Category Archives: News from Camp

Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher

May 18 was a somber day, despite the bright sunshine and spring flowers in full bloom.  We spent the day letting the PIC community know that camp would not open in 2020.  Knowing that we had made the right decision definitely did not make it any easier, and I felt sad, nostalgic, and profoundly mournful all day. 

I spent much of the day at the desk in my office on the second floor of our house, which offers a perfect vantage point for observing spring migrants feeding in the maple trees in the back yard and a spinney of birches in the side yard.  Every year I see an amazing number of warbler species – up to 16 in a season – without ever leaving the house.  Although May 18 was a bad day for Pine Island, it was a great day for spring birding.  In addition to the usual cardinals, chickadees, nuthatches, cedar waxwings, and downy woodpeckers, I saw yellow, parula, black and white, Wilson’s, and magnolia warblers, redstarts, and chimney swifts. 

But there was another bird flitting energetically among the birches, definitely not one of the usual suspects.  After watching it closely through my binoculars for a few minutes and consulting my Peterson’s guide, I determined that it was a blue-gray gnatcatcher, a bird I had never before seen here in Brunswick, Maine and had seen only once before in my life many years ago at Whitehead.  Watching its tireless activity and cheery aspect was a bright spot in an otherwise bleak day.  Could this delightful little bird be an emissary from King Kababa, sent from Mt. Philip to remind me that Pine Island had been in tough places before and would find its way out of this one too?  Blue and Gray, resourceful, optimistic, energetic, hard-working, cheerful – a sign from the King if ever there was one.

Photo: Jesse Gordon/Audubon Photography Awards

Whoa, King Kababa!

With high hopes for a wonderful reunion back on Great Pond in 2021,

Emily Swan

At Camp for the Summer!

We’re busy at camp ensuring that our 118th summer is another great one and that all of our campers have opportunities to challenge themselves, to learn and grow, and to have fun!

Throughout the season, parents will stay connected to their sons through hand-written letters.  While some correspondence will surely be less descriptive than others (many parents have received that one liner: Send cookies ASAP), all letters from camp become a treasure. Letter writing is a wonderful way to communicate and, though a dying art in most of the country, it’s alive and well at Pine Island!

If you need to get in touch with us during the summer you can call our summer number 207-465-3031, email Sarah at shunter@pineisland.org, or write us a letter! Our summer address is:

Pine Island Camp
HC0 Box 200
Belgrade Lakes, Maine 04918

Pine Island’s 118th season is going to be another great one!

At Camp for the Summer

We’re busy at camp ensuring that our 117th summer is another great one and that all of our campers have opportunities to challenge themselves, to learn and grow, and to have fun!

Throughout the season, parents will stay connected to their sons through hand-written letters.  While some correspondence will surely be less descriptive than others (many parents have received that one liner: Send cookies ASAP), all letters from camp become a treasure. Letter writing is a wonderful way to communicate and, though a dying art in most of the country, it’s alive and well at Pine Island!

If you need to get in touch with us during the summer you can call our summer number 207-465-3031, email Sarah at shunter@pineisland.org, or write us a letter! Our summer address is:

Pine Island Camp
HC0 Box 200

Belgrade Lakes, Maine 04918

Pine Island’s 117th season is going to be another great one!

A beautiful afternoon for Opening Day 2018!

Frenchman Sets Waterskiing Record at Pine Island

July 15, 2016 was a day packed with eagerly anticipated activities. All campers and staff were in residence for only the second time all summer; the annual camp photo would be taken just after lunch; it was the day of the Regatta; and that night instead of campfire it would be Club Honk, a musical extravaganza, complete with a stage, elaborate lighting, and supergroups. However, perhaps the most eagerly anticipated event would come at the end of the regatta – the annual attempt by the burly Expedition Campers paddling the war canoe to get a camper up on water skis. The search had begun earlier in the day for the perfect skier – he must be the smallest camper available who has some experience in the sport. Impromptu interviews discovered a promising candidate in Dimitri C., a first-year camper from Paris.

Dimitri seemed remarkably calm in spite of the weight of history – success in all of the three previous attempts – on his young shoulders. He seemed confident in the strength and stamina of the men of Expedition Camp. Dimitri donned his life jacket and two staff members helped him get set up in the cove with two ancient water skis while the paddlers attached the extra-long tow rope to the war canoe and prepared to paddle. A large crowd gathered on the beach and chants of “Di-Mi-Tri!” rang out. Would it work again this year? Then they are off…paddling madly…the tow-rope comes taught…the attending counselors give a push…and…his skis nearly make it to the surface but he pitches forward. The crowd groans, Dimitri waves undaunted, and the war canoe makes a long loop back around to start again. Again the big blue Old Town surges forward with cries of “Stroke! Stroke”…the line comes taught…the skier wavers briefly but leans back and…he’s up! Huge cheers from the crowd on the beach who watch as Dimitri skis out across the lake… further and further…getting smaller and smaller…far enough so that an alert counselor hopped in the Cove Boat to be in attendance when the “engine” finally ran out of steam.

Dimitri was up for 51 seconds, a new waterskiing record at PIC.   He returned to the island in the Cove Boat triumphant but humble and ready for the next adventure. Well done, Expedition Camp 2016 and Dimitri!

This article was published in the 2017 Winter Edition of the Pine Needle.