Another Great Summer!

Pine Island’s 121st season was another great one! Our campers earned ranks in their favorite activities; paddled and hiked throughout the remote north woods of New England; acted in (and even produced!) riveting Saturday Night Shows; and most importantly, created a community in which each boy’s participation and energy was needed and valued. 

We’ve compiled some of our favorite photos from the trail and around camp into our 2023 At-a-Glance gallery. Special thanks to the staff, volunteers, and parents who contributed to this album, including Robin Pfahning, who took this shot of the Farewell Ceremony, and Kate Skogen, who volunteered her photography skills around camp, on the trail, and at Whitehead this summer.

It was an incredible summer and we’re grateful to our campers for stepping out of their comfort zones to grow, learn, and challenge themselves; to our staff for their creativity, patience, and care; to our volunteers for their valuable time and skills; and to our camp parents for their trust in us. Our season depended on every one of you, and every one of you came through to make it another great summer.

Thank you,
Sarah Hunter
Communications Director

Our 121st season is about to begin!

On Friday, June 23rd, we’ll welcome a terrific group of boys from seventeen states and four countries to Pine Island. We’re excited to share the next six weeks with them!

Each day at Pine Island is a chance to try something new: learning to sail, rolling a kayak, swimming to the mainland, crafting a chair, cooking over a fire, starring in a Saturday Night Show… As campers make their way through the ranks of their chosen activities, these skills add up. And in the end, they’ll come away with far more than a patch in their hand; they’ll have the confidence that only earned achievement can provide. It won’t all be easy, but it will all be worth it. 

When they’re not earning ranks in activities, they’ll be out on trips. We take great care in crafting these expeditions, which range from one-night excursions to weeks-long journeys on the trails and waterways of New England. Our campers will fish iconic rivers, backpack through Baxter State Park, traverse the Presidential Range, paddle tranquil waters, and navigate class-2 rapids. They’ll maintain a section of the Appalachian Trail, explore tide pools on Whitehead Island, and follow Thoreau’s journey on the Allagash Wilderness Waterway. From beginner trips to challenging expeditions, we have something for all our campers. We provide the options; they pick their adventures. If you see them out on the trail this summer, please say hello.

We’re grateful to all the parents, volunteers, and donors who have made this upcoming season possible – thank you!

If you need to contact us during the summer, call us at 207-465-3031, email Sarah at, or write us a letter! Our summer address is:

Pine Island Camp 
HC0 Box 200
Belgrade Lakes, Maine 04918 

Thank you,
Sumner Ford

Whoa! Advanced Stats Ahead!

New program poised to revolutionize PIC performance analytics
By Xander Schwartz

Pine Island’s position at the pinnacle of summer camp excellence is well-established and in no danger of diminishing, but several months ago, my associates and I became aware of a potentially disturbing development. The details are hopelessly technical and need not be repeated here, but the overall trend was worryingly clear: Quantification of the camp experience (never particularly robust even in the pre-internet age) had been neglected for years and become woefully inadequate—not even remotely next-gen in comparison to the competition.

The situation was so dire that there was no time to consult (or indeed, even inform) the Board of Directors or anyone else in the PIC leadership. Instead, recognizing the need for immediate action, my colleagues and I promptly formed our new organization; wrote, debated and ratified a number of impressively detailed founding documents; and got straight to work.

Since that momentous day, our team at PINE SAP (Pine Island’s Newly Exhaustive Statistical Analytics Program) has been laboring diligently; collecting advanced data under the watchful eyes of Zommule of Zim, the Omnioccular Wiggly Ziggler; running Spamson the Somnolent Sloth’s painfully slow, yet highly advanced models; and crunching advanced numbers with Glubb the Gourmandizing Grouper day in and day out. A dizzying array of projects remain in the works, but thankfully (and just in time for this year’s Pine Needle) PINE SAP has managed to complete its first report on an activity central to the camp experience: Dustball.

The question has lingered in the minds of dustball players for years: “Do LTIPs really throw as hard as it feels like they do?” Well, analysis of over two decades of relevant data has found the answer to be a resounding: YES!

As the above figure shows, the average LTIP beams the ball across the Dust Court at more than twice the speed of even the average counselor, and faster than the average Ridge, Range, and Aristocracy camper combined. Our analysts recommend taking shelter behind a larger camper whenever an LTIP gains possession of the ball.

But as any experienced dustballer knows, velocity is not the only relevant factor. Movement of the ball in flight is just as important, and this past summer, we finally acquired the technology to measure this with adequate precision.

As the above figure shows, a higher spin rate on the ball led to a markedly increased chance of successfully hitting an opposing player. The reasons for this cannot yet be definitively stated, but our analysts believe that the added unpredictability of the ball’s flight path causes the targeted player to lose precious milliseconds as they try to decide which dodge to employ. In any case, as these insights are put into practice on the Dust Court next summer, we expect to see a dramatic increase in average spin rate—along with a corresponding spike in instances of the ball ending up in the lake as overzealous young campers attempt to achieve maximum RPM.

That’s all for now, but stay tuned! PINE SAP’s mission has just begun, and it will not be complete until we have provided next-gen statistical analysis of all aspects of camp life. The digital revolution is here, and we will not rest until PIC is at the absolute cutting edge of summer camp performance analytics.

Till next time, Akka Lakka!

Xander Schwartz, K.D.
PINE SAP Founder and COO (Communications Optimization Officer)

A Bulkhead for Bulk Workers!

New Cabin on Honk Hill Will Be Permanent LTIP Quarters
by Miles Frank

Since the foundation of Pine Island’s illustrious Leadership Training Internship Program, its staff of rising high-school seniors, known as LTIPs, have been semi-nomadic, living in a variety of places around the island: North Hampton, Tent 1, Kopa Kababa, even a short-lived tent platform on the western slope of Honk Hill. But this unfortunate circumstance has, at long last, been rectified. Next summer, more than two decades after the first LTIPs donned their perch gloves, these essential workers will finally have comfortable, dedicated quarters all to themselves.

And it is well deserved, for the LTIPs are responsible for all things maintenance. Along with their numerous daily duties, they typically engage in a few key work projects, which involve a great deal of digging, hauling, and hammering. It is bulk work. By summer’s end, the LTIPs move about the island with trained eyes, noticing what needs repair and what can be improved. Above all, they develop an appreciation for hard work.

It is therefore especially apt that they will stay in a building honoring Tim Nagler. A tremendous amount of maintenance and improvement work was completed at PIC under Tim’s guidance, a direct result of his unbridled enthusiasm and sheer force of personality. From ‘Island Buildup,’ a years-long campaign of lugging stones ashore from the Great Pond lakebed, to the custom installation of skylights in many buildings, to countless other projects, Tim’s monumental efforts left their mark on Pine Island. 

The newly completed Bulkhead beside its larger counterpart, Honk Hall.
Note the diamond-shaped window above the door.

Designed by builder and engineer Rip Swan, the new LTIP cabin, known as the Bulkhead, honors Tim’s legacy by elegantly balancing his aesthetic preferences within the confines of limited island space. Standing proudly beside Honk Hall, the Bulkhead has several design features that mirror its older, grander neighbor, the most notable of which is a small diamond-shaped window above the front doorway. The diamond window in Honk Hall was one of Tim’s favorite features, and one that he made sure was included in the design when Honk was rebuilt after the fire of 1995. Seven total windows, including three large ones on the western wall, provide the Bulkhead with ample natural light, cool breezes, and, of course, spectacular views of Oak Island and Great Pond’s beautiful sunsets. In its prime spot at Pine Island’s highest point, the Bulkhead may soon come to symbolize the apex of island living.

The first stage of construction began in early May of 2022, when Rip and Miles Frank ventured out to the island on an unseasonably sweltering day to fell trees and dig post fittings, necessarily punctuated by frequent dips in the still-frigid lake. Stones were hauled, sono-tubes were set, and the post footings were poured later that week. Although they never displayed it, the 2022 LTIPs were undeniably (and understandably) a bit envious, gazing across the lawn from their canvas tent at the footprint of the new cabin-to-be. At the end of the summer, lumber was delivered and ferried across the lake. Rough-sawn and locally milled from high-quality white pine, this lumber contributes to the cabin’s distinctly rustic feel. Many thanks are due to volunteer extraordinaire John Alsop, who is very well connected in these matters and organized this key element of the build. 

The volunteer crew during construction, September 2022.

Principal construction took place in early September, when three of Tim’s five sons, Tom, Peter and Jim, joined Miles to frame and raise the building under Rip’s guidance, with Katie Swan and Corinne O’Connor providing delicious meals throughout the weekend. The crew was then joined by longtime Pine Islander and Nagler family friend Tom Yoder to help sheath the structure in fragrant cedar shingles. And just like that, Pine Island had a new cabin! A bit more work was still required: Ben Swan and John Alsop joined shortly thereafter to help install the windows, while Miles shingled the roof. Then came the slow task of trimming, painting, and siding, accomplished over the course of the fall by Miles and fall crew all-star Natalie Burr. 

In all, the Bulkhead is a fine new cabin: composed of quality materials, constructed with care, and built with purpose. Although brand new, it fits seamlessly into the island’s skyline, along with the newly re-sided Honk Hall and Magoon. The three buildings will weather together. Now draped in a layer of snow, the Bulkhead rests buttoned up with the island’s other buildings, ready to welcome its first LTIP occupants next summer. 

The interior of the Bulkhead, waiting to receive its first occupants next summer.
A plaque on the Bulkhead’s outer wall honors the legacy of Tim Nagler.