TOP Cooks began their culinary adventures today with a visit and demonstration by local baker, Marcia Dunsmore. Marcia provides homemade, hand-crafted bread to all of the finest restaurants and gourmet shops in Northeastern PA. Campers really enjoyed diving into dough-making with her guidance.
We had a few more showers in Greeley today, but that didn’t stop the action around camp. We had an intensive soccer clinic for boys and girls, basketball leagues in Hughie Hall, and boys 13 and under hoops practice. We also had sign-ups for the Marvin Black USTA tennis tournament (just in time for Wimbledon across the pond).
Chad unveiled the new “competitive choice” program, where campers who want even more team sports can choose extra play time. Now there are leagues, Intercamps and the all new, competitive choice. Whew! That’s a lot! And it’s not even dinner time yet!
Speaking of dinner, the campers aren’t aware of this before going to print, but there are onion rings on the menu tonight! Oh, and chicken patties, turkey burgers, AND kasha and bowties. Did we mention homemade marshmallow dream bars for dessert? BEST. DINNER. EVER.
The sun came out today and so did the racquets, water bottles, and sunscreen. Superstar Tennis lessons began with Mr. Craig Wallace presiding. Chad announced practice for girls’ 13 and under basketball and 11 and under soccer. Tryouts for the 4th of July talent show extravaganza were underway, including the formation of our own house rock band. We also kicked off our personal training sessions and horseback riding lessons, and sent our first boats out for waterskiing! Our SAT Prep class met in Greeley Theater which was a WAY better setting than a high school classroom if you ask us. The Junior boys were the first to try out our brand new surf bikes this summer and we’ve only heard rave reviews! Meanwhile, another group was busy perfecting their vanilla cupcakes topped with marshmallow Peeps in cooking, and in girls’ camp, newcomb and dance were big hits. Can you believe that we managed to fit in a fire drill at rest period today amidst all of these activities?
In international news, our Spanish campers arrived from Madrid last night and have already been filled in on our cheers and songs!
Our in-house food critic gave today’s meals two thumbs up! We started with pancakes with whipped cream and fruit at breakfast, moved on to burritos, tortilla soup, tuna hoagies, and Greek salad at lunch, and we will end our Monday with meatballs, penne, garlic bread and, most importantly, fudgsicles. Don’t worry, mom and dad, the salad bar has been a big hit!
Tonight’s evening activity? It’s a surprise!
Let the sun shine, let the marshmallows roast, let the good times roll.
What an eventful day. We don’t let a little rain get to us at PFC! In one Sunday morning, there was a high-energy game of “Crossfire” going on in Lee’s Rink, an around the world passport creation in arts and crafts, kickboxing lessons in martial arts, human Etch-a-Sketch in Marvin Hall, an athletic screening for basketball leagues in Hughie Hall, and a new interview show in media. But wait, there’s more! There were lemon cupcakes with butter cream frosting warming up in cooking, hip hop dance lessons to Ariana Grande in dance, a peaceful yoga class, rope jumping in fitness, and tumbling in gymnastics. Even with all of these activities going on, the boys in Bunk Banana couldn’t stop talking about a game they invented in the middle of their bunk called “Balloon Tennis.” Apparently, if you tape the floor, blow up a balloon and hit it back and forth with your new camp friends, it’s pretty awesome. Sometimes, even with all that PFC has to offer, it’s the simplest, least planned, homemade fun, that is the best of all. Welcome to bunk life!
We’re here. Wet but happy. All buses arrived on time and rainy day activities were in full gear by mid afternoon. Smiles, high fives and hugs brought sunshine to an otherwise rainy day. Bunks set up, bags unpacked and health checks completed, camp is in full swing. You can hear the laughter, smell the pines and feel the warmth. Pine Forest camp is alive again! Let the 85th season begin. The best one ever!
It’s incredibly natural to go into apocalyptic mode in these next 24 hours.
You know what we’re talking about:
What do you want your last meal to be?
Do you want to see a final movie tonight or just relax and hug?
When would you like to take Rover for a final walk?
How about Grandma and Grandpa? Let’s give them one final call!
Give your sister one huge final good kiss goodnight! You won’t again till August!
We know you’re well-meaning, but we have some advice for what it’s worth: Stop. STOP! You’re freaking them out! Let’s all try to remain normal and happy and calm. Be cool! Let’s enjoy final pre-camp moments but not belabor them. Let’s focus not on what your kids are missing at home but what they’re about to embark upon at camp. In our experience, end-of-world conversations and conversations focusing on home breed anxiety for a number of reasons. Here are a few of those reasons, and here’s what your kids may be thinking: I don’t know what I want my last meal to be! Oh my gosh, but what if I pick the wrong one and I want mom’s mac & cheese tomorrow and I can’t have it! How can I live with that regret! I hadn’t thought about seeing a movie or walking Rover, and I’d sort of forgotten that I wasn’t kissing my little sister goodnight all summer. AH! That’s scary! Am I SURE I want to give all of this up?
Of course the answer is a resounding “YES!” The gifts of camp are immeasurable and what they’ll be experiencing in a few days is life-changing. So let’s not focus on a final tuck-in or that one last hug. Keep your kids happy and focused on moving forward towards camp. Will you treasure those final moments? YES! Should you talk about them with your kids? Probably not. We’ll say it again: play it cool.
Smile, keep calm, talk about the great adventure they’re about to have. “Goodnight, Honey. I love you, and I’m so excited for you” always works. It’ll make it easier for your kids to get on the bus, and it’ll give them the courage to get off that bus once they’ve arrived “Up Where the Sky Begins.” We’ll take it from there!
We look forward to welcoming your children to camp in just a short time. On the first day of camp, as we have in the past several years, our camp nurses will do a health check of each and every camper. Included in that process is a head check for lice.
This summer, to improve the process, we have hired Lice Be Gone, professionals in the field who will do each camper’s head check. They provide this service for many camps and schools. If a camper has lice, Lice Be Gone can treat it directly or our nurses can treat it with a medicated shampoo. The strategy is to find and eliminate it promptly, even before campers settle into their cabins, where it could spread. Of course, if lice is detected we will be sure to call you immediately.
Going this direction will allow camp to be free of lice and to ensure that we all have a happy and healthy camp season. We are doing our part and ask that you proactively check your camper for lice before they head up to Greeley for a summer of fun!
If you have any questions or concerns please reach out.
Healthy campers are happy campers!
Yes, that will be me this Saturday, hiding behind my sunglasses, holding back my tears. Me, who promotes camp to other parents and me, who believes wholeheartedly in the unparalleled benefits and fun of overnight camp. Even so, that’ll be me.
It doesn’t matter how much you know they’ll love it. It doesn’t matter that you know they’re about to make friends and memories that will last a lifetime. It doesn’t matter that you know they’re about to have more fun than they ever thought imaginable. The bottom line is, letting your child go, allowing and empowering them to spread their wings without you is hard. Really hard. I think of this as the most “selfless” thing we as parents have probably ever done. Putting our needs and wants second to what we know is best for our children is something we do every day, but this is the granddaddy act of them all.
When it comes to camp, I find all the comfort and solace I need knowing my children will be safe, loved and cared for by some of the most amazing people I know. That they will be making friends and living with other amazing children who, like them, just want to have fun and take in all that camp has to offer. Pure, unplugged fun. I will, like you, pour over the posted pictures each night and hang on every word that comes to me in letters. All the while, reminding myself how lucky we all are…the kids who get to go and us parents who get to send them. The summer of 2015, Pine Forest Camp’s 85th summer, is going to be incredible and I truly can’t wait for my children to get there.
Good luck Saturday, parents. I like to keep the morning short and sweet and without a lot of fan-fair. That’s my advice. And, of course, wear your tinted sunglasses :).
This letter from a Pine Forest parent was sent to the office just yesterday and we reprinted it with her permission.
Hello PFC summer staff 2015-
I am a parent sending [my children] to PFC this summer. They are so excited, and we are thrilled and grateful to be able to give them this gift of camp. However, my sleepless pre-camp nights have begun, because letting your children go away and leaving them in the care of others, is not a mother’s natural inclination. It is definitely unsettling.
I tell you this because I want you to know, that in caring for my children this summer, I consider you to have the most important job in the world! You probably have some friends who may be studying in a science lab or working for a judge or taking summer school classes…all to better their resume’ and prepare for their future. But if I were an employer looking to hire…your job as a counselor at camp would far outweigh those supposed resume building experiences. You have an opportunity to really care for and truly influence an individual. If you do it right, you can do anything well! To me, you would be the definition of a successful person.
So, thank you, in advance, for trying your best each and every day, even when it isn’t easy, and thank you for keeping my children safe and happy. You should feel honored and proud to have this most important job!
We are thrilled to announce that we’re bringing these exciting special guest instructors to camp this summer for ALL campers!
SOCCER: Gordon Hill, a soccer legend! World renowned former Manchester United star and Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) “A” licensed coach, the highest coaching designation in Europe.
ART: Steven Charny, PFC alumna and former Art Director at Rolling Stone Magazine will create a special mural with campers.
BASEBALL: Frank Decembrino, Head High School Baseball Coach and Former Associate Scout for the Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club will host his Elite Baseball Clinic.
CHESS: Danny Kopec, International Master Chess Champion and teacher and Director of TOP Chess Camp.
SELF-DEFENSE AND FITNESS: Eugene Gershman of Krav Maga Centers of America
SPORTS BROADCASTING: Jeremy Treatment, TV play-by-play, color announcer and reporter. Campers will learn and practice the art of sports broadcasting.
ULTIMATE FRISBEE: Philadelphia Spinners Team Members.
DANCE: Kelli Moshen, Owner/Founder of Moshen Dance Project, performer and teacher. Back by popular demand!
And there are even more to come. Stay tuned!
Last week, the Hoops guys, camp friends from the 1970s and 1980s at PFC, quietly dedicated the red barn at the entrance to camp in memory of their dear friend Ricky Charny who passed away this year. They installed a small metal plaque that reads:
“In brightest day, in blackest night
No evil shall escape my sight
Let those who worship evil’s might
Beware my power, Green Lantern’s light.
Rick would chant these words while on OD at camp and then turn on his flashlight to surprise campers and counselors to their delight and to his.
Rick Charny was a bright light for anyone who knew him and he will forever be a beacon of goodness, courage and joy at Pine Forest and in our hearts.
Join us on the 85th Anniversary Weekend when we “officially” dedicate the red barn in his memory.