It started with French Toast and it only got better from there! Today was another great day at camp, followed by an even better evening! It was a special night on boys’ camp as campers, old and young, gathered together. Surprise! Meet your big or little brother. Unfold your crazy creek chairs. Relax. Get to know each other a little bit better! Roast s’mores and sing a few songs. Listen to stories of camp folklore, passed down through the ages. Life is good on boys’ camp.
A cheer went up on boys camp when tonight’s evening activities were announced and it was Capture the Assagi for Inter 5-6 grade boys. Woo hoo! There are a lot of rules (which not everyone totally understands), but somehow the camp erupts (and splits up!) into gold and blue — two teams run around camp looking for the hidden captain of the other team. It’s kind of like Stratego meets Capture the Flag meets Teenage Ninja Turtles. Boys and girl older campers donned their Hawaiian shirts and sunglasses for a Luau. And it came at just the right time! After a hot day like today campers love a night swim.
In camp we talk about good character. We want to acknowledge good character, but also we want to remind us about goodness and kindness. At the beginning of camp all bunks come up with Rules of the Bunk. One of them being having fun and making memories. We have a Good Vibes box that little “love notes” are written sometimes anonymously about another camper or counselors to continully spread good vibes in camp. An example could be about someone in your bunk helping you with your job during clean up. Another camper letting a friend borrow their stationary to write a letter.
In Girls Camp, we all get a bracelet that represents spelling out G.I.R.L.S. Gratitude, Inspiration, Respect, Love, and Support. The bracelet ceremony will be at our first all girls campfire this Friday.
In boys’ camp, we focus on The L.F.B. Way: Leadership, Fair Play, and Brotherhood – a tribute to Lee Forest Black. When boys camp gathers for line-up, counselors, camp leaders, and fellow campers can share about any campers they noticed that day exhibiting those characteristics, and those boys earn a special bracelet. It’s a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the big and small moments of kindness, brotherhood, and leadership that may otherwise go unnoticed. Throughout the summer, there will be many other ways we’ll continue to develop and celebrate these characteristics.
June is a crazy month. With end of year school work piled on, recitals, playoffs and camp packing, even my lists have lists! It really is the single most crazy month of year, at least for me and I am sure most of you can agree. As I keep telling myself, this is all the “good stuff” so I try not to stress because it really is true. How lucky we and our children are …to be wrapping up another successful school year and now they get to go to CAMP!! Lucky ducks.
Last week, I had the good fortune to be up at camp for New Camper Weekend with my son who is about to start camp. While there, my daughter, who has been already been at camp a few years, called me, stressed about her finals and things going on at home. All I could say to her was “don’t worry, it’ll be over soon and you’ll be here at camp before you know it. Camp couldn’t look more beautiful and it’s waiting for you with open arms.” She replied in four simple words,“I can’t wait, Mom.” Her reply brought tears to my eyes. It perfectly sums up why we do this. Yes, to have our children learn independence, make new friends, try new things, etc. But, my daughters words made me think even deeper.
Camp provides an escape for our kids…a place to truly get away from it all, and, purely and simply, just relax. In this modern age, I can’t imagine anything being more needed and important. For 10 months out of the year, our kids run around like crazy, live on their phones, engulfed by social media and technology. I am so thankful for Pine Forest and for the opportunity it provides to leave all that behind for 7 weeks. PFC is my daughter’s happy place on earth. I don’t know what she would do without it. She has grown to need camp, to work all year to have camp and to cherish camp all year long.
I share this story with you because my hope is that every child who steps foot off the bus on June 24th can exhale like I know my daughter will. I hope they truly feel that PFC is their home away from home and the place that they look forward to returning to and getting away from it all summer after summer.
Hillary, PFC Mom
It’s finally here! New Camper Weekend 2017! Did you know that each June we invite all new campers and their families to spend the whole weekend at camp a few short weeks before opening day? It’s a unique opportunity for campers and their families to connect with staff, meet future bunk mates and really start to feel at home in Greeley, PA. We don’t know any other camp that opens its doors the way we do, and we’re proud of it!
Attending New Camper Weekend? Here’s what you need to know!
Please arrive at camp between 11:30 AM and 12:45 PM on Saturday, June 3rd to experience your first camp lunch! Introductions begin around 1:00 PM. As a reminder, nights in the mountains can be quite chilly, so bring warm and comfortable clothing for the campfire and warm PJs, too! Don’t forget warm bedding or sleeping bags, and remember toiletries and towels as well. There will be free time to explore, so if you’d like to play, boat or swim as a family, bring tennis racquets, softball gloves, and bathing suits.
Stay tuned for live updates and photos from what will surely be a weekend of lifelong memories in the making! WELCOME NEW CAMPERS!
Camp is many things, like making new friends, having fun at activities and learning new skills. But at its core, going to camp is a return to nature. It is a simpler life, unplugged but connected to the wonders all around us. Smell the pines! Breathe in fresh mountain air! Listen to the sound of crickets at night! Feel the warmth of the sun on your shoulders. Happy Earth Day from Greeley, PA, “Up Where the Sky Begins.”
Here’s a short Earth Day quiz, Greeley edition!
What is the Pennsylvania state flower that can be found throughout our beautiful camp, just beginning to bud during this time of year?
Answer: The Mountain Laurel
What environmentally important site is located in Milford, Pennsylvania, one of the closest towns to camp?
Answer: Grey Towers in Milford is the original 1900 site of the Yale School of Forestry Summer Camp!
Who lived at Grey Towers, Milford and is known as the “Father of American Conservation”?
Answer: Gifford Pinchot
Every summer, campers canoe the Delaware and Lackawaxen rivers. The two rivers converge in Lackawaxen Pennsylvania, a beautiful spot very close to camp. What famous American bird do campers frequently see there, soaring high above them?
Answer: The American Bald Eagle. Lackawaxen is home to 200 bald eagles!
Camp is located in Pike County, named after Zebulon Motgomery Pike. What famous mountain did he discover and where is it located?
Answer: Pike’s Peak, Colorado
Our camp was one of the first camps in American to win the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Energy Star Award. Which of these things didn’t we do to earn it?
1) Change all light bulbs to LED
2) Cover the pools with special pool covers to preserve heat and lower use of energy
3) Recycle waste
4) Change from disposable dishes to reusable dishware
5) Hang underwear from the flagpole
We can’t believe it’s spring and the 2017 camping season will be here before we know it! We want you and your child to be as comfortable and as prepared as possible in the days leading up to camp. We thought it would be fun and helpful to share some fun facts about us so everyone is “in the know.”
Pine Forest is full of tradition, rituals and special names. Each one is so meaningful to both the campers and staff.
“Up Where the Sky Begins” – Pine Forest Camp slogan/philosophy
“When Lights Are Low” and “High In The Mountains” – PFC’s camp songs. among many others.
Blue and Gold– Camp colors.
Many of camp’s fields, courts and venues are named after camp’s founders Hughie and Selma Black, descendants as well as many old-timers.
“Hughie Hall”- Indoor venue that houses many camp activities, including basketball, broadcasting, yoga, fitness center and much more.
“Libby courts”- One of camps three sets of tennis courts.
“Netsy Playhouse”– Outdoor amphitheater where camps shows and services are held.
“Marvin Hall”- Outdoor gymnastics pavilion.
“Mitchell Field”– Large field near entrance for sports and campfires.
“Barbie’s Bar-B-Que”/AKA “The Grove”– Outdoor picnic area where campers are served a weekly cookout.
“Lauri Field”– Another large field at the top of camp that hosts various sports, including track and field. Great for star-gazing too!
“Lee’s Rink”- Hockey pavilion by Hughie Hall.
“Eric’s Fitness Center”– State-of-the-art fitness facility.
“Ruby’s Canteen”– Named after Uncle Hughie’s great-great granddaughter. Various times a week, campers look forward to special treats.
“Chadwin Court- AKA “Main Court”- Popular basketball court in the center of camp, with lights and stadium seating all around. Named after long-time athletic director Steve “Chad” Chadwin.
Lake Greeley – The walk to our beautiful lake is always a special one. Stroll down “Milligan’s Trail” and throw a stone to make a wish into “Lisa’s Heart-Shaped Pond.”
Blueberry Island– Camp’s private island by the lake where campers canoe to and explore.
The “Friendship” Tree – It used to be a sprawling spruce tree in the center of camp, but over the 87 years, it’s been reduced to more of a “beautiful” stump. With a white bench all around, it’s the main meeting place for campers and counselors in the center of camp, perfect for brothers and sisters to meet after dinner.
Bunk Names – The boys bunks are names after tree and the girls bunks are named after flowers.
The Old-Timers Tree – This old tree proudly displays plaques of the names of all campers and staff throughout our 84 years that have gone to camp for 10 years or more. It’s very exciting for old-timers to have their names permanently added for all time. There are almost 400 names now on the tree!
Hopefully this list will help you and your child feel even more a part of our camp family as we countdown to welcome you this summer. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you might have and we can’t wait to see your campers in less than 100 days!
This guest blog post was written by all-star former counselor and year round Staff Coordinator, Elly Wallace.
Many people will tell you that the key to a successful future in the workplace is a solid internship related to your field of (potential) expertise. While that may be true for a lot of people and a lot of careers, a job as a camp counselor can give you the skills to succeed in not only the workplace, but in all aspects of your life. We’ve come up with three major things a summer camp job has the potential to provide, but like anything else, you get out what you put in.
One of summer camp’s greatest qualities is its appreciation for individuality. The most notable counselors are the ones who sing the loudest, dress the craziest, and are willing to participate in any and all activities that his or her campers come up with. At camp, it’s hard to feel embarrassed. It is surprisingly easy to step out of your comfort zone and into the uninhibited summer camp lifestyle.
While being a camp counselor can give you a great deal of self-understanding and important life skills, the most successful counselors are those who are not at camp for themselves, but for the campers. Camp teaches you how to put the needs of your campers, or of any group, above your own. In order to deal with confrontations, homesickness, shower hour, and anything else that comes your way in the bunk, you have to know how to prioritize. As camp counselor, you are truly a surrogate parent for your campers and, while their problems may seem small to you, to them they are big and should be treated accordingly.
At camp, campers do not judge your ability to show them how to kick a soccer ball, make a friendship bracelet, or ride a zip line. We find that campers instantly idolize a counselor’s ability to do anything, giving you a solid platform to develop and transform your leadership skills from the get-go. You’ve been hired as a camp counselor and specialist in a specific activity; your accountability is already there. This gives you the time to focus on building your character, integrity, commitment, enthusiasm, and open-mindedness.
Interested in working at PFC? Check out our staff page!
87 (seasons) never looked so good!
It’s hard to capture the sounds of happy campers, the smell of fresh pines and the taste of s’mores on a starry night. But if you wander through the new PFC website it might just make you feel, for a moment, that you are “Up Where the Sky Begins.” It’s also chock full of information about camp and all that you need to know to get ready for summer.
And if you’re an alum, don’t forget to watch the “decades videos.” Pick your childhood decade and be transported back in time!
Imagine a world with no TVs, no cell phones and no internet access, where…
– “Mail” is simply on a piece of paper, hand written, with a pen.
– The only “gaming’ is on a field or a court.
– “Chatting” is done verbally: in a cabin, on a walk, over a meal or around a campfire, the purest form of “FaceTime.”
– You can only “like” something or someone by giving a real compliment, a smile or a hug.
– A ‘wink’ is done with eye contact and a grin, and ‘laughing so hard you cry’ is not an emoji but rather the funniest late-night bunk conversation that will live on for decades.
– The biggest news of the day is whose birthday it is, what evening activity will be or what’s for dinner.
– You don’t need to have hundreds of “friends,” instead you strive for a quality handful of the best, truest friends you could ever imagine.
– A “snap” is simply a hand gesture.
– Silly costumes are homemade or brought up in trunks not created with apps or filters.
– The only “tweet” comes from birds and being one with nature.
– A “house party” is getting to hang out in your cabin with your favorite people, bunk mates.
– The latest songs and videos come out of a bunk skit, song or cheer rather than top 40 radio hits.
– And, the only photos you take during the day are ones that live in your mind, providing you with lifelong memories.
This world is Pine Forest Camp. It was this way for me as a camper at PFC, and it’s the same for my own children. Kids need camp, now more than ever. I am tremendously thankful that my children get to turn off, unplug and disconnect every summer. Where else in the world can that truly happen? And, although they may not always admit it, I know that my kids wouldn’t have it any other way.