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. 

Summer Photos and Stories

Pine Island’s 118th season was another great one! Our campers earned ranks in their favorite activities and built solid shelters in woodcraft, beautiful projects in the workshop, and most importantly, a community in which each boy’s participation and energy was needed and valued. It was an incredible summer and we’re grateful to our campers, parents, staff and volunteers for making this season such a success.

For some more insight into our summer, you can view our 2019 At a Glance gallery and read the Mid-Summer Pine Needle, a terrific collection of camper articles and art. Enjoy!

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, 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!

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.