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 92nd summer has come to a close and it was one of the best ever.

Thank you one and all, campers and counselors, housekeeping and maintenance, nurses and doctors, office staff and drivers, 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, and FedEx.

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 we carry.

We’re so busy!

Color Days 2023 has officially wrapped up, and after an amazing 3 days of fun, we’re back to enjoying our regular programming. We’ve got an action-packed few days with league playoffs and championships, awards ceremonies, banquet and cabaret, candlelighting, and more! Trust us: we’ll take advantage of every minute we have and make the most of it all! 

We’ve been busy wrapping up athletics! The past 2 days, campers played football, basketball, soccer, newcomb, and more. Hi-seniors boys enjoyed their last time down at the lake yesterday, and the hi-senior girls are headed there today. 

Yesterday afternoon, we also had our annual Old Timers Club party – always a crowd favorite! Any camper or counselor who has been at camp for 3 years or more comes to this annual celebration. We had ice cream – with more toppings than you can imagine! – as we celebrated all of our summers here. What a blast! And early this morning, our hi-senior girls ventured down to the lake early in the morning while the rest of us slept for their annual Polar Plunge tradition.

Tonight, girls camp will gather for one of our favorite traditions: bunk Song & Cheer, while our lower camp boys will play an epic game of Capture the Flag together. Senior boys will play a favorite: Crystal Quest, and hi-seniors will have Auction Battle. Believe it or not, these activities will close out our regularly scheduled evening activities. Next up: banquet, cabaret, and candlelighting! How is it all coming to an end so soon? Say it ain’t so!

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?

Color Days – Summer 2023

Color Days 2023 has begun!

And the teams are…

Gold Summer Olympics
Blue Winter Olympics

What was the surprise, or “break,” to start it all?

A helicopter was heard circling camp as Taylor Swift’s greatest hits were heard all over Greeley. The helicopter landed briefly on Lauri Field and, soon after, an escorted Lincoln limousine made its way down girls’ loop to Netsy Playhouse. Could it be?!

Campers and counselors ran to Netsy Playhouse as a Taylor Swift impersonator serenaded them with four songs — which was just a distraction as the collegiate flags were swapped out on Chadwin Court for the flags of many countries. The Olympic theme song was heard from Chadwin Court and the campers made their way to the stands.

A parade of Summer and Winter Olympic athletes followed a flaming torch around the girls’ flagpole ending at Chadwin Court where a toga-clad Chad was waiting to announce this year’s Color Days theme.

It was the biggest parade Greeley, PA has seen in years!

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!

Taylor Swift (the Musical!)

Oh What a Night! 

All we can say is WOW! The energy at Netsy Playhouse was palpable tonight!

The excitement started after dinner, when our CAs rode and ran around camp in their blue and gold, blowing whistles, cheering loudly, and hyping everyone up for what turned out to be a FAKE BREAK! 

Next, we gathered as a camp to watch the most EPIC Taylor Swift inspired musical, written by our very own drama counselors. I mean, what better way to close out our totally Swiftie summer! The whole camp sang along as our amazing performers rocked the show. 

If it couldn’t get any better than that, with some smooth moves from our PFC leaders, they managed to pull off perhaps the most believable fake break of all time! I mean two fake breaks in one night?! Unheard of! 

While we’re disappointed that these breaks weren’t the real deal, you better believe we’ll be sleeping with our shoes by our beds tonight! You just never know…

Ping-Pong & Pickleball are all the Rage!

For the past several weeks, boys’ on lower camp have been participating in an informal ping-pong tournament. Junior boys’ division leader Steve Brooks helped to oversee the tourney, and weeks ago any camper who wanted to participate was added to the bracket. During free time, campers could find each other and have their matches, and winners were recorded. With so many campers participating, this took a few weeks to conclude, and finally just yesterday, lots of campers gathered ‘round the boys’ game deck as a junior and inter boy faced off in the championship. Who won isn’t as important as the amazing sportsmanship and excitement we saw from campers across boys’ camp! It was a great match, and there were many hugs and high-fives when it concluded.

Meanwhile, our new and improved pickleball courts have also been getting a lot of play this summer! At any given time during the day, you will find campers of all ages playing this fun and social sport. And you know what makes it extra awesome? Our amazing PFC counselors and leaders are just as into it as the campers, so you’ll often find campers and counselors playing together! 

We’re continuing to soak up EVERY SINGLE MINUTE of regular programming and fun like these activities. Before we know it, we’ll all be wrapped up in the excitement that the end of camp brings: Color Days, banquet, league championships, Candlelighting, and SO MUCH MORE!

PFC Traditions: Food Edition (Yum!)

Some of our favorite things about camp are the amazing traditions that we keep alive year after year! We’re so grateful for our old-timers – both campers and counselors – who help to keep these special traditions going, AND for our new campers and counselors, who help to add a fresh spin and new energy to them!

Our amazing Assistant Camp Director, Lisa “Summer Fun” Fayne, has spent 30 summers at PFC (!!!), so as you can imagine, she knows a thing or two about traditions, and she’s always sure to share with the rest of us!

This summer, she brought back two PFC food traditions that everyone’s drooling over! The first is making banana rockets over the campfire at outdoor rec. Delicioussss! The second is making homemade ice cream with campers! Lisa remembers when – many years ago – Uncle Hughie made ice cream here at camp. With the help of campers, he’d include all kinds of delicious and unique toppings, and everyone loved it! So this summer, Lisa brought out the good ol’ fashioned ice cream maker and she’s carrying on the tradition! Campers get to help pick out toppings and make this sweet treat to enjoy. How fun!