Good luck to them – and profound thanks to Noah for giving us all such an inspiring evening as we wrapped up 2015.

Al Fauver's 100th birthday celebration

Al Fauver’s 100th birthday celebration

Speaking of celebrations of inspired, ongoing involvement in the Pemi community and program, we dialed it up to 11 and well beyond on Sunday evening with our long-anticipated celebration of Al Fauver’s 100th birthday. Over 160 alums and friends filed into the messhall past Al’s signature red truck parked by the flagpole and greeted Al and Bertha with the warmth and affection that Al has earned a thousand times over in more than eight decades of tireless and inspiring service to Pemi. Few of us are likely ever to attend a party thrown for a person rounding out a century of good works on this ball of rock hurtling through space – and none of us will ever attend one for a man who has done more for an institution than Al has done for Pemi. In keeping with his modesty and love of everything Pemigewassett, the bulk of Al’s response to all the kudos coming his way was to ask his son Peter to read the lines of Doc Reed’s “Campfire Song”: “I wonder if anyone’s better for anything I’ve done or said?” The assembled and effusively-appreciative multitudes in the room answered the question with a resounding “Yea!” It was a signal moment in Pemi history and a chance to concentrate our profound thanks to Al for everything he has done and been. Thanks also to all of you who attended and to the many who sent their best wished and fond recollections.

Now, to wrap up this last “in-season” missive, let’s send along Danny’s toast from the Final Banquet and Clive Bean’s review of this years Gilbert and Sullivan operetta. 

Danny's annual toast to the Pemi community

Danny’s annual toast to the Pemi community

May I propose a toast?

Here’s to the summer of 2015 at Camp Pemigewassett, the 108th in Pemi’s rich and storied history, a summer that has come and gone, as it always seems to do, in the blink of an eye – although in many ways it seems a lifetime ago when we all began to arrive in early June for the Life Guard, Nature, and Wilderness First Aid clinics, way back when Lebron James and company were still battling for that elusive Cleveland championship and campers and young counselors were still attending graduation parties.

Here’s to a summer that concludes so late in August that leaves are turning an autumn tint, fall athletic teams have already begun to practice, and, as Pemi boys are returning to their cabins for an 8:30 taps, there is barely a shred of daylight left – a summer that by all accounts has been a wonderful success, made possible by the collective efforts, wisdom, and care of the Pemi men and women in this room.

Here’s to the 254 (exactly) campers who graced the shores of Lower Baker Pond this summer, 87 of whom were here as full session campers and who enjoyed Pemi’s third, now annual, trip to Whale’s Tale Water Park. (Yes, Eli Brennan, that makes it an official Pemi tradition!), campers from 21 states of the United States and 7 countries around the world, and here’s to the new Turkish flag Larry added to our collection in the mess hall this summer to commemorate Haluk and Mert’s first year at Pemi. Here’s to the 66 campers who made the decision to attend sleep-away camp for the first time, the 36 who have or will collect their five-year bowls (perhaps a record?), and yes, Ezra Nugiel, Patterson Malcolm, and Andrew Virden, here’s to campers in their ninth!

Here’s to the talented and dedicated counselor staff at Pemi in 2015, to the cabin counselors and assistant counselors, the young men who share such close quarters with their boys, and who, for some magical reason, are often able to inspire, mentor, and capture the imagination of their campers in ways even their own parents and we senior staff cannot.

Here’s to the hard working crew that Reed Harrigan leads so vigorously and affably each day: Brian, Judy, Sam, Kenny, Dennis, and Chris: to Office Managers extraordinaire, Heather and Kim, who never get enough credit; and here’s to Mama Dottie, the “glue” at Camp Pemi, who holds us all together, doing tasks both large and small and caring for campers with her maternal grace, wisdom, and a large helping of love as well.

Here’s to the kitchen crew this summer who tackled the herculean task of providing us with delicious meals three times a day, and to our fabulous nurses, Emily and Debbie, whose enthusiasm, great cheer and care were so vital as we waged another, though more successful, war against another pesky virus.

Here’s to the amazing four-cornered program at Pemi, to the Kenny, the “kid from Cleveland” who masterminds it all, to Laura down in Art World, to Charlie and all the coaches in the athletics’ program who always put first values such as sportsmanship, effort, and participation ….boom!

Thank you to Tom and the trippies who sent over 100 trips tramp, tramp, tramping over the White Mountains of New Hampshire and canoeing down the mighty rivers of Maine; to Dorin and the beautiful music she and her staff helped us create; to Emily, Tighe, Paige, and Molly and all the exhilarating, yet safe, fun we had on the water; to Harry O in the shop, Chris (and family!) on the tennis courts, Larry and Deb in the Nature Lodge, Steve on the archery range, all of the other instructors who brought major energy and mojo to occupation periods every day. And let’s not forget Head of Staff Ben for overseeing his charges with such proficiency, thoughtfulness, and humor. Gosh we love that Walsh family!

Here’s to the things that were unique to Pemi in 2015; the camp community gathering to scream and yell for the Woman’s National Soccer team in their World Cup final’s victory; the jackets and hats we wore on the coldest 4th of July in recent memory; sleep-in Sundays; Rubik’s Cube madness; TCU chants: Germ-x and wet wipes at every meal; the new Johnson family ranch down in J-Ville; more camper tournaments than I can ever remember; Cans from Campers; the Counselor Apprentice Program (thank you Dwight Dunston); and more NY Met’s chatter than can hardly be tolerated…imagine if they actually won something.

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 as the moon drifts low o’er the hillside and finally drops in the West, and to Sunday Meeting when we contemplate such things as the importance of time spent in the natural world, profiles in courage, the adventures of our Pemi West boys, and how taking a chance can enhance your life in countless way and possibly even make you a YouTube sensation…or close enough.

And speaking of taking chances, here’s to some of those who were brave enough to do so this summer: to Jed our first-time bugler who plays his guitar like Eric Clapton, but had never touched a bugle before embracing this responsibility this summer; to first-year counselor Andy Calver for taking on the considerable mission of presenting a Sunday Meeting; to Jack He who came all the way from the Sichuan Province in China to attend Pemi; Andrew Virden for braving the mighty Allagash with just one healthy arm; to all the campers who performed at Campfire, did their distance swim, or slept under the stars for the first time.

Here’s to our 15-year-old campers – to the unprecedented leadership they provided, to their three wins on Tecumseh Day, and to the lifelong friendships that they have created. I know from personal experience that some day you’ll participate in each other’s weddings, be Godparents to each other’s children, and, hopefully, before that, become the next generation of counselors at Pemi.

And of course, here’s to the Fauver Family and the Reed Family who, in their loving, wise, and supportive way, 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.

And, finally and most importantly as we close the 2015 season, here’s to patriarch Al Fauver, as we prepare to celebrate this Pemi great’s 100th birthday. Songs may be sung and bells may be rung in praise of his years of giving, but we’ll never be able to thank Al enough for all he has done over the years to make Camp Pemigewassett the extraordinary camp that it is.

Here’s to Camp Pemigewassett 2015.

Good luck, Long life, and joy!

Thanks to Danny for the re-inspiring toast – fitting tribute to a season led with such commitment and gusto. Now we’ll close with our local theatrical maven’s commentary on this year’s comic opera:

Clive Bean Reviews The Mikado

The highlight of the 2015 Wentworth summer stock season went down on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings with Camp Pemigewassett’s production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado. Both dramatically and musically, the show was absolutely top drawer. Our highest plaudits must go to Director Dorin Dehls and one-man pit orchestra Luke Raffanti, whose season-long efforts combined to give us a final product worthy of a northwoods Tony Award. Word has it that cinematic director Martin Scorsese, who is interested in making a film of the operetta, has approached the pair. When queried by Bean Soup in this regard, however, Dehls strangely responded, “You talkin’ ta me?”

Chorus of men and schoolgirls

Chorus of men and schoolgirls

Setting up a super solid bass line for the performance was a men’s chorus made up of Sam Berman, Pierce Haley, Tucker Jones, Suraj Khakee, Owen Lee, Matt Bolton, Andy Calver, Will Henry, Harry Morris, Ben Walsh, and Erik Wiedenmann – all of whom represented nobleman of Japan with an effortless ease that suggested they had been born with silver chopsticks in their mouths. Complementing them perfectly was the Schoolgirl chorus of Ted Applebaum, Eli Brennan, Jonathan Ciglar, Andreas Geffert, Oliver Giraud, Tanner Howson, Michaella Frank, and Becky Noel. So fetching and fashionable was the lot that, on both nights, they drew a substantial applause even before they ever opened their mouths. Fortunately, they decided not to leave good enough alone and they actually sang their parts for the rest of the show – most commendably, it happens.

Henry, Drew, Christopher, and Owen

Henry, Drew, Christopher, and Owen

Strangely enough, the production’s original “Three Little Maids” morphed this year into four. One role underwent a process of mitosis, generating Peep-Bo (Singing Part), played wonderfully by Christopher Ramanathan, and Peep-Bo (Speaking Part), well-matched by Henry Moore. Owen Wyman was a superb Pitti-Sing, the spunkiest of the schoolgirls and the one most willing to call her male companions on any bit of testosterone-driven idiocy. Rounding out the trio – or make that the quartet – was Drew Johnstone, playing the young bride Yum-Yum with real confidence and melodic verve. Drew’s lovely presence on stage was commanding enough to still all discussion of whether the name Yum-Yum was more appropriate for a plate of sushi than for a romantic lead.

Caleb and Drew

Caleb and Drew

Playing Yum-Yum’s love interest was Caleb Tempro, whose part as a rebellious teenager was the result of anything but type-casting. Rumor has it that Caleb is a pretty nice guy – and that he makes a point of listening to his counselor Erik Wiedenmann at least once a week. Anyway, Caleb was musically moving and mellow, and handled the acting part of the deal with a suave cool that garnered him this year’s Johnnies Plaque for Dramatics.



Reasonably fresh from his famed video performance as The Pemi Kid, George Cooke played Titipu nobleman Pish-Tush with style and assurance, seasoning the part with a chill sarcasm that only a fifteen-year old American can deliver. He shared a number of effective scenes with Larry Davis, who reprised his role as the pompous but corrupt Lord High Everything, Pooh-Bah, for perhaps the tenth time. Once again, just as four years ago, a Republican National Committee deeply troubled by the ascendancy of Donald Trump has reportedly sent out feelers trying to enlist Larry as a more mainline candidate than the dude with big hair. When Larry responded that he was only pretending to be a public servant, Committee Chair Reince Priebus responded, “So? You’ll fit right in.”

Larry, Nicholas, George

Larry, Nicholas, George

Tom Reed, Jr

Tom Reed, Jr

Joining Larry in re-working an oft-performed part, Tom Reed, Jr. returned to the boards as the titular Mikado himself. Some of the harsher local pundits remarked that Tom should never have quit his day job at Dickinson College, but other voices were more charitable. Wife Dottie, for example, pronounced that in playing the totally unhinged and criminally ill-tempered monarch, Tom had finally discovered the core of his being. She went on to borrow a line from the show: “He’s under treatment for it.”



Any of you who were lucky enough to have taken in either performance will realize we’ve been saving the best for last. Nicholas Gordon, star of the world premiere of Metal Boy: The Musical in 2012, tackled the gigantic role of Ko-Ko, the Lord High Executioner, with understated comic brilliance. His final sequence of numbers with the play’s answer to a preying mantis female, the jilted harridan Katisha, all but brought the house down. Meanwhile, Ezra Nugiel has been a star of the Pemi stage from the beginning of his nine-year run, gracing vaudevilles, campfires, and previous G&S productions alike with his singular verve and talent. Never has Ezra been better, though, than in this year’s performance as the aforementioned Katisha. We are in fact hard pressed to recall any performance ever in Wentworth that has surpassed Ezra’s. It was not just his stellar falsetto delivery of vocal numbers – literally of a professional quality. His acting in the role of an over-the-hill spinster might suggest that, like Benjamin Button, Ezra has been living his life backwards and was able to bring that end-of-life bitterness to the part because he’d already been there. Both Pemi cabin-photo evidence and biological science declare this is impossible – but the bottom line is that Ezra positively stole the show – and then found a way of giving it back by making everyone in the cast around him better. Hat’s off to a continually rising star. It feels as though, if this dude wants to go into theater big time, the sky’s the limit.

So, clearly, a wonderful theatrical time was had by all, on and off the stage. We advise you to book early for next year’s production of The Pirates of Penzance. This year’s male chorus has already been practicing a key line: “YAAAAHHHHRRRR!!!”

— Clive Bean

On a final note, we ask our 2015 parents to take a moment in the next (busy!) days to log in to your Pemi accounts and send us a thought or two via the post-season survey found in the Forms & Documents section. Your feedback, both positive and constructive, is invaluable as we look towards 2016.


Confessions of a Bean Soup Editor, by Sky Fauver

For starters, I’ll admit that I have been suspect of this whole digital Bean Soup concept. For the purpose of self-preservation, I could only imagine how my words from a decade ago could be taken out of context in a court of law and how that would play out with my cellmate:

“What’re you in for?”

“I embellished the time that someone spent in the pagoda.”

Along these lines, I must applaud TRJR for having the foresight that this digital age would come, as I now know why he never claimed any envelope-pushing articles and instead attributed them to his own flesh and blood (sorry, Doc Reed and Daniel). Brilliant. Many of us, on the other hand, feel like we’re donning Editors’ New Clothes. Yes, our names are attached to such hyperbole and misremembering that TMZ would consider us high risk.

My second reservation stemmed from the glorious tradition of receiving Bean Soup during the Holidays.   Like an egomaniac, I would search the annals for the simple mention of my name. And now, we have subscribed to societal standards and we have provided near-instant gratification. The deliberate turning of pages, if one chooses, has ceded to utilizing search terms. Remember the hubbub over the satellite TV in the Junior Lodge? Watching World Series from our diaper-wearing years? That was child’s play. This is like comparing 10’s baseball against Lanakila – (sorry, Danny) – to 15’s soccer vs. Tecumseh.

And third, the traditionalist in me feared that such a move was a gateway to some day having our dear Larry Davis replaced by this guy. Irrational? Absolutely, but that’s what Pemi does to you, and serving as an editor to Bean Soup has fed my delirium.

It should be known that the lens of a Bean Soup editor is entirely skewed, and I am torn as to whether that enhanced or devalued my summers at Pemi. You see, as long as there is no long-term physical or psychological damage, an editor is hoping for fodder.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say we were schadenfroh, but we did revel in a Dreaded Heel Catch just as we rejoiced when hearing monosyllabic grunts in a Mess Hall announcement.  Frustration and guilt both played into my mind as I left a Campfire that was full of great songs, memorable stories, and a fire that never went out. “Great,” I’d think, “nothing for Monday night with that one.” So much came down to what was worth reporting at the Soup or what could be distorted to the point that it could be reported.

Preparing for the Soup was a lesson in inefficiency, procrastination, unpreparedness, and everything else that I encourage my students to avoid. Without fail, Monday’s dinner was out of the question. We elbowed each other to get access to the lone printer in the Lodge as the seats filled, and we wrote “Things to Look for… “ while in front of the Pemi community.  I recall the bellows of “We want the Soup!” emanating from the Lodge, and I frequently wanted to say, “No, you really don’t. This isn’t as funny as you want and deserve. Seriously, it isn’t.” A few Monday nights felt like distance swims against a front blowing in from the west. The crickets cliché does no justice to those evenings, as there was inevitably a courtesy chuckle; and crickets don’t chuckle. Inevitably, a young, unfiltered camper would let us know on Tuesday morning that we had wasted an evening of his life. However, there were other nights when the energy was as high as straight out of Fenway.

While the ladeling provided unforgettable experiences, much of the fun came in the preparation. Bean Soup can’t be one person’s show, for a collective versatility is paramount. I was part of some great teams and one troika was especially memorable:, The Mean Guy whose humor derived from here, The Nice Guy who could seamlessly go here, and Me. Essentially, I was primarily responsible for Lower One to the compassionate adult – life as a moderate was good. Yes, great fun was had considering what couldn’t be read, but putting together a Monday serving was an absolute joy.

As one who is expected to communicate in written form with regularity, it is hard not to revert to my Bean Soup roots, and even more difficult to remind myself that it’s not allowed. And as we venture further into the Digital Age, I implore that we all keep in mind just how special Pemi and all of its traditions have been to us. Sure, you are now free to access digital versions of Soups past, but enjoy sifting through old boxes to get your hands on the real deal. If you can’t, there is a market!


Were you at Pemi during the 1950’s or 1960’s?  If you are interested in receiving one issue or more from 1950-1969 (’50, ’54, ’59, ’60 and ’68 unavailable at this time), please let me know. I will be happy to send you any given issue or issues in PDF form.  We continue to work on digitizing the remaining issues. You may contact me at alumni. Stay tuned for future releases.

~Nikki Wilkinson Tropeano



Newsletter #6: “You are the hat”

In case you missed the news on Sports Center – or You Don’t Say – Pemi came out on top in this year’s day of competition against Camp Tecumseh, 11-8-1. Despite last summer’s tie, it’s our first aggregate victory since 1998, and it was deeply satisfying. (Ask your sons!) The wonderful result notwithstanding, Pemi is now “back to normal” as a place where athletics is only a part of the camp program: six overnight mountain trips are currently out, there is a Nature field trip to Crawford Notch planned for the afternoon, our annual Art Show is in preparation, and “Pirates” rehearsal starts in ten minutes. Nothing could have signaled our reversion to the norm more insistently than an act at Saturday night’s campfire when Owen Felsher and Ezra Nugiel teamed up in a stunning rendition of Taylor Swift’s “Love Story,” with scores of campers and counselors singing along. Impresario Ian Axness leaned over to this correspondent and asked wryly, “Do you think they’re doing this very thing over at Tecumseh?” We guess not. ‘Nuf said. Here’s Athletic Director Charlie Malcolm’s account of the day.

Eleven days before our annual contest with Tecumseh, a group of second-half Pemi campers joined our full-season boys on the shores of Lower Baker.  As the hot, humid weather led to genuinely more laid-back preparation by the various teams, the camp played a series of local contests with some very mixed results.  As the week progressed, the weather cooled and the Seniors led cheers in the Mess Hall that eventually began to shake the very foundations of camp.  Last year, our Seniors provided dynamic leadership and Pemi’s competitive spirit suggested we no longer feared our opponent from the shores of Winnepesauke. Pemi scrapped and hustled their way to a 9-9-2 tie. The Hat remained at Tecumseh, but the experience made us all realize that victory was within our potential grasp.

This year, the day looked in jeopardy when the extended forecast and radar suggested a long series of storms passing through central New Hampshire.  At 6 AM, both camps decided to plow forward because the much-needed rain was pushing towards the coast just south of Pemi and Tecumseh.  The boys awoke at 6:30 AM to light rain and the thunderous cheers and music of our Seniors.  Kenny Moore, logistical master of all things Pemi, had the 11s, 12s, and 13s rolling to Tecumseh by 7:35 AM, crossing paths with our Tecumseh brethren in Ashland, a clear sign Pemi was moving with purpose.  When the buses arrived, Kenny gathered the boys and emphasized the importance of being good teammates, the length the day, and how to find a Tecumseh bathroom known as a “Widow.”

At Pemi the boys returned from breakfast and cleaned their cabins while the trip crew delivered water to the misty fields and I put the finishing touches on the baseball and soccer venues.  When Tecumseh arrived in their vans and yellow buses, they quietly met on the basketball courts to discuss the upcoming day.  The recent tie with Pemi had unnerved Tecumseh despite their winning 46 of 49 previous “days.”  Pemi Day is an incredibly important event for Tecumseh as it marks the last sporting event of the summer. Winning or retaining George Munger’s bronzed hat is perhaps for them the emotional equivalent of Pemi’s Final Banquet, a time of celebration and closure.   Far too often Pemi has been the main course of this athletic feast.

The Contests: Morning at Pemi

Suraj Khakee

Events at both camps started promptly at 9:30 AM, and the results instantly suggested this was going to be another competitive day.   At Pemi, the 10s baseball team locked into a pitcher’s duel as Suraj Khakee matched his Tecumseh counterpart with six shut-out innings.  Nick Holquist made two game-saving catches in right field against his former camp, and catcher Jamie Acocella held on to several foul tips to keep the game knotted at zero.  With the potential winning run on second, Pemi had a chance to clinch the game in the bottom of the sixth, when Suraj ripped a line drive over the bag that the Tecumseh third baseman snared for the final out of the contest.

While the 10s battled on the diamond, Jeff Greene’s 15s Tennis team jumped out to a 3-2 match lead as Ned Roosevelt and Andrew Coe won their single matches and the doubles team of Arthur Root and Florian Dietl won in a super tie-breaker.  At number one singles, Sam Davitt lost in a tie-breaker while doubles team of Dan Reiff and Oliver Kafka suffered the same fate.  Unfortunately, two matches had to be delayed until after lunch so that the baseball game could be started, with Pemi holding a 3-2 lead.  With their backs against the wall, Tecumseh subsequently won both matches to secure a much-needed 4-3 victory.

Morning at Tecumseh

Down in Moultonboro, the 13s swim team set the tone with an historic effort, setting four camp records on their way to a 29-26 victory.  In the 200 Medley Relay, Harry Tuttle, Colin Alcus, Sam Grier, and Alek Novikov took first with a blistering camp record 2:12.06.  After Alcus won the individual backstroke, Grier set another camp record when he took the 50 butterfly.  Pemi held a 25-20 lead heading into the final relay, with Pemi needing a clean race and a second place to win the meet.  Novokov, Tuttle, Oberlander, and Grier swam smartly, finishing second while also breaking another camp record.  

While the 13s swimmers triumphed in the water, the 12s soccer team, one of Pemi’s strongest this summer, was dismantled by an impressive Tecumseh side.  Patterson Malcolm and Owen Fried played particularly well in defeat, but Tecumseh was too fast and skilled, dominating central midfield and the pace of the game.   However, spirits were raised when Pemi’s 11s Tennis team made quick work of their opponents.  Coach Nugiel’s squad swept the singles with victories from Willie Noble, Matt Kanovsky, Gray Farley, and Timmy Coe.  Coe’s victory was particularly impressive because he fought back from a three-game deficit and won 8-6 in a tie-breaker.  The doubles teams of Jack Elverkrog/Luke Ackerman and Jakey Cronin/Aidan Griffiths delivered two more victories to power Pemi to an impressive 6-1 victory.

As Pemi and Tecumseh moved on to the second events of the morning at their respective camps, the weather miraculously held, and the score in events was an inspiring 2-2-1.  At Tecumseh, the 12s Tennis team pushed aside their considerable soccer disappointment and delivered a crucial momentum-changing effort.  After Carson Hill went down gallantly at number one singles 8-6, Jonah Roque and Nick Toldalagi won their single matches 8-1, while Robert Loeser fought off a tenacious challenger and won 8-6.  After Patterson Malcolm/Dylan Cheng and Ted Orben/Will Merhige both lost tight matches at doubles, the score was tied 3-3.  The third doubles team of Grant Noble/Grady Nance would decide the outcome.  The match was close throughout, with neither side gaining more than a one game advantage.  During the eventual tie-breaker, Pemi seized a 4-1 lead, only to have Tecumseh win the next two points to make the score 4-3.  With the court surrounded by dozen of nervous but enthusiastic fans, the Pemi boys stepped forward and delivered confident, aggressive net play with Grant Noble calmly putting away “a room service volley” to clinch the tiebreaker and a 4-3 12s victory.

Tyrrell Moore

The 11s baseball team ran into a cagey Tecumseh pitcher, Carson Fischer (former Pemi boy!), who shut out Pemi 3-0.  Jack Elvekrog pitched well in defeat, going the distance and giving up only one earned run.  A great defensive play by Ethan Elsaden kept the game close, but the Pemi bats never got hot enough in this contest.  Fortunately, the 13s soccer team kept their mojo going as Coach Walsh orchestrated an outstanding effort.  After several setbacks in previous matches, Coach Walsh scratched his formation and went with a more traditional 4-4-2.  Pemi scored 20 seconds into the contest, as Jamie Nicholas jumped on a poor clear and beat several players off the dribble before blasting a shot home.  With John Galbreath, Harry Tuttle, Graham Struthers, Colin Alcus, and Andrew Merrell holding down the defense, and Tecumseh running on fumes late in the first half, Nicholas went on the attack once again and drilled a well-placed shot to the side netting.   The second half was all Pemi, as Tyrrell Moore hit a bomb from 30 yards out that slipped under the bar. He would later score a second goal when he jumped on the rebound of a Charlie Scott shot and pushed it past the Tecumseh keeper for a convincing 4-0 victory!

Will Laycock

At Pemi, the 10s soccer team found themselves tied 0-0 at halftime, as both teams battled tenaciously at midfield.  Sasha Roberts was a masterful warrior at midfield, as he won the majority of his defensive challenges and played balls quickly to Pemi’s spry attack.  The defense of Jamie Acocella, Dean Elefante, Max Blohm, Henry Seebeck, and Frank Applebaum neutralized Tecumseh’s offense, buying Pemi crucial time to solve Tecumseh’s defensive riddle.  When Tecumseh’s man-child from California did blast a shot, Ben Ackerman made the save.  With Nick Holquist bombing down the left flank, and Kevin Miller and Scott Cook scrapping for balls at midfield, the offensive trio of Will Laycock, Ricky Trinca, and Spencer Hill turned the Tecumseh defense inside out.  First Hill beat two Tecumseh backs and pushed the puppy home.  The goal electrified the team, and moments later Laycock was sent in alone and courageously pushed the ball past the sliding keeper.  Finally, Trinca, with three Tecumseh players trying to thwart his attack, skillfully nudged the ball past the keeper as the adoring Pemi crowd went wild, the cheers echoing down the valley.


Because Pemi’s soccer and baseball fields are so close together, a given event’s momentum can impact a game in the immediate vicinity.  When the 10s Soccer team scored their first goal of the second half, right behind the senior diamond, a massive roar appeared to energize our 15s baseball team and to unnerve our opponent.  Each camp looked back to see Doc Nick’s little wonders taking it to our guests.  As the cheers reverberated, and the 10s dropped a second and third goal on Tecumseh, the 15s diamond warriors put Tecumseh under pressure.  Ned Roosevelt, a Tecumseh Day Gladiator who has pitched Pemi to victory on several other occasions, mowed Tecumseh down in order.  Henry Day led off the game with a walk, stole second base, and advanced to third on a Daniel Reiff single.  With the positive energy flowing in Pemi’s direction, the Tecumseh pitcher unleashed two wild pitches to plate Day and Reiff.  With Will Parsons on third after stealing second and advancing on a Sam Davitt single, Coach Blumenthal shrewdly orchestrated a textbook delayed double steal to take advantage of the general chaos, pushing home a critical third run.  With Tecumseh trying to get back in the game with runners on second and third and two outs, Pemi catcher Henry Day alertly picked off a “Happy Wandering” Tecumseh runner to crush a third inning rally.   In the final stanza, with Pemi holding a very vulnerable 3-1 lead and potentially-tying Tecumseh runners on first and second base and no outs, Rosie coolly struck out the next two batters and then induced a soft ground-out to third to end the game.  While Rosie delivered five quality innings, he was supported by great defensive plays by Zack Leeds, Will Parsons, and Alex Baskin to deliver a crucial victory for the “Flagship.”

The Afternoon

After the morning events, Pemi held a 6-3-1 lead.  It would take four victories out of the remaining ten contests to bring THE HAT back to Lower Baker.  Over my twenty plus years as Athletic Director, I have often witnessed Tecumseh’s impressive will to win come to the fore in the afternoon events; however, as we watched our boys compete in the morning, whether at Pemi or at Tecumseh, it was quite clear our momentum would not flag under the weight a potential victory.

At Tecumseh, Kenny gathered the boys together at the buses and looked to put them in a calm, focused state of mind for a much-needed rest hour.  “You heard the scores. Does that change our game plan? (The boys answered in unison, “no”.)  We need to maintain our focus and play loose and play together.  We did a great job supporting each other as teammates; let’s keep that up!  And remember what Charlie said. If you make a mistake, don’t worry, just make the next play simple and re-set your confidence.”   At Pemi, I met with the 10s and 15s in the dining hall after Tecumseh left for their shade in center field.  Without hearing about the scores at Tecumseh, the boys were told that we were doing very well, but that they had to be prepared for our guests to come out with everything they had in the opening moments of the ensuing contests. Support each other and “finish it!”

At Pemi, Afternoon Events

Jarrett Moore and Jeremy Roque

The 15s soccer team locked horns with a motivated, athletic squad of Tecumseh players who had a fresh bounce in their step after receiving the news that their tennis team had just triumphed.  Last year, their 15s crushed Pemi 7-0 in an awesome display of soccer domination.  From the opening whistle, it was clear that this match was going to be quite physical and competitive, as both teams challenged hard for every loose ball. Ben Chaimberg, Oliver Kafka, Zach Leeds, and TH Pearson led Pemi’s defense.  With Tecumseh’s attack under wraps for much of the first half, Pemi was able to mount several dangerous attacks.  Sam Davitt and Andrew Coe nearly connected midway through the first half. Later, Davitt was pushed down in the box just before receiving a wide open through ball, but the decision was no-foul.  With seven minutes to go in the half, Tecumseh received a well-deserved free kick from 35 yards out on the flank.  The Tecumseh player mishit the ball and the resulting spin bent the ball back towards the net, where Pemi goalie Nick Bertrand desperately tried to get back to his line and push the ball wide.  Bertrand got a hand on the ball, but Pemi was unable to clear the ball off the chalk. Pemi later pushed forward for the equalizer but could not get Jarrett Moore open or Sompy free on the flank.  We generated several free kicks and corners but failed to deliver the equalizer.  As the 15’s slowly walked to the waterfront, though, their spirits were buoyed by the news that the 10s tennis team had delivered a smashing victory, 5-2.  Spencer Hill set the tone in first singles with an 8-1 victory. Kevin Miller, Suraj Khakee, and Sasha Roberts followed with impressive single victories to give Pemi a commanding 4-0 lead.  Whit Courage and Scott Cook forced a tiebreaker and then put their opponents away 7-2 to provide Pemi with a 5-2 margin of victory.

At Tecumseh, Afternoon Events

Chris Schmidt

At Tecumseh, the afternoon started with the 11s soccer team falling 3-1 to a talented, deep squad from Tecumseh.  Timmy Coe played a brilliant game at midfield, while Luke Ackerman held down the defense in front of Andrew Kanovsky.  Up top, Willie Noble worked diligently to create opportunities, while Jakey Cronin orchestrated the attack, eventually scoring on a penalty kick late in the contest.  Of special note was Dash Slamowitz’s inspiring effort with his hustle and determination.  The 13s tennis team quickly built on their momentum from the morning with a dominating performance in tennis. Chris Schmidt, Charlie Harrison, and Jamie Nicholas won their singles matches convincingly, while the three doubles teams of the Duval Brothers, Graham Struthers/John Stevenson, and Will Harned/Jack O’Connor cruised to victory, pacing Pemi to a 6-1 decision.

The 12s baseball team, one of Pemi’s strongest, stepped up to the plate and dominated their opponent from the first pitch.  Pemi scored three runs in the top of the first with contact hitting and aggressive base-running.  Oscar Tubke-Davidson mowed down the Tecumseh batters, striking out 15 of 17 batters faced.  After adding single runs in the second and third innings to push the lead to 5-0, Pemi put the game away for good when Patterson Malcolm led off with a single, Oscar hit the first ball ever hit onto the porch of Munger Hall (can’t believe it was ruled a ground rule double!), and Jivan Khakee delivered a clutch double to drive them home.   Tecumseh mounted a comeback in the 6th inning, closing the gap to 8-2, with the bases loaded and two outs.  Coach Blair went to the bullpen, and Grady Nance punched out the last Tecumseh hitter for Pemi’s 16th strikeout of the day!

 The Final Events

A great day is achieved when it is only with the final events that the outcome is determined.  Pemi went 3-2 in the first afternoon events pushing their lead to 9-5-1.  We needed just one more victory to clinch the day.  Of the last five events, four were swimming, which was a fitting finale given that the Hat was first given in honor to Pemi because of their incredible improvement in the water in the summer of 1967.  Not many kids show up to camp as competitive swimmers, so the event measures a boy’s willingness to take on a challenge to help support the community.


At Pemi, we (thankfully) have no cell reception, so news from Tecumseh only passes through the office (Heather and Kim) where Tecumseh’s Mark Luff or I collect the results.  We are careful not to share the early results until we all meet in the dining hall, each of us wanting to protect the individual events from the weight of the day.  So the 10- and 15-and-unders did not know the score of the day or the outcome of events at Tecumseh, but they definitely knew that Pemi had a great chance to win.  The 15s swam incredibly hard, but eventually fell to a deep and talented Tecumseh swim team 29-26.  Hugh Grier won the 50 back stroke and Julian Hernanadez-Webster won the breast stroke to keep the meet close.  The free style team of Hugh Grier, Sompy Somp, Cole Valente, and Thompson Bain delivered a herculean effort and beat Tecumseh in the free relay by literally one inch.  Although the squad came up three points short, they provided an extraordinary effort and fantastic leadership for the 10-and-under swim team.

Frank Applebaum, Whit Courage, Coach Wallis

Doc Nick’s Wonders entered the final event of the day with a 2-0-1 record.  They attacked the water with confidence and provided Pemi a Hat-clinching effort.  The relay team of Max Blohm, Henry Seebeck, Frank Applebaum, and Whit Courage set the tone with a dominating first place in the Medley Relay.  Blohm would take a first in the back stroke while Seebeck and Finn Lincoln nailed a first and third in the back stroke.  Applebaum delivered a first place in the butterfly, with his form the envy of both coaching staffs.  With the Pemi community on the edge of the lake cheering our merboys in the final race of the day, the free relay team of Courage, Sasha Roberts, Spencer Hill, and Applebaum beat Tecumseh’s top quartet by half a second. Pemi’s second relay team of Kevin Miller, Lincoln, Scott Cook, and Blohm secured a third place, thus pushing the final score to Pemi 32, Tecumseh 22.  The scene on the beach was joyous for Pemi as the 15- and 10-and-unders celebrated when the final scores were announced.  With a 2-2 split in the afternoon events at Pemi, the Boys anxiously awaited news from Camp Tecumseh.

At Tecumseh, Final Events

News traveled quickly from Lower Baker to the waterfront of Tecumseh that the 10s tennis team had won their match, leaving Pemi one win shy of victory.  As the 11s and 12s swim teams and 13s baseball team headed into their final event, each boy and coach knew Pemi only needed one more victory to win the day.  The 13s baseball players ran into our rival’s best team.  Tecumseh jumped out to an early lead as timely hitting and porous Pemi defense sent our boys down to a 7-1 defeat in four innings.  Will DeTeso and Graham Struthers pitched well for Pemi, while the team received great hitting from Jamie Nicholas.

Byron Lathi

At the waterfront, the 11s and 12s swim teams knew they needed to win one event and swam their hearts out.  The 12s received great efforts from Noah Belinowiz, who anchored the relay teams, Dylan Cheng in the Butterfly, and Carson Hill in the Medley Relay, but Tecumseh’s squad was too deep and talented for Pemi and the boys fell 35-20.  In the 11s swimming meet, the teams remained virtually tied after the first two events, but then Pemi took first and third in the next three events to pull away.  In the Breast Stroke, Byron Lathi took first and Jack Elvekrog finished third.  In the Butterfly, Jeff McKee finished first, with Carter Franciskovich earning third.  Finally, in the individual Freestyle, Robbie McDonough finished first with Timmy Coe finishing third. In each race, Pemi’s depth delivered three crucial third place points that extended a 9-8 Pemi lead to 24-14 with two events remaining.  Pemi only need a second place finish to clinch the meet and the day.  The team of Robbie McDonough, Gray Farley, Timmy Coe, and Jeff McKee delivered that second, and everyone at the meet knew the day had been clinched.  All the boys sprinted from the waterfront to the 13s baseball game to share the news of victory.

The Celebration

“Celebrate at home,” reminds Ken.

As the 13s diamond match ended at Tecumseh, Kenny gathered the boys on the soccer field and emphasized the importance of sportsmanship, urging them to save the celebration for when we returned to Pemi.  As mentioned earlier, this day and the importance of winning is at the foundation of Tecumseh’s mission.  It was critical for the Pemi boys to respect their opponent.

As Pemi entered the unusually subdued Tecumseh Mess Hall, many of Tecumseh’s boys and staff individually congratulated Pemi before the outcome was announced.  After dinner, Tecumseh’s Director Jim Talbot thanked the athletes for a great day of competition, and Athletic Director Mike Dougherty announced the results and congratulated Pemi on their victory.  Legendary NFL athlete and former Athletic Director Jim Frazier talked about the history of the competition, and expressed his initial concern following last season’s tie. “Tecumseh was lucky to tie Pemi last year, but it was like giving the animal the scent for the kill.”  He later promised that Tecumseh would start preparing the very next day to re-take the Hat.

When it was Pemi’s turn to speak, Kenny encouraged all participants to remember that the Hat was first given in 1967 as a gift of friendship and respect from George Munger to Tom Reed, Sr. as a symbol recognizing the hard-work and determination of the Pemi teams.  Danny spoke to how the competition brought the best out in both camps and asked the Tecumseh boys a simple question.  “How many of you are better people at camp then you are at home?“  Every Tecumseh kid raised his hand, including Jim Frazier.  Danny then encouraged all the athletes to take these lessons and accomplishments home and to continue sharing these values.  After these final words, Jim Talbot handed the Hat to Pemi and both camps delivered their traditional raucous cheers of thanks and congratulations to each other.  And while the boys filed out of the mess hall, Kenny Moore grabbed the Hat from the table and started running for his Subaru Outback – to lead the Boys TRI-UMPH-ANTLTY back to Pemi at an appropriate speed!

Chef Stacey won for Pemi

At Pemi the campers and staff did not initially know the final numbers, but everyone felt what the outcome was likely to be.  Seniors hustled up to the dining hall to set tables as the rest of the community meandered slowly across the outfield.  After an outstanding dinner of steak, the whole Mess Hall – Pemi boys shoulder-to-shoulder with their Tecumseh peers – gave Chef Stacey and her team a standing ovation.  After Tom delivered Skittles to the tables that had successfully mastered everyone’s name, I began reading over the results from the day.  At the end, the tally was read: Pemi wins 11-8-1.  Mark Luff spoke first and celebrated the spirit of competition and paid homage to Tom Reed and George Munger for bringing this century-old tradition to the next level.  He spoke of the very same values that Danny spoke of in Tecumseh’s mess hall, and the importance of taking this level of class, sportsmanship, and heated competition beyond the White Mountains of summer camp to their future endeavors.  After Tecumseh gave Pemi a thunderous cheer, I spoke directly to Tecumseh’s seniors and shared how much the day had meant to me as a 15-year-old and how impressed I was with both their athletic accomplishments, but also how incredibly close they were as a group, even as the day turned south.  The Hat and the day of competition was always about coming together as a community, and if at the end of the day both camps have forged a stronger, more united community, the day had achieved its objective.  Pemi finished the day with a deafening cheer for their friends, the flag was lowered, and the boys of Winnepesauke got on the bus for the long ride home.

Best part of the day

When the Pemi buses arrived home – the best part of every Tecumseh Day – Kenny Moore rode in with his torso extending out of Outback’s sunroof and holding the Hat high in the air.  With the bus lights flashing and the horns honking, the Hat returned to Lower Baker for the first time in 14 years.  After ten minutes of one continuous hug and high five, the Pemi community gathered in the Lodge to bring closure to the day.  Danny called upon the 15-year-olds to celebrate their leadership and suggested that winning the Hat might be a decent habit to get into.  Danny passed me the Hat, and as I looked out at this community, it was clear that the experience was transformative. “This Hat does not represent winning; it represents our journey together.  You are the Hat….” Now the Hat has been placed in the rafters of the Lodge where the mythical Metal Boy had spent fourteen long years waiting for the lads of Lower Baker to rediscover the magic, and the joy, of that journey.


Enjoy a recap of Pemi vs Tecumseh on YouTube, created by Pemi alum Don Hyde of EVP Marketing and Media


Soups Up! Bean Soup: Going Digital

Pemi must really be coming out of the Stone Age, if the most determinedly Luddite of its institutions, Bean Soup, is in the process of digitizing all of its past numbers. What’s next? Virtual Polar Bears? Infrared webcams for night patrol? Spy satellites in stationary orbit over Camp Tecumseh? Tweets from the One-Armed Brakeman? Actually, Bean Soup began its descent into the technological maelstrom several years ago when editors Josh Fischel, James Finley, and Ian Axness regularly slunk to the front of the Lodge on Monday nights with laptops in hand, leaving many of us wondering whether they had actually written the material they were reading or if it was simply streaming from internet sites like The Onion, Al Jazeera, or Damn You, Autocorrect! But it’s true. Eat your heart out Bob Dylan: we are scanning and digitizing all of our back pages. Moth and worm may corrupt all those thousands of paper copies strewn out across the decades and the time zones, but nothing short of solar flares that muscle out past the orbit of Mercury will take all those incomprehensible Junior One articles, all those oh-so-politically-incorrect Ogontz (or Wyoda, or Lochearn, or Merriwood) Day articles, all those endless strings of Tecumseh Day articles out of our collective ken. For former campers, it’s going to be like having every day be candy day. For former counselors, it’s going to be like having days off four times a week and nights the other three. For former Bean Soup editors, it’s going to be like a nightmare where you can never, ever escape your lurid past. Seriously, this is a GOOD THING for reasons even cynical Bean Soup humor can’t obscure. We all owe a special vote of thanks to the folks who are making this happen, Nikki Wilkinson Tropeano, Ander Wensberg, and especially Robie “Calvin” Johnson. Their efforts (and the support of the Pemi Board) have been remarkable.

Here’s the deal. We’re going decade-by-decade, generally working from the present back into in the past. In case those moths and worms have been active in your own personal bookshelves, any of you who were eligible for a print copy of our esteemed journal in any past year can request a searchable pdf copy of the same. Blast notification will go out as each decade becomes available, and if you want to exercise your digital option, simply email Nikki. We will also occasionally re-publish select sections of various numbers for celebratory or informational reasons – and anyone interested in a legitimate historical or familial project that requires access to larger portions of the archive is welcome to request that. We’ll do our best to oblige in ways that appropriately respect the privacy of past campers and staff.

Nikki informs me that each decade’s release will feature a preface (or perhaps a legal disclaimer) from a distinguished Bean Soup editor of the past: the likes of Justin Thompson-Glover, Sky Fauver, Brad Saffer, or Karl See. For this first notice, she’s asked what Rob Grabill would alternatively call “an extinguished ex-editor” – that would be me – to do the honors. Well, I was indeed an editor for portions of three decades, beginning in the late sixties and ending in the late eighties. (If you don’t believe me, look at how much hair I’m missing.) Adding to that my earlier years as a camper and counselor and subsequent years as a director, I can say that I have laughed (and sometimes grimaced) my way through over fifty years of “Monday Night Fever.” When I think about Pemi, I think about campfires a lot. I think about Gilbert and Sullivan and singing in the messhall. I think about Tecumseh Days and hut trips to the Presidentials. But, in many ways, Bean Soup is the single thing that – if it could indeed be described to anyone – I would offer as a window into the soul of Pemi. Sure, part of the reason is because it documents a lot of what we actually do and say and think at camp (and a lot, too, of what we most certainly never did or said or thought!) But it’s the flow of good feeling, and common engagement, and masterful language, and often wicked humor that we witness every Monday up there that says it all – or, if not all, then at least so, so well. In the words of Doc Reed’s Campfire Song, Bean Soup often enough documents “mistakes of the head” – and it may, in fact, be guilty of a few of its own. (There have been times when a few folks here and there may have thought the Beans had been traded in for the Means. In fact, way back when, new campers were told to carve those wooden spoons because there would indeed BE bean soup served up at 7:30 in the Lodge. It was a bald-faced lie!) But “good will in the heart” has almost always prevailed, and more boys (and now gals) than I are likely to have learned how to be observant, and smart, and cutting but caring as much from Bean Soup as from anywhere else in life. What a blessing to come to a place like Pemi where you can do so much, meet so many worthwhile and welcoming people, grow in so many ways – and all with the constant reminder that you can care a lot about a lot of things without taking yourself too seriously.

So, let’s all take a moment to celebrate the Joe Campbell’s, and Rollie DeVere’s, and Bill Westfall’s, and Rob Grabill’s who have over the years invented the sport of Gummidge, and the Adventures of  Doorlock Sholmes, and Things to Look For, and the Ol’ Perfessor and Clive Bean. As Doc Nick used to say about Pemi’s history in the first Sunday Meeting of the year, “Yea, it is a goodly heritage.” (I think, in fact, he was plagiarizing from the Bible!) So it is with Bean Soup’s own storied history. Here’s to its rebirth in a form such that “age cannot wither it, nor custom stale its infinite variety.” (I think I may be plagiarizing, too. Just can’t quite remember.)

And now, on with the Soup.

~      Tom Reed, Jr.


Were you at Pemi during the 1970’s?  If you are interested in receiving one issue or more from 1970-1979, please let me know. I will be happy to send you any given issue or issues in PDF form.  You may contact me at alumni. Stay tuned for future releases.  ~Nikki Wilkinson Tropeano

Ethan Schafer Honored by American Camp Association

Ethan Schafer

Ethan Schafer and his son, Andy.

It is our great pleasure to announce that the American Camp Association (ACA) presented Dr. Ethan D. Schafer with a 2012 Hedley S. Dimock Award at their national conference in Atlanta last week. This award, given annually, honors those who have “made significant contributions to the camp profession through related fields such as outdoor education, conservation, recreation medicine, education, architecture, or the social sciences through administrative, legislative, or professional contributions or by participation in local, state, or national program development.”

A practicing child psychologist in Ohio, Ethan serves as consultant for two private schools and as adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychology at Case Western Reserve University. He has shared his professional expertise with the camping world since 2003, visiting camps across the country to lead pre-season staff training sessions. On the regional and national level, Ethan has created numerous workshops for ACA conferences and events which address topics such as: working with adolescents, partnering with parents, staff training, behavior management, understanding mental health issues, and stopping risky behavior. His current role on the Summer Crisis Intervention Team places him as a first responder to assist camp management should a major challenge or tragedy occur. Throughout this time, Ethan has contributed numerous articles to ACA’s Camping Magazine, two of which were honored with a Golden Quill Award signifying excellence in written contributions that address the needs of camp professionals: The Psychology of Learning and Behavior Management: What it Means For Camp and Staff Training and Training Your Staff to Manage the Challenges of Adolescence.

Ethan’s Pemi career began in 1986 with a 6-year stint as camper. He returned as an assistant counselor in 1993 (serving, also, as Head Waiter) and was a cabin counselor from 1995 to 1998. He wore the additional dual hats of Division Head and Bean Soup editor in ’97 and ’98. Ethan launched his camp-consulting vocation at Pemi in 2003 and continued to assist with Pemi staff training through the 2007 season and again in 2010. In 2005, Ethan stayed onsite for two weeks as the first Head of Staff for that season.

When asked about his recent ACA award, Ethan replied, “My whole camp career as a psychologist is basically just my trying to export what I learned at Pemi. I combine the lessons of Pemi—fair play and character development—with some basic psychological science to help make more camps do ‘on purpose’ what Pemi does by its nature.” He adds, “I can think of many kids (patients and students where he has worked) for whom camp would do wonders, far more than years of therapy, or in some cases, even traditional school.  I think kids learn more life skills in an afternoon damming up the junior stream with their buddies than they do in a week of school.”

Ethan and his wife Kelly live outside Cleveland with their sons Andy (3) and Adam (6 months). Please join us in congratulating him on having been honored with this well-deserved, prestigious award. Ethan’s continued focus on staff training for camps improves the camping experience for all.

Larry Davis Honored by the Geological Society of America

We are delighted to announce that the Geological Society of America has named Larry Davis as a Fellow of the society. Larry, who spends the off-season as Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of New Haven, is in his 43rd year at Pemi where he serves as Director of Pemi’s renowned Nature Program.

The Geological Society of America (GSA) cited Larry for “distinguished contributions in building the public’s awareness of geology and its impacts on environmental problems; his extensive service to GSA’s Geology and Public Policy Committee, Northeastern Section, and to the Geology and Society Division; and his assistance to local government agencies in solving environmental problems.” The society has over 24,000 members worldwide. GSA members are elected to Fellowship in recognition of distinguished contributions to the geosciences, an honor that is bestowed on the best of the profession.

In recent years, as the citation notes, Larry has served on GSA’s Committee on Geology and Public Policy, which writes position papers for the organization. Of special note is his contribution to the position paper on climate change, one of the strongest statements of its kind from any geoscience society and which reflects the scientific consensus that has developed around this challenge. He also helped write position papers on several other topics including Land Use Management, Diversity in the Geosciences, and Natural Hazards. He is currently the vice-chair of the Society’s Division on Geology and Society and will become chair of this division in October, 2012. Larry also serves as the Chair of the Science Committee (the “Chief Scientist”) for the Northeastern Cave Conservancy.

Larry has long advocated for summer camps as ideal venues in which to promote true outdoor education and stewardship of the environment. A member of the Children and Nature Task Force of the American Camp Association (ACA), Larry will chair a panel on Models for Nature Programs at Camp and More: In Summer and After School; Rural and Urban Settings, part of the “conference within the conference” on Children and Nature at the American Camp Association national meeting in Atlanta this February. Participants also include Pemi’s Associate Director of Nature, Deb Kure, representing Campfire International.

Most recently, Larry was invited to apply for participation in a National Science Foundation sponsored workshop/conference at the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum in February. Limited to 100 participants, the conference is entitled 21st Century Learning in Natural History Settings: A Conference to Initiate Research-Driven Innovation in Informal Natural History Learning. At Larry’ suggestion, conference organizers have also invited Pemi counselor, Conner Scace, to apply. Conner is planning a career as an environmental educator.

Please join us in congratulating Larry, not only on this significant honor of having been elected as Fellow of the Geological Society of America, but for a lifetime of sharing his expertise and passion with others, especially the campers and staff at Camp Pemigewassett.

Pemi’s Charlie Malcolm Honored for Excellence in Teaching

We were delighted to learn several weeks back that Charlie Malcolm, history teacher and head soccer coach at the Northfield-Mt. Hermon School and Pemi’s long-serving and inspirational Director of Athletics, has been named the 2011 recipient of the James Cornelius Kapteyn Prize for Excellence in Teaching. Awarded by the Berkshire Taconic Community, the prize commemorates the singular life and career of Jamie Kapteyn, beloved teacher and coach at Cushing, Williston, and Deerfield Academies. The inscription is as follows:

The Kapteyn Prize shall be awarded to candidates who have made a career commitment to teaching in secondary schools of at least seven years and whose excellence in and passion for teaching and learning inspire their students to excel, in the model of the late James C. Kapteyn. Prize winners shall be individuals of exemplary character, integrity, and honor who lead by example and impart to their students a lifelong love of learning and dedication to personal growth.

Potential winners of the prize, which carries a cash award of $10,000, are nominated each year by scores of school heads in the New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts area. All are distinguished for their “triple threat” accomplishments in the classroom, in the dorm, and on the athletic field. A key part of the vetting process is an essay written by each candidate on “Why I Teach.” Charlie’s follows. We thought the extended Pemigewassett family would herald news of the award with the same joy and pride we feel – and relish the opportunity to hear Charlie’s thoughts on how directly the Pemi experience fostered in him a life-long commitment to humane learning and global citizenship.

Also included at the bottom of this posting are links to the Kapteyn website and to accounts of Charlie’s boys’ varsity soccer team winning not only the 2010 New England Prep School championship but also the Connecticut Valley Soccer Officials Association award for team sportsmanship. Everyone familiar with Pemi will appreciate the way in which Charlie’s teams, whatever the season or the location, manage so successfully to combine total effort with the highest standards personal conduct.

Why I Teach

In my elementary school days I was a distracted learner, stayed back in first grade, and carried the stigma of being referred to the learning center.  After an uninspiring effort in middle school, I was sent by my parents to boarding school where it didn’t take long for me to make a Holden Caulfield exit midway through my junior year. I remember vividly the anguish I felt as I struggled with the discipline necessary to meet academic and communal expectations.  Clearly then, my own journey is one of the reasons I teach and connect with students as they work through adolescence.  I personally was fortunate to find a community that helped me develop my self-esteem and my eventual life commitment to education. For the last twenty-five years, I have been working at Camp Pemigewassett (“Pemi”), a community dedicated to educating the whole child.  It was at Pemi that I discovered my initial talents as a teacher and embraced a vocation committed to helping young people explore their potential.

While continuing to work at Pemi during the summers after I graduated from college, I accepted a teaching position at the Landmark School, a school for dyslexic students. At Landmark, I spent my formative years as an educator exploring learning styles, the importance of self-esteem in education, and the craft of teaching an incredibly wide spectrum of students.  My charges at Landmark reminded me of how critical and powerful building close relationships was in truly educating the whole child.  When I left Landmark for St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, I applied these lessons as I searched to make both personal connections with my students and meaningful intellectual connections between history and current events.  By establishing my genuine concern for their well-being and by making history relevant to their World, I found success in the classroom.  One of my favorite assignments at St. Andrew’s was my oral history project on immigration to Washington DC, where students embraced the role of historian as they explored in depth the remarkable lives of people in their community.  I remember how Lauren Vorisek, a student reluctant to embrace history in any form, discovered her voice and passion for the subject.  Last Spring, ten years after leaving St. Andrew’s, Lauren sent me an email thanking me for igniting her passion for history and her decision to teach the subject and to introduce a much needed Latin American course in the Montgomery County public schools.

The boarding school life at Northfield-Mt. Hermon has allowed me to take to a new level my commitment to building powerful relationships with students and my desire to make history a living experience.  In my eleven years at NMH, I have embraced the interdisciplinary curriculum and the school’s commitment to international education.  Helping students make connections between disciplines and better understand the interdependence of the world we live in – and then taking them all over the World to test their theories – has been incredibly powerful and gratifying.  By taking students to meet with the leadership of the Apartheid movement in Capetown and Soweto or spending seven weeks with them living in the poor city of San Cristobal in the Dominican Republic, we have created life-changing experiences for our students, allowing them to appreciate the deeper meaning of their academic endeavors, appreciate the gift of their education and, perhaps, discover a life-long passion for understanding and fostering the World’s incredible diversity.

While I didn’t have interdisciplinary courses in high school or the opportunity to study abroad, I did find success, self-esteem, and discipline through athletics.  Early in my coaching career, I remember having the ultimate epiphany as a coach/educator when I was asked to step in as the coach of the girls’ varsity soccer team immediately following my boys’ game.  A parent who sat behind the bench for both games commented afterwards, “I wish you could hear yourself coach the girls’ team.”  It turns out I was a much more positive and supportive when coaching the girls.  As the boys’ varsity soccer coach at NMH, I have steadily worked to improve my ability to model what it means to be a leader, excellent teammate, and unyielding proponent of fair play.  We have players from all different socio-economic and cultural backgrounds at NMH, each with his own aspirations, skills, and insecurities.  Each year we strive to find opportunities to build mutual commitment to each other. We utilize community service, team-building exercises, and the toughest schedule in New England to make sure our commitment to athletics has an unambiguous educational purpose, well beyond winning and losing. It is always about the “process” and teaching young men to be individuals who are willing to embrace a common goal.  Last fall, the players won the regional sportsmanship trophy awarded by the local officials’ association, an especially gratifying accomplishment given the tenacity of our competition.  As I witness our players’ genuine commitment to each other evolve over the course of each season, I can’t tell you how proud I am to watch their emotional maturity grow in a manner that will help these young men live meaningful lives.

While my classes, travel abroad, and coaching experiences have been central avenues for engaging students, I am also proud and grateful for the relationships that boarding school can foster in our daily residential life together.  I think about international students like Korean student John Kim, who embraced my family and my role as a mentor to help them through the difficult years of being away from their own home.  Or someone like Fritz Windover, a young man who tragically lost his father and has found his life deeply connected to my own. During these turbulent and inspiring years at NMH, when we engaged in remarkable institutional initiatives, I often look back on the ways my experiences at Landmark, St. Andrew’s, and Camp Pemigewassett prepared me to live the boarding school life.   While in the dorm, classroom, distant lands, or on the playing field, I have been fortunate to make powerful connections with scores of amazing students, many of whom have become close friends.  These relationships with students and colleagues, and my desire to share with and learn from each one of them, sustain me and my family in the rigors of boarding school life. They are at the heart of why I teach.

Congratulations to Charlie for being selected as the Kapteyn recipient of 2011 – but especially for the tireless life of dedication and commitment that made him such a compelling candidate. Pemi is lucky to be able to count Charlie among the seasoned and dedicated professional educators who are its perennial leaders.

Read more about the Kapteyn Prize.

About NMH’s Boys’ Soccer Chamionship Game.

About NMH’s Sportsmanship Award.