This World is Pine Forest Camp

Imagine a world with no TVs, no cell phones and no internet access, where…

– “Mail” is simply on a piece of paper, hand written, with a pen.

– The only “gaming’ is on a field or a court.

– “Chatting” is done verbally: in a cabin, on a walk, over a meal or around a  campfire, the purest form of “FaceTime.”

– You can only “like” something or someone by giving a real compliment, a smile or a hug.

– A ‘wink’ is done with eye contact and a grin, and ‘laughing so hard you cry’ is not an emoji but rather the funniest late-night bunk conversation that will live on for decades.

– The biggest news of the day is whose birthday it is, what evening activity will be or what’s for dinner.

– You don’t need to have hundreds of “friends,” instead you strive for a quality handful of the best, truest friends you could ever imagine.

– A “snap” is simply a hand gesture.

– Silly costumes are homemade or brought up in trunks not created with apps or filters.

– The only “tweet” comes from birds and being one with nature.

– A “house party” is getting to hang out in your cabin with your favorite people, bunk mates.

– The latest songs and videos come out of a bunk skit, song or cheer rather than top 40 radio hits.

– And, the only photos you take during the day are ones that live in your mind, providing you with lifelong memories.

This world is Pine Forest Camp. It was this way for me as a camper at PFC, and it’s the same for my own children. Kids need camp, now more than ever. I am tremendously thankful that my children get to turn off, unplug and disconnect every summer. Where else in the world can that truly happen? And, although they may not always admit it, I know that my kids wouldn’t have it any other way.

Even More to Be Excited For!

In LESS THAN A DAY we’ll be back in Greeley. And it’s not just reunions that we’re looking forward to!

Here are just a few of the things we’re counting down to:

THE FRESH MOUNTAIN AIR. Is it just us, or is it easier to breathe at camp? Why is it so hot in the city? How do people take this heat? Take us to Lake Greeley!

A WORLD WITHOUT RINGING and BUZZING! Listen, we love our phones during the year too. But you know what? We can’t wait to get away from them. Enjoy the break! You know what doesn’t need a filter? #PINEFORESTCAMP

FACE TIME. No, not the kind you’re thinking. When’s the last time you had an uninterrupted conversation with your friends? No phones. No TV. No homework. We can’t wait to SEE you and TALK to you and spend time with each other! It’s what makes camp friends the closest kind of friends. It really is!

CAMP FOOD. No, really. Is it just us, or do you miss it too? Maybe you’re a hard-boiled egg for breakfast, chicken curry salad for lunch, vegetarian meal for dinner kinda kid. Maybe you love grilled cheese on whole wheat bread and tomato soup on the side as much as we do! Maybe it’s just that freshly baked Friday night challah. No? How about bug juice? Admit it. We had you at “bug juice.”

FREEDOM. INDEPENDENCE. FUN. Hey, what do you want to do today? Swim, bike, canoe, climb, dance, run, act, paint, cook, serve, hike, read, write, shoot, score, draw, sing, perform, photograph? Oh, all today? With your best friends? From morning till night? Really? NO PROBLEM! Ya know, why? Because it’s camp, and that’s what camp is all about.

See you in 12 hours, happy campers!

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We Love Our New Campers!

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What a weekend!

New Family Weekend is an amazing Pine Forest Camp tradition: we invite all first-time campers and their families up to camp to spend their first weekend at PFC together! Families stay overnight in their own bunks before camp starts, and future campers participate in activities in their age groups to get to know one another. Think ziplining, canoeing, gaga, arts and crafts, basketball – you name it, we do it! It’s a good thing we lucked out with the weather! We end the day the best way possible: at a campfire! A big campfire highlight for us (besides the s’mores, of course) was Mickey leading a round of his famous “Fish and Chips.” We also loved watching the awesome talent show that included dances, jokes and gymnastics. You’d never be able to tell that these campers just met that day! We ended the campfire the only way we know how to: with “Taps and Friends.” After the campfire, there was a wine and cheese party for parents so they could get to know each other, too!

The next morning, families enjoyed a delicious breakfast in the Dining Hall, complete with hot chocolate and whipped cream. After breakfast, many families took advantage of the fields and courts being open and all new campers left with an exclusive new PFC sweatshirt and a great deal of excitement for what’s to come.

We want to extend a special thank you to our outstanding staff for making New Family Weekend 2016 one of our best yet. It really is all about the people! Being at PFC with new families each year confirms what we already know: Pine Forest campers are awesome because Pine Forest families are awesome.

As we sing when you visit:
“WE WELCOME YOU TO PINE FOREST, WE’RE MIGHTY GLAD YOU’RE HERE!”

And now, the big show! We can’t wait to see our new campers again in 18 DAYS!

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New Family Weekend 2016!

New Family Weekend is just three days away! The comfort and excitement of our new campers and their families is a top priority, so PFC opens its “doors” just three weeks before opening day! It’s our official start-of-summer!

To truly experience camp life in all its glory, each new camper family gets a cabin to stay in overnight. It’s really a perfect way to see the facilities, experience the activities and get a taste of bunk life. This weekend is also a wonderful opportunity to meet new friends, their families and our awesome camp leaders.

There is nothing like these first sounds of summer: children’s laughter echoing throughout camp, balls bouncing on the courts, crickets chirping at night and even the sound of the cabin doors opening and closing. It’s a right of passage for all PFC campers to smell a campfire and taste a s’more. And there is nothing that brings the day to an end like breathing in fresh mountain air, gazing up at millions of stars in the sky, singing arm-in-arm with incredible children and adults, all with the same goal in mind: becoming acclimated and excited for the best summer ever.

Even for parents, having this inside perspective and first-hand experience of what camp is truly like is incredibly valuable. The weekend provides parents and campers alike with that extra bit of confidence and comfort.

Created so that each new camper’s first night at camp is not actually his or her “first night at camp,” this weekend is truly such fun and so very special.

We can’t wait to welcome many of our new families on Saturday!

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Packing Tips for New Counselors

You’ve just scored this AWESOME job at Pine Forest and you’ll be turning onto Pine Forest Camp Road before you know it. You can practically hear the campers singing and see the bright Greeley stars. Before you leave for the best summer of your life, we want to provide you with this “unofficial” packing list. These are items that past staff members have found to be “essentials,” and most can be purchased at a low cost near camp!

Gear: Your favorite hoodie (hooded sweatshirt), lots of socks (when you think you packed enough, pack more!), rain boots, comfortable athletic shorts, blue and gold gear (think Color War!), white T-shirt for tie-dye, sunglasses.

Bedding: Warm blanket or comforter in addition to a light one. We know, we know- it’s summer! But we are in the rural mountains and the nights and mornings are cool! If you’re coming from overseas, don’t worry. We’ve got you!

Equipment: What will you be doing at camp? Will you need something specific for your activity? (Think baseball mitt, tennis racket, etc.)

Everyday Stuff: Sunscreen, water bottle, laundry bag, casual watch (you won’t have your phone with you to tell you the time!), headphones, pen and paper (to actually write letters!).

Fun: Theme-night clothes or wacky gear, clothes for a day off out of camp, bunk games like Jacks or a deck of cards.

Random awesomeness: Guitar (if you play), Diablo, juggling balls, playlist of music for your bunk, flag from your country, college gear, photos of your family and friends.

And most importantly, bring a camp state of mind: a sense of humor, enthusiasm, a great attitude, openness to try new things, excitement to meet new people and the realization that you are about to embark on an incredible, rewarding adventure that is truly life-changing!

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Earth Day, Every Day

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Every day is Earth Day at camp.

It starts when you wake up in the morning. You breathe in the fresh mountain air, smell the pines, hear the birds outside your cabin window. You open the screen door and feel that warm sunshine on your shoulders. Breakfast, like every meal, is prepared fresh using local ingredients, many from farms right down the road.

The day’s activities embrace the natural beauty around us. Dive into our natural lake, run on the fresh green fields, hike the trails that wander through towering pines. And at night, look up at the incredible, magnificent stars. You can see the Milky Way above your head, far from the lights and pollution of the cities. The view at night at camp is truly amazing. It’s breathtaking.

And we never take it for granted. We can’t. Every year camp, we take steps to lessen our footprint. Here are just a few things we’ve done recently:

-No more paper or Styrofoam tableware in the Dining Hall
-Fluorescent or CFL lights in every socket
-New special, high-quality pool covers to keep the heat in and lessen electricity demands
-Recycling in our trash system
-More environmental education activities

Did you know that PFC won the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) award for energy conservation? We’re a proud Energy Star Award winner!

But we can never do enough. So make Earth Day every day, all year round!

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How Camp Prepares You For College

As high school seniors are making their final college decisions, we’re reminded of how grateful we are for camp; there’s just nothing like camp in preparing kids for college! After all, embarking on a new adventure by yourself, without the comfort of familiar faces, is something you will have already experienced, survived, and become good at once you’ve been to camp! You’ll be great wherever you go!

College is all about new experiences and breaking out of your comfort zone. We do this every day at camp: on the zip line, on the tennis courts, performing in a play, in our bunks.

Sharing a room with a roommate in college? No problem! We know all about building a community! Our campers have shared a bunk with many more and for many years already! Living in a bunk with others strengthens social and communication skills and teaches campers effective strategies for conflict resolution with people who are both similar to and different from themselves!

Both camp and college require adaptability. Sure, the schedule is a little different than you’re used to. The food is a little different than you’re used to. The people are a little different than the ones at home. But that’s what makes it an adventure!

For many, college is a first real taste of independence. Not for you, campers! During the summer, you’ve solved problems that arise without your parents. You’ve formed meaningful bonds with peers and mentors. You’ve pursued interests on your own, straying from the beaten path.

In short, you’re ahead of the curve! So, PFC 12th graders, rest assured. This whole college thing is going to be a BREEZE! We wish we could take credit for those A’s in Advanced Calculus, but we’ll settle for the rest!

Good luck and best from camp!

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What’s new in 2015!?

Here’s something to talk about this Memorial Day weekend. What’s new and awesome at PFC this summer!

– Most bunks will have new sinks, new vanities and…fans!

– Pool makeover – Expect some colorful umbrellas, beach chairs and landscaping at both the girls’ & boys’ pool. Ya Mon!

– New stage at Netsy Playhouse!

– Boys’ camp game deck for our knock-hockey fanatics! Score!

– Sports Broadcasting Clinic! Who’s the next Howard Cosell? or better yet, Zach Gelb!?

– New movie theater seating in Greeley Theater!

– An additional LAUNDRY RUN! WHAT!?!?!?!?!?!?! #GAMECHANGER!

– New paving & landscaping around camp! A facelift, if you will…!

– Kelli Moshen is back! Hip-Hop Boot Camp!

– Night at the Ballpark (RailRiders AAA Baseball) for all upper campers!

– Surf Bikes at the lake! THEY’RE BACK! Bigger and better.

– Another wood-burning pizza oven! That makes two! We love Pizza.

– TOP Baseball. No extra charge. Available to all players interested. Gonna be a home-run!

– All-camp Survivor Day!

– Special Krav Maga Clinic!

These are just some of the things we’re working on in the Pine Forest Camp Laboratories…

The Best Internship Around: Camp Counselor

Many people will tell you that the key to a successful future in the workplace is a solid internship related to your field of (potential) expertise.  While that may be true for a lot of people and a lot of careers, a job as a camp counselor can give you the skills to succeed in not only the workplace, but in all aspects of your life.  We’ve come up with three major things a summer camp job has the potential to provide, but like anything else, you get out what you put in.

Confidence

One of summer camp’s greatest qualities is its appreciation for individuality.  The most notable counselors are the ones who sing the loudest, dress the craziest, and are willing to participate in any and all activities that his or her campers come up with.  At camp, it’s hard to feel embarrassed.  It is surprisingly easy to step out of your comfort zone and into the uninhibited summer camp lifestyle.

Selflessness

While being a camp counselor can give you a great deal of self-understanding and important life skills, the most successful counselors are those who are not at camp for themselves, but for the campers.  Camp teaches you how to put the needs of your campers, or of any group, above your own.  In order to deal with confrontations, homesickness, shower hour, and anything else that comes your way in the bunk, you have to know how to prioritize.  As camp counselor, you are truly a surrogate parent for your campers and, while their problems may seem small to you, to them they are big and should be treated accordingly.

Leadership Ability

At camp, campers do not judge your ability to show them how to kick a soccer ball, make a friendship bracelet, or ride a zip line.  We find that campers instantly idolize a counselor’s ability to do anything, giving you a solid platform to develop and transform your leadership skills from the get-go.  You’ve been hired as a camp counselor and specialist in a specific activity; your accountability is already there.  This gives you the time to focus on building your character, integrity, commitment, enthusiasm, and open-mindedness.

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