Renovation, not Demolition

  • Following my blog of Tuesday, I received many emails, tweets and Facebook responses — many of which made me realize that I had not provided a clear picture of our plans for Sol’leem, the building.  I want to clarify those misconceptions and hopefully provide some further insight into the reasoning behind the renovation.

    We are NOT tearing the building down.  We are absolutely using it as it is, frame-wise.  In all the cabins that have been paneled in somewhat recent years, the walls have remained intact.  The same is true here; all the signatures will remain intact where they are, but hidden under paneling which will be installed over them.  We will be keeping two wooden cabinets that currently have many signatures on them and we will be maintaining them in the central living room of the new housing, which will also include the fireplace and all of its signatures.  We encourage those attending the “So’long Sol’leem Celebration” on the  28th to add their signatures to those already on these cabinets, because after October 28th, the cabinets will be preserved with polyurethane for eternity, I promise.  If you would like your own, more moveable keepsake, we are going to auction off any furniture that people may want on October 28th, at the event at Camp Pembroke.

    Older campers, who live near Sol’leem, are in a rather remote area of the Camp Pembroke campus.  The closest adult residence is the HC in the horseshoe, where two head counselors currently live.  It is our belief that a head counselor or other responsible adult should be housed in all areas near where campers reside, to be available to them for advice, counsel, emergencies, and maybe a hug or two here and there.  To be honest, we also want to have an adult there because the counselors also have no consistent presence on “the hill,” and we feel that it would be irresponsible for us not to address their needs in this way.  An adult living in the area is there as a resource and an advisor.  Older campers have conflicts that may not be the same as those of the younger campers, but there are conflicts and issues nonetheless.  Having an adult in proximity can only help address, identify, and solve these issues more quickly.

    As for the short notice on the event, I do apologize for that.  The contractors would prefer to begin construction immediately, but I told them that construction could absolutely not begin until I had given our counselor staff and our alumnae an opportunity to visit their beloved building in its current form, one last time.  We need to dig trenches for electrical and plumbing — and these must be completed before the frost.  Therefore, time is of the essence and I have pushed the event as far out as I possibly could.  I was trying to take the weather and other factors into consideration, but I was determined to open Sol’leem to all of you before we changed it.

    I want and need you to be there.  You, the alumnae and counselor staff, are the ones who built Sol’leem, who used the building, who pooled your creativity within its walls  Please do not feel that we do not want you; nothing could be further from the truth.

    I hope I have addressed your concerns and those of your friends and peers.  Please know that I am trying to do what is best for Camp Pembroke, without destroying the tradition of Sol’leem.  The girls will continue to be initiated during their CA summer, and we will identify a spot for their signatures.  The dance and the song, which to me are the very core of the meaning of Sol’leem, will continue forever.  This is a tradition that we all love, that deserves to be maintained, and which will continue to live on at Camp Pembroke.

    With love,


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