Each month we are going to highlight a boys’ and girls’ cabin from our 2014 summer. To do this we have asked for reflections from the counselors and the campers in those cabins. We hope these reflections and stories give our newsletter readers a sense of the camaraderie, fun and spirit of our cabin life at FLC. We also hope it helps our campers keep their FLC memories alive throughout the year.
At 7:29, they had already been awake for half an hour. The boys of Cabin 6, just too darned excited for another full day of activities, were practically hanging from the rafters. We counselors, however—well, let’s just say that halfway through the month of August, we really could’ve used a sleep-in. “I hope there’s woodworking today so I can finish my coyote figure,” mused Raul, loudly. “You will miss it if you have waterskiing with me,” replied Jacky, even louder. “What about store? You’ll miss store if you go waterskiing!” cried George, loudest of all. I shot up in bed. Perhaps more gruffly than necessary, I growled “Guys! Just be quiet until reveille blows!” Immediately, reveille blew. Oliver shrieked with joy, jumped down from the top bunk, and ran up to my bed, swinging his t-shirt above his head in triumph. “Frank,” he laughed, “You just said ‘Be quiet until reveille’ and then reveille happened!” “I know,” I groaned, “I was there.”
So began a morning not unlike most other mornings at Forest Lake Camp, a morning full of teeth-brushing, bed-making, “don’t do that”-ing. We made sure that they were all dressed in accordance with the weather report, picked waiters, and marched down to breakfast, reminding the boys not to run down the hill to the mess hall. After eating, we marched back up to clean the cabin (by week two, we’d learned that we always needed to do a ‘real’ sweep after the ‘kid’ sweep). Then came activity sign-ups, and we were off to the races until our return to the cabin after evening activities. My co-counselors, Ben Kravitz and JC Winslow, and I always joked that we had the most difficult cabin. Looking back, I’d say it wasn’t really a joke. It was a reality. We had the hardest cabin at Forest Lake. And we wouldn’t have traded it for the world.
Yes, the day-to-day supervision of FLC’s youngest campers taxed us physically and mentally. Yet every time I paused to take stock of the preceding few days, I could not help but feel an intense pride in our cabin. I had never known that intense kind of warmth that comes from being absolutely, often desperately needed. I served as a surrogate father for those boys, and I think Ben and JC feel the same way. They opened up to us in ways I never thought possible, revealing an amazing amount of insight and a capacity for the purest type of kindness, the kindness that concerns itself entirely with the well-being of the other rather than any hint of individual gain. Every single moment was a teaching moment, from reveille to taps, and this was the ultimate paradox: that they needed to be taught everything was what the job so hard, but also what made it so very rewarding. Though it took me but fifteen minutes to teach Ryan how to tie his shoes, he’ll remember it for fifteen years (probably more). Moments like these gave me a radical appreciation for teaching and a profound respect for the shared experience of community life. We saw their tears—sometimes of sadness, but usually of joy. We saw their growth—sometimes physically, always spiritually. We saw their love—sometimes for fried food, often for one another and even, occasionally, for us. We saw them change from little boys to (very) young men. In fact, we didn’t just see it. We facilitated it. –Frank Pagliaro, Cabin 6 counselor
“My summer at FLC was special because I really enjoyed the campfire AND, I really loved this because it was at night and I could see the stars.” –Cabin 6, 1st Session – Gregory Keller
“We knew the summer at FLC was special when we received the picture of Gregory holding the foot long fish he caught in the lake with a foot long smile on his face. We also knew that attending camp was a great experience when we were walking back to the car on the day of pick up and he said “I really loved it here. I can’t wait to come back next year.”- Shawn and Teresa Keller, parents of Gregory Keller
“My summer at FLC was special because I got to do a lot of activities. I especially liked climbing because I reached my goal and climbed Yellow Brick Road. I’m really looking forward to next year” –Cabin 6, 1st Session -Oliver Herrick
“My summer at FLC was special because I had lots of friends to meet and everybody welcomed me. I really loved this because I made new friends and I felt included.” –Cabin 6, 1st Session – Liam Wilson
“My summer at FLC was special because I liked the overnight activity. I really loved this because it’s pretty cool and we can have marshmallows, collect firewood, burn sticks like we are in the Sahara Desert and we need help… So many funny things we can do!” –Cabin 6, 2nd Session – Jacky Guan
Do you like our cabin pictures? If so, visit and buy FLC 2014 cabin pictures on Pictage/ TINPAIL.