Category Archives: volunteers

Sloan Weekend & Volunteer Week

The second weekend of September brought us great weather and a whole lot of generous volunteers who made their way to Pine Island to enjoy time on the lake, Amanda Pulver’s great meals and Sandy Holland’s amazing cakes and cookies, and to put in a lot of hard work to be sure that Pine Island’s fleet of beautiful wooden boats is ready for the opening of the 2020 camp season. Mission Accomplished! Thanks to crew boss Abe Stimson, all was ready by Friday so that everyone who showed up had something useful to do. We sanded and painted the Pine Island Skiffs, sanded and varnished oars, paddles, masts and spars, and did some boat repair too. A full moon was on display Saturday night and there was plenty of wood for the Dining Hall fireplace. Some volunteers stayed on for most of the following week to complete boat projects and take on a few new projects, while the First Cabin Crew (Satchel Toole, Cole Gibson, Dawson Loewen, and Sam Bristol) worked long hours on the reshingling of the Dining Hall and the north side of the kitchen building. 

Alumnus John Alsop put in several days with Ben Swan refurbishing the east side of the Pumphouse and rebuilding both the log structure and the steps to the kitchen. John completed two bonus projects: a cedar bench incorporated into the log structure in front of the Pumphouse and a 12-foot long pine bench that replaces the much-loved but well-worn hanging bench. Doug Handy worked all week on various projects, one of which allowed us to transfer all the Sloan Weekend supplies from Magoon to the boathouse. Emily Swan and Barb Swisher arrived at the end of the week to do a thorough job closing the kitchen for the winter.

Our thanks to everyone who made it up and worked so hard, including Gene Brown, Rob Whitehouse, Ron Lieber, Ben Herman, Jack Reed, Doug Handy, Mark Powers, AJ Powers, Adam Joyce, Madron Joyce, Cecily Pulver, Rip Swan, Barb Swisher, Josh Treat, Miles Frank, Natalie Burr, Kevin Hubbard, John Alsop, Sawyer Carson and Tanner Carson, and staff members Sumner Ford, Emily Swan, and Ben Swan.

If you have not attended a Sloan Critchfield Memorial Boat Maintenance Weekend, come on up next September! It is well worth the trip and it is of great importance to Pine Island to renew the fleet every year. 

Meet our Volunteers

John Alsop, Legal Lecturer for Staff Week, Mower in Chief at York’s Crossing, and Builder Extraordinaire

We’re in full swing getting the island ready for opening day and we couldn’t do it without the help of many volunteers, including former camper and counselor John Alsop. John is headed out to the island next week to help Ben finish up some crucial building projects, and he’ll be back the following week during staff orientation. John, a recently retired assistant attorney general for the State of Maine, generously joins us on the island after lunch one day each year to give an extremely helpful and enlightening short lecture to the counselors about to embark on six weeks of caring for 90 boys.  He covers Maine law in general and as it relates to caregivers in particular.

In addition, John has volunteered for the past several years to execute a crucial step in preparing both the campsite and the game site for the War Game.  John readily confesses that he is something of a heavy-equipment junkie.  He owns and operates his own skidder and more recently has become owner of a commercial-grade riding mower, the perfect machine for mowing the War Game campsite, access roads, center of town, squadron paths, and the roads running out from each gate.  A couple of weeks before the game and a week or so before the site is used for the Maine Woodsman/Junior Maine Woodsman testing trip, John comes out after work and mows acres of grass that has been growing since play was off the summer before. The result is something approaching an English park, and each year the grass gets more lush and beautiful.  John and director Ben Swan have been discussing possible further improvements to the site.   

Finally, John was part of the “A Team” who came out the Whitehead Light Station last fall to build the new workshop. Ben was awed by the speed and craftsmanship of the crew, and now that John has retired, Ben can’t wait wait to snag him for more building projects.

John is seen here in the middle – part of a crew that constructed the North Perch in 1999.

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.

Preparing for Winter

We’ve been busy over the last several weeks taking care of the island, buildings, and boats and securing the camp for winter.  Our annual Sloan Critchfield Boat Workshop Weekend was productive and fun, as always.  Many thanks to our terrific volunteers who scraped and painted the boats.  It’s not glamorous work, but it’s incredibly helpful.  Our fleet is now tucked away and in pristine condition for next summer.

The day before our volunteers arrived our beloved KWS was discovered by a Good Samaritan floating aimlessly around Oak Island. The chain that secured her to the anchor in the cove had broken, and off she went.  Ben retrieved the wayward launch and found that the heavy chain was still attached to the boat, along with the buoy.  A D.I.V.E (Dive Investigate Verify Extract) team was dispatched during the weekend and secured the chain and anchor.

The day before our volunteers arrived the KWS was discovered by a Good Samaritan floating aimlessly around Oak Island. Ben retrieved the wayward launch and found that the heavy chain was still attached to the boat, along with the buoy. A D.I.V.E (Dive Investigate Verify Extract) team was dispatched during Sloan Weekend and found that a shackle had come undone down by the anchor. She is safe and sound, now, on the mainland for the winter.

Rhoads Miller, Rip Swan, and Dan (brother-in-law of Jay Steiner) repaired the embankment and replaced the top logs at the dory dock during the Boat Workshop Weekend.

Rhoads Miller, Rip Swan, and Dan (brother-in-law of Jay Steiner) repaired the embankment and replaced the top logs at the dory dock during the Boat Workshop Weekend.

Work completed on the south side of the kitchen building with a decorative flair provided by contractor Dan Trembly.

Work completed on the south side of the kitchen building with a decorative flair provided by contractor Dan Trembly.

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End of the line.  Flower boxes loaded on the KWS at the kitchen dock.  They will spend the winter in Brunswick and Emily will plant them again in the spring.

End of the line. Flower boxes loaded on the KWS at the kitchen dock. They will spend the winter in Brunswick and Emily will plant them again in the spring.

Heading for the public landing with the outboard in tow to meet Alan Drinkwater to haul out the KWS for the winter.

Heading for the public landing with the outboard in tow to meet Alan Drinkwater to haul out the KWS for the winter.

The empty cove.

The empty cove.

The dory moorings and swim floats on the beach.

The dory moorings and swim floats on the beach.

Headed for the coast for the winter.

Headed for the coast for the winter.