A Roadblock to Snowplowing? Summer Camp.
A note from Mickey Black:
You may have been hearing a lot lately about “Snowplow” parents, those who move everything and anything out of the way to smooth the road for their children on the path of life. In my opinion, many of these parents may even do so unwittingly, with the best of intentions, but not in their child’s best long–term interest. What’s an effective way to prevent that? Send them off to a great camp like Pine Forest.
My daughter and co-director, Ann Black Morin, a parent of two girls of her own, Ruby and Hattie (Hattie is named after her great, great grandfather and PFC’s founder Hughie Black), put it this way:
“Snowplow parents prepare the road for kids. Responsible parents prepare kids for the road. One concrete way to prepare kids for the road is to give the gift of a good, scratch that, a great residential, long-term, old-fashioned summer camp!
You don’t build resilience by eliminating struggle. You build resilience by normalizing it: teaching kids to see obstacles as temporary hurdles. Homesickness! Conflict with a friend! Advocating for yourself! Advocating for a friend! Trying something new (that might take practice)! Making decisions independent of your parents! The gifts of these experiences become immeasurable.
Camp is less than 100 days away, and this generation needs it now more than ever. And not just because it’s screen free, but there’s that too!”
A River Runners Thrill: Seeing an American Bald Eagle in Flight.
In 1975, there was just a single pair of nesting bald eagles left in New York State. Now, there are hundreds in NY and PA. The return of the eagle to the Upper Delaware River area is one of the great success stories of the American environmental movement. At the forefront of the return of the eagle population to PA/NY is The Delaware Highlands Conservancy. Our campers will meet a representative of the Conservancy and with their help, watch for eagles in flight.
Eagle sighting map:
Did you know that it takes about 5 years for an eagle to grow their all-white feathers around their head? Or that their wingspan is about 6-7 feet, larger than any other bird of prey in this region?
When you see an eagle soaring above in its natural habitat, it is unforgettable! They look regal even at rest in the trees in winter.
On our new, after-camp trip, the River Runners will meet Lenape Chief Joseph Little Feather.
The upper Delaware River was the home of the Lenape or “Delaware Indians.” Where our campers paddle down the Delaware River, the Lenape traveled in dugout canoes made from hollowed out trees.
Delaware is said to mean “original people.” It is believed that they were the original inhabitants of this region and ancestors of the Algonquin tribe. The Delaware Indians are considered by many as the “grandfathers” of many native Americans.
Our campers will have the rare honor to meet in person a descendant of the Lenape and its current chief, Chief Joseph Little Feather. Chief Little Feather will talk about the daily life of the Lenape, their rich history, and their organic connection to nature.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Lenape (Delaware Indians), you can do so here and here.
“The comforts of life’s essentials — food, fire, and friendships…”
Let’s take a journey into the art of cooking with the most basic cooking tool….Fire. The best part of camping, for me, is building the perfect fire. Watching it burn can be hypnotizing in beauty as it changes form and radiates energy. That energy is then absorbed by everyone surrounding it forming love, laughter, wonder, storytelling, and the gift of living in the moment. These are just a few of the gifts of camp. The camp fire also creates the perfect environment for cooking and learning how to cook. There is no need for a stove, an oven, a steamer or a broiler. Learning the art of cooking on open flame teaches all the essentials. Just like growing a vegetable in your own garden, cooking on a campfire allows you to truly appreciate the final product. You understand the science, you appreciate the nature, and you enjoy your food even more! This lesson is a great lesson in cooking but also life at home, in school, and in everyday challenges. The campfire, building it, experiencing it, cooking on it, tending to it, is the embodiment of summer camp and a summer spent in the great outdoors.
Kristian Unvericht, Food Services Director at Pine Forest, Timber Tops, and Lake Owego camps
We believe that a good, traditional overnight camp isn’t meant to be an amusement park. We believe that the best programs and evening activities aren’t ones with flashy lights, shiny things and outside entertainment. Living simply, in a wooden cabin, listening to the sounds of nature, creating outstanding programming using very little but the imagination, living tech free, focusing on each other, makes camp a place that can uniquely give the gifts of confidence, community, self reliance, resourcefulness, creativity, and grit. Though camp is action-packed for sure, the most magical part is what happens beyond swimming lessons, soccer games, horseback riding and everything in between.
Here’s a link to a great NY Times article, Let Children Get Bored Again, that shares a similar sentiment.
“Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education.”
— Martin Luther King, Jr.
We can give our children many things, but as parents, we cannot give them character, independence, optimism, and enthusiasm – these are qualities that children have to discover and develop on their own. And that is the true gift of camp. Camp is a place that provides a safe environment to find adventure, friendship and ultimately to find one’s self, to find one’s true character.
At camp we often call ourselves a camp “family,” and for those summer months we really are. We are one community, relying on each other and looking out for one another. It feels like family. And at its heart, that is how Martin Luther King Jr. wanted us to look at the world around us: one family, each of us treated with respect and compassion. May the strength and love that we feel at camp send ripples to the world around us. For those of us lucky enough to go to camp, it’s our obligation to make it so.
Let us know what your kids are doing out in the world for Martin Luther King Jr. Day!
Bowling together at Devon Lanes outside of Philadelphia, rock climbing at Chelsea Piers in New York, it was all about making future camp friends and meeting future bunkmates! And it was awesome! What a fabulous turnout! Our biggest EVER! This summer there will be plenty of first–time campers in Greeley, PA, so it’s an especially great time to start camp. In addition to campers, the weekend was a chance for some of our young counselors and veteran camp leaders to say hello and welcome. As we sing to you at camp “we’re mighty glad you’re here!”
Remember: June 1-2 weekend is our overnight New Camper Weekend! Stay overnight in a bunk! Enjoy camp activities! Sit around the campfire! Make real s’mores at camp! There will be many more new friends to meet. Please call the office for more information or to RSVP.
Spoiler alert: new campers, it’s going to be the best summer ever!