Category Archives: The Pine Needle

Ned Bishop, Volunteer-in-Chief

Over the past twenty years a remarkable number of opportunities to volunteer one’s time to benefit Pine Island Camp have become available, and the many who have participated all agree that being a volunteer is the best way to return to Pine Island.  We’ll highlight a few of our amazing volunteers in the coming weeks, starting with Ned Bishop, PIC’s Volunteer-in-Chief.

Ned Bishop, camper, counselor, and long-time assistant director at Pine Island, began volunteering shortly after he retired as assistant director.  Ned’s innumerable contributions focus on setting up camp and the logistically challenging days between the annual Declaration of War and a couple of days after the campers leave.  As was recognized in his receiving the “Golden Clipboard” award several years ago, Ned is virtually indispensable when it comes to seeing to the details of opening and closing Pine Island.  He is the author (and faithful updater) of Opening and Closing: The Manual, the handbook that contains all the lists and jobs that need to be done before Opening Day and before the whole place is closed for the winter.  It is hard to describe fully how much director and assistant director stress is reduced when Ned is on the job, directing pre-camp work by the counselors, helping with War Game logistics (while also taking on a full umpiring load), and setting up everything we need to welcome 200+ people to the island for the Farewell Feed.  Ned also made it up for the Sloan Critchfield Memorial Boat Maintenance Weekend this year and spent many hours sanding and painting.  Ned is a fountain of knowledge and great stories about the recent and distant Pine Island past, and don’t make the mistake of being fooled by his friendly demeanor when you sit down after dinner for a game of cards!

Ned Bishop and Ben Swan.

What’s in A Name? Lots! Acronyms Blossom at PIC

Pine Island’s sense of humor has always been near the surface and usually operating at a very high level.  Campfire skits, trip announcements, passwords, Saturday Night Shows, and even trip reports are often hilarious.  No doubt what was funny in 1910 differs significantly from what cracked people up last summer, but the subtle art of acronyms, now very active at PIC, has been a feature of Pine Island summers for a long time. A flurry of acronyms surfaced in the 1960s and these days every activity produces an acronym to put at the top of their ranks chart.  Below are some memorable acronyms in approximately chronological order. Thanks to Harry Swan, who collected as many Pine Island acronyms as we could find.

KILL – team responsible for eradicating insect scourges.

The Kababa Insect Liquidation League


OAR – formed after the arrival of the Dynamite Payson-built dories.

The Organization for the Advancement of Rowing


DORY – booster organization for O.A.R.

Don’t Overlook Rowing, Y’all


DIVE – in which a swimming class is devoted to combing the bottom of the lake around the island, using fins, goggles, and snorkels, in search of interesting objects.

Dive Investigate Verify and Extract


PILE – the pre-camp work of removing all lumber, brush, and other refuse from the island.

Pine Island Lumber Extraction


ROTGUT – the pre-camp work of mowing, raking, trimming, and pruning on the mainland.

Removal OThe Grass, Ultra Team


WHAMWOW – the pre-camp work of washing windows and removing cobwebs and spider eggs from the exterior of buildings.

White-Hot Anti-spider Magic World OWindow Washing


FETID – an effort to locate and remove any dead fish, mice, birds, or squirrels causing foul odors on the island.

Find Everything That IDead


FAD – in which a fly-fishing instructor takes a few campers on a day trip to another body of water.

Fish All Day


FADED – an interest in fishing that threatens to override engagement in all other aspects of camp life.

Fish All Day Every Day


CLIK – a 4-day, 3-night kayaking trip that paddles the same waterways as the Chip Lakes canoe trip.

Chip Lakes IKayaks


ONG-BAK – A 4-day, 3-night rowing trip on the Kennebec River, beginning in Waterville and ending in Bath.

OAR Navigators Going Backwards Along the Kennebec


CAVALRY – the general effort to contain the spread of a stomach virus (commonly knowns as a “barf bug”) within camp.

Clean All Vomit And Locate Remaining Yackers


FEATHERBRAINS – any effort to free birds that have become trapped in camp buildings.

Forcibly Extracting Avian Tenants of Honk and Elsewhere, Result of Bad Radar and Inadequate Navigational Skills


BEARS – in which a camper’s stuff is in such irreparable disarray that it is necessary to remove his bed from the tent in order to better facilitate tent cleanup and reorganization.

Bed Extraction And Reclamation Service

Sarah’s Mountain Adventures Continue…

By Sumner Ford

The first known ascent of New Hampshire’s Mt. Washington was in 1642 by Darby Field. He summited the Northeast’s highest peak to prove that Abenaki gods did not live on top of the mountain.  Pine Island’s own Sarah Hunter, along with her husband Jason and their sons, long-time Pine Islanders Caleb and Silas, made the trek up Mt. Washington last spring, but with a far different goal in mind.

In September of 1998, Sarah was asked to join a friend on a mission to summit Mt. Hale in the White Mountains. Cold rain and a tree-covered summit did not inspire Sarah to continue hiking in the Whites.  The only reason she was on the proverbial dull peak was to help her friend toward her goal of hiking the 48 4,000-foot peaks in the White Mountains.

Caleb Hunter’s first summer at PIC was in 2014 and Silas arrived the following year.  Both proved to be “tripping fools,” spending large chunks of the summer out on trips, hiking trips in particular.  They returned home with spectacular tales of time on the trail and a newfound passion.

With both boys at camp, Sarah and Jason decided to see if they could handle the tortuous White Mountains. Sarah immediately caught the hiking bug. The following winter she began bagging peaks in the snow, ice, and cold.  We can only presume that this is because she found hiking in the summer to be too easy.  As her list of summited peaks grew, Sarah realized that she could hike all 48 of the 4,000-foot peaks in the Whites.  The pursuit would bring her to mountains off the beaten path and push her to hike when the weather was less than perfect.  

This past spring, on Father’s Day weekend, Sarah, Jason, Caleb, and Silas pushed to the summit of Mt. Washington, Sarah’s 48th summit, and Sarah became a member of the exclusive 4K Club.

Sarah has not retired from hiking.  She continues to help friends and family in their quests to become 4K Club members, sometimes re-climbing 4,000-footers she has already summited – Sarah has hiked Eisenhower five times!  Sarah is also attempting to complete her New England 67 – a compilation of all the 4,000-foot mountains in New England.  She has bagged 58, and by press time she should have 59 after her trip to Baxter State Park to summit North Brother on January 13.  Both Silas and Caleb have summited nearly 40 of their 67 New England peaks, many of which they climbed on Pine Island trips.

Sarah has inspired us so much that we hope to create a 48 program of our own, attempting to put a camper on every 4,000-foot peak in the Whites sometime soon.  

Innovation, Imagination, and Intrigue: A Summer of Sensational Saturday Night Shows – Part III

By Corinne Alsop

For the third show of the 2018 season, both groups of Expedition Campers, sixteen in all, directed by XCamp leaders Ian Ford, Satchel Toole, Nick Miller, and Cole Gibson, produced eX-Camper, based on the movie Big. The curtain opens on an alternate Pine Island universe in which counselors Matt Miller and Noah Brodsky (Sawyer Carson and Alex Lanoff) are wreaking havoc upon island life. Carson and Lanoff’s confident and audible performances brought life to their portrayals of the goofy pair. Miller’s own tent experiences the worst of the abuse of power: Will Napolitano, Tom Straus, and David Austin (themselves) suffer nobly through Miller’s treatment. Ben Brill, leading the first half of the show with his usual charm, gave a memorable performance as himself. Soon, Brill meets the stuffed cow genie, played with whimsy and excellent comedic timing by David Donoghue, who offers to grant Brill a single wish. The next morning, they awaken as fully-fledged counselors: Cole Wofford fearlessly takes on the role of Counselor David Austin, Garrett Gellert as the charismatic Counselor Ben Brill. But being a counselor is not as easy as it once seemed: in a single day, they’re accosted by a nervous mother (Alex Dhawan) and her first-year camper (Dylan Ashby), who hilariously list their concerns with the son’s many allergies. Austin is awakened by his camper (Anders Westermann) and learns he has overslept on his OD day. Other campers, played by Alex Sidorsky and Alex Desjonqueres, make life miserable with constant questions throughout his day. Even payday is a disappointment – Emily Swan (Anders Westermann) distributes paychecks that are a meager seventeen dollars. The pair wish desperately to return to their original camper form, and with lesson learned, the wish is granted. Through this show, the Expedition Campers proved their ability to work as a team to create something sensational.