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Summer Camp News and Blog

Fun Facts for New Families!

We can’t believe it’s spring and the 2017 camping season will be here before we know it!  We want you and your child to be as comfortable and as prepared as possible in the days leading up to camp.  We thought it would be fun and helpful to share some fun facts about us so everyone is “in the know.”

Pine Forest is full of tradition, rituals and special names.  Each one is so meaningful to both the campers and staff.

“Up Where the Sky Begins”  Pine Forest Camp slogan/philosophy

“When Lights Are Low” and “High In The Mountains”  PFC’s camp songs. among many others.

Blue and Gold– Camp colors.

Many of camp’s fields, courts and venues are named after camp’s founders Hughie and Selma Black, descendants as well as many old-timers.

“Hughie Hall”- Indoor venue that houses many camp activities, including basketball, broadcasting, yoga, fitness center and much more.

Libby courts”-  One of camps three sets of tennis courts.

Netsy Playhouse”–  Outdoor amphitheater where camps shows and services are held.

Marvin Hall”-  Outdoor gymnastics pavilion.

“Mitchell Field”–  Large field near entrance for sports and campfires.

“Barbie’s Bar-B-Que”/AKA “The Grove”–  Outdoor picnic area where campers are served a weekly cookout.

“Lauri Field”– Another large field at the top of camp that hosts various sports, including track and field.  Great for star-gazing too!

Lee’s Rink”- Hockey pavilion by Hughie Hall.

“Eric’s Fitness Center”– State-of-the-art fitness facility.

“Ruby’s Canteen”– Named after Uncle Hughie’s great-great granddaughter.  Various times a week, campers look forward to special treats.

“Chadwin Court- AKA “Main Court”-  Popular basketball court in the center of camp, with lights and stadium seating all around.  Named after long-time athletic director Steve “Chad” Chadwin.

Lake Greeley  The walk to our beautiful lake is always a special one.  Stroll down “Milligan’s Trail” and throw a stone to make a wish into “Lisa’s Heart-Shaped Pond.”

Blueberry Island– Camp’s private island by the lake where campers canoe to and explore.

The “Friendship” Tree – It used to be a sprawling spruce tree in the center of camp, but over the 87 years, it’s been reduced to more of a “beautiful” stump.  With a white bench all around, it’s the main meeting place for campers and counselors in the center of camp, perfect for brothers and sisters to meet after dinner.

Bunk Names  The boys bunks are names after tree and the girls bunks are named after flowers.

The Old-Timers Tree  This old tree proudly displays plaques of the names of all campers and staff throughout our 84 years that have gone to camp for 10 years or more.  It’s very exciting for old-timers to have their names permanently added for all time.  There are almost 400 names now on the tree!

Hopefully this list will help you and your child feel even more a part of our camp family as we countdown to welcome you this summer.  Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you might have and we can’t wait to see your campers in less than 100 days!

Camp Counselor: More Than an Internship

This guest blog post was written by all-star former counselor and year round Staff Coordinator, Elly Wallace.

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.

Interested in working at PFC? Check out our staff page!

New Day, New Summer, New Website!

87 (seasons) never looked so good!

It’s hard to capture the sounds of happy campers, the smell of fresh pines and the taste of s’mores on a starry night. But if you wander through the new PFC website it might just make you feel, for a moment, that you are “Up Where the Sky Begins.” It’s also chock full of information about camp and all that you need to know to get ready for summer.

And if you’re an alum, don’t forget to watch the “decades videos.” Pick your childhood decade and be transported back in time!

Happy summer!

Meet Jaime, Our New Art Director!

My name is Jaime and camp has always been a huge part of my life.  I started sleep away camp at 5 years old, with my mom working as the camp mother.  I always knew that when the time came and I had children of my own, I would also want to spend my summers working at camp.  This summer my daughters, Ruby and Eden, will be experiencing their first summer at sleepaway camp, and we are beyond excited for PFC 2017!!  

I work year round as a speech pathologist in an elementary school in Livingston, NJ.  While I love getting to work with children in a school setting, nothing compares to getting to know kids in the unique laid back environment that camp provides.  I call it the camp bubble.  Now more than ever, it is so important to slow down, log off and connect with our kids.  Working in a camp for the past 5 summers gave me the opportunity to expose kids to so many different types of art…whether it was leather work or jewelry making, woodworking or ceramics.  Camp is full of creative outlets and everybody gets a chance to try out new mediums and get their hands dirty in a creative and fun environment.  I am excited to share so many AWESOME projects with the campers this summer. For me, arts and crafts is about providing instruction and learning new skills, but then giving kids the freedom to have fun and go for it!!!  It’s a time to bond with your counselors and friends while you create projects (and memories) to last throughout the year!

A cool project to be on the lookout for this summer: WATER BALLOON CANVAS ART!

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.

2017 Optional Activities!

Registration for our 2017 Optional Activities is officially open! Click here to register!

Superstar Tennis: Private and group tennis lessons, USTA tournament play, individualized stroke analysis and strategy sessions.

Personal Fitness Training: One-on-one personal training with a certified pro, including a take-home, year round exercise plan.

TOP Cooks: Farm-to-table experiences, gourmet cooking classes with professional chefs, trip to the Culinary Institute of America.

Superstar Golf: Private lessons with PGA pro, weekly golf outing to beautiful private courses, USGA membership.

Professional Tutoring: SAT, English, Math, Bar and Bat Mitzvah. Individualized plan, hourly rates with experienced educators.

TOP Ranch Riding: Small group riding lessons, grooming and competition on our beautiful private 250-acre ranch. Beginner to advanced.

TOP Basketball: 4-day intensive program for campers interested in taking their skills to a new level.

Private Gymnastics Lessons: One-on-one lessons with skilled instructors for all ages and skill levels.

Senior Trips!
7th Grade: The Adirondacks
July 25-26, 2017
Highlights include: Six Flags Great Escape, dinner on Lake George, Cooperstown, Baseball Hall of Fame, Howe Caverns.

8th Grade: Vermont
July 25-26, 2017
Highlights include: Church Street Marketplace, Bromley Mountain Adventure Park, Ben & Jerry’s Factory, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que.
New additions for 2017 to follow!

9th Grade: New England
July 24-26, 2017
Highlights include: Historic Boston, Fenway Park, Old Orchard Beach and Palace Playground, Portland, Maine and Newport, Rhode Island.
New additions for 2017 to follow!

10th Grade: Montreal
July 24-26, 2017
Highlights include: Jet boating on the Lachine Rapids, Laser Quest, La Ronde amusement park, Lake Placid Olympic Sports Complex.

What Your Child Will Get Out of Camp

In addition to mastering the zip line and perfecting the butterfly stroke, the intangible lessons of camp know no bounds. In fact, it’s these more abstract takeaways that make the biggest impact on our campers. When we talk to families about camp in their living rooms, when we walk touring families around our grounds, we tend to focus on schedules and special programs; the most important thing about camp, though, is its people, the community, and the gifts we take from it.

We often say that camp teaches you to be the best version of yourself, but that doesn’t always come easily. Nothing great does! It takes work to practice living away from your parents! It takes work to live with people from different neighborhoods or even countries who might have different views! It’s not easy to have face-to-face conversations instead of sending a text or email in camp’s tech-free zone!

So, what will your child get out of camp? We hope team-sport skills are perfected and yoga is given a real chance, but it’s so much bigger that. Your child will come home more confident for having stood up for a friend, happier for having spontaneously burst into song and cheer, more comfortable in his or her skin for having navigated both big and small tasks independently. Oh, and your child will have a group of friends and community for life that are sacred, that are all his or her own, that they can always come back to and rely upon.

Camp takes a sense of adventure and grit and stick-to-it-ness and empathy and goofiness and a zest for life that we all wish for our kids! Those are the true gifts of camp, and what gifts could be more important?

Congratulations, Chad!

Congratulations to to our own Steve “Chad” Chadwin who will be honored as a “Coaching Legend” by Coaches vs. Cancer on April 5th. Here’s the link for those who would like to attend or make a donation in Chad’s honor. Yo Chad! Way to go! We are proud of you!

http://coaches.acsevents.org/site/Calendar?id=121335&view=Detail

Recap: New Camper Events!

Our weekend full of new camper parties was awesome! In the Philadelphia area, we had 15 first-time Pine Forest campers gather together to bowl and meet new friends. At Chelsea Piers in NYC the following day, we met 30 (!) first-time campers! Everyone had a blast jumping, bouncing and climbing with their future bunkmates.

Thanks to all new camp families, and our amazing staff and campers who made the weekend such a success! And new campers, be sure to stay in touch with one another! Camp is officially less than 5 months away (but who’s counting?)!

PS: You can check out more photos from our events on Instagram and Facebook! Follow @PineForestCamp for daily updates from your summer home.

Calling All Prospective Campers!

Enrollment for our 2017 Explorers Program is now open! Are your children interested in camp but not ready to commit to a long stretch away from home? Send them up for a fun-filled Explorer Weekend or action-packed Play Day! They will have the chance to participate in exciting camp activities (think boating, zip lining, gymnastics, yoga, cooking…you name it!) with other prospective campers while camp is in session. While children are enjoying Explorer Camp, parents can tour Pine Forest and meet with our directors!

For more information or to sign up, check out our Explorers page:
http://pineforestcamp.com/prospective-families/explorer-program

As always, feel free to call the camp office at (267) 639-2488 with any questions.

Spread the word! The more, the merrier!