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Summer Camp News and Blog

Honoring Lee Forest Black

It is with great sadness that we share the passing of Lee Forest Black, husband of Molly, great grandson of our founders Hughie and Selma, grandson of Marvin and Annette Black, son of Mickey and Barbara, brother and brother-in-law to Anna Black Morin and Eric Morin and best-ever uncle to Ruby and Hattie Morin.

Lee was a bright and shining light of goodness and kindness everywhere, but his favorite place in the world was camp. Lee loved every little bit of camp life. He loved nature walks and the bird feeders in front of his bungalow. He loved funny hats and costumes at lineups. And he especially loved camp snacks.

Lee also loved the big stuff. The buses rolling in on Opening Day, the “Skeeter Swift,” the ‘A’ Game that takes place during Color Days — that his longtime friends and bunkmates still attend, and the 4th of July Fireworks display; Lee always curated the perfect pre-fireworks playlist, sharing his love of music with all of us.

“Lee’s Rink” is named after him and many campers have visited “Lee’s Forest” on the other side of Marvin’s house. It’s secluded, and you have to hike Chipmunk Trail to get there, but it’s one of the most beautiful, peaceful places at Pine Forest. It’s extraordinary but unassuming, like Lee.

Lee was a devoted, loving husband, son, grandson, brother and uncle. He was an outstanding camp director who never took himself too seriously. Lee’s greatest wish for everyone at camp was to feel the happiness he felt there. His legacy is found in each and every bunkmate, camper, and counselor’s life he touched, in the smile and laughter that will echo through the Forest when we think of him.

To honor Lee, donations are invited to the Hughie & Selma Black Foundation, funding organizations that provide camp experiences for children of all socio-economic backgrounds.

We look forward to celebrating Lee with our camp community in the future.

Remembering Aunt Blanche

Aunt Blanche Milligan, Beloved Outdoor Leader at PFC, passes away at age 102

Aunt Blanche was the Outdoor and Overnight Hiking leader at Pine Forest Camp for over 50 years. She was a very special part of PFC as was her husband Uncle Mike Milligan. For generations of campers, she embodied the beauty and strength of the great outdoors. She was an original. In her pleated khaki shorts and scout blouse, with windswept grey hair, she drove a green truck named “Greenie” and always had a trusty dog beside her. She was a camp legend.

Aunt Blanche lead many a camper to their first true encounter with the wonders of nature. She took girls out on overnight hikes, picked wild blueberries and taught them to cook over an open fire. She was a true naturalist and environmentalist long before the first Earth Day or an EPA. She was a Pioneer.

Aunt Blanche was a gentle but hearty soul. A humble, natural, unassuming woman, she took great joy in introducing campers to the simple, natural life. She knew that for some campers it would be the one and only time in their lives that they would come face to face with the natural, wild world. She was small in stature but she was mighty.

Aunt Blanche and her love of nature will always remain as much a part of Pine Forest as the pine trees that surround us during summer and the sounds of laughter in the mountain air. May her lasting legacy be the many lives she touched at camp and in the world.

For those Alumni who would like to make a donation in her memory, her family is recommending:

Juniata College: https://www.juniata.edu/ or the Central Pennsylvania Humane Society: https://www.centralpahumane.org/

Notes of condolences can be sent to Aunt Blanche’s sister, Carolyn Snow, at 143 Swartz Rd., Altoona, Pa. 16601

“Visiting Day” Summer 2020

Mitchell Field is empty, but my heart is full.

Usually today’s the one day, Visiting Day, that Mitchell Field is full of cars. Not this year. But camp IS alive with the sounds of happy campers as we host families for the second weekend of Family Camp 2020. They are here to connect to their camping roots. PFC is part of the rhythm of their lives. And it’s their love of camp and the fun that they, and the staff that are here, bring to this place, that fills my heart with gratitude, joy and optimism.

Before we finish Family Camp in just 2 weeks, we’ll have had almost 100 PFC families here! And we know that there are many, many who couldn’t come in person this summer but feel the ties that bind them to this special place. And they’ll be back.

This year, parents aren’t breaking the tape and running into camp, but we’ve got plenty of parents and campers running around, playing tennis, shooting hoops, paddling canoes and having a great time. And it feels good. It feels right.

There may be a hole in the summer, but it’s not forever. We have so much to be thankful for and so much to look forward to. So I’ll take a break on this special day, walk across the field that was named after me, the year that I was born, and I’ll think about the many happy families who reunited here and, most of all, I’ll look forward to the many, many more to come.

Mickey

Camp in Our Heart

“Camp in Our Heart” by Hillary Slovin, a PFC Alum & current camp parent:

As we’ve always said, Pine Forest Camp is so much more than just a place in Greeley, PA.  It’s a magical feeing that exists in our hearts and one we hold on to, all year long, until we can back be together again at camp.  Never has this been more true and more necessary for us parents and our children than it is now.  Our campers now have to carry feeling inside of them until they can be together again, “Up Where the Sky Begins.”

As a Mom of two kids at camp, it goes without saying how deeply I hoped they’d at camp this summer and how heartbroken we all are that they cannot be.  But, I thank our camp leaders for putting the safety of our children in the forefront and making the unimaginable decision to postpone camp until 2021. Although so strange and unfamiliar, we’re now figuring out what our summer will look like….participating in camp zoom calls, staying in touch with friends and hopefully making plans for seeing one another when it’s safe to do so.

Already my kids seem to be growing even closer to their camp friends (which didn’t even seem possible!) through all of this and their love and appreciation for PFC has deepened as well.  This is a silver lining for sure. So this is what camp looks like for now but thankfully it won’t be forever and summer 2021 will be here before we know it.  Until then, camp will continue to exist in our children hearts and minds, through their memories of summers past and in looking forward to their incredible summers at Pine Forest Camp that are yet to come.

Coping with the Loss of Camp

This National Emergency is an unprecedented Pandemic.  All children and adolescents need to recognize that this is happening to everyone around the World. Helping kids recover from disappointment has to be one of the harder jobs in parenting.  The good news is that overcoming disappointment can—with your help—be a significant learning opportunity for your child. Resilience is the rule with stress and disappointment.

Empathize With Your Child

Begin by acknowledging your child’s perception of what happened.  Kids have been looking forward to returning to camp since the day they left last August.  This is a big disappointment.

Many times, kids need some time to think before they can discuss their upset.  Give them space.  Let them know that you’ll be available when they are ready to talk.

When the time to talk arrives, your child will be able to see this situation more accurately and not be led by their feelings. Discuss what is most upsetting.

Dealing With Disappointed Kids When They Won’t Talk

Depending on their personality, your child may show disappointment in different ways. They may be upset and angry, in which case you need to help them to find a way to channel that upset in a constructive way.

If your child retreats when upset or sad, look for ways to draw them out. You might say, “I know you don’t want to talk about it, but when you are ready, we can discuss this.”

Resilience is the rule.  Kids will learn that this represents an unprecedented period in history and that “we will all get through this together.”

Tips for Parents

Remain calm; be hopeful; remain connected; model optimism and follow the guidance for safety.  We must all be guided by the science offered to us from the Center for Disease Control to minimize risk and protect everyone from the Coronavirus.

 

Victor M. Fornari, MD, MS

Vice Chair, Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

Director, Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

Department of Psychiatry

The Zucker Hillside Hospital &

Cohen’s Children’s Medical Center

75-59 263rd Street

Glen Oaks, New York 11004

 

Professor Psychiatry & Pediatrics

Donald & Barbara Zucker School of Medicine

At Hofstra/Northwell

 

Investigator, Center for Psychiatric Neuroscience

Feinstein Institute for Medical Research