It is almost time for Camp Runoia on Great Pond in Belgrade Lakes, Maine to open for its 111th season.
As a camp where girls are encouraged to be themselves and grow as individuals one of the greatest legacies that our Runoia founders left us was that of camper led decision making. From the time Camp Runoia was founded girls and young women have had choices. Morning ‘tag up’ after breakfast has become a staple of how girls make decisions and plan their own days at camp. With around twenty different activity choices for each period there is something that appeals to everyone. Check out the choices!
In a world where many of our campers are in very academic school programs and spend their after school time running from one pre-scheduled activity to another ‘tagging up’ allows for freedom and individuality of choice. As parents of toddlers we are coached on giving choices to develop independent behavior but as children get older their decision making autonomy decreases.
There are no parents involved in how girls make choices at Runoia. The great news is that you don’t have to commit for a semester or a 10 week block and if you like something you can do more of it or if you don’t like it all that much you can choose something different next time. Youth involved decision making is a building block for developing life skills.
When girls make their own activity choices at camp or chose what they would like to do in their free time they can focus on themselves and their own needs and wants at that given moment. While some girls come to camp with a master plan for their choices others enjoy a more flexible schedule and choose based on their goals, their mood that day or even the weather. For some the challenge of choosing may initially be overwhelming, for others the days are too short to fit in everything that they want to try or work on. There is no right or wrong way to ‘tag up’ it’s just your own way!
However a Camp Runoia girl makes her choices she is supported by caring adults who provide encouragement. Campers are reminded to set and aim for goals, try new things, stick with projects that need finishing, be an independent thinker and of course maximize the opportunities that camp provides.
In our over scheduled, busy lives, ‘tag up’ provides structured freedom of decision making in a safe place.