Maybe it’s the new smell of pine trees or the first bird you hear, but when you wake up at camp it’s awesome. Look to your left, look to your right and there are camp friends right next to you. Can life get any better?! Okay, the bad news is you still have to brush your teeth, but this is gonna be a day like no other. You’re at camp! You’ve made it through your first night, the clouds part, the sun shines, the worries disappear, the fun starts.
Oh, what a beautiful morning!
It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from or how you get here. It doesn’t matter what happened all school year long. If your destination is Pine Forest Camp in Greeley, Pennsylvania today, you are in for the summer of your life.
Our 87th consecutive summer begins today and it’s going to be the best one ever. A little rain fell this morning but by breakfast it was all sun in the mountains. Counselorsdonned their yellow staff shirts (just like the kind we wore back in the 60’s), put on their name tags and BIG SMILES! They can’t wait to meet our 2017 PFC campers.
Leave your worries at home. When you step off of that bus or out of your car, you’re going to be stepping into a summer of Pine Forest fun.
As we sing every year on opening day, “We welcome you to Pine Forest, we’re mighty glad you’re here!”
And we are. Mighty glad.
Yes, that will be me tomorrow morning, hiding behind my sunglasses, holding back my tears. Me, who promotes camp to other parents and me, who believes whole-heartedly in the lifelong benefits and pure and simple fun of overnight camp. But, still, that’ll be me.
It doesn’t matter how much you know they’ll love it, it doesn’t matter that you know they’re about to make friends and memories that will last for a lifetime. It doesn’t matter that you know they’re about to have more fun than they ever thought imaginable. The bottom line is, letting your child go, allowing and empowering them to spread their wings without you is hard. Really hard. I think of this as the most selfless act we, as parents, have probably ever done to date. Putting our needs and wants second to what we know is best for our children. It’s something we do everyday, but this is the granddaddy act of them all.
But, I find all the comfort and solace I need knowing my children will be safe, loved and cared for by some of the most amazing people I know. That they will be making friends and living with other amazing children who, like them, just want to have fun and take in all that camp has to offer. I will, like you, pour over the posted pictures each night and hang on every word that comes to me in letters. All the while, reminding myself how lucky we all are…The kids who get to go, and we as parents who get to send them. Their summer ahead at Pine Forest Camp is going to be incredible. For all these reasons, I truly can’t wait for my children to get started.
Good luck, Mom and Dad. I like to keep the morning short and sweet and without a lot of fan-fair. That’s my advice. And, of course, don’t forget to wear your sunglasses.
It’s incredibly natural to go into apocalyptic mode this week.
You know what we’re talking about:
What do you want your last meal to be?
Do you want to see a final movie tonight or just relax and hug?
When would you like to take Rover for a final walk?
How about Grandma and Grandpa? Let’s give them one final call!
Give your sister one huge final good kiss goodnight! You won’t again till August!
We know you’re well-meaning, but we have some advice for what it’s worth: Stop. STOP! You’re freaking them out! Let’s all try to remain normal and happy and calm. Be cool! Let’s enjoy final pre-camp moments but not belabor them. Let’s focus not on what your kids are missing at home but what they’re about to embark upon at camp. In our experience, end-of-world conversations and conversations focusing on home breed anxiety for a number of reasons. Here are a few of those reasons, and here’s what your kids may be thinking: I don’t know what I want my last meal to be! Oh my gosh, but what if I pick the wrong one and I want mom’s mac & cheese tomorrow and I can’t have it! How can I live with that regret! I hadn’t thought about seeing a movie or walking Rover, and I’d sort of forgotten that I wasn’t kissing my little sister goodnight all summer. AH! That’s scary! Am I SURE I want to give all of this up?
Of course the answer is a resounding “YES!” The gifts of camp are immeasurable and what they’ll be experiencing in a few days is life-changing. So let’s not focus on a final tuck-in or that one last hug. Keep your kids happy and focused on moving forward towards camp. Will you treasure those final moments? YES! Should you talk about them with your kids? Probably not. We’ll say it again: play it cool.
Smile, keep calm, talk about the great adventure they’re about to have. “Goodnight, Honey. I love you, and I’m so excited for you” always works. It’ll make it easier for your kids to get on the bus, and it’ll give them the courage to get off that bus once they’ve arrived “Up Where the Sky Begins.” We’ll take it from there!
It might have been a rainy day, but the smiles and excitement of counselors brought sunshine to PFC today. These counselor look amazing ! (Even in their camp ponchos.) They have traveled from far and wide to be at Pine Forest and they CAN’T WAIT TO MEET YOU, our campers!!! It’s time to get the 87th spectacular season underway!
June is a crazy month. With end of year school work piled on, recitals, playoffs and camp packing, even my lists have lists! It really is the single most crazy month of year, at least for me and I am sure most of you can agree. As I keep telling myself, this is all the “good stuff” so I try not to stress because it really is true. How lucky we and our children are …to be wrapping up another successful school year and now they get to go to CAMP!! Lucky ducks.
Last week, I had the good fortune to be up at camp for New Camper Weekend with my son who is about to start camp. While there, my daughter, who has been already been at camp a few years, called me, stressed about her finals and things going on at home. All I could say to her was “don’t worry, it’ll be over soon and you’ll be here at camp before you know it. Camp couldn’t look more beautiful and it’s waiting for you with open arms.” She replied in four simple words,“I can’t wait, Mom.” Her reply brought tears to my eyes. It perfectly sums up why we do this. Yes, to have our children learn independence, make new friends, try new things, etc. But, my daughters words made me think even deeper.
Camp provides an escape for our kids…a place to truly get away from it all, and, purely and simply, just relax. In this modern age, I can’t imagine anything being more needed and important. For 10 months out of the year, our kids run around like crazy, live on their phones, engulfed by social media and technology. I am so thankful for Pine Forest and for the opportunity it provides to leave all that behind for 7 weeks. PFC is my daughter’s happy place on earth. I don’t know what she would do without it. She has grown to need camp, to work all year to have camp and to cherish camp all year long.
I share this story with you because my hope is that every child who steps foot off the bus on June 24th can exhale like I know my daughter will. I hope they truly feel that PFC is their home away from home and the place that they look forward to returning to and getting away from it all summer after summer.
Hillary, PFC Mom
It’s that time of the year! You forget what your living room floor looks like under all of that camp gear, you’re constantly hearing the most up-to-date countdown to camp (15 days, 18 hours, 33 minutes!), and you miss them already. Take a deep breath. We are here for you as always! Below are some last minute tips as you make your final preparations for PFC 2017!
What to pack:
A good flashlight
Lots of socks
Stationary and stamps
Hopes and dreams
What not to pack:
Electronic devices (Kindle, iPod Touch, screens that play games or shows, cell phones)
First day of camp: Saturday, June 24
Visiting Day: Saturday, July 22 @ 11:30AM
Last day of camp: Saturday, August 12
Important contact information:
PFC Summer Office: (570) 685-7141
Mountain Baggage: (570) 775-0556
R&B Baggage (for Florida families): (603) 536-2197
PersonalRx: (877) 302-3881
PFC mailing address:
185 Pine Forest Road
Greeley, PA 18425
-Phone calls are not necessary, but one can be scheduled before Visiting Day and one after Visiting Day. You can schedule your first call once your camper arrives at camp.
-NO packages, please!
Photos from the day will be uploaded to CampInTouch almost every night. You can access them using the same login you use to fill out forms.
Expert tip: Mail a letter to your camper a few days before camp starts so that there’s one waiting for him or her on the first day of camp.
Follow us! You can find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using @PineForestCamp.
New Family Weekend is an amazing Pine Forest Camp tradition, when all first-time campers and their families are invited 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 group to get to know one another. It’s a sneak preview of the fun to come this summer.
Ziplining, canoeing, gaga, arts and crafts, basketball – you name it, we did it! And the weather was perfect! The day ended in the best way possible, around a campfire! There was a fantastic talent show that included dances, jokes and gymnastics. You’d never be able to tell that these campers just met that day! Mickey led everyone in a rousing 3-part round of his famous “Fish and Chips” song. And we ended the campfire as we always do at PFC, arm-in-arm, singing “Taps and Friends.” After the campfire, it was s’mores for all!
The next morning, families enjoyed a delicious breakfast in the Dining Hall, complete with lox, bagels and hot chocolate with whipped cream. Every new camper left that morning looking forward to the excitement yet to come (and with an exclusive, special edition new PFC long-sleeve shirt!)
We want to extend a special thank you to our outstanding staff for making New Family Weekend 2017 the best one ever! It really is all about the people! Being at PFC with new families each year reminds us that Pine Forest campers are awesome because Pine Forest families are awesome.
“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 19 DAYS!
It’s finally here! New Camper Weekend 2017! Did you know that each June we invite all new campers and their families to spend the whole weekend at camp a few short weeks before opening day? It’s a unique opportunity for campers and their families to connect with staff, meet future bunk mates and really start to feel at home in Greeley, PA. We don’t know any other camp that opens its doors the way we do, and we’re proud of it!
Attending New Camper Weekend? Here’s what you need to know!
Please arrive at camp between 11:30 AM and 12:45 PM on Saturday, June 3rd to experience your first camp lunch! Introductions begin around 1:00 PM. As a reminder, nights in the mountains can be quite chilly, so bring warm and comfortable clothing for the campfire and warm PJs, too! Don’t forget warm bedding or sleeping bags, and remember toiletries and towels as well. There will be free time to explore, so if you’d like to play, boat or swim as a family, bring tennis racquets, softball gloves, and bathing suits.
Stay tuned for live updates and photos from what will surely be a weekend of lifelong memories in the making! WELCOME NEW CAMPERS!
Craig Wallace is the founder of the Superstar Tennis program and has been its director for over 30 years! His 3 children were PFC campers and he met his wife there, too. He is the charismatic leader of the program and has credentials that are top notch, among them certification by LTA (British Tennis), coaching badges level 1-4, Australian Module One Tennis Coach, United States Tennis Pro (USPTA) and United States Tennis Registry (USPTR). Not only does Craig oversee the entire program but he also personally teaches one-on-one private lessons on a daily basis. One of our favorite features of the Superstar Tennis program is the individual stroke analysis. Each camper receives a computerized “Zoom Report” (just like the below photo) of their game!
All campers signed up for Superstar Tennis will also receive:
-One daily high-energy instructional drill session including conditioning and tactical sessions.
-Two private individual lessons per week.
-Membership in the USTA.
-Participation in a USTA sanctioned tournament.
-Personalized, in-depth evaluation and development plan by the head tennis pro.
-Certificate of completion.
-Tennis Ladder competition.
-Superstar Tennis T-shirt.
-Stroke Analysis and strategy sessions.
An exciting highlight for this year: all of our tennis instructors play on their school’s teams!
To sign up for Superstar Tennis, private lessons or our other extraordinary Optional Activities, click here or call the office at (267) 639-2488.