Today marks the 90th year anniversary of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, http://www.appalachiantrail.org/, the organization responsible for protecting the longest hiking trail in the world. The Appalachian Trail stretches 2,185 miles from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mt. Katahdin in Maine. And it goes right through the Delaware Water Gap, not far from Pine Forest Camp. Many of our campers have hiked the Appalachian Trail, led by our intrepid leader Nafis. We have climbed its crests and camped in its valleys. Pine Forest campers salute the Conservancy and thank you for maintaining the beauty of our Appalachian Trail for all to enjoy.
Congratulations to our own PFC athletic Director Steve ”Chad” Chadwin on reaching his 600th win as coach of Abington Friends School. His Kangaroos have won 16 league titles. As Chad said when interviewed after the big win by the Philadelphia Inquirer, “No one person was bigger than the program…we’ve had kids who are able to buy into the team concept.” In his own humble way Chad always credits the group, but he is truly an outstanding individual leader, at school and at camp each summer at Pine Forest.
And Congratulations to Michael Silverman, Pine Forest alumni, old-timer and PFC parent who was sworn in as Mayor of the town of Livingston, New Jersey over the winter break last week. Michael has been a leader ever since his days as a General in Color War at PFC back in the 70’s. As Michael said, “I talk about camp and my experiences in so many of my speeches and talks….the PFC family has shaped my life in many ways… PFC is more than camp – it is LIFE”. We salute you Michael, for your commitment to public service and for your bonds with Pine Forest Camp.
Pine Forest Camp = Leadership.
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.
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.
PLAY DAY – Come Play! Visit us, eat lunch, spend the day and enjoy some activities…Stay a while! (No overnight). Register here!
See what it’s like to be a Pine Forest Camper! All of this footage was shot in one day at camp this past summer.
As we embark on our 85th summer, we want to express our heartfelt thanks for the 4 generations of campers and counselors who have been a part of Pine Forest Camp.
From the tree tops of Lauri Field to the shores of Lake Greeley, from Juniors to mighty Hi-Seniors, from great –grandparents to great –grandchildren, thank you all.
Every camp tells a story. Whether you went to PFC for one summer or ten, you have written Pine Forest’s story and it is filled with fun, friendship and love.
Keep the memories alive and the friendships strong, not just in summer but in every season of the year and of your life. Wherever you are, Pine Forest is with you. And after all of these years and all of those generations, that is a lot to be thankful for.
Happy 85th! Happy Thanksgiving!
Camp Reunion/Get Together
Sunday, November 9, 2014 11:00AM-1:00PM
Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlor & Restaurant
128 S. Federal Hwy
Dania Beach, FL 33004
Open House – Armonk, NY
Sunday, November 16, 2014 5:00PM-7:00PM
Call the office for more information!
Open House – Short Hills, NJ
Sunday, November 23, 2014 3:00PM-5:00PM
2 Fairfeld Terrace Dr.
Short Hills, NJ 07078
Open House – North Potomac, MD
Sunday, December 7, 2014 5:00PM-7:00PM
Call the office for more information!
Bowling in Philadelphia – New and Prospective Camper Party!
Saturday, January 10, 2015 1:00PM-3:00PM
The Playdrome in Devon
300 West Lancaster Ave.
Devon, PA 19333
Chelsea Piers Fun – New and Prospective Camper Party!
Sunday, January 11, 2015 1:30PM-3:30PM
The Field House at Chelsea Piers: Pier 62
New York, NY
Saturday, February 7th, 2015
New, Prospective, and Alumni Families!
Call the office for more information!
New Camper Weekend at Camp!
Saturday, June 6 – Sunday, June 7, Greeley, PA
Call the office for more information!
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.
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.
Keep the summer alive, all year long!
1) Keep in touch with camp friends! Call, text, email!
2) Login to Mom & Dad’s ‘MY PFC’ account and look at pics from this past summer!
3) Come to the 2014 reunion! Nov. 2, 10a-12p @ The Funplex in Mt. Laurel, NJ.
4) Read the blog and check for PFC events in your area!
5) Watch videos on the PFC Vimeo page! https://vimeo.com/pineforestcamp
6) Wear your PFC gear! 5K, Hughie Black, PFC Official…it all works! Take a pic and tag us!
7) Follow PFC on Instagram – @pineforestcamp – Use #PFC2015