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Summer Camp News and Blog

Fleas! Ticks! Mosquitos! Oh My!

A Note from the Health Center to our Camp Parents:

We’d like to take a moment to share our plan of action for an increased risk associated with tick, flea and mosquito bites throughout the United States. Camp has been taking steps to minimize exposure for our campers and prevent the spread of disease. In addition to the measures outlined below, camp regularly consults with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations to update our protocols.

Prevention

  • Outside lawn chemical professionals have been hired to treat all fields and field perimeters with flea and tick control as well as areas around bunks, buildings, and activity areas with flea and tick control.
  • All trails and paths at camp are treated with flea and tick control.
  • An outside professional pest control company has been contracted to regularly treat for rodents, etc.
  • Grass is cut frequently and brush is trimmed back in regularly trafficked areas.
  • Application of CDC approved bug spray throughout the day as needed for activities in wooded areas. There are also bug spray stations throughout camp.

Education and Practice

  • All counselors have training sessions on ticks and the counselor’s roles in health care, including
    • Hygiene, shower hour self-check prompting, tick checks after hikes, walks in the woods, and campfires
    • Basic tick prevention, best practices, bug and bite identification
    • Camper clothing coverage, including long pants and sleeves on hikes
    • Avoiding brushy areas, high grass and leaf litter.  Walking in the center of trails.
  • Nurse education during training
    • Tick checks, identification, removal
  • Full body checks after all hikes and walks in wooded areas.
    • A note: Nurses and counselors prompt campers to self check in and around the bathing suit area.
  • Check clothing.

Please don’t hesitate to call us with questions or concerns. We will stay vigilant!

The Health Center

Packing Tips for Parents!

Hi, Moms + Dads!

It’s that time of year again! Time to think packing! This is a reminder to keep it simple! Less is more. Camp is a simpler life, so don’t overdo it. What fits into a cubby and a top shelf is all that a camper needs. Everything should be able to fit into TWO DUFFEL BAGS – no more!

We know the packing list may seem overwhelming at first, especially for our newest PFC families. Here are a few outside-of-the-box tips we thought we’d share.

1) Our camp colors are BLUE AND GOLD and during our Color Days events, campers are split into teams of those colors. Pack your camper with one or two items of each color (it doesn’t have to be solid). That way, your child is prepared for membership to either team! Hey, maybe throw in a cool bandana or two.

2) Your campers are never too old for pre-addressed envelopes or postcards. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and best family friends are definitely not getting that letter you promised unless it’s over-the-top easy for your camper to send. (Pre-address envelopes home too. It’s one less step for your camper to take while he or she is running to the mailbox on the way to tennis!)

3) Don’t buy expensive clothes,  jeans or bathing suits. Don’t pack twelve throw pillows. We are limiting pillows to one regular pillow and one decorative pillow.  Don’t pack anything you don’t want going in the laundry.

4) Everything packed for camp should be able to fit in the 4 shelves of a cubby and the few feet of an overhead shelf. There are also small shelves for each camper in the bathroom for toiletries. If you’re worried that your camper may STILL need more storage space, we recommend long plastic storage containers that fit under his or her bed. There are 14.5 inches between the floor and the bottom of the bed. But these extra storage boxes are usually not necessary.

5) You’ve probably heard the term “shoe bag” thrown around. At camp, shoe bags are often used to hang up on the wall and store extra “stuff” in (think flashlight, hair brush, etc.).  No, your camper doesn’t need it. But they may want it! It’s up to you!

6) Leave the electronics at home! No matter what you hear from friends about other camps, PFC parents don’t sneak them into their campers’ bags! Our parents are rule-followers, and our campers follow their parents’ lead.

Top Ten Tips for New Families!

Calling All New Camper Parents! 

April showers will bring May flowers, and do you know what May flowers bring? CAMP, of course! Talk about camp at least! We know that the change in weather has all of us thinking SUMMER, and we hope that these tips will be helpful to you during the excitement of the final countdown. Even if you’ve sent an older child off to camp before, these TOP TEN TIPS for NEW CAMPERS might be worth a refresher!

1. Communicate with the directors about any and all family, social or medication issues or changes during the year and in the summer. Nothing is too small! A meaningful camp/parent partnership benefits your camper. Call or email us anytime! We are here for you!

2. Stay positive about separating from home! Don’t focus on what your camper will be missing (vacation, trips a favorite ice cream shop), rather discuss what he or she has to look forward to at camp! (The same goes for what you write about in your letters once the time comes!)

3. If your camper asks about homesickness, normalize it! “Of course you’ll miss things about home every now and again, because you have a wonderful home and family! It would be unusual for you not to miss home!” Also, in the same spirit, try to minimize your own feelings of child-sickness! “Of course we’ll miss you, but we’ll be fine! The summer will fly by and we’re so excited for you. You’re going to have an awesome time!”

4. If your camper has specific needs (in the cabin, in the health center, in the dining hall), make sure to call or email us,  and make sure to write about it in your confidential forms (or as an addendum to the form) before camp– those confidential forms are our bible!

5. Discuss different activities your camper might enjoy and also talk about trying new ones, keeping an open mind! Camp is a great, safe place to go outside of one’s comfort zone!

6. Take advantage of New Camper Weekend on June 1st and 2nd at camp, either for the day or stay overnight! It’s a great opportunity to meet other first-time campers, see camp, get to know staff, and have positive camp experiences together as a family. Call the office for more info!

7. Keep all “camp talk” light! In letters, in person, keep it upbeat!

8. Now is when your camper may start asking you about what he or she will bring. Make sure to send your camper’s stuffed animal, a favorite book or two, and any other item that makes them feel at home; if there’s something your camper sleeps with every night, please make sure to send it! Believe us when we say that most campers bring a security object of some sort. You’re never too old!

9. If panic sets in, call us. We’ll talk you through it, but when speaking to your camper NEVER promise to PICK UP YOUR CHILD. He or she might ask in the time between now and camp! It’s normal to get cold feet in the spring! Remind your camper that you’ve made a commitment as a family, that  camp is only for a short amount of time, and that you know he or she is in the right place, that they can do it! They are in a safe place. CAMP IS WHERE CHILDREN LEARN INDEPENDENCE! By giving your camper the gift of camp, you’re giving them independence, resilience, and the ability to adapt to and thrive in new environments! If your children know that they’re definitely going to camp and definitely staying at camp for the summer, they’ll allow themselves to relax and let go. Squash the “what if!”

10. If there’s anything (big or small!) you’re worried about before, during, or after the summer, CALL OR EMAIL ANYTIME!


We’re here for you, always, so keep in touch!
We can’t wait to get started!

Everyday is Earth Day at Camp!

 

Camp is many things, like making new friends, having fun at activities and learning new skills. But at its core, going to camp is a return to nature. It is a simpler life, unplugged but connected to the wonders all around us. Smell the pines! Breathe in fresh mountain air! Listen to the sound of crickets at night! Feel the warmth of the sun on your shoulders. Happy Earth Day from Greeley, PA, “Up Where the Sky Begins.”

 

Here’s a short Earth Day quiz, Greeley edition!

What is the Pennsylvania state flower that can be found throughout our beautiful camp, just beginning to bud during this time of year?
Answer: The Mountain Laurel

What environmentally important site is located in Milford, Pennsylvania, one of the closest towns to camp?
Answer: Grey Towers in Milford is the original 1900 site of the Yale School of Forestry Summer Camp!

Who lived at Grey Towers, Milford and is known as the “Father of American Conservation”?
Answer: Gifford Pinchot

Every summer, campers canoe the Delaware and Lackawaxen rivers. The two rivers converge in Lackawaxen Pennsylvania, a beautiful spot very close to camp. What famous American bird do campers frequently see there, soaring high above them?
Answer: The American Bald Eagle. Lackawaxen is home to 200 bald eagles!

Camp is located in Pike County, named after Zebulon Motgomery Pike. What famous mountain did he discover and where is it located?
Answer: Pike’s Peak, Colorado

Bonus Question!
Our camp was one of the first camps in American to win the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Energy Star Award. Which of these things didn’t we do to earn it?
1) Change all light bulbs to LED
2) Cover the pools with special pool covers to preserve heat and lower use of energy
3) Recycle waste
4) Change from disposable dishes to reusable dishware
5) Hang underwear from the flagpole

PJSHOF: Pine Forest Camp Basketball!

To be honored on Tuesday, April 30th in Philadelphia, PA!  Click HERE to attend!

The Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame honors the Pine Forest Camp team of the Jewish Basketball League for its dominance in one of the premier adult men’s league in our region. The league has enjoyed a long history of excellence which dates all the way back to the 1930’s where it was a precursor to the original SPHA’S co-captained by Hughie Black, Founder of Pine Forest Camp. .  The JBL was considered the league that attracted the very best players in the area during this era.

Norm Millan resurrected the league in 1989 after several years of dormancy. Pine Forest was awarded a franchise later that year.  Right from the start, the team was successful with a deep playoff run in its first year. In 1990, the team added several key players to round out a talented roster. This skilled squad of players employed a balance of perimeter shooting, precise ball movement and tenacious defense to win three consecutive championships and begin to cement their legacy in the league. The league itself was very strong, consisting of mostly former high school or college players from the region that were all Jewish.

Pine Forest Camp went on to win another 6 titles over an 8 year period. As the team aged, there were additions in the mid 2000s that contributed to the last two championships in 2005 and 2006.  In total, the team won 11 championships over a 16 year period (1990-2006).

The JBL concluded play in 2006 and is hoping for the next generation of basketball players in the region will resurrect the league, including, of course, the ultra successful Pine Forest Camp team about which the great Leaden Bernstein proclaimed: “This Pine Forest Team is the New York Yankees of the Jewish Basketball League and I predict that someday they will be in the Hall of Fame!”

Our honorees are:

Marvin Black, Owner

Mickey Black, Owner

Steve Chadwin, Coach

Paul Flicker

Howard Lassoff z’l

Sam Jacobs

Harris Pogust

Howard Kades

Eric Verman

Leon Rose

Ken Soffer

Adam Sherman

David Verman

Mike Spivak

Mickey’s Book Club: Summer 2019!

A Note from Mickey Black:

I love to read. This summer I look forward to hosting the second season of “Mickey’s Book Club” for Middle school age campers. Stay tuned for the announcement of our first book for discussion!

One of my favorite authors for older campers and parents is John McPhee. He is an award-winning  non-fiction writer who is curious about everything. There is no one better at explaining how things works. And the range of his subject matter is limitless. He explains everything from fly –fishing in the Poconos, to building a bark canoe, to the origins of prehistoric oysters.

Last night as I was reading his latest collection of essays “The Patch,” I came across this passage that I wanted to share. He describes lecturing at an elite Northeastern college, when the first question raised by someone in the audience is “Of all the educational institutions you went to when you were younger, which one had the greatest influence on the work you do now?”

This is what he said.

“The question stopped me for a moment…Across my mind flashed the names of a public-school system K though 12, a New England private school (13), and two universities-one in the United States, one  abroad -and in a split second I blurted out. ‘The children’s camp I went to when I was six years old’… The response drew general laughter, but, funny or not, it was the simple truth.”

McPhee spent his summers at Camp Keewaydin , an all boys, primarily canoeing camp in Vermont, but his observation about the profound and lifelong impact of camp on one’s intellect, curiosity and creativity is true of any good camp, like Pine Forest.

Camp teaches campers to be aware of all of the things and adventures around them and to find out more. It gives every camper a chance to explore whatever peeks  their curiosity at their own pace. And in today’s pre-programmed world, that is rare and special, indeed. With enthusiastic staff around them to guide them forward, there is no limit to what they will discover.

A Roadblock to Snowplowing?  Summer Camp.

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, Anna 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!”

River Runners: An American Bald Eagle in Flight!

A River Runners Thrill: Seeing an American Bald Eagle in Flight.

It’s breathtaking!

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.

https://delawarehighlands.org/

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.

River Runners: Meet Chief Little Feather!

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.