Camp Runoia has a tradition of the losing team cheering the team who wins. It’s almost a game to see who can cheer first. Who thinks of others before themselves? Who praises a job well done? And who accepts defeat with humble gratitude to all the players who helped the team get as far as they could? The value of children learning how to lose graciously or win with good sportsmanship builds life long skills.
Accepting the outcome of a swim race, an official’s call on the softball field or the fact that the wind wasn’t blowing enough to have a sailing race at all, is part of managing disappointment. Celebrating victory and a job well done is also part of daily life at camp. Placing in a horse show or not placing in the top six spots and learning how to ask your friend who is staring down defeat, “how did you ride today? Were you happy with your ride” rather than focus on “did you get a blue ribbon”. The examples go on and on… Cheering on someone else’s success for getting up on water skis when you are still struggling. Learning how to frame a win or a loss or a success or defeat is practiced at camp every day.
The ultimate learning experience may be admitting when the Gaga ball hits your foot and you’re out but no one saw it. Ethics is doing the right thing even when no one else is looking. Camp teaches this kind of self-governed morality. Without a doubt, the culture of camp affects who we become in so many ways.
At Runoia, this “win-win, you tried your best, go back out and try again” culture is pervasive beyond field sports. You learn how to humbly congratulate the actor for getting the lead role when you didn’t. You smile and congratulate the artist who gets tops votes for their art piece when yours didn’t get many at all. Perhaps you even study what they did and learn from their success. Your cabin group works together to get the best score in cabin clean up. If someone is not as good as sweeping as you, you help them out, teach them how to do a better job. Better for all.
Making do with what your have or changing and trying harder and doing better the next time is all part of camp outcomes. How fortunate are we to be in a position where this happens day after day for a session or a season and hopefully year after year? Very.
The way Runoia gals cheer the winning team with a “Bobo” or “Kemo” is tradition. We cherish the way Blues and Whites hug each other on our final Cotillion night when the summer scores are revealed and campers find out who won the competition. Again, tradition.
We could all learn a thing or two from the campers and staff who play together well. Building life long skills through the camp experience is more than just fun and games on a lake in Maine.