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Summer Camp News and Blog

2019 Reunion: Best Reunion EVER!

Sunday was AWESOME!  Dare we say it was the … BEST REUNION EVER?  A big thank you to everyone who came out to party with us.  Campers, counselors, key staff, & more!  Busses were flooded with campers from the New York area, North Jersey, and even Maryland — we were so thrilled with the turnout.  Doesn’t it feel great to be back together again?  Yesterday was so great, we can’t even IMAGINE how great Summer 2020 will be.  We only have 226 more days to wait and see and no, it’s never to early to start counting down.  We can’t wait!

Keeping the Summer Alive Year-Round

Keep the summer alive all year long!

  1. Keep in touch with camp friends! Write LETTERS!
  2. Login to Mom & Dad’s parent portal and look at pictures from this past summer and the summers before!
  3. Come to the 2019 reunion: Sunday, November 10th from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM @ The Funplex in Mt. Laurel, NJ!
  4. Keep up with our Upcoming Events page for events in your area!
  5. Watch videos on our Vimeo page!
  6. Wear your Pine Forest Camp shirts from this and past summers!
  7. And don’t forget to follow us on Instagram: @pineforestcamp!

The Camp/College Connection

The Camp/College Connection

by PFC Alum and Camp Parent, Hillary Slovin

My 18 year old daughter is about to start her freshman year in college this fall.  As I nervously anticpate this milestone in her life, I am thinking about how it’s going to be for me and my thoughts turn to camp.  I’ve heard that the college “leaving the nest thing” feels a little like when they’re at camp.  Because of camp, for the past 9 summers, I know what it feels like to have an empty bedroom and quiet house, at least for 7 weeks.  We know how much camp helps children transition in to college life but maybe this will also help me, even just a little,  make the transition.

She just finished her first counselor summer at camp and, with that, she got off days where she’d come home for 24 hours.  I’d clear my calendar to spend all my time with her, stock the fridge with all her favorite things, do a bunch of loads of her laundry and off she’d go again.  As I watched her drive back out of the driveway, it dawned on me that perhaps this is a taste of what the next 4 years will be like with her, coming and going, to and from college, just like with camp.

I’ve read the articles about the endless benefits of camp and how it can help prepare kids for college but I never thought about how it can benefit us parents as well.  Yet another benefit of sending our kids to camp, as if we needed yet another reason!  As “young” parents, it’s hard to think so far ahead about this.  Whoever would’ve thought that us adults get to still feel benefits of overnight camp!
So thank you PFC for not only helping my child develop skills to be ready to leave for college but for me as well.  As I come home to an empty house after college drop-off, I plan on thinking about how the 7 weeks felt, summer after summer.  I will remember that, despite the absence, they do come back home, and most importantly, as even better people for it.
Just like with camp.

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!