Summer Camp News and Blog

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 91st 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 Baggage, UPS, FedEx, and Ship Camps.

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 & Reminders

Time flies when you’re having fun and your campers will be home soon! 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 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?

Welcome to PFC Color Days 2022!

Color Days 2022 has begun!

And the teams are…

Yellowstone Gold vs. Acadia Blue

Our first National Park vs. the National Park where the sun rises first!
What was the surprise, or “break,” to start it all?

A bright red antique fire engine with sirens blasting and lights flashing? That would be enough. But it wasn’t just one fire engine, it wasn’t two or even three, it was four. They just kept coming down the road through camp. Then, from out of the woods onto Mitchell Field…moose, bear, park rangers and more. There might’ve even been a lobster! Then, two real race cars! They did a few exciting laps around the field, campers went crazy.

It was the biggest parade Greeley, PA has seen in years!
Happy 150th Anniversary to Yellowstone, and happy 91st to PFC!

Color Days lasts for 3 full days of competition with games, skits and songs all culminating in “The Sing.” To follow every score, game, and exciting moment, we have a special page designed just for PFC’s Color Days. Keep checking it for the latest news!

Let the fun and competition begin!

The UFG!

UFG! Ultimate Flag Grab tournament!

Here’s another PFC first. Niall, head of Martial Arts, came up with a new tournament. It’s the Ultimate Flag Grab, where one Junior/Inter camper tries to grab the flag on another camper’s belt in a confined circle of play. Kind of like wrestling meets flag football meets Gaga. And it’s one of the most popular games in camp. Niall had each contestant come up with their own UFG Name and the song for their introduction into the ring, just like the WWF.

There are about 50 “Ninjas,” with names like:

Drew, “The Penguin,” intro song, “Thunderstruck.”

Joey, “Black Dragon,” intro song, “Eye of the Tiger”

Max, “Maximus” intro song, “Right Foot Creep,”

Aiden, “Aider Gator,” intro song,  “the Macarena,”

and Jack, “J-Denk coming into the, “Final Countdown.”

And that’s just a sample!

Be nimble, be strong, be silly. It’s the UFG!

Divisional News | Boys’ Lower Camp

Junior boys had another great week. Bunk Orange won the Junior inspection challenge and had a party in Bunk Apple. The highlight of the week was our outing to Costa’s amusement park. The boys enjoyed the water slides, go-karts, mini golf, and of course, the ice cream. Only two weeks left in summer 2022. Let’s make it count.

The Intermediate boys continue to excel in the athletic arena. Football, basketball, and baseball have all been hugely entertaining. Bunk Banana won the inter division inspection challenge and received a party in Bunk Apple. The boys absolutely loved going to Costa’s amusement park this week. The races down the waterslides were epic. Less than two weeks to go in our 2022 summer. Let’s go!

Divisional News | Senior Girls

The senior girls had a fantastic fourth week of camp!! Evening activities included cake wars, celebrity scavenger hunt, and all girls swimming with camp songs and s’mores! We have had so much fun learning the game of ultimate frisbee up on Lauri Field. We get competitive while laughing and having fun! The senior girls worked for four weeks on choreography of their mtv night dance! Finally, on July 23rd each bunk performed in front of girls camp! Laurel, Jasmine, Marigold, Zinnia, and Yarrow all were incredible on stage!! Everyone loved checking in with their families on their visiting day Zooms and opening their visiting day boxes!

Don’t even get us started on how amazing Week 5 has been. SENIOR TRIPS!

The History of the 10-Year Tree

It used to be called the “knotted tree” because high atop a tall oak tree on the way to the lake there appeared a large bulge, a huge twist at the very top. It was as if some giant, twisted the tree into a knot. For generations, PFC campers  gazed up at that knot in the sky and were amazed. One summer, a mighty storm swept across the mountaintop, with terrible thunder and wind. A bolt of lightning hit the famous knotted tree. It burst into many pieces. Incredibly the knot fell to the ground in one piece. Was it a miracle? Uncle Hughie Black, our founder, thought so and so he brought trucks to drag that enormous knot to the center of camp. He anchored it in the ground and placed a plaque for everyone who had spent 10 summers at PFC.  It became the “old-timers tree.” Today there are over 400 names on that knot.  And they will be there forever.

This year fifteen new names were added to the Old Timer’s tree.

Uncle Hughie thought it was a miracle. It still is.


Blake’s Gaga Tournament

Sometimes the best ideas come from campers and are totally original.

At PFC, you can come up with an idea for a game or a tournament and counselors/division leaders will make it happen. Blake in bunk Cedar, entering 4th grader, thought it would be exciting to organize a Gaga tournament. On his own (and with a little help from his counselors)  he conducted sign ups, devised a bracket and built a handmade wooden Gaga trophy (in the shape of a Gaga pit) to give to the winning individual, the last man standing.

There are now 48 participants, and a new PFC tradition has begun. Thank you, Commissioner and creator, Blake!

Divisional News | Lower Camp Boys

Junior boys had another great week. The inspection challenge is off and running as each bunk competes for the weekly cleanest bunk award. The winner gets a party in Bunk Apple. The weather continues to be amazing allowing the boys to take advantage of every camp activity. Virtual Visiting Day was a highlight as were the boxes each camper got to open up and share with their buddies. If the last three weeks are anywhere near as enjoyable as the first four, we’re in for a heck of a summer.

The Intermediate boys are proving why they’re as athletically driven as any division in camp. The All-Star game was enjoyed by all. The boys enjoyed hot dogs, popcorn, the annual counselor Home Run Derby contest and the first few innings of the actual game. Shark Tank was an evening activity highlight as each bunk created a product for the counselors to buy shares in. Perhaps the best idea was a lollipop that had an edible stick. Virtual Visiting Day was a blast.