A Hero in Everyone’s Eyes

Faster than a speeding bullet in Lake McWain, able to leap tall  cabins in a single bound—that was Pete Haas. A hero in everyone’s eyes, Pete is remembered as the consummate Birch  Rocker, a true gentleman, champion swimmer and proud United  States Marine. He embodied our ethos, Help the Other Fellow,  365 days a year. Pete flew Marine helicopters until his tragic  death in a training accident in 1982.  

And so 40 years ago, the Lt. Peter B. Haas Campership Fund  was created to keep his spirit alive for Birch Rockers who knew  and loved him, and for all those campers to come. 

Pete is legendary for his charisma, can-do attitude and rollicking  approach to motivating campers and staff. Inspired by his pride  in his Superman tee shirt, Pete started the hallowed BRC  tradition of choosing an exemplary boy each day to don the  coveted Supercamper shirt.  

Everybody knew when Pete commanded the waterfront—his  voice created a thundering reverberation up the hillside from the  lake. If you were one of the lucky lads to be part of his morning  swim class you would hear him bellow: “Ok, you handsome  brutes, let’s get fired up with some calisthenics and show ‘em all  what you got! It’s time to take off into the waters, as swimming  is a serious business. Let’s go for the gusto!” 

Born and raised in Mountain Lakes, New Jersey, young Pete  took to Birch Rock Camp like a loon to Lake McWain. He  masterfully rose through the ranks from camper to counselor to  waterfront director. After graduating from Thiel College in 

Greenville, PA, Pete entered the Marine Corps. Each summer  when he got off active duty, Pete would spend his military leave  volunteering at Birch Rock. “This place is like a fantasy island,”  he would quip. “You can be anyone you want to be and do  anything you want to do with a little imagination.”  

Pete had a genius for connecting with people of all ages and  backgrounds, and in his brief life he exemplified the BRC  maxim Shake a Hand, Make a Friend. Pete would always send  out dozens of holiday cards with summer camp pictures  attached. If it was your birthday, a long-distance call would be  dialed “person to person” to ensure you knew the connection  was complete and personalized (young people: ask a senior  about how telephones used to work in the old days!). 

When we think of Pete, we reflect on the profound goodness of  the human spirit. His selflessness and love of camp and  country made him a superhero in our eyes. Countless Birch  Rockers and friends have contributed prodigious sums to the  Lt. Peter B. Haas Campership Fund, which provides financial  assistance to a quarter of our campers each summer. 

With your gift in honor of Pete, Birch Rock will keep following  his example, giving campers awesome experiences that build  character, confidence and love of community.  

In the spirit of Help The Other Fellow

www.birchrock.org/donate

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