We look back on the 107th summer at Runoia with a new lens of camp as an oasis for youth. On children and “screen time”, the National Institutes of Health reports: Most children spend about 3 hours a day watching TV. When you add in other screen time activities, it is closer to 5 – 7 hours a day. Too much screen time can:
- Increase your child’s risk of becoming obese
- Make it harder to get your child to go to bed and fall asleep at night
- Increase the chance that your child will develop attention problems, anxiety, and depression
At Runoia, our focus is on creating profound experiences for girls building lifelong skills. While Runoia has always been about community living (learning to get along with others), active lifestyles (life sports like canoeing, riding and tennis) and exploring the world around you (through adventure challenge, wilderness trips and art), today’s emphasis includes having an independent experience with sincere adults other than your parents, building self esteem through trying new things in a supportive environment, being the “stand up” girl and thinking of others – not only yourself – especially in the case of bullying or other exclusive behavior.
Moreover, the relevance of what we do every day with building life skills at camp is in partnership with 21st Century Learning and the concept of preparing campers to be team players, problem solvers, seek solutions and independently manage their lives at camp. Who knew camps would be on the cutting edge of education (P21), be referenced in the importance of “no child left inside” and in Michael Thompson PhD’s book “Homesick and Happy” How time away from parents can help a child grow? Unstructured play time is a buzz word in education and youth development and guess what camp offers throughout our daily schedule? Yep! Safe, unstructured play time. Although Lucy Weiser and Jessie Pond saw the importance of providing a summer experience for girls outside of the sweltering heat of New York City, is it possible they inherently knew how important summer camp really would be?
Today camp is an oasis for children to assuage their fears of being away from home, get time off from “screen time”, have fun times, reflective times, inspiring times, hear the sound of a loon across the lake, smell the fragrance of pine trees and sweet ferns, and meet a friend who may end up being a lifelong friend she’ll share these memories with forever. Camp – more relevant than ever!
Thanks to all of you who support girls going to camp – as parents, grandparents, donors and believers!