Our 2020 Summer

Pine Island 2020 Summer Programming

Since our decision to cancel camp this season we’ve received an outpouring of ideas and enthusiasm for some type of programming from PIC this summer. After much thought and discussion we’ve settled on a hybrid form of communication that involves a combination of pre-recorded demonstrations and live, interactive discussions.  We have a variety of skill-building tutorials, music lessons, reading recommendations, contests, and more planned throughout the next several weeks. This programming is available to everyone – current, past, and prospective camp families. You can learn more about our summer programming and how to participate here: Pine Island 2020 Summer Programming.




May 18, 2020 Note to Camp Community

Dear Pine Islanders,
Throughout the past several weeks Sumner, Emily, Ben and I have worked closely with our dedicated board of directors to find a way to hold camp this summer. We’ve sought guidance from a variety of medical professionals. We’ve filled our notebooks with plans and scenarios and contingencies. We’ve lost sleep. And we’ve shed tears . As you know, our number one priority every summer is the health and safety of our campers and staff.  Despite all our efforts, we just could not get there. We could not ensure the safety of our community this summer. It is with profound sadness that we share our decision to cancel camp this summer. For the first time in 119 years, Pine Island will not bear the footfalls of excited campers from around the world. We are terribly sorry.

Throughout the process we’ve been buoyed by the tremendous support of our camp families. We’ve received so many notes expressing kindness, empathy, and trust. Trust in us to learn all we can about the situation and to weigh the risks and to make the decision that’s best for Pine Island Camp.

Please take a moment to watch this video message from director Sumner Ford (above), which we shared with our camp families earlier today.

We know our campers needed camp now more than ever. We’re working on ways that we can support them and build our community this summer – albeit in a very different way – and we’ll share those plans with you in the coming weeks. For the moment, though, we all need to take some time to grieve this loss.  We humbly ask for your support, understanding, and trust during this difficult time.

With much sadness, but with high hopes for a wonderful reunion back on Great Pond in 2021,

Sarah Hunter
Communications Director

P.S. We’ve been enjoying the company of Pine Islanders during our Wednesday evening Campfire events on our Facebook page over the past several weeks. Our next Campfire will be on Wednesday, May 27th. We very much hope you will join us then.


April 21, 2020 Note to Alumni and Parents:
Dear Pine Islanders,
What an unprecedented time we live in. Pine Island Camp has weathered many storms — the 1918 Spanish influenza, two World Wars, and the Fire of ‘95 — and no camp season has ever been canceled or curtailed since our opening in 1902.

Right now, though, it is impossible to predict whether we will have camp this year. Ben, Emily, Sarah, our terrific Board of Directors, and I have been working hard to prepare Pine Island for whatever lies ahead. We are in contact with Maine Summer Camps and the State of Maine, and during the first week of May, we expect to have more clarity about what the summer holds for Pine Island. We have modeled the financial impacts of fewer campers, a shorter season, and even no season at all. One thing we know is that COVID-19 will have a significant financial impact on Pine Island. 

We’ll continue to keep you updated about our 119th season via email and on the COVID-19 page of our website. Once we have a clearer idea of what the summer holds, we will be in touch to appeal for your help in addressing the inevitable financial shortfall.

Meanwhile, I hope you have been remaining in touch via the Pine Needle, our e-newsletter, and/or social media. We aren’t letting social distancing keep us from connecting with Pine Islanders. We held our first-ever virtual campfire on April 15. Join us for the next one on our Facebook page at 8 p.m. on April 22, and…

Akka Lakka! 
Sumner Ford
Director


April 11, 2020 Newsletter:
Dear Friends of Pine Island Camp,
On daily (solo) bike rides through my rural community this week I’ve encountered one of my very favorite sounds – the lively chatter of spring peepers. It takes a long time for spring to take root in Maine, and every year when this chorus rings through the wetlands in our area it’s the most beautiful sound on Earth. It means spring is really here. And summer is right around the corner. This year more than ever, I’m looking forward to the changes this new season will bring.

The peeper chorus reminds me of another sound that is close to my heart – the call of the loons. Pine Islanders come to know these calls well as they echo across the lake at night. At first they can be a little unsettling – they have a mournful, human tone – but for most the loons become a comfort. I look forward to the summer nights when I can once again fall asleep to their calls. Until then, I invite you all to listen from your homes: The Call of the Loon.

As I wait to hear those calls ring out across Great Pond, I’m thinking of Pine Islanders all over the world. Some are safe in their homes, adjusting to their new normal. Some are separated from their loved ones because of suppressed immune systems. Some are carrying on in their jobs that are essential – doctors and nurses and others who are needed to ensure the safety of the rest of us. My thoughts are with all of them. All of you.

This week Maine Summer Camps indicated that it will likely be another month before we will have more clarity regarding if and when camps can open. While we wait for that decision we continue to monitor guidance being issued by state health authorities and to develop protocols for keeping our campers safe this summer, assuming we are able to open. Although much uncertainty remains, Director Sumner Ford and I have been busy mapping out possible operational scenarios!

In the meantime we’re offering a bit of PIC for you to enjoy at home. We’re excited to launch our Virtual Campfire series this week. And we hope you enjoy Sumner’s Password of the Day.

All the best,
Sarah Hunter
Communications Director


April 9, 2020 Note to Parents:
Dear 2020 Pine Island Camp Parents,
We hope you and your families are all safe and healthy. Normally we would be putting bills in the mail next week to collect the final tuition payment. However, given the uncertainty of our summer, we’re going to hold off a bit before sending those bills. The registration agreement indicates that the final payment is due May 1, but we’re going to push that back to May 15th for now.

This week Maine Summer Camps indicated that it will likely be another month before we will have more clarity regarding if and when camps can open. While we wait for that decision we continue to monitor guidance being issued by state health authorities and to develop protocols for keeping your boys safe this summer, assuming we are able to open. Although much uncertainty remains, we have been busy mapping out possible operational scenarios!

Just to be clear about our revised refund policy:
Will Pine Island refund tuition if we have to cancel camp?  
Yes, if Pine Island cancels or interrupts the summer program due to COVID-19, we will refund the tuition paid for the portion of camp missed. [You are eligible to roll over all payments (including the deposit) to 2021 as outlined in the Refund Options below.] 

Refund OptionsFamilies have a few options regarding refunds:

  1. Partial donation/partial roll over – parents who select this option will donate a portion of their 2020 tuition payments to PIC and the remainder will be rolled into their son’s 2021 tuition.*
  2. Partial donation/partial refund – parents who select this option will donate a portion of their 2020 tuition payments to PIC and the remainder will be refunded.
  3. Roll Over – we will move all of your 2020 payments towards your son’s 2021 tuition.*
  4. Refund – if you do not opt for one of the three options above, we will provide a refund as requested.

* Please note that parents who elect to roll over all or part of their 2020 tuition to 2021 will be locked in at 2020 tuition.  Any tuition increase will not be applied.

We very much hope that we will open as planned, but in case we cannot, we will work with each of you to determine the best course of action. Stay tuned! We will continue to keep you updated with weekly emails. In the meantime, please reach out with any questions or concerns. 

All the best,
Sarah and Sumner 


March 26, 2020 Note to Parents:
Dear 2020 Pine Island Camp Parents, 
We hope you and your families are all staying safe and healthy during this stressful and uncertain time. We are 13 weeks away from opening day and we are moving forward with our usual springtime tasks – hiring the last few staff members to round out our community, securing backcountry permits for trips in the White Mountains and Baxter State Park, reading through the parent forms that arrive in the mail daily, and more. 

Although we are continuing with our usual camp preparations, we recognize that circumstances beyond our control will dictate what this summer holds for summer camps in Maine. We have been monitoring and will continue to monitor all guidance we receive from our professional organization, Maine Summer Camps, and from the state. We are of course bound by whatever restrictions they impose to protect health and safety.  At the same time, we are working on several different scenarios in order to be prepared to operate within the parameters outlined by the state.  

We have received many kind notes from parents over the past few weeks and we are incredibly grateful for your support. Please know that we are working tirelessly to ensure your boys have the summer experience that they’ve been looking forward to. We know it’s more important than ever. We will continue to keep you updated with weekly emails. In the meantime, please reach out with any questions or concerns. 

All the best,
Sarah and Sumner


March 19, 2020 Newsletter:
Dear Friends of Pine Island Camp,
We hope this message finds you and your family safe and healthy. We understand that summer plans may be far from your thoughts right now with the many uncertainties ahead. We are busy preparing for a variety of scenarios and will continue to keep our 2020 camp families updated as new information emerges.

In the meantime, we invite you to catch up on PIC news. Our winter newsletter, The Pine Needle, recently made its way to mailboxes around the world and is now available to view in full color. This edition is full of volunteer projects, updates from camp, alumni news, staff adventures, and great stories from campers. The cover story – Campfire: Pine Island’s Musical Tradition Highlighted on Hit Album – is one of several great articles featured below.

The companion to our winter newsletter, the Mid-Summer Pine Needle, is also available on our website. This edition was written entirely by campers last summer and it’s a terrific window into the active, imaginative, and creative lives campers lead at PIC. [Bonus: If you’re looking for activities for your now-home-schooled-children, it includes a crossword puzzle.]

We would also like to offer you a small gift – our new PIC bumper sticker – as a thank you. The PIC community is remarkable. Together we’ve overcome many challenges through the years, some that seemed insurmountable. The current challenge is unprecedented, but so is your support. We’re grateful for each one of you. 

All the best,
Sarah Hunter
Communications Director