Quintessentially Camp

You hear a series of car horns in the middle of the night. To most people, this indicates a disgruntled driver in the neighborhood. To camp people, the first instinct is COLOR DAYS! This is just one of the many examples of what makes “camp people” unique.

Camp is unlike any other experience. You spend two months in the woods, living in a cabin with a group of kids your age and some (really cool) college students. You do everything together; eat meals, sleep, rock climb, write letters, swim, play sports, make up dances, paint pottery – you name it. These experiences cultivate a shared understanding. You develop a respect for one another that’s different from the one you have for peers at school.

Below are some of the things that make camp, camp!

Campfires
There’s nothing like sitting around a crackling campfire under the stars with your summer family. You listen to stories, watch skits, sing songs, and eat s’mores. It’s a shared experience that strengthens the bond of camp friends and represents the unique connection we have with nature. It’s one of camp’s most long-lasting and meaningful traditions and links us to generations of Pine Forest campers and counselors.

Friendship Bracelets
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Anyone who has spent time at camp is familiar with the term “camp arm.” This expression is used to describe the seemingly endless amount of bracelets that blanket the arms of our female campers. The bracelets at camp aren’t fancyy. Friendship bracelets are simple, timeless. All you need is string (the more colors, the better), beads, gimp, rubber bands, and just about anything else you can find at arts and crafts. They are a reminder of special times with summer sisters and oftentimes remain on camper arms in September, much to the chagrin of their parents.

Singing
In the dining hall, on a bunkmate’s birthday, around the campfire, and before bed every night are just a few examples of when we come together to sing at camp. We use songs as closure at the end of Color Days and at the Candlelight Ceremony on the last night of camp. Friends, friends, friends, we will always be…

Color War
1, 2, 3, 4, we want color war! There is nothing like Color Days at PFC. Though it starts around the same time every summer, the actual breakout is unpredictable and one of the biggest highlights of summer. Complete with a Marching Band leading the charge, this past summer’s was particularly magical and surely will not be forgotten. Campers show support for their team in head-to-toe blue or gold, including high socks, face paint, headbands, and costumes that align with the theme. They lose their voices as they cheer on their teammates in Find the Hatchet, skits, races, and sporting events. They proudly hold signs supporting their generals and players during A-Game. Tears are shed as Color Days come to a close and PFC unites as one camp family again.

Crazy OutfitsPhoto307 (3) One of the best things about camp is that it allows you to let your guard down and be yourself. It’s cool to be different at camp, and that’s one of the many reasons that camp fosters confidence. Without this added pressure, we’re not afraid to cover ourselves in blue and yellow face paint or show up to breakfast in a tutu, or evening activity in a toga. Always wanted to dance on stage in a purple wig? Go ahead! It’s camp.

 

Unplugging
Now more than ever before, unplugging from the internet at camp has become a sacred tradition. This is something campers come to really appreciate. Interactions become more meaningful, they learn to appreciate time spent outside, they write letters. At camp, there’s no pressure to have the highest number of friends or likes, and text messages are replaced with face-to-face conversations. It gets increasingly more difficult with time to imagine a child keeping themselves entertained in a room without screens. Then how, we ask, is it possible that you can’t get bored at camp?!

Teamwork
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Everyone is a winner at camp. You are free to try any activity you’d like, no matter what your skill level is. In fact, you have to! We all do! We’re all in it together. Your camp friends and counselors will be filled with pride as you hit your first home run, catch a fish, or earn a role in the play. From the beginning of the day when you motivate each other to get to breakfast on time, to doing your assigned job during cleanup, to trying to win the scavenger hunt at evening program, you spend your day working as a team.

 

 

Tradition
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All of the above elements of camp represent tradition. The word “tradition” is used to describe customs that are passed down from generation to generation. Whether you went to PFC in 1945 or 2022, you likely had many of the same experiences. These generational ties are an incredibly special part of camp. Taps and Friends, the Candlelight Ceremony, and A-Game are just a few. There are many other traditions unique to PFC that have remained the same for decades. This includes canoeing to Blueberry Island, Marv’s campfire, and lower camp overnights. Camp traditions are sacred and become some of our most cherished childhood memories. What are some other things that only camp people understand?

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!