I have spent ten summers of my life at Runoia. I grew up there, and made some of the most amazing memories. Camp is not just a place anymore for me, it is a feeling of home. This past summer as I drove myself to camp for the first time I realized how much I had grown up. For the first time I was driving myself to a place that I called home, instead of having my family drive me, but as I was sitting in the car I realized that I was not going to be away from my family at all. I was returning to the family that I got to choose.
Pam and Alex have been in my life since I was 8 years old. They are my moms and they definitely had a hand in raising me. Camp was not just a place for me to learn activities, and later teach them, but a place for me to figure out who I was and who I wanted to be. I loved every activity at camp, and it is amazing to say that I made the basket that now sits on my desk, but the things I hold most dear are those that were outside of activities.
The things that you don’t even realize that you are learning are at times more valuable than the known skills, things like sharing a room, becoming a leader, asking for help, being able to laugh at yourself, and being independent. I still remember my Mom driving my sister and I to camp for the first time all those years ago. I was only nine years old and absolutely terrified. That summer I became known to Alex as the one who cried, and she, along with the rest of camp, made Runoia feel like home by the end. I ended up signing up for camp for the next six years, and then became a CIT and a counselor. I bet neither Pam nor Alex could have expected that the scared little girl they held that day would end up being there for the next decade.
At 20 years old I have spent half of my life at camp. I have laughed, cried, and made the best friendships imaginable. I can proudly say that I have Runoia sisters all over the world. I was even lucky enough to be able to visit them while I was living in Europe last semester. They were a little bit of home for me, and I was so fortunate to be able to visit them in their own countries. At camp I found family, and learned lessons that I am still discovering. Over ten years being a part of the Runoia family is incredible, and I have made friends that I will hopefully keep for the rest of my life. Being able to have the opportunity to be a camper and a counselor was amazing and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for my home away from home.