Family Camp 2020

Each summer I hear the same suggestion from so many people who know and love Pemi, from the inspired prospective families visiting Pemi for the first time, to the veteran Pemi families who have been with us for years. They all say, “there should be a Camp Pemigewassett for adults, too!” Well, this summer, we had the opportunity to fulfill that wish by offering a first ever Camp Pemi Family Camp. And, the overwhelming consensus appears that it was a rousing success, according to the families who came, as well as the staff who helped create and run the program.

Of course, with the Covid-19 pandemic in full swing, the only way Family Camp was possible was by following the recommendations set out by the CDC and the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services. Much thought and planning went into making this the safest summer possible for our families and staff. We began in the spring by forming a Covid Committee, made up of health professionals, our head of dining services, buildings and grounds staff, and directors, that met in countless Zoom meetings through weeks of planning, as we discussed the protocols necessary to insure a safe camp, and to maintain the health and safety each day.

Family hike atop of Mt. Cardigan

Perhaps the most important suggestion actually came from a Pemi dad and New York City doctor who said to me, “Danny, you should really consider asking everyone to be tested before they cross the bridge.” Hence, everyone who attended Family Camp tested negative before arriving (the staff was tested multiple times), which helped us to create the “bubble” that ensured safety and also a sense of confidence for families and staff, to truly enjoy themselves and spend time with others at a level many families had not experienced since March.

We were also extremely diligent about safety measures during the sessions. Staff and families all wore masks when indoors, and we dined by family at tables that were spaced more than six feet apart around the mess hall, or al fresco when possible. The staff cleaned and disinfected doorknobs, basketballs, sailboats, etc., each day, and our nurse, Rachael Vigeant, did temperature checks each day.

Action on Lower Baker

Camp Pemi Family Camp ran for four weeks this past summer, with 30 families joining us for this pilot program, each coming to spend from four to seven nights with us. I could just feel the spirit of Camp Pemi smiling with the knowledge that young children were at play at Pemi, families were gathered around a roaring fire on Senior Beach, and that Lower Baker Pond was in full use with swimmers, kayakers, sailors, and paddle boarders enjoying themselves and basking in the summer sun. It was good to see Pemi buzzing with activity and to give the folks who came – campers, alumni, former staff, friends, and camp families – a chance to love and appreciate everything that Pemi had to offer, from the beautiful setting and facilities, to the camaraderie and traditions.

What a joy it was to read the reviews from our families after they had returned home! Here are just a few snippets from the reviews I received from families:

“I’m just writing to thank you again – we had SO MUCH FUN!  We felt so lucky to experience how magical Pemi is, and to experience some of the traditions and cultures that make Pemi, Pemi.”

Post campfire sunset

“Our whole family LOVED Family Camp! Giving us the chance to experience “a week in the life of PEMI” was truly awesome.  From Polar Bear, meals in the mess hall, camp fire, water skiing, canoeing on the river, hiking Mt Cube … we thoroughly loved everything.  I loved seeing my boys so comfortable, happy and independent. Sign us up for 2021!!!!”

“While we certainly were looking forward to enjoying Pemi’s recreational facilities, we were not expecting to enjoy the company of the other families so much. For me personally, there was the added bonus of getting to know the Pemi history, community and culture on a much deeper level. I would also congratulate the staff for delivering an extremely high-quality vacation experience to a very different kind of customer. Their customer service was top-notch and I appreciated it. We originally signed up to support the camp, but wound up getting so much more.”

“We LOVED it.  Some highlights include: delicious meals, waterskiing, high dive, ping pong.   Sleeping in the cabin was great. We liked the wood block (game) at meals. Campfire was really great. We liked how you gently and supportively pressured families to contribute because all the participation made it even better.  Thank you so much for being brave and trying something new.  Family Camp was a highlight of our summer!”

Camp life is the best!

Talk about making lemonade out of lemons! Cancelling Camp Pemi’s camper summer for the first time in Pemi’s 113 year history was disheartening, and so challenging, but our Family Camp program left us feeling confident in our ability to figure out how to welcome campers back in the summer of 2021. We also ended feeling certain that we had established a brand new program to offer Pemi families in the summers to come.

Join us for Family Camp in 2021. This one will be a keeper!

Danny Kerr
Director, Camp Pemigewassett

News from Camp Pemigewassett and Danny Kerr

In tandem with Pemi’s Board of Directors, Danny Kerr has been at the center of a multi-year planning process focused on smooth and measured management succession at Pemi. This past January, Danny shared with the Board his plan to retire as a Pemi director in just under two years’ time, at the end of the 2021 season. Five months ago, we were set to share this momentous news with the extended Pemi community when the COVID crisis threw a wrench into that plan, as it has for so many others and in so many ways. We thought it best to resolve the uncertainties of the 2020 season before we turned to the news. Now that our inaugural Pemi Family Camp is underway—with Danny at the helm—this seems like an appropriate time to pass along the official word.

Director Danny Kerr, Camp Pemigewassett

Director Danny Kerr

From Tom Reed, for the Pemi Board of Directors:

For a dozen years now, Danny Kerr has inspired our campers, their families, and Pemi staff alike with his dedication to fostering the lifelong benefits of the summer camp experience—so it is with mixed emotions that we join him in sharing news of his plan to retire as a Pemi director at the end of the 2021 season.

Danny first came to us in 2009, after more than two decades as a camper and staff member at The Aloha Foundation’s Camp Lanakila and nine years directing their Horizons Day Camp. Given his long tenure with those excellent institutions, Danny could easily have come to Pemi with a pre-established idea of how camps are best run. Very much to the contrary, he set aside what he wryly called “my other camps” in order to absorb everything he could about Pemi’s long and honored traditions (including, he might initially have been sad to say, early morning Polar Bear dips!) and to help us continue thriving as the camp we have always been.

At the same time, he brought his experience to bear in ways that have benefitted Pemi immensely—as, for example, when he instituted in his first summer the most effective staff evaluation and mentoring process we’ve ever had. Danny’s management style has been to hire talented and committed staff, make sure they know what they are doing in our particular setting and feel supported, and then let them do their jobs. The result has been a self-motivated community where staff feel empowered and trusted, with the space to exercise their talents and effect their goals.

In a similar fashion, Danny brought “Positive Counseling” to our pre-season staff training. This approach to working with campers has helped scores of our boys each year learn to identify their challenges clearly, recognize their choices, and take personal responsibility for finding solutions. He has worked magic fostering self-awareness and self-determination among our campers, and his deft example will inspire our staff for many years to come.

Danny’s timely notification to us last January and his continued participation in the planning process guarantee that his fellow director Kenny Moore will be more than prepared and supported when Danny hands their shared reins fully to Kenny at the end of the 2021 season. Our Transition Committee is currently designing a new full-time position for Pemi’s management team, and we recently hired Kenny’s wife, Sarah, in a part-time position to tap her professional expertise in enrollment management. These two new positions, together with the upcoming launch of an exciting new website, add to our energy and enthusiasm moving forward.

There will be occasions in the future to add to our appreciation for Danny’s steady leadership of Pemi. Let me close, though, with sincere if preliminary thanks for the many committed and principled seasons he has given us as director. We have profited from his wisdom, candor, patience, kindness, and capacity to forge community. We wish him and Julia many happy and healthy years of new adventures and projects.

Tom Reed, Jr.
For the Pemi Board of Directors

 

From Director Danny Kerr:

Under the category of, “One never knows what is coming around the corner,” this is a piece I wrote back in January . . . but now the time is right to share my thoughts on my exciting news!

Ah, the seasons of life…

It has been an honor and a pleasure to be director of Camp Pemigewassett since 2010. Hence, it was with some sadness but also great excitement about the years in front of me that I wrote to the Camp Pemigewassett Board of Directors after the New Year to tell them of my plan to retire from Camp Pemigewassett at the end of the summer of 2021.

Where did these past eleven years go? The thought of leaving a position I love at the (somewhat!) young age of 61 was one I knew I needed to really think through, but after much reflection, Julia and I feel we are ready to start the next chapter in our lives. Leaving behind the rewards of working with such inspiring leadership, appreciative parents, and fun-loving boys as I have found at Pemi will be challenging, and I feel very blessed that I have had the opportunity to serve the Camp Pemigewassett community for what will have been 12 summers by 2021.

Directors Kenny Moore and Danny Kerr, Camp Pemigewassett

Directors Kenny Moore and Danny Kerr

I have learned so much in my time at Pemi, and while next summer will undoubtedly bring its own unknown wonders and lessons, I know I will be leaving Camp Pemigewassett ready for the next chapter in its storied and proud history. Pemi will be in fantastic hands, beginning with Kenny Moore – the most loyal, dedicated, and skilled leader one could ever hope to find; and the wise, caring, and capable Board of Directors, dedicated to envisioning and enacting the future of Camp Pemi. Truly, watching my good friend and now fellow director Kenny Moore’s ascension from middle manager to Assistant Director to full Director has been incredibly gratifying, and I know he will hit it out of the park, Cleveland Indian’s style, as senior Director of Camp Pemi. I also know there are other young men and women on the Pemi staff ready to embrace a next opportunity for leadership.

When I first began my career in education, I was sure of a couple of things. One was that I never wanted to have a “desk job.” The other was that the most significant impact I could have in education would be at a summer camp with a commitment to creating a nurturing and supportive community, where values like honesty, compassion, and integrity were modeled and articulated throughout the summer; a community that was dedicated to helping young boys become the persons they wanted to be. I found this community and so much more at Pemi, and I am proud and grateful that I have had any small hand in maintaining, sharing, and growing Pemi’s fine traditions.

Lou Gehrig once claimed to be the “luckiest man on the earth.” When I look at how I have spent these past thirty plus years, with the goal of retiring while I could still keep up with my sons on the ski slopes (I may be a bit generous with myself here!), I can only say, “Move over Lou. You have company.”

But there is still plenty to do before I truly do cross the Pemi bridge for the last time as director in August 2021. With this in mind, do know that I will continue to give Camp Pemi, its campers, staff, and families my very best in the days, week and months between now and then. There is still plenty to do, many families to serve, boys to “play ball” with, counselors to mentor, and lessons to be learned and to share with others. I look forward to doing all of those things and to the exciting possibilities beyond.

Danny Kerr
Director, Camp Pemigewassett

 

 

 

Camp Pemigewassett 2020 Summer

Dear Pemi Families,

Every Saturday night during the season, we end our campfire with the song that asks, “I wonder if anyone’s better for anything I’ve done or said, and whether good will in the heart may offset mistakes of the head.” While our hearts are undeniably eager to open Pemi for 2020, everything we currently know and can reasonably project about the course of COVID-19 in the coming months tells us that opening this year risks being a grave mistake of the head. As a result, the Pemi Board and Managing Directors, informed by a galaxy of governmental, public health, and camping entities, have reached the very difficult but unanimous decision to cancel all camper sessions for 2020.

Throughout Pemigewassett’s 113-year history, we have never before failed to open for a summer season. We made it safely through two world wars, the Spanish flu, an outbreak of viral pneumonia, the polio siege of the 1950s, and, most recently, 2009’s swine flu. We have always felt confident that we could keep camp safe and healthy for our campers and staff, despite the many and varied challenges. 2020 is different. Without readily available point-of-care diagnostic testing, antibody testing, or an effective vaccine, we simply cannot be sure of keeping the novel coronavirus out of camp. Without an effective therapy, we cannot minimize the threat to any camper or staff member who might contract the disease and, consequently, threaten the families and communities to which they would have to return. Social distancing is the only effective response at the moment, and Pemi’s infrastructure and program are irreversibly based on the communal living that is at the center of the traditional camping experience.

This was obviously an extremely difficult decision for us to reach. Boys have never needed a summer of togetherness, accomplishment, and mutual support more than they do right now. We understand—and share to our core—the great disappointment that will be felt by the boys who have enrolled for this season (especially this year’s wonderful group of 15s), by their parents, by our excellent and eager staff, and by the thousands of Pemi veterans out in the world at large who know first-hand how much each successful camp season means to everyone who is part of it. Pemi has always been in the business of teaching boys and young men that success and happiness in life are founded on determination and resolve and the courage to identify what it is you want—and then the willingness to throw yourself, 100%, into making it happen. It’s that resilient spirit that animates us right now as we look forward with eagerness to the 2021 season. But we also teach Pemi boys that the fulfilling life is about careful planning and risk assessment and not allowing sheer will and strong desire blind you to hard realities. That’s where we are right now.

Looking ahead, we encourage you to adhere to all sensible, official guidelines for managing life in a time of COVID-19. But while you are safe at home or venturing cautiously out, we hope you will reach out to your Pemi friends, young and old, to share a kind word, whether on your own or in ways that Pemi facilitates. To lead the way, Danny and Kenny have prepared a video message so you can hear from them directly today. They look forward, in the days that follow, to checking in with all of you campers personally via phone.

Parents will be receiving an email from us laying out refund, rollover, or gifting options for the deposits and tuition you have paid.

Pemi missives traditionally end with our special banquet toast, Good Luck, Long Life, and Joy! We need to take some time to mourn our loss of the regular 2020 season. Let’s also, though, resolve to be our best selves at this trying moment, to be kind to one another, to stay healthy, and, finally, to find joy in all the unexpected places our new reality has opened up for us.

Tom Reed, Jr.
For the Pemi Board of Directors

Alumni Magazine – News and Notes – February 2020

Welcome to the next installment of the Alumni Newsletter. This edition, Alumni News and Notes, offers updates from members of our Alumni Community, whether that be former campers, staff, or parents and friends! We invite you to write your own update in the comments section of the blog post via the Pemi website.

CONGRATULATIONS

Mike, Andrew, and Rob – August 2019

Andrew Billo got engaged to Annie Schaeffing on top of Mt. Cube in August and then celebrated the day with family and friends, including Rob Verger, Roselle Chen, and Mike Sasso near Bradford, VT. They will get married in August 2020 in Lyme, NH, with Rob Grabill officiating and Rob Verger, Mike Sasso, and James Finley joining the wedding party. Recently, Andrew was also appointed to a new role at the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in New York, where he is responsible for mobilizing support for reproductive health needs and the prevention of gender-based violence in humanitarian crises around the world.

The New Hampshire Environmental Educators recently elected Larry Davis to their Board of Directors for a two-year term!

Willy Friendman – “I wanted to share that on Monday, November 25th, my wife Jess Smith and I welcomed Margot Eliza Friedman to the family. Everyone’s happy, healthy, and waiting for Pemi to start accepting girls! :)”

Chris, Kendra, and Olivia McKendry

Chris McKendry and his wife Kendra welcomed their daughter Olivia to the world on November 27th, 2019. The two married in 2016 with the wedding being officiated Kenny Moore. Residing in southern California, Chris has worked in the automotive/motorsports industry for the last ten years while Kendra has enjoyed a multitude of roles in the food industry.

Will Murtha (camper 1995-1996, staff 1999 & 2001) and his wife Lauren celebrated the birth of their son Finn Robert Murtha in January of 2020. They reside in Oakland, California, where Lauren works as a nurse practitioner and Will in renewable energy. Will is already eyeing Pemi as an opportunity to connect his son to the New England environs in which he grew up.

Rory Shaw

On January 22, 2020, Conor Shaw and his wife Rachel Clark celebrated the birth of their first child—Rory Germain Shaw. Both Rory and his mother are doing well. It’s not clear yet whether Rory will be nicknamed hardtack or bean—but they have plenty of time to chew it over.

Thurman Smith recently published “Supreme Damage: Rescuing Representative Government from Judicial Overreach.”  Check it out as an e-book or paperback.

Riley Smythe

Doug Smythe shares the following, “My wife and I are still living and working in Philly. My wife, Emily, is a pediatrician. She’s in her 2nd year of residency at the Philly children’s hospital (CHOP). I work for Toll Brothers (national real estate developer) doing acquisitions and development. We welcomed a new family member last summer with the birth of our daughter Riley. She’s coming up on 6 months and doing great.

Critter Tamm is engaged and getting married on June 6th in upstate NY to Drew Bishop. Expect many Pemi Alumni to be in attendance and a stirring rendition of ‘Bloomer Girl’ to be sung, captured, and shared on social media soon thereafter. Critter and Drew live on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Critter works at JP

Eli Miller

Morgan Asset Management focused on our Digital Strategy, quickly approaching his 10 year mark there in June. He recently completed my MBA from NYU Stern this past summer.

Johanna Zabawa and her husband Nick Salay welcomed daughter Charlotte (Charlie) Zabawa Salay on October 9th 2019. They look forward to introducing Charlie to Pemi in summer 2020. Charlie looks forward to growing into her Camp Pemi onesie, going for her first hike up Mt. Cube, and rest hour!

Eli Naftali Miller was born May 26, 2019 to proud parents Jeff and Michelle Miller!

PEMI ENCOUNTERS

“I recently visited Peter and Cassandra Siegenthaler to see their baby son, Julius,” Ian Axness shares, “which was wonderful and profound. I’m starting my second decade in NYC by conducting a performance exploration of “La Bohème” at Mannes School of Music, applying to grad school, and continuing to play freelance piano all over town. (Just recorded an accompaniment track with Willie Zabar for a comedy bit!)”

Sandy Bryant ran into Doug Eisenhart a few weeks ago who said that Henry continues to be well and keeps in touch with Pemi friends. Doug recently retired as Director of Career Services from Simmons College.

Jacob Smalley, former camper and Assistant Counselor in 2020, had this story to tell about running into a Pemi cabin mate: Jacob plays for a soccer club called GPS (Global Premier Soccer) and on the weekend after Thanksgiving, at a statewide tournament, he played against a team called the Boston Bolts. “It was bitterly cold and I wasn’t sure it was him at first,” writes Jacob, “but when I got onto the field, I heard his teammates say his name and sure enough, it was Arlo Grey! Arlo was in my cabin in Senior 2!”

IN MEMORIAM

Pemi received word that Wes Ackley died on January 10th, his obituary can be found here. Wes spent 10 total summers at Pemi, starting as a camper in 1952 and then for a number of years on staff in the early 1960s. During his years on staff, he served as the leader of the Intermediate Campcraft and Trip Program, introducing countless boys to the mountains.

Bill Dickerman died on January 14 at his home in Rindge, NH. Bill’s tenure at Pemi started in 1958 as a camper, and over the course of his 11 summers he dutifully led the Junior Camp as a Division Head and Head of Junior Camp. In 1977 & 1978, Bill served as the Assistant Director, overseeing one of the most successful years of the Trip Program. A career educator, Bill loved the outdoors.

Paul Greene passed away on December 27, 2019 shares daughter Carolyn Dalgliesh. “He was an amazing man and will be missed tremendously.  He truly loved his summers at Camp Pemi and passed on the gift and love of summer camp to all of his children and grandchildren.”

Ray Murphy died on December 22, 2019, he was 86 years old. He and his younger brothers, Bill and Bob, attended Pemi from 1944 to 1948. Ray enjoyed playing in the Silver Coronet Band during his Pemi days and loved playing five different instruments. He played baseball and enjoyed swimming as well!

Ray’s love of Pemi led him to send Dan (1971 to 1975) and Patrick (1977 – 1982) as second generation campers! In more recent history, a third generation of the Murphy family tree graced the shores of Lower Baker with Danny and Jacob Murphy and James Minzesheimer all attending in the 2000’s. Danny is now in his second year at Georgetown Law School and will be competing in the Moot Court National Championship this February in NYC. He has accepted an Internship with Ropes and Gray in Boston for the Summer of 2020. Dan, the elder, has enjoyed meeting a few Pemi alums while working on Nantucket in the summer. He also continues to enjoy his work as a Trustee and Vice-President of the Rittner Fund.

ALUMNI NEWS

Scott Anthony offers the following – Since it has been over 50 years, I suppose it might be time for an update! I was a camper through CIT from 1957 through 1966, and, as I have told many people, the summers at Pemi basically influenced the entire course of my life. My professional life as a musician began with hearing Barney Prentice, a camper who was a year older than I in Lower 3 (I think) during the 1959 season, playing banjo. I was hooked! I now make half my living above Social Security playing banjo professionally, as I have for the last 50+ years (santhony.com/banjo). My love of nature, inspired by Clarence Dike at Pemi, led to a degree in Ecology at Dartmouth in 1970 and indirectly to my other career as a fine artist (santhony.com) that has relatively recently been re-ignited.

From 1974 to 2006, I lived in San Francisco where my ex-wife still lives in a house we built in 1978 up on Potrero Hill. From 1976 to 1984, I played intermissions for the Turk Murphy Jazz Band at Earthquake McGoon’s five nights a week, and during the day painted watercolor and acrylic landscapes and seascapes. I was a house-husband, helping to raise two wonderful daughters, my older one, Alix, a teacher at Julia Morgan School in Oakland and the other, Katie, an RN in Chapel Hill, NC. When the art market pretty much died around 1987 or 1988, I needed to find a new source of income so I taught myself computer programming and was first, a contract developer and then later an employee programmer with a couple of Bay Area companies. Since 2006, I have been living with my current wife, Karen, in Pacifica, just south of SF, playing lots of music, painting lots of paintings and occasionally writing software to fill personal or artistic needs. To keep my brain working I have also done a bunch of website work for the now defunct San Francisco Traditional Jazz Foundation (learning PHP and WordPress) and some book design and layout.

Very best wishes for 2020!!!

Jonathan Belinowiz (1968-1971) just started a new job with small Managed Service Provider (MSP) called FlightPath IT.  FlightPath IT provides internet, security, backup, networking, cloud solutions and disaster recovery to medium and small businesses in the greater Boston area.

John Brossard (1965 & 1966) shares that he and his wife Amy are now grandparents of a beautiful little girl, Seraphina, born November 7.

(l-r) John’s son-in-law Heath Harmon, eldest daughter Aubrey Harmon, new daughter-in-law Laura Stebbins, daughter Anna, wife Mary and John.

John Carman (1964-1978) and his wife Mary are busy remodeling their home in Louisville, KY, and plan on visiting Maine and Pemi sometime this year. This past July, John’s daughter Anna, a Pemi West Alum (2006), married Laura Stebbins in Estes Park, Colorado. Both are medical professionals and plan to move back to Kentucky this year to be closer to their families.

Henry Chapman took a job in Kansas City working for the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office studying homicides and non-fatal shootings. He just finished up a year on the road traveling with his girlfriend to 36 states, visiting State and National Parks on their way. They also hiked 1,200-miles on the Pacific Crest Trail!

Peter Cloutier shares an update, “Last summer, I started a new job as Growth & Partnerships Lead at ChaseDesign, a leading retail marketing, strategy, and design firm.  They have offices in the Battery Park area in NYC, where I spend most days, and are headquartered in the finger lakes region of NY State in a small but beautiful town called Skaneateles.  All good and loving the new challenge.” Son Matt Cloutier is currently interning with NPR’s Ted Radio Hour at their HQ offices in Washington, DC. The internship ends in late May, just the right timing for Pemi 2020!

Fred Fauver is volunteering on a build of a replica of Virginia, the first ship built in Maine, 1607, by the short-lived Popham colony of English settlers. https://mfship.org/

Emilie Geissinger writes in, “I have been living in Newfoundland, Canada for almost 4 years now working on my PhD in Biology at Memorial University. My research focuses on overwinter survival of young Atlantic cod. When I am not doing research, I am either volunteering as a coding instructor, teaching coding languages to researchers, or enjoying numerous outdoor activities in Newfoundland. I plan to finish my PhD in the next year (hopefully) and continue research in arctic and sub-arctic fish ecology (somewhere North).

AJ Guff is finishing up the 2nd year of a 2-year MBA program at University of Chicago Booth. He just accepted an offer to join Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Leveraged Finance team back in NYC after graduation. Soon, AJ will be participating in the Chicago Polar Bear Club’s Polar Plunge in Lake Michigan, deciding to raise money for the Rittner Fund, and has set up a donor page here:   https://lpbcfundraising.com/participant/1201549 .

Davis Morrell, Jordan Morrell, and Dan Kasper

Dan Kasper and Jordan Morrell collectively checked a few items off of their bucket lists in recent months. First, they reunited in August in Seattle to catch the Rolling Stones performance—some 20+ years after they first saw the world’s greatest rock and roll band together. Then in October they came together to attend the World Series in DC and cheer on their beloved Washington Nationals to their first World Series victory. They were joined by Jordan’s brothers (and Pemi alums)—Jarrett and Geoff—as well as Jordan’s son, Davis, who will be attending Pemi this summer! They also met up with Pemi alum, Noah Trister, at the ballpark.

After 25 years of practicing law, Ben Larkin decided to do something completely different. He is now working with alumni, parents, and friends of New Hampton School – doing a little fundraising and spreading the good word about the school.  He keeps in touch from time to time with Charlie Malcolm, Lance Latham, and Rob and Deb Grabill.  And, of course, he sees a guy named Russ Brummer on just about a daily basis there on the campus at New Hampton.

In Feb of last year, Dave Nagle accepted a position at Actron Engineering, in Clearwater. They are an Aerospace and Defense contractor.

Walt Newcomb and his wife will celebrate their 44th wedding anniversary on the 3rd of April. “We are writing this from Paris where we’ve spent the past 10 days with our son Charles (Chuck!) and his spouse. Bendy and I traveled to Vietnam for a week, then in Malaysia for 2 weeks, then on to Singapore for 5 days. Our daughter and son-in-law, Virginia & Chris Smith, are expecting their second child, a boy and potential future Pemi camper, in May. If all goes well, he may be the 4th Newcomb descendant to attend Pemi.” [Editors Note – Huzzah!]

Stephen Funk Pearson has recently added the Hemingway Cottage to the options at his property on Lake Winnisquam. They can now host 35 plus people in their cabins. “NH Audubon let me know that the first Osprey nest in the Lakes Region (since the 60’s)  has produced 43 fledged chicks in its 20 years of service. (cabinsonthecove.com).

Peter Rapelye moved back to Massachusetts last year after 15 years in Princeton, NJ, where his wife Janet was Dean of Admissions at Princeton University. She is now President of COFHE, headquartered at MIT. Peter has been elected Vice President of the Board of Trustees for the Duxbury Rural and Historical Society.

Matt Sherman is working for Tesla in Reno, Nevada, but this past year had the chance to work on some projects at the new Shanghai Gigafactory. He was there for almost two months as part of getting electric cars to more of the world’s population faster.

Dan atop of Mt. Cube

In the meantime, Matt has enjoyed exploring the Lake Tahoe area on hikes in the summer and ski weekends in the winter.

Dan Snyder writes, “I spent the fall of 2019 recharging after handing over the keys at MolecularMD and looking for the next chapter. My recharging included a week in New Hampshire and a beautiful Fall hike up Cube. I recently took a role to leading the commercial efforts at Tasso, a Seattle based venture that has developed a new user friendly, painless blood collection device for a range of testing applications.  No more finger pricks 🙂 Excited to work with this great team of people.”

Good luck, long life, and joy! –Kenny Moore

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.

Alumni Magazine – News and Notes – January 2019

Welcome to the next installment of the Alumni Newsletter. This edition, Alumni News and Notes, offers updates from members of our Alumni Community. We invite you to write your own update in the comments section of the blog post via the Pemi website.

CONGRATULATIONS

Mike Benham is engaged to Meghan Tadio. They will wed on August 17, 2018 in New Hampshire.

Nick Bowman will attend Wesleyan University in the fall.

Pictured (left to right) Top Row: Gordon Bahr, Chip Fauver, Fitz Stueber, Conor Shaw, Ryan Fauver. Middle Row: Scott Fauver, Chris Stueber, George Fauver, Peter Reimer, Jake Fauver, Dwight Dunston Front Row: Hunter Bahr, James Reimer, John Henry Bahr, Cory Fauver, Arielle Rebek

Cory Fauver shares the following, “Dwight Dunston, a love advocate and Bean Soup editor, officiated my wedding to my longtime partner Arielle Rebek on September 1 in Fennville, Michigan! A multi-generational cadre of Pemi boys joined the celebration. Arielle and I are jumping into 2019 with ambitious travel plans for our honeymoon. We’re heading to Chile and Argentina, with a focus on hiking in Patagonia, for the better part of 3 months! Arielle just finished a stint teaching two darkroom photography courses at Carleton this fall as a visiting professor. I will be leaving my job of the last year (software engineer at an SF-based tech publication called The Information) to open up some time for travel. When we return, our plans are up in the air, but we’ll return to Oakland, CA where we’ve lived for the past three and a half years.

Ryan Frisch married Calyn Jones on November 2 in Chandler, Arizona.

Pierce Haley will attend Colgate University in the fall.

Campbell Levy and his wife Courtney welcomed Wilder Fox Levy to the world on June 8th of 2018. Wilder is doing awesome, already starring in some digital advertising pieces. Look for him in a big up-coming Starbucks campaign.

Wilder Fox Levy backcountry skiing up on Mount Evans, which is near where Campbell and Courtney live in Evergreen. Three degree start temperature at about 11,000 feet…he’s more than ready for Polar Bear!

Former Pemi camper and counselor Conor Shaw married Rachel Clark on August 11, 2018 at her childhood home in Lincoln, Vermont. Pemi veterans Jake Fauver and Josh Fischel were among the groomsfolk, and several others were in attendance, including Dwight Dunston, Chip Fauver, Cory Fauver, Ryan Fauver, Rob Grabill, and Jeff Miller. The evening ended as many other good ones have-with a stirring rendition of campfire song by a group of the nation’s best! (See picture below)

Rob Verger and Roselle Chen were married on the steps of Grant’s Tomb on October 6 in a small ceremony officiated by Rob Grabill.  Rob is currently the assistant tech editor at Popular Science, where he writes articles for popsci.com and the print magazine, and is a frequent guest on TV outlets such as Cheddar and Fox Business. Roselle is a news producer with Reuters, where she reports and produces video stories like a look at “Mother Pigeon,” an ice-dancing federal judge, and a father-and-son-owned “crazy” sock company. They live in Manhattan. (See TRIPS picture below)

At Luke’s graduation, brother Charles on left who is a JAG in the US Marine Corps – defense counsel with mom Anne.

In May 2018, Luke Whitman graduated from Columbia’s GSAPP (Graduate School of Architecture, Preservation, and Planning) and received his M.S. in Real Estate Development.  This fall, he started a new job as a Project Manager for Stellar Management as a member of their construction & development team.  He’s currently working on an adaptive re-use project that involves the renovation and merger of two existing 800K square foot buildings built in 1904, called One Soho Square.

PEMI ENCOUNTERS

Paul Fishback had dinner a couple weeks ago with Greg Epp in Buffalo, the two hadn’t seen each other in 35 years! Both were in Lower 2 and Lower 6 in the summers of ’75 and ’76, respectively. Great to hear about this re-connection!

After finishing a family hike in the Patagonia’s in Southern Chile, the Kanovsky family ran into Ben Nicholas in the super small Balmaeda Airport. Ben was in Coyahaique fishing!

Pemi Reunion in Chile!

Jim Staples caught up with fellow Alumni Bandy and John Carman by email in December and registered on the alumni site. Way to be, Jim! He writes, “I’ve lived in Philadelphia for 44 years, surrounded by Tecumseh folks, and still enjoy reminding them about Tecumseh Day, 1967. Good luck, long life, and joy to all. Jim Staples, Pemi ’65-’67, ’70-’71”

In August, Ander Wensberg, Esteban Garcia, Fred Seebeck, Roger McEniry, and Jaime Garcia reunited in Cooperstown, NY to tour the Baseball Hall of Fame. Afterwards, the group traveled north to Pemi to participate in the Rittner Run in August. Stay tuned for information about the 2019 trip!

The Fab Five in Cooperstown, NY

Dickinson student, Zach Popkin, offered the following live commentary while announcing the Dickinson-Swarthmore soccer game: “Camp Pemigewassett’s Patterson Malcolm enters the game for Swarthmore, a ten year tie guy, and a shout-out to his father, Charlie Malcolm, if he is watching.”

IN MEMORIAM

The memorial service for long time Pemi camper and counselor, Chris Johnson (Pemi years 1986 – 1994), who died in the fall of 2017, will be at St. Michael’s Church in Brattleboro, VT on February 16 at 11 AM. For more information, email Kenny.

ALUMNI NEWS

John Armitage published a book, Bringing Numbers to Life: LAVA and Design-led Innovation in Visual Analytics. He adds, “It portrays the results and design process of the LAVA visual analytic design project conducted at software providers Business Objects and SAP from 2004-2014. 500+ paperback, full-color pages with visual analytic design images, design process analyses, and historical background to this breakthrough design language intended to open up quantitative analysis to mass consumption.” You can read it online, or buy the hardcopy via Amazon. Or connect with John on LinkedIn.

Hilary Bride took a new job in December as an Intake/Admissions Specialist at the Commonwealth Center for Children and Adolescences in Virginia. This is the only public psychiatric hospital for youth in VA and deals with acute mental illness crisis.  She writes, “I was inspired with my work as a volunteer as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for Children (CASA) and will continue to live in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley in Staunton with Rufus in my new, rented, tiny home.”

John Carman spent the last 5 months adjusting to a new life as a retired person after 35 years of 60-hour workweeks with the Boy Scouts of America. “I am as busy as I have ever been but am thoroughly enjoying doing the things I want to do on a daily basis. Having a one year old granddaughter and a two year old grandson nearby helps occupy my time.”

Congratulations Conor Shaw and Rachel Clark!

John and his wife enjoyed a week in mid-coast Maine in the end of September, an area he learned to love during a Pemi post-week session in 1970 when Tom Reed Sr. And Jr. took him to Boothbay Harbor and Monhegan Island. Monhegan Island was one of his favorite experiences growing up, so he took his wife there for a day as part of the vacation. “I still remember that stormy day with rough seas standing on the top of the boat with TRJR and (I believe,) Dave Wallingford, braving the wind and rain in preference to the odorous cabin below with less seaworthy passengers.”

Keith Comtois lives in Rio Verde, Arizona just east of Scottsdale with his wife of 37 years, Ann, after spending fifty years in Cleveland, Oh and ten in the Chicago suburbs. He still works in commercial banking credit administration. “My years at Pemi were 1968 and 1969, I think. Definitely 1969 as I remember watching the moon landing there. I fondly think of those two summers in NH.”

Larry Davis retired from the University of New Haven on August 31, but will continue research on San Salvador Island. He moved to Concord, NH during the summer and recently received the New England Environmental Education Alliance Award for Non-Formal Education.

Dan Duffy writes, “Living quietly with an old Lab, a dozen chickens, an emu and two grandsons. Quieter since we found homes for the four extra roosters. A day doesn’t pass without thinking of Al Fauver, Rob Grabill, Fred Seebeck, Larry Davis, Sandy McCoy or any other fine men I knew up there when we all were much younger than I am now. Good wishes for the New Year.

On September 10, Henry Eisenhart started a new job at EnergySage, a company with a small team in Boston running an online solar shopping marketplace that pairs consumers with solar installers from a pre vetted network. His role as a Partner Success Manager is to manage installers from recruitment/selling the service to guidance and management.

Teddy Gales has been cast in his first feature film, Intoxicated Rain (Small Budget/ Million dollars) but once he pays his dues he is a SAG Member Screen Actors Guild, which will open more doors. He has one TV commercial and an Internet commercial for a new company, Outsystems.

Porter Hill started his new job as Head of the Lower School at Fairfield Country Day School. Many former Pemi campers have attended FCDS and we know that connection will remain strong into the future! Fun fact – Porter’s bugle hangs in his office.

Pemi backpacking legends TRJR, Andrew Billo, Dan O’Brien, James Finley and Mike Sasso posed for a TRIPS photo, with Roselle and Rob Verger crashing the shot in the foreground. Photo credit to Jayd Jackson.

Andrew McDermott is a full time shooting instructor with the Orvis Company and is set to marry his fiancé in May.

Dave Nagle recently moved fifteen miles north from Largo, FL to Clearwater, FL. He changed employment six months ago and now works at Jormac Aerospace.

Walt Newcomb reports some wonderful travel with his wife Bendy. After spending New Years in Paris, they moved on to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, a place they lived in 2008-2019 while he consulted for Malaysia’s oil company, PETRONAS. He recommends nasi lamak as a local delicacy for those looking for a tasty tip. Next on the agenda is Langkawi before the final stop in Singapore.

Tom Reed’s debut novel, Seeking Hyde, was published on November 1 by Beaufort Books; very fittingly the New York publishing house owned by Pemi alumnus, Eric Kampmann. Tom’s historical fiction follows celebrated author Robert Louis Stevenson as he struggles for years to bring Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde into being, only to see the story blamed for inspiring Jack the Ripper’s Whitechapel murders. You can learn more about the inspiration and the evolution of the novel in this Q&A interview with Tom by Deborah Kalb–although we notice Tom never told the interviewer that all he ever learned about writing he learned as an editor of Bean SoupSeeking Hyde is available in hardcover, Kindle, and Nook formats from Amazon and Barnes & Noble (and perhaps your local bookstore!).

Austin Richards writes in, “My wife Victoria and I have 5 year old twin boys. I hope they can go to Pemi when they are 12. Currently they are in Kindergarten at a private school called Marymount. We live in Santa Barbara and I work at FLIR Systems as a senior research scientist. I have been there for 20 years. It is a dream job because I get to design, build, and use night vision cameras, radar systems, thermal imaging and other more esoteric technologies every day. My wife is an actress and filmmaker and she is working as a festival news producer for the Sundance Film Festival coming up in a few weeks.”

After fifteen or so years spending the winters in Okeechobee, Florida, Papa Jerry Slafsky and his wife have moved to Boca Raton. They still maintain a home in Freedom, NH for the summers. Papa has a small but well equipped shop there and spends his summers doing wood woodworking, fishing and putting on shows.

Good luck, long life, and joy!

Kenny

Kenny Moore Now Associate Director

I am very pleased to announce that veteran Pemi camper and staff member Kenny Moore is taking on a new title and responsibilities as Associate Director of Camp Pemigewassett.

Kenny and Sarah Moore with son Winston

One of the many joys of being at Pemi is watching our young boys become older campers, our older campers become young counselors, and our young counselors grow into leadership positions. As our young leaders gain experience, confidence, and wisdom, they come to take their place as part of the Pemi leadership team. Kenny is a vivid example of this type of progress.He began as a camper in Junior 5 in 1992 and joined the staff in 1999. Kenny settled into his position as Pemi’s Assistant Director in 2011 and has steadily taken on greater responsibility over the past years. This past Fall, Pemi’s Board of Directors and I both recognized that Kenny was ready for even more involvement in the management of the camp and, with this in mind, we were delighted to change Kenny’s title to Associate Director and to offer him increased participation in the winter responsibilities as a Camp Pemi director. Moving forward, Kenny will be working as first contact for Alumni whose sons are ready for camp, and, beginning this past winter, he has also been charged with the responsibility of hiring cabin counselors and many of our assistant counselors. Kenny is also overseeing Pemi’s Buildings and Grounds.

Please join me in congratulating Kenny on these new endeavors. We look forward to seeing Kenny and Camp Pemi thrive together as he takes over these new responsibilities. We thank him for his excellent ongoing work, and for being an exemplary model of Pemi’s tradition of leadership!

–Danny Kerr

Pemi’s 110th Reunion

2017 Rittner Runners

The 35th Annual Rittner Run kicked off the celebration of Pemi’s 110th Reunion. On Thursday, August 17, forty Rittner Runners departed Pemi at 6 AM, headed to Fryeburg Maine to begin the 75-mile relay run back to Pemi. The relay is divided into 30 odd legs, some measuring as long as 4.5 miles and others as short as 1. Vans shuttle runners to the exchange points while conversations and stories are shared between current staffers and Alumni, both reminiscing about the season that just concluded and other past seasons. During the 2017 run, Head of Swimming and triathlon enthusiast Charlotte Jones led the way with 34 miles, with many others tallying in the high teens. Once back at Pemi, the Runners paraded by Senior Beach towards the Rittner Fountain onto Pemi’s soccer pitch for their annual photo and ‘tis I, Spartacus!’ cheer. After a quick dip in Lower Baker, the group headed to the Mess Hall for the Rittner Banquet. A delicious meal from Tom Ciglar’s trusty hands, and libations from Peter Cowles’ Aspetuck Brewery greeted the runners, followed by announcements, stories about Fred Rittner, and information about the Rittner Fund and its impact. Fred Rittner’s fellow counselors in the early 80’s and his former campers offered memories and legendary anecdotes.

To learn more about the Rittner Fund, please visit their website, and mark your calendars for the 2018 Rittner Run on Monday, August 13, 2018.

Reilly McCue and Leif Dormsjo

A cloudy, rainy dawn on Friday resulted in a scattering few for Polar Bear. The weather eliminated the hiking and golf trips for the day, but a quick scheduling pivot resulted in a trip to the Museum of the White Mountains to see their exhibit on Summer Camps. Pemi, like many of our neighbor camps, contributed to the exhibit with artifacts and memorabilia demonstrating the importance of the Summer Camp experience. At Pemi activities in the Nature Lodge, Library, and the Senior Lodge with active fires allowed folks a quieter morning before the bulk of arrivals. Just before lunch, Bob Fetter, an alumnus from 1940, arrived with his Junior Nature Award and All Camp photograph that he had saved from his only Pemi summer in 1940. Two true gems for the Pemi archives, and more info on his fellow octogenarians later.

Reunion Ensemble

After lunch, hearty souls ventured to Junior Pointe for some waterskiing, others made their way out in sailboats, and a few climbed aboard the HMS Reilly McCue for some fishing. Charlie Malcolm led a group in a cutthroat game of croquet (ask Paul Fishback!), and then a rousing game of Frisbee Golf. The library was active with Pemi trivia, led by current Pemi staffers Steve Clare and Andy MacDonald, and the Junior Lodge was alive with music led by Ed McKendry (Uncle Eddie to some), Ian Axness, Henry Eisenhart, and Michaella Frank. This talented Reunion Ensemble would play for us during the Happy Hour, and then later again at Campfire. To cap off the rainy afternoon, Larry Davis led the first Pemi discussion group of the weekend. Larry, a Climate Reality Project trainee, led the group in a question and answer session on this increasingly important topic.

Campfire

Now with more than 100 Alumni present, the Mess Hall filled with joy as Alumni greeted one another during Happy Hour, reminiscing and catching up. The rain tapered off, and we all enjoyed an outdoor Campfire on Senior Beach. A spectacular musical array ensued. Danny and Uncle Eddie serenaded us with Melissa by the Allman Brothers, Ian played the surpassingly lovely Boating Song on his glockenspiel, (You read the correctly!), Tom Reed and Michaella performed Ukulele Lady, the Reunion Ensemble played House of the Rising Sun, Parker Shiverick played the violin, and Eisenhart once again claimed the lake as his pillow with a saxophone solo. Larry Davis provided the classic story, Learning How to Shoot, before we all joined together for the Campfire Song. Undoubtedly, one of the best Reunion campfires we’ve ever seen.

A sunnier, albeit chilly morning saw more Polar Bears on Saturday. Shortly after breakfast, two hikes Mount Cube led by Nick Davini, and Mount Moosilauke led by Sam Papel departed in Pemi vans. Morning activities included Archery, a canoe paddle to the Lower Lake, doubles on the tennis court, open baseball on the newly improved Senior Diamond, tie-dyeing in the Art Building, waterskiing, and sailing. Just as our campers are offered a wide range of wonderful activities to choose, so too are our Alumni. In the library, the fourth generation (G4) of Pemi’s founders met with Alumni interested in learning more about the Reed and Fauver families. Of the 9 G4 members, five were present; Jonathan Fauver, Allyson Fauver, Megan Fauver Cardillo, Sarah Fauver, and Dan Reed discussed Pemi and shared their vision for the future.

Obie-Ivy Soccer

After a well deserved Rest Hour, afternoon activities began with Obie-Ivy soccer, an Environmental Exploration with Deb Kure for our 12 & Unders, a Wild Foods Extravaganza with Larry, a Spider Walk with former Nature guru Paula Golderberg, more Tie-Dye with Megan Cardillo, and the chance to swim your distance with the waterfront staff. Five swimmers made the distance from Senior Beach to Junior Camp under the watchful eye of former Head of Swimming, Paige Wallis in the rowboat, and current Head of Swimming Charlotte Jones donning the lifeguard buoy. Notable swimmers included current trip counselor, Nick Davini who, after 9 years at camp, owned up to never having swum his distance, Sarah Fauver, another first time distance swimmer, and taking home first prize, Scott Petrequin who, at age 86 (!), successfully swam his distance, making him the oldest Pemi person to ever accomplish the feat. Later at the Reunion Banquet, the cheer for ‘Distance Swimmer Petrequin’ was quite possible the loudest chant in 2017!

Free Swim

As Obie-Ivy ended, many players cooled off during Free Swim in Lower Baker, and enjoyed a well-timed, unplanned, landing by a sea-plane. Others decided to opt for a more intellectual pursuit, joining Alumnus David Spindler, a leading expert on the Great Wall of China, for the weekend’s second Pemi Discussion Group. David shared slides and stories about the Great Wall and his experiences traveling the monument.

Reunion Banquet

The Reunion Banquet was full of joy and cheer, with all the traditional pomp and circumstance of a Pemi Banquet. Alumni became waiters once again, marching the turkeys out of the kitchen as Axness performed his version of the Game of Thrones theme, Fire and Ice, on the piano. One lucky soul at each table claimed the carving knife to slice the birds. Tom Ciglar and his crew presented the turkey feast with mashed potatoes, stuffing, farm fresh corn on the cob, and freshly baked bread. Anyone who has tasted Tom’s bread is surely salivating.

During announcements, Pemi recognized the newest distance swimmers and honored Alumni by decade. We arrived at the 40’s – 1940-1949, and four gentleman, Bob Fetter, Bob MacBeth, Scott Petrequin, and Sandy Ross, stood to a rousing round of applause and standing ovation. Finally, in recognition of Alumni who are Pemi veterans of at least 10 years, Pemi gifted a 10-year tie. A new Pemi tradition!

Bean Soup, led by former editors Josh Fischel and Ian Axness, joined current editor Dan Reed for the special Reunion edition. Combining old classics, along with freshly written articles, this trio had the audience laughing away in the Mess Hall. Song re-writes like I’ve got Mike Pence (Sixpence), and a new “Reunion Edition” of the ever-popular Mess Hall announcement were highlights.

Betsy Reed Memorial

A beautifully crisp Sunday morning greeted Polar Bears for the final dip of the weekend. After breakfast, all gathered in the Senior Lodge for a memorial service in honor of Betsy Reed. Larry Davis and Ian Axness began the service with a lovely duet followed Zach See’s utterly moving Church Call on the bugle. I’m sure that the stirring music bellowing out over the lake set a tone that Betsy would have thought magnificent. Tom Reed Jr. eloquently shared stories and memories of his mother, as did Peter Fauver, Bertha Fauver, Dan Reed, Abby Reed (read by Allyson Fauver) and Dottie Reed. The service was beautiful, each speaker reinforced Betsy’s kindhearted demeanor, good will, humor, grace, and love of life.

Tom Reed, Jr.

Shout out to our spectacular Reunion Staff; Ian Axness, Paige Wallis, Ed McKendry, Larry Davis, Charlie Malcolm, Deb Kure, Harry Morris, Ben Walsh, Steve Clare, Charlotte Jones, Nick Davini, Sam Papel, Ned Roosevelt, Becky Noel, Kilian Wegner, Nick Hurn, and bartenders extraordinaire Andrew MacDonald and JP Gorman.

And, of course, a special thank you to the nearly 150 Alumni who returned to the shores of Lower Baker in honor of Pemi’s 110th season!

 

 

SPECIAL EDITION: The Flood of 2017

All you really need to know about the impact on Pemi campers of the Saturday, July 1st Flood of ’17 is to hear that, when on Monday ’73 Flood Survivors Tom Reed Jr. and Larry Davis announced in the mess hall that this recent deluge was clearly worse than in 1973, the campers cheered! To work a variation on the old saw, what doesn’t wash you away evidently makes you proud and happy.

Saturday, July 1

One difference from ’73 was that, this time, we had far more advance warning, what with the various electronic weather vanes we in the Office were all carefully eyeing. The forecast had already called for rain that might well lead to flash flooding. So when, at noon of that Saturday’s inter-camp sports day, we checked the radar and saw a huge green blob with a lurid center of yellow and red oozing across the Connecticut River towards us, we sprang into action.

Rushing waters overflow the culvert

Rushing waters overflow the culvert

Even before the culverts began to overflow with run-off surging down the hill behind camp, we moved three of our vans to a safe spot across our bridge in case high waters made wheeled egress from the camp impossible. Staff were also advised to move their cars from the low-lying parking lot by the Senior Beach. There would be no repeat of 1973, when the locked VW bug of a counselor who was deployed that day for airport pick-ups had to be hand-lifted by a dozen of his colleagues and carried to higher ground.

Ushering junior campers to dinner

Ushering junior campers to dinner

By late afternoon, what had been intensifying rain gave way to electrical storms, and, alerted by the lightning siren, boys and staff retreated to their cabins for a spell. Those of us in the Office stayed glued to our computer screens, hoping that our power would stay on (though perhaps secretly hoping it wouldn’t, so as to give our powerful new propane-fueled backup generator its first practical test.) A clear gap in the storm system subsequently offered a brief window for us to scoot the boys up to the mess hall for supper, which Tom Ciglar and his dedicated crew had all ready and waiting for speedy service. Fortunately, one (and one only!) of the three bridges that span the stream dividing the camp was still not over-washed by the mounting torrent, and the boys were ushered carefully across on their way to a hot meal. Meanwhile, Assistant Director Kenny Moore and Waterfront Head Charlotte Jones took the opportunity to detach the floating sections of our new hybrid docks from their fixed complements, carefully anchoring them against the strong down-valley current that was even then beginning to make itself felt.

Senior campers asleep in the Mess Hall

Senior campers asleep in the Mess Hall

Once we’d all eaten, it was quickly back to the cabins for the night – no pre-announced campfire and no staff time-off for that evening. (I must admit that, had we had a good supply of phosphorous, it would have been both novel and thrilling to hold an underwater campfire in its traditional location. No such luck, though.) By 6pm, our devoted and heroic Head of Buildings and Grounds, Reed Harrigan, had cancelled his own weekend off and arrived back on location. On Reed’s recommendation, the boys of Seniors 1-3 grabbed their mattresses, sleeping bags, and toothbrushes and headed up to the dining room for the night. While the waters rushing down the road in front of the Office (after over-topping a failing culvert) didn’t ultimately erode the foundations of the cabins, it made perfect sense to be super cautious, so that’s what we did. As a result, our 14s and 15s slept in the very space in which we normally eat our meals and sing songs about beating Camp Tecumseh. Their lullaby? The very remarkable sound of boulders thudding down the stream-bed just to the north, twelve- to fifteen-inch rocks bouncing over each other in the tumbling waters like the numbered balls in a lottery machine. It’s not a sound you easily forget.

Sunday, July 2

"Pemi Island" - three feet of water over the entrance road

“Pemi Island” – three feet of water cover the entrance road

Sunday brought a mercifully sunny dawn, but a quick 5:30 AM walk around the grounds revealed in a trice that the erosion damage in camp surpassed both the rains of ’73 and Hurricane Irene. There were three feet of water flowing over the entrance road, and waves lapped just twelve inches below the floor of the Lake Tent. Following reveille – and the common-sense cancellation of Polar Bear dips – Dan Reed and various other staff took the first steps (or paddles) towards reconstruction by retrieving vagrant sailboats, paddle boards, and wake boards from all over the pond. Meanwhile, Tom Ciglar and our other chefs waded bravely to their stations and had a hearty breakfast ready at the appointed 8:30 time. Tom determined along the way that, with a few menu adjustments, we had adequate stores in place to feed the camp family well for four days, should our access to supplies be affected.

The mood in the mess hall was distinctly buoyant, as might be expected when a group comes through shared excitement in good order. Boys and staff alike listened with rapt attention when Head of Nature Larry Davis (whose day job is as a university hydrologist) reviewed what we had all witnessed. This was absolutely a classic flash flood, he explained. The preconditions of soil being completely saturated by earlier precipitation and, in turn, resting in a very thin layer over the underlying granite meant that the three-plus inches of rain we received over roughly eight hours had nowhere to go but downstream – in massive quantities, at great speed, and with terrific power. Since there was a lag-time in drainage of approximately eight or ten hours, we could expect the lake to keep rising for that length of time. After that, it would likely take three or four days for the waters to return to something like their normal level.

Campers and staff pitch in to put camp back together again

Campers and staff pitch in to clean up

Intent on controlling everything we could, we proceeded with inspection clean-up just as usual, after which the boys left their cabins for various organized activities and, for those who chose to help, general grounds clean-up. Reed Harrigan was seemingly everywhere on his John Deere tractor, while Athletic Director and Grounds maven Charlie Malcolm, co-owner Peter Fauver, and Assistant Director Kenny Moore all buckled down to various essential tasks, often joined by keen volunteers from amongst our paying customers. In a further nod to normalcy beyond the morning’s inspection, we still required the boys to write their routine Sunday letters home. We admit to some curiosity about what they may have told you all about the recent cataclysm. If you have any amusing examples you are willing to share, please do.

Water basketball, flood-style

Water basketball, flood-style

That afternoon – still beautifully sunny – brought more activities, including water-basketball for the Seniors. A reprise of one of ’73’s most memorable post-deluge entertainments, this bizarre combination of water polo and hoops proved hugely popular and was repeated the following day for Uppers. (Check out this video captured by drone of Pemi’s water basketball, by Red Dog Aerial Video!). Meanwhile, Commodore Emily Palmer manned the safety boat and, with the assistance of TRJR and the rest of the trip crew, ferried an entire camp’s laundry bags (~240) from their cabins to the other side of the flooded bridge, where they were loaded into our sequestered vans for a Monday pick-up. By 5 PM, ten hours into his day, Reed on his John Deere had most of the camp’s roads beginning to look normal; certainly navigable if need be.

Saturday campfire, on Sunday. New location.

Saturday campfire, on Sunday. New location.

Speaking of roads, following our traditional Sunday evening cookout and because the campfire circle was still under three feet of water, we held our traditional Saturday night gathering for the first time on Sunday night AND with the bonfire built on the road just in front of the mess hall. The Senior camp had teamed up to bring all the benches up from athletic fields to which they had been moved to avoid the rising lake waters, and they made a cozy little semi-circle for the camp family to gather. The setting couldn’t have been lovelier, with a back-drop consisting of our green athletic fields stretching out for hundreds of yards, framed on either side by the wooded slopes of our valley (already blued with the coming night’s shadows) and the sunlit ramparts of Mount Carr, all the way down past Wentworth, modulating, as the evening progressed, from flaming yellow to glowing orange to amber. The entertainment was as good as ever – including Dan Reed and Becky Noel’s sweet rendition of Jason Mraz’s “Lucky,” Will Weber’s second tour de force on classical guitar, and Peter Moody’s infectious group-sing extolling the virtues of Bazooka Bubble Gum. As we swayed, finally, to the timeless words of the Campfire Song – “I wonder if anyone’s better for anything I’ve done or said” – many present could pat themselves modestly on their backs for the efforts they had made over the past 48 hours to pitch in at a time of crisis.

Monday, July 3

Monday brought still more brilliant sunshine, and a new week of occupations kicked off with each and every activity that didn’t involve swimming (either purposeful or inadvertent) carrying on as usual. That afternoon, Juniors 3 and 4 headed off under gorgeous blue skies for Rattlesnake Mountain, the only oddity being that the campers were piggy-backed through shallows to rowboats by the longer-legged members of the 15-and-under tennis team, also waiting to leave camp (and assisted in their St. Christopherian kindnesses by office-staffers Kim Malcolm and Heather Leeds). The boys were then towed to the newly emerged bridge by Sam Dixon, Will Katcher, and TRJR. Rarely if ever have Pemi hikers begun their mountain ascents with a voyage by sea, such as Dantrell Frazier, Teddy Rose, Atticus Barocas, Henry Ravanesi, and their cabin mates enjoyed Monday last. Surf and Turf, would it be?

First provisions arrive since the flood

First provisions since the flood

Monday afternoon also saw Tom Ciglar making a trip to the local grocery to top up provisions and supplies in the kitchen, and by 5PM Reed Harrigan had safely driven one of the camp pick-ups through hub-deep water to the bridge. It boded well for a dry roadway the following morning and, along with that, full communications with the outside world – Sysco food deliveries, FedEx, and the friendly UPS man alike. By 7:30, the weekly ladling of Bean Soup had begun in the Lodge, and the staple Pemi “Clam Song,” with its macabre narrative of a mollusk-sliced foot, was presented in re-written form to celebrate recent events – its infamous choral “Blood! Blood! Blood!” of course now altered to “Flood! Flood! Flood!” And so, as often happens, the wry and resilient human spirit responds to adversity with exultant laughter. Thanks, Wes Eifler, Harry Cooke, and Dan Reed, for lending your imagination and wit to the Pemi recovery.

Back to camp as usual

A few odds and ends of that recovery remained to be achieved, most notably a program of laboratory testing of our lake water to make absolutely certain that it was safe to let the boys swim in the pond. One week following the flood, we received the all-clear from the lab technicians, and at 5 PM Saturday the 8th, Charlotte Jones and her lifeguards oversaw the first swim since the storm clouds rumbled into our valley just a week before. Overall, not a bad rebound after a fifty-year deluge!

–TRJR

Videos and images of the 2017 Flood:

Junior Camp

Junior Camp

Junior Squish

Junior Squish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visitors arrive by boat

Visitors arrive by boat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ferrying 240 laundry bags to the bridge for Monday morning pick-up

Ferrying 240 laundry bags to the bridge for Monday morning pick-up

View from the Library

View from the Library

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Volunteer clean-up crew!

Volunteer clean-up crew!

 

Rebuilding the road

Rebuilding the road

 

Reed Harrigan

Reed Harrigan

Penelope Reed Doob, August 16, 1943–March 11, 2017

Penelope Reed Doob

Penelope Reed Doob

Penelope Reed Doob died peacefully on March 11th, in Toronto, Ontario, after a long and brave battle with Parkinson’s disease. A member of Pemi’s Board of Directors, she was 73 years old.

Penelope was the granddaughter of Pemi co-founder Dudley “Doc” Reed and his wife Clara Jane, the daughter of Tom and Betsy Reed, and sister to Tom Reed, Jr. She spent all of her early summers at Pemi before going off to Camp Interlaken, first as a camper and then as a counselor. Pemigewassett was nevertheless her first love, and on her last visit to Wentworth in the summer of 2015, she made it clear that it was her favorite spot on earth – this from someone whose many travels had taken her as far afield as Australia. Aside from her role on the Pemi Board, she contributed directly to the camp program for decades, first helping Betsy with our annual Gilbert and Sullivan productions and then taking over as producer and co-director of the lively operettas.

Beyond the Baker Valley, Penelope was a Professor of Dance, English Literature, and Women’s Studies at York University, where she also served as Chair of the Department of Dance, Associate Vice President of Faculties, Associate Principal of Glendon College, and Academic Director for York’s Center for the Support of Teaching. Her teaching and research areas encompassed Medieval and Renaissance studies, dance history and criticism, sexual stereotypes in opera, literature, and dance, and non-fiction writing. She published three books: Nebuchadnezzer’s Children: Conventions of Madness in Medieval Literature; The Idea of the Labyrinth from the Classical Period through the Middle Ages; and, with Charlotte Morse and Marjorie Woods, The Uses of Manuscripts in Literary Studies. She also co-authored legendary Canadian principal dancer Karen Kain’s autobiography, Movement Never Lies.

Penelope’s reviews and feature articles appeared in publications such as the Toronto Globe and Mail, the Ottawa Citizen, Dance Magazine, Ballet News, Performing Arts in Canada, and Ballet International. She developed more than 20 documentaries for the CBC Radio program, The Dance, and wrote extensive historical program notes for the National Ballet of Canada.

A graduate of The Lincoln School in Providence, Rhode Island, Penelope went on to major in English Literature at Harvard University, where she graduated summa cum laude. She took her doctorate at Stanford University, her dissertation there becoming her first book, on medieval madness. Among her academic honors, she was the recipient of Woodrow Wilson, Kent, and Guggenheim Fellowships. Despite a lifelong fascination with the arts, she was also keenly interested in the sciences, and was a founding President of Reed McFadden, a medical research company focusing on HIV/AIDS.

Despite her singular academic abilities and professional accomplishments, Penelope was as proud of her family’s involvement with Pemi as she was of anything in her life. An aficionado of international opera and ballet, she was as happy to watch mealtime singing in the mess hall as she was to watch Placido Domingo or Natalia Makarova perform at Covent Garden. As brilliant and engaged as Penelope was, she was also patient and caring. She was principled but never doctrinaire, inspiring but never condescending, a most serious person who could, oh so often, be seen laughing on the very edges of bodily control. As her resume suggests, she was never afraid to try something new. If you are willing to imagine the Pemi Kid as a girl rather than a boy, she could easily have been the model. We are richer for her presence and will miss her greatly

Plans for commemorating Penelope are still taking shape. We will pass them along as they become clearer. The family has decided that donations in Penelope’s memory might be directed towards The Parkinson’s Foundation, The Humane Society, and Public Broadcasting (PBS or NPR). All were organizations in which she believed and which she supported over the years.

~Tom Reed, Jr.