«Back to all NGI Letters

NGI Recipient: Jenna Taylor

Session Attended: Country Dance and Song Society - English Dance Week (2019)

My first Pinewoods experience began with the long drive from my small town of Newark, NY located outside of Rochester, to Plymouth.  I felt very lucky to not have had to make that long trip alone, as I was traveling with my friends Dan, Barb and Ruth, who are from my home dance community in Rochester, and have been there before.  The closer we got to Pinewoods, the more excited I became.  I remember when we drove down the dirt road following the sign leading to the camp.  I could hardly contain the joy and excitement that I was feeling inside.  I was so excited to attend English Week that I started packing as soon as my acceptance letter came.

Once we got to the camp, we stopped at the greeters shed and made our way to our respective cabins.  Dan and Barb were in Rory O’More and Ruth and I stayed in Pinecones, where I met Lynn and Carl.  I unpacked my bags and even chatted with my roommate Alex asking her about her past experiences here.  After asking her about the easiest way to get to the Camp House from Pinecones, I grabbed my backpack and camp map and made my way over for the camp tour.  There, Barb and Dan were waiting for me and already had people to introduce me to, including our new friend Katherine who’s from California.  It was there I met the tour guides Brooke Friendly and Anne Goodwin, and they were happy to tell me all about Pinewoods and what to look forward to as a first-time camper.  The tour ended at dinner, and from there I started my camper job helping wash dishes afterwards.  It just goes to show you, that you really can make friends everywhere you go.  That was where I met, Shira, Jeanne, Angela, and Carrie, just to name a few.

After dinner came the opening night dance and afterparty.  The feeling I had when I first stepped onto the floor of C# was indescribable.  The only thing I could think to compare it to was if I had just been taken over by the Holy Spirit.  It was just incredible!!  The dancing was so much fun, and the energy was so amazing I was overcome with joy and happiness.  I could not stop smiling the entire night or week for that matter.

Once the week began, I was taking a class during every period.  I was taking all of the Advanced English classes with my close friends Dan and Barb, and Dan and I also decided to take Longsword with Jan Elliot, and Morris Dancing led by our program director Alex Cumming.  Even though learning these new traditions was challenging in the beginning, Dan and I had an absolute blast every step of the way.  Every chance we got, we tried to incorporate some of the things we learned from Morris class into our English dances, when it was appropriate of course.

Over the course of English Week, I made so many new friends, and had the pleasure of meeting so many wonderful people like Lisa Greenleaf, Kate Barnes, Dave Langford, Jan Elliot, Scott Higgs, Steve Howe, Andrew Swaine, and many, many others who I hope to see again in the future, and also at future weeks together at Pinewoods.

When camp first began, I was told and encouraged to try new things.  Even though I was a bit hesitant at first, I am so glad that I made that decision.  I had so much fun learning Longsword and Morris, dancing my first Square, and also dancing new and challenging English and Contra dances.

Thank you so much to CDSS, the NGI committee and of course PCI.  I had the time of my life attending English Week this year, and I am already super excited to return again for the next one.