A great way to visit Pine Island and pitch in.
I am proud to say that, with the exception of the Centennial Celebrations, Pine Islanders generally don't flock to reunions. And I know from my travels and correspondence and the generous response to our fundraising that this is not because Pine Islanders don't care. They do care, deeply, about Pine Island and its future, but Pine Islanders are, by and large, an independent lot and they are more interested in doing things than in talking about what they have done. This has been proven over and over again each time there has been a need for volunteers to come and help us at Pine Island or at Whitehead. My father always said you need a boss and a cook to make a volunteer crew fun and efficient, and I have found his advice well worth taking. I am happy to announce that Pine Island now offers two opportunities each year to return to Great Pond to enjoy the place, to eat well, and to get some work done. –Ben Swan
Because the response to our appeal for gifts to build two lovely wooden catboats in memory of Pine Islander Sloan Critchfield was so generous, Pine Island is now able to offer a volunteer opportunity that I have wanted to add for many years. Donations in Sloan's memory have enabled us to create a permanent fund, the income from which will pay the expenses of a fall boat maintenance weekend.
Pine Island Camp now owns fifteen wooden boats, including rowboats, canoes, and sailboats, and keeping them ship shape is both a challenge and a pleasure. As those of you who have worked as counselors in the Cove will remember, there is always plenty of boat maintenance to do and there never seems to be enough time to do it. The Sloan Critchfield Boat Workshop Weekend gives us the time we need to take care of our fleet, extend the life of the fleet by decades, and give Pine Island alumni and friends the opportunity to experience Great Pond and Pine Island in September, a treat few have been able to enjoy in the past. I have spent many days working on Pine Island in Septembers past and I can't adequately describe here how beautiful and serene it is. Generally we have warm days and chilly nights and there are few others on the lake. We will sand and paint boats and make minor repairs as needed. We will have good food and guidance from a wooden boat expert.
Pine Island has played the War Game every year since 1912, and every year the game has been umpired by volunteers. The umpires are integral participants in assuring the continuation of a unique tradition at a unique institution. Jun Swan once pointed out that the War Game has been attempted elsewhere without success. It works at Pine Island because the spirit of the Game is the same as the spirit of PIC: an exercise carried out in (mostly) good humor while acknowledging that each of us is deserving of caring respect from the community and all of its members. This spirit is exemplified by the scene when the final score is announced, which is probably unparalleled. The success of the War Game each summer depends on these quick-thinking, observant, impartial, Pine Islanders. No instant replays. The work, like that of a police officer involves long periods of boredom punctuated by brief periods of extreme stress. You have to get up early and be able to handle the extreme temperature fluctuations of York's Crossing. But, anyone who has done it will tell you, it is great fun. Besides hanging out at the Rink in the evening and taking dips in Great Pond, perhaps the best thing about being an umpire is that you are, in a small way, again directly involved in the greatest game ever invented. If you have the right stuff, you will be invited to take a gate on yourself. At this time Pine Island is in need of additional umpires for the coming summer and for the future. Most umpires arrive the evening of practice day. The 2017 game date is to be announced.
If you would like to participate in any of the volunteer opportunities described above, or just want more information, contact Ben Swan.