We are excited to share news about our revamped Pemi West program. The western branch of Camp Pemigewassett, Pemi West, is a wilderness skills and leadership program for 16 and 17 year old men and women. For more than two decades, Pemi West has provided a challenging and rewarding experience for participants, and we are thrilled to continue the program in a new location.
We have partnered with Deer Hill Expeditions, a Wilderness Adventure, Community Service, and Cultural Exchange outfitter in Mancos, CO to provide a unique outdoor leadership experience. In the exploration process, we discovered many Deer Hill – Pemi connections, from individuals who participated in Deer Hill programs to direct referrals from Pemi’s vast outdoor education network. Deer Hill’s mission closely aligns with Pemi’s and we are excited to create a custom program that combines the core components of both organizations.
Southwest Colorado provides remarkable terrain for Pemi West to once again call home. The proximity to the San Juan mountains presents top-notch backpacking and mountaineering experiences, central to the Pemi West Program. After years of hiking and backpacking through the White Mountains of New Hampshire, participants will have an extended mountaineering experience in a new landscape while honing their technical skills and backcountry leadership.
In addition to the high altitude trail time, Pemi West will incorporate a week of canoeing on the San Juan river. This portion is a capstone to Pemi’s growing canoeing program. Boys first begin on the flat water of Lower Baker Pond, improving their skills over the years in preparation for the 15-year-old Allagash trip in Maine, and now they’ll have an opportunity to test their skills on the fast waters of Colorado. Working in tandem, participants will further their leadership skills and cooperation to navigate the canyons of the southwest by boat.
The third, and most exciting, piece of the 2019 Pemi West Program is an enhanced focus on community service. Deer Hill’s service projects are second to none, their connections with the Native American populations of the Southwest affords hands-on service learning. Participants will spend a week devoted to service, experiencing firsthand the remarkable Native American culture and community. This new focus will result in at least 40 hours of community service.
Back in 2014, two big programmatic changes further entrenched Pemi West into the overall Pemi program. The first change saw the program beginning and ending at Pemi, with participants traveling together and sharing their experience at a Sunday Meeting. This connection back to the larger group educated the community on the Pemi West experience.
The second change allowed participants to stay at Pemi after Pemi West for the Counselor Apprentice Program (CAP). This leadership training program lasts two weeks, and our CAPs live in cabins with the boys learning from our talented staff members on the art of being a counselor. Both measures have been successful in staff training and recruitment, and will continue to be a mainstay of the program.
History of Pemi West
Pemi West was founded in the mid 90’s by Fred and Jon Fauver, grandchildren of Edgar Fauver, one of the Fauver twins and founders of Camp Pemigewassett, out of the desire to provide an extensive and challenging wilderness experience for teenage girls and boys. For the first seven seasons, Pemi West was held in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness of the Colorado Rockies. In 2005, the program moved to Olympic National Park in the state of Washington. This spectacular setting offered a unique opportunity to explore the gem of forest and mountain wilderness of the Pacific Northwest, as well as the opportunity to learn a broad set of technical mountaineering skills while crossing the vast glaciers of the high Olympic peaks.
Throughout Pemi West’s history, our participants have been fortunate to learn from a diligent and dedicated staff. Former Pemi West Directors Fred Fauver, Jon Fauver, Dave Penny, Tim Billo, Mike Sasso, Evan Jewett, and Dave Robb have successfully guided the program by creating lasting and memorable experiences for our participants. Alongside the dozens of instructors, we have been fortunate to have wonderful support staff, most notably Hannah Merrill and her husband Ben Hertel who have launched Pemi West from their home in Port Angeles, Washington for the last twelve years.
We now look forward to utilize the resources and staff of Deer Hill alongside a Pemi Instructor to assist the group. We are certain this program will continue Pemi West’s high standard of individual growth while providing new, more enriching opportunities for our participants.
Good luck, long life, and joy!