Lenny Rapkin

This summer, one of the giants of Pine Forest leaders passed away, Lenny Rapkin, the boys camp Head Counselor and Director. Lenny was the ultimate camp director, confident, organized and fun. He led the boys camp in the late 1970’s and most of the 1980’s with gusto and humor. For most of those years Lenny’s counterpart was Edie Klein, head of the girls camp. In his perfectly pressed and matching jump suits, Lenny was one of PFC’s most popular leaders. His camp persona was like a combination of Mel Brooks and Gen. George Patton. His schedules were exact and comprehensive and boys camp ran with efficiency and care. Lenny and his dear wife Jane were a fixture at camp and his sons Mickey and Jonathan grew up at camp. Lenny and Jane’s grandchildren are currently PFC campers.

There was never a camp leader like Lenny Rapkin and there never will be again. He was a teacher, a leader and a role model to a generation of campers. The many, many lives he touched in boys camp and the men they became will be his lasting legacy.


Goodbye, For Now

The trouble with camp is that camp ends.

The buses pulled out this morning. In an instant, camp is silent. But the air will be filled with happy memories. Pine Forest’s 86th summer has come to a close and it was one of the best ever.

Thank you campers and counselors, housekeeping and maintenance, nurses and doctors and office staff, one and all, for making it such a tremendous season.

And now it’s back to home and school. But everyone who shared this wonderful summer comes home a little different. A little better. Keep the spirit of PFC alive all year long. Stay in touch.

Pine Forest is more than a place in Greeley PA. It’s a place in our hearts.


Lights Fading on 2016

Like a shooting star. Like a spark at a campfire. Like the flicker of a candle. Pine Forest Camp’s 86th season is almost over.

It’s a clear night tonight. And as dusk fell, if you looked up at the tree tops rustling in the breeze, you could see a red or gold leaf fall to the ground, the first signs of autumn. It’s time to go home.

We gather together one last time until we return for PFC’s 87th summer, sharing the warmth of friendship. This magical place seems so far from the rest of the world, like we’re in some faraway kingdom of goodness and happiness.

Arm-in-arm, we sing for the last time this year, “Friends, friends, friends we will always be…” And we will.


Zipped and Tagged

Mountain Baggage, R&B, UPS, FedEx, parent pick-up. Like the song says,
“all our bags are packed we’re ready to go.”

Today we packed up, have our awards ceremonies, and tonight it’s the
candlelight. It feels like we just arrived.

But we’re coming home with so much more than we can pack in a bag; new
friends, new adventures, new confidence. There isn’t a duffle bag or
shipping company big enough to handle it.

Those are the things that we carry.


Home From Camp: Warnings & Tips

The transition to “the real world” isn’t always easy for you and your campers. Here are some tips to help both of you make the transition as smooth as possible.

  1. Don’t take it personally.

Yes, they’ll be SO happy to see you. They’re also very, very sad.

They’re sad to leave camp! They’re sad to leave their friends! They’re sad to leave their counselors! They’re sad to leave their independence and camp persona! It’s okay (great actually)! It means you gave them the best gift ever!

  1. Remember they’re exhausted.

In the last week alone, they experience Color Days, the play, song and cheer, a gymnastics show, banquet, packing and more. Over the past seven weeks they’ve been living with ten other people, hanging out with friends day and night, participating in activities from sun up to sun down. Enough said.

  1. Be patient.

It might take a few hours or a few days to be entirely “on.” They might even seem a little numb. It doesn’t mean they don’t love you or didn’t miss you. It doesn’t mean that they won’t open up and start gushing in a few days. Nothing is wrong. They just need time! Things that are normal: wanting to talk to their camp friends immediately, all-day, every day for a few days (yes, they just spent seven weeks with them – we know). Wanting to spend some time alone before jumping into the deep end of home life (think family gatherings, sporting events, play dates). Any combination of the above. Normal. Normal. Normal.

  1. Focus on small moments and questions.

Think about your two best friends who live far away.

Friend one: you pick up the phone no matter what, even if you only have a minute. Though it’s been months, you know she’ll cut right to the chase and start where things left off. Or not. Maybe you just answer a quick question, maybe you talk about who got the final rose- you can hang up when you need to. One word answers, longer answers, anything goes. No pressure.

Friend two: You love her. Really. You LOVE her as much as friend one. But you really only pick up when you have time to sit, totally focused, for an hour-long catch-up. So, no. You don’t always pick up. Because you’re at work, or you’re making dinner, or you’re about to get the kids ready for bed, or you just don’t feel like telling your life story. That. Sounds. Exhausting.

The moral? Be friend one. You’ll learn more! She’ll start talking!

Good questions:
What was this morning like?
Which activity was the best?
Who was the goofiest counselor in your bunk?

Less good questions/statements:
Tell me EVERYTHING about camp.
Can you explain your weekly schedule?
What were all of your counselors like?

Ask a few, manageable, lighthearted questions every hour on that first day. You’ll open up that can of worms without having to pry, without overwhelming your fresh-off-the-bus camper.

  1. Give them wings.

At camp they were the most independent versions of themselves and they’re still basking in the glow of those camp freedoms. Advocating for themselves, making independent choices— it’s why you sent them to camp! Think about how you felt the first time you came home from college. It was a little weird! Think about small liberties you can introduce to reinforce your camper’s summer growth. If you have an eight-year-old who didn’t make his or her bed before camp, encourage him or her to make the bed at home (even if it isn’t as beautiful as you’d like). Though seemingly a “chore,” having your camper do things for him or herself at home will continue the summer’s momentum and make him or her feel happy and confident. And isn’t that what this whole camp thing was about from the start?


The Fun Never Stops!

We’re settling into our last week of camp, but we’ve kept the excitement coming! Boys camp had league playoffs in soccer, hockey and basketball. Junior and Inter girls enjoyed some sunshine at the Lake Wallenpaupack beach and ended their day with homemade ice cream. Can’t beat that! Meanwhile, in Greeley, our Senior girls were knee deep in Banquet preparations and our Hi-Senior girls played beach volleyball to celebrate the summer Olympics.

Tonight our Juniors and Inters have Counselor Hunt, our Seniors will be at the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders game and our Hi-Seniors are having a luau at the pool. Can we be campers again?!

We can’t believe we’re days away from Banquet and the Candlelight Ceremony. Tomorrow we will be posting some helpful tips for easing the transition to your camper being home. After all, it’s a big change for all of you!


Escape From PFC!

Tonight is one of our favorite evening activities in girls camp: Escape from PFC! Everyone will be paired up and given a number of tasks to complete around camp. We’re up at Lauri, we’re at the pool, we’re down by the gaga stadium, we’re in gymnastics. The catch? Counselors are stationed around camp trying to bop our campers with powder puffs. If you’re hit by a powder puff, you have to freeze and wait for a hydro helper (AKA counselor with a water gun) to come squirt and unfreeze you! Then, the first 10 teams to finish have to get to the dining hall porch in time to eat a pack of crackers and whistle. Once they’ve completed the tasks and whistled, they ESCAPE FROM PFC! They get on a big, decorated school bus and head out of camp for soft serve ice cream at Costa’s! You can imagine the excitement.


Camper Scamper!

Our day began with late sleep followed by the big 5K Camper Scamper race! Our campers have been training for this since the first day of camp when sign-ups were first posted. Now that’s dedication! Across fields around boys camp up though the circle of girls cabins to Hughie Hall and Lauri Field and down again they ran. Campers who were not running cheered them on at every turn! Over 100 campers participated. With a real race clock timing each runner, everyone got an official race number and a 5K T-shirt for participating. Those who came in first, second, and third place received commemorative medals. It was an accomplishment both to participate and to finish. Go, PFC campers! You rock! Speaking of which, tonight is Battle of the Bands!

FullSizeRender (36)