This World is Pine Forest Camp

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.

A Piece of History

One of the best parts of Pine Forest being in continuous operation since 1931 are the stories we hear from alumni, our legacy. There’s nothing like seeing an old photo and knowing exactly where it was taken in camp. You can feel history come alive.

We recently heard from Rick Leonard whose mother and uncle attended Pine Forest in the 1930s. Bette and Stanley Scherdorf, often spoke fondly of their days at PFC. He shared a photo of each of them, one taken at The Friendship Bench which remains an iconic spot for PFC photos. Rick also shared a letter written by his grandfather to his mother while she was at camp in 1936 looking forward to seeing her on Visiting Day, the same week of the summer as it is today. Check out the postmark!

Thank you to the Scherdorf and Leonard family for sharing this piece of camp history. The real essence of camp is still exactly the same as it was in 1936: friends, fun and adventure. And those things are timeless.



Lenny Rapkin

This summer, one of the giants of Pine Forest leaders passed away, Lenny Rapkin, the boys camp Head Counselor and Director. Lenny was the ultimate camp director, confident, organized and fun. He led the boys camp in the late 1970’s and most of the 1980’s with gusto and humor. For most of those years Lenny’s counterpart was Edie Klein, head of the girls camp. In his perfectly pressed and matching jump suits, Lenny was one of PFC’s most popular leaders. His camp persona was like a combination of Mel Brooks and Gen. George Patton. His schedules were exact and comprehensive and boys camp ran with efficiency and care. Lenny and his dear wife Jane were a fixture at camp and his sons Mickey and Jonathan grew up at camp. Lenny and Jane’s grandchildren are currently PFC campers.

There was never a camp leader like Lenny Rapkin and there never will be again. He was a teacher, a leader and a role model to a generation of campers. The many, many lives he touched in boys camp and the men they became will be his lasting legacy.


A Small PFC World

Pine Forest Camp makes our world seem a little bit smaller, no matter how many summers we’ve spent there. Recently, PFC alumnus, former Color War General and father of 3 PFC campers, Jon, spotted a man in a PFC hat at a deli in Westchester, NY. When he went over to say hello, Jon met 94-year-old Herman Slotoroff, who attended Pine Forest in 1934. Uncle Marv remembers Herman and his family from his camp days! Herman still wears his PFC hat over 80 years later because of how fond his memories of it were, even after one summer.


When you are part of the PFC family, you are part of something special. It stretches back 86 years and 5 generations, from Greeley, PA, to a deli in Westchester and around the world.

Warmest wishes to Herman for continued good health and happy memories of his summer at camp!

unnamed                                                          Herman at PFC in 1934!

Rise and Shine

When I was a Junior camper in Greeley, Pa., many moons ago, we woke up each day to the sound of a bugle and our Division Leader calling out “Rise and Shine!” Sometimes he even sang the song (do you know the Rise and Shine song?), followed by what to wear, “longs and longs” (long sleeves and long pants) if there was a chill in the air or “shorts and shorts” on a sunny summer day. I loved hearing those words, rise and shine. It was a call to take on the day, be your best, get up and get going. We’d brush our teeth, comb our hair and head out of our bunk and up to line-up.

At line-up, we’d stand together as a bunk and one camper would step forward, salute the head counselor and say, ”All present and accounted for, Sir!” And if someone in the bunk was away, maybe in the infirmary or on a canoe trip, it would be, “One absent, but accounted for, Sir!”


I think about those camp mornings a lot these days. We’re headed into a new year and a new camp season, Pine Forest’s 86th. It may be winter, but before you know it, spring. Then, the best season of all, summer. It’s a new year, a new beginning, a new morning. Adventure and fun awaits. It’s time to get up and take on the day. It’s time to get going. And just like a bunk at line up, stick together. At camp it’s your bunk, but the rest of the year it’s your friends and family. Make sure that the people who are important to you are in your thoughts, that they are “all present and accounted for,” always. In life, like at lineup, when you are excited to take on the day, this new year, don’t be afraid to show it! Try your best. Stick together. Don’t give up. Make it count. Dream big.

Rise and Shine.

Happy New Year from PFC,


PFC Goes Hollywood!

IMG_1404PFC alumnus and Hollywood film director and actor, Brian Klugman screened his
new movie “Baby Baby Baby” at the Philadelphia Film Festival last month.
Pictured above, Brian is on the right with Barbara and Mickey Black, and PFC alum, Andy
Sternthal.  Brian directed and stars in the movie alongside co-star
Adrianna Palicki, with appearances by Bradley Cooper, Jessica Alba, Kelsey
Grammer, Cloris Leachman, and William Shatner.

And get this: Brian wears a PFC t-shirt in one of the scenes! We nominate him for an Academy Award!!

Click here to learn more about Brian’s new movie.