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NGI Recipient: Heather Pangle

Session Attended: CDS Boston Centre - July 4th Weekendl (2012)

Dear NGI Committee,

One of the many friendly faces who checked in with me to ask how I was enjoying my first Pinewoods experience commented a little wryly, “I can imagine that it might feel like coming to someone else’s family reunion.” I laughed and nodded: it captured something of what the experience was like. Coming to any camp, one expects to feel a little overwhelmed at first: a tight community with its own bonds and traditions is difficult to jump into. But the feeling that July 4th was a family reunion was also one of the things that made the weekend great: it may have not been my family, but it was an incredibly welcoming one, and as a family forged by shared pursuits and passions and time, it was only not my family reunion yet.

The helpfulness and friendliness of everyone at Pinewoods made a deep impression on me, and I was especially struck by the incredibly successful integration of generations. It was eye-opening to witness a healthy and vibrant intergenerational community seamlessly offer something for all ages and skill levels in a way that kept everyone integrated in the group as a whole. The outstanding quality of instruction helped to enable this during the day, and the spirit of the participants fostered it in the evenings. The delicious products from the kitchen and the Porch and Rail provided the fuel for this blaze of fun, and incredible music added spark to every dance.

Having been a dedicated ballet dancer during my teens, I’d lately been feeling the emptiness of a dancing-shaped hole in my soul, which Pinewoods successfully filled. I danced morning, noon, and night, and sang and swam when my feet got tired. I paddled across the lake watching a beautiful sunset, and waltzed as the dawn broke on the last morning. I can’t imagine a better weekend. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to attend!