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Summer Camp News and Blog

The Trouble with Camp…

The trouble with camp is that camp ends.

The buses pull out this morning. In an instant, camp is silent. But the air will be filled with happy memories. Pine Forest’s 89th 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.

The Things We Carry.

Like the song says, “All our bags are packed, we’re ready to go.”

Mountain Baggage, R&B, UPS, FedEx, parent pick-up.

Today we pack 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: Tips + Warnings!

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!

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?

Old Timers’ Club!

We had our OLD TIMERS’ CLUB meeting today at Pine Forest!  Our campers (And counselors!) that have been at Pine Forest for 3+ years celebrated being OLD TIMERS with an ice cream party and a special gift this afternoon!  Our newly-inducted 3-year campers and counselors are well on their way to a spot on our 10-year tree.

Camper Scamper!

Today was the morning our campers have been training for all summer.  This morning we held the 2019 CAMPER SCAMPER!  Campers from Pine Forest, and our sister and brother camps, Camp Timber Tops and Lake Owego Camp, ran as fast as they could through the hills of camp.  Campers cheered on their friends from the sidelines, handing out cups of water and encouragement.  Even some of our key staff joined in!

Mickey’s Book Club: Book #2!

Mickey’s book club is growing!  By popular demand, we’re beginning a second book this summer: Squirm by Carl Hiaasen!  We have more campers than ever before joining the club and spreading the joy of summer reading.  Campers are looking forward to reading about outdoor adventure and protecting the environment…two of Mickey’s favorite things!

There’s No Place Like Home.

Our upper camp campers returned home to Greeley, PA last night, all smiles.  Our 11th graders arrived first, back from Boston, having visited Tufts, BU, and Northeastern (and their old stomping grounds from the 9th grade trip).  The 7th graders were next to come home, sharing stories from the Adirondacks and how great their first overnight trip out of camp was!  Not long after, at 10:15 PM on the dot, ALL of the other buses we were waiting for rolled in!  We’re back to our regularly scheduled programing, but can’t get enough of the stories.

Kindness Day!

It’s “Kindness Day” up here in Greeley!  Our Inter + Junior girls are spreading kindness throughout Pine Forest to everyone!  Sending special notes and gifts to our Health Center, the front office, the kitchen crew, our activity heads, Directors, our trusty maintenance men… all of the people that make camp run as smoothly as soy nut butter!