Wilt Chamberlain: PFC Alum…Sort of.

53 years ago today, Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points in a single basketball game. Did you know that before Wilt was famous, he worked in the kitchen at PFC!? He was actually “asked to leave”, but later came back to visit after much fame and fortune.

Some remember that when Wilt rode a horse out on Route 6 (not allowed nowadays) his feet would drag on the ground! We’re guessing that if Wilt played in one of our counselor basketball games today, he’d likely score 100 points again.

Here he is signing autographs and posing with Uncle Marv & Mickey.

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Finding An Overnight Camp That’s Truly Worth It.

You may have seen the blog “The Opposite of Spoiled” by Ron Leiber that appeared in the New York Times on December 11th, entitled “Finding an Overnight Camp that’s Truly Worth It.” If not, it’s worth the read. Leiber raises five “essential” questions that parents should ask when choosing a summer camp that is truly worth it. Here are the questions from the article and our answers. We think that they truly set Pine Forest apart, above and beyond others. Read on!

1) “Where are other children going?”

As Leiber says, this is a trick question. There is a natural instinct to send your child to the same camp as his or her friends in the neighborhood. The answer should be that a worthwhile overnight camp has a diversity of geographic areas represented. Overnight camp friends should not be the same as friends at home. That’s the biggest difference from day camp. Every child has friends from home and school, but let camp introduce him to a whole new group of friends, some that span great distances, with different interests, styles and stories. Let your child reinvent him or herself!  An investment in camp should broaden a child’s circle of friends and prepare him or her for making connections in college, in the work place and in life!

Here’s an interesting statistic: At PFC we have campers from 114 towns, 15 states and 4 countries. There’s a whole world of new friends out there, and they might be living right in your cabin!

2) “What are the retention figures?

This is one of our favorites. Once a child starts at camp there is a 90% return the next year. This continues until “graduating” as 11th graders. Our retention rates are truly amazing. The author asks if we do follow up on those few who don’t return, and of course we do. Every camper is an integral part of our camp family. Honestly, the few children who depart before their final year do so for reasons unrelated to camp, a family trip is planned, a team requires practice at home, etc.

The blog also asks the retention rate of counselors and the percentage of counselors who are former campers. Here’s an answer that you might not expect: first as to counselor retention, our standards are high. Counselors are not automatically asked to return, in fact we are very selective about who meets our standards. Also, the truth is that not every former camper makes a great counselor. The transition is not easy. Not every young adult can make the change from being the one who is looked after to the person who does the looking after. New counselors bring new ideas, new energy and a gung-ho spirit, that not every former camper possesses.  Our experience and firm belief is that the best counselor team is a mix, new and old. We want the most enthusiastic, positive role models for campers, whomever they are!

3) “What can they do here that they can’t do at home?” 

Here’s the beginning of a truly endless list that starts with wake-up and goes till lights-out. Good morning, it’s group clean up, then off to rock-climbing, mountain biking, martial arts, sailing, canoeing the rapids of the Delaware. Travel with your camp basketball team to play another camp. Experience Capture the Assagi, join a dance team, start a rock band, hike the Appalachian Trail, overnight in a yurt, cook wood-burning pizza, visit a Triple A small-town baseball game, act in a bunk skit, link arms with a whole camp and sing songs around a campfire that have been sung for generations.

And by the way, we try not to do things that you do at home. So on trips we stay in college dorms-not hotels, we don’t normally go to amusement parks, bowling, movie theaters. It’s on purpose! You can do that at home with your parents!

4) “What makes your camp unique?”

To us, that really is the most important question. Our camp organization is 85 years old and has been in one family for 5 generations. There are thousands of camps in the USA, hundreds that are old but very few, if any, can say that. Our longevity and track record is truly unmatched. Our facilities are modern. The range of activity choices, amazing. Our camp staff is second to none, filled with coaches and teachers and camp folk. The ratio of staff to campers, almost 2:1. We have a rare range of campers from all over. But it’s our 5 generations, 85 years, of down-to-earth, friendly, warm, accepting, earthy, kids of character who make Pine Forest unique.

5) “Can you tell me about the ties that bind?”

Here the author is really asking about the soul of a camp.  He mentions his daughter, at lineup, watching two staff members honored who fell in love and became engaged at camp. He’s speaking to a sense of self, a sense of identity that links a person to his or her camp for all of time.

All you have to do is look around Pine Forest to see our ties that bind: from names on courts and fields to our Old Timers Tree and memory wall spanning generations. As you probably know, we keep in touch with campers and alumni during the off-season in ways that go above and beyond any other camps we know of. Between reunions, local get-togethers, alumni events in cities around the country, and alumni Facebook pages, Pine Forest Camp is with our campers, in their daily lives, long after they’re campers. If you’ve never done so, just take a minute to check out our online database of Old Timers Tree names or our Married Couples Who Met at Camp link. Both speak to the heart and soul of camp, and that heart and soul is you: each and every past, present or future camper who spends one summer or ten in Greeley, PA.

2015 Explorers & Play Days!

Block out an Explorer weekend or play day for this coming summer…Our 85th Summer Anniversary!!!

We love giving tours, but to really feel the magic of camp, we encourage your future camper to stay with us! Either for the day or even two days and enjoy all that Pine Forest has to offer: the activities, the food, and especially the people!

EXPLORERS – Come up for the weekend for two fun-filled days and one night at camp! If your child is entering 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th grade and is not yet ready for camp, we encourage you to visit while camp is in session and try our Explorer Camp! Click here to register.

July 18,19

July 25,26 

OR..

PLAY DAY – Come Play! Visit us, eat lunch, spend the day and enjoy some activities…Stay a while! (No overnight). Register here!

July 11

August 2

 

For more information on tours, Explorers and play days contact Lisa Fayne: LisaSummerFun@aol.com – 301.340.7373

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Camp T-Shirt Day!

All over the USA (and the world…!) PFC campers, counselors and alumni are wearing BLUE & GOLD. That’s pretty cool!

We’re into it, but, feel free to wear your PFC gear everyday!

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Our Veteran: Uncle Marvin Black

On this Veteran’s Day we recognized with gratitude our own Pine Forest Camp Director, Marvin Black. Uncle Marvin, now 89, served in the US Navy in WWII and participated in the invasion of Okinawa in the South Pacific. He was a radioman on a landing craft that brought US Marines to the beaches during this crucial battle.

Many PFC counselors also served during WWII and in other conflicts. Uncle Marv remembers thinking of his parents and family back at Pine Forest Camp during the war. Although Uncle Marv said that he was homesick when he headed off to war, he took comfort in knowing that they were safe and sound back at camp in Greeley, Pa. He returned after the war to a hero’s welcome at camp and in his hometown of Upper Darby, Pa. Yesterday, Uncle Marvin and many other veterans were celebrated in a Veteran’s Day Parade. Uncle Marvin served our country with courage and valor and will forever be a bright, shining star in our proud Pine Forest Camp legacy. We salute you Uncle Marv!

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Jess Chadwin: Hall of Famer!

Congratulations to our very own Program Director, Jess Chadwin, on her induction into the Germantown Academy Sports Hall of Fame!

Jess is the daughter of Sherrea (former Girls Head Counselor) & Steve ‘Chad’ Chadwin (current Athletic Director) and spent many many summers as a camper at Pine Forest. We’re so lucky & happy to have her as part of the PFC leadership team!

Way to go, Jess! YOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

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Camp In The Fall!

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Stay Active, Campers!

Hi Camp Parents!

I can’t wait to see everyone at the reunion on Sunday!! It always reminds me about the power of camp in a child’s life even when we’re far from summer and Greeley, Pa.

If you haven’t read it, I  wanted to share the article “ A Brain Tonic for Children” by Gretchen Reynolds, that appeared in the New York Times recently.  http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/10/08/how-exercise-can-boost-the-childs-brain/?_r=0

In September in “Pediatrics”,  researchers at the University of Illinois published findings that proved that organized physical activity in 8 and 9 year olds improved their mental skills.

Camp does many things. In addition to the fun of high energy activity, the friends that come with improving social skills, I believe that a well-organized and supervised camp experience like ours can develops a child’s good judgment, problem s-solving  skills and mental acuity.

The positive impact of camp can last for an instant, a season and for a lifetime.

– Mickey

2014 Camp Reunion Reminders!

Summer 2014 Camp Reunion Reminders!

This Sunday, November 2, 2014
10:00AM-12:00PM

***REMEMBER: FALL BACK!***
***Daylight Savings Time ends in the early morning on the day of the reunion, so set your clock back!

The Funplex
3320-24 Route 38
Mt. Laurel, New Jersey 08054

Though parents are welcome, of course, they do not need to stay!
Looking forward to seeing your happy campers soon!

***Camp provides buses from Westchester, Livingston and MD! Call the camp office for more info! First come, first served!

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The Importance of Socks: And a few other things…

In somewhat of a list format. In no particular order of importance. An ongoing list…

– Clean socks and maintaining pairs. Mesh sock bag, clothes pins, endless bags of cheap socks. Whatever you gotta do. Socks matter! To me, at least.

– Try something new. Not easy, but worth it. An activity, a food, a friend. It doesn’t matter. Try it. It’s safe to try at camp.

– GaGa is a sport…

– Battery Ball.

– You can be ‘camp good’ at something. You know what I’m talking about.

– To this day, when traveling with a friend, I always assume I can just use someone else’s toothpaste. Not true. If you’re traveling with a friend from camp, you’re likely out of luck…And toothpaste.

– Music.  Summer songs for me included: Too Sexy, Under The Bridge, I’ll Be Missing You (Puff Daddy Version), Can’t Touch This, Informer, Summer Girls, Waterfalls, Two Princes, This Is How We Do it, American Pie  —— I’m not saying these songs represent my taste in music. I’m just saying that, when I hear them…I know the lyrics. Like, ALL the lyrics.

– If someone has a guitar at a campfire, you can’t NOT sing The Weight.

– Finding the perfect s’mores stick is a talent unto itself. Not to mention the actual s’more.

– No matter how old you get, no matter where life takes you, when you’re with your camp friends it’s as if no time has passed. Those same silly jokes are just as funny. If not, funnier.

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I’m seated on the ground, in the navy shirt, holding the sign. Likely in between scratching bugbites. One of my many summers in Bunk Banana over my tenure as a camper at PFC.