Campers on Pine Island hold up a canoe.

Parent Testimonials

Quotations from letters and e-mails we have received during the past few years.

“Pine Island is a home away from home for our sons. Every summer on the last day of camp they begin to count the days until they’ll return. They have made great friends from all over the world, have developed a love for camping and the outdoors, and have acquired life-long skills. Our sons have learned that trying new things is just as important as competition, and they return home with new self-confidence in all that they’ve accomplished. Ben Swan handpicks the counselors and staff. They are well trained and are great role models and mentors. The values that are important to us, such as respect for others, are reinforced at Pine Island.”

“Pine Island has been a wonderful experience for our son. He has found some new sports, like rowing and canoeing, that he loves, and he has found pleasure in time spent simply, without the distractions of computers, TV, cell phones and the other ‘indispensable’ equipment of modern life. Pine Island has a special magic, a magic strong enough to have my computer-game-playing son willingly unplug himself for four wonderful summers. His time spent at Pine Island will be something he remembers fondly for the rest of his life.”

“I believe that this past summer at Pine Island was, quite simply, one of the most important experiences of our son’s life and one of the best investments we could have made in his future.”

“When we came home from PIC last August, we were in awe of the counselors, the setting and facility, of you and your family, and of the changes we saw in William. As adults doing our adult things, we envied him. The awe I felt in that one day at PIC helped assure me that some things were right in the world. Seeing and hearing William move through his second year, my awe solidified. His letters were moving. The experiences he conveyed and the mental and emotional (not to mention the innumerable physical) changes we were seeing brought us such joy and pride. I can’t wait to learn just a few of things he has learned. He promised to teach me ‘a billion knots’.”

“Greg has come to love Pine Island in a way that I can’t fully understand because a six-week camp experience is something I never had. Pine Island is to him like a fifth limb – he has come to define a sizable part of himself by it – and he recounts memories and expresses his attachment on a regular basis. Really, it is a beautiful thing. So thank you for all you do, whatever it is you do up there. The Maine Woodsman is having to decline his Latin verbs and crunch the numbers, but the whole while he is longing to return to you.”

“Your counselors were so welcoming to me and enthusiastically goofy with Steve in front of me that it made me feel even better about his being at PIC. I hope that their poise and charm are part of what Steve learns this summer!”

“Just a note of appreciation after my visit this weekend. My time with Paul was some of the best we’ve ever shared. He has developed a great deal of personal insight this summer by letting go of the need for process and predictability. The supportive and nurturing environment you cultivate allowed our occasionally tightly wound boy to wind down and rediscover the thrill of just being.”

“He returned from each of the summers at Pine Island a more thoughtful, mature, and compassionate soul than when he arrived. There is no higher praise that I can offer than to share that result. It would also be an error for me to omit what I believe to be the role that Ben Swan and his very capable staff played in creating such a memorable experience. From my observations, the objectives and traditions of Pine Island Camp couldn’t possibly be in better hands.”

“I have meant to tell you for some time now how much Pine Island means and has meant to both of my sons ... Your letters to each parent about our child are inevitably thorough, caring, and on point. You have a way of addressing even issues that were an ‘issue’ in such a way that a parent feels cared for and heard.”

“Two weeks before the end of camp, we spoke to Jim. We could hear the ear-to-ear smile, feel his ease, share his joy.”

“There were two aspects of our son’s first year at Pine Island that stood out. Foremost was his unwavering enthusiasm for Pine Island before, during, and after the summer, combined with the positive impressions that both the people and experience clearly had on him. Equally impressive was the level of commitment from both Ben and the counselor in our son’s tent to ensure that he got the most out of the experience.”

“There are no adequate words to thank you for providing Josh with this summer. He carries his experience at Pine Island with him like a talisman, like the washer he wears on a string around his neck, like the songs he’s teaching his brother. His step has never been lighter and more sure-footed. He’s never been more present and centered. Never happier.”

“Throughout some tough years, Pine Island remained a wonderful memory – it was a time when he felt strong and competent and when he enjoyed the natural world and its splendors. I always thought that if he could have found a school that combined Pine Island’s unique blend of structure and freedom, he would have been more successful academically sooner than he was.”

“This year in our lives we have been blessed. High among the blessings I count is having two sons at Pine Island. It has been a troubling year for the world. I have found myself so tightly wrapped in the unfolding events and environmental issues facing us that at times I have felt desperation . . . . . Pine Island is the biggest sign of hope I have seen, well, in a year – since I last spent the day there.”

“Coming back to Pine Island was an extremely powerful experience for me – to share such a wonderful experience with one’s son, a whole generation apart, is truly a gift. It almost felt like I had never left. (Well, Honk Hall looks a bit different.) My kudos to you, your family and all the people who have maintained this place and its traditions for so many years.”

“Not having grown up with a camp experience, I was a bit skeptical but am a true convert based on the simplicity and serenity your camp has instilled in my son.”