My Insatiable Thirst for all Things Adventure – Thanks Runoia

I’m writing this blog from my holiday apartment in Tokyo, Japan. Yeah, I just said Japan. I have Runoia to thank for my insatiable thirst for all things adventure and travel. I have my 7th shack girls to thank for making me cry with laughter at the earliest hours of the morning, and making me feel at home while home is 3000 miles away in Ireland. I have my ski instructor partner, Hayden, to thank for the laughs, the life-long friendship, and rough days on the Osprey when the weather wasn’t so kind to us. Runoia means everything to me, most notably, the beautiful, kind-hearted people I get to work alongside everyday during the summer.

I often get asked why I choose to work at a summer camp with such young children, and I am told time and time again that it comes with such big responsibilities. The reason I tell them is that children and young teenagers are amongst the most engaging and most intriguing humans one can work with, or at least I think so. The children’s different backgrounds and personalities create challenges that can only be met with determination and creativity. I think it is these challenges that make working with and for children and young people incredibly rewarding. The idea of giving a child access to a new skill or hobby is the aspect that I enjoy most about working with young children and teenagers.

Working with the kids at Runoia allows me to encourage their growth and development in all areas. I feel a huge sense of pride when I see them excel in things they couldn’t do before and I feel happy when I know that I had something to do with that. Everyday is a new experience at Runoia. Four different girls hop on the Osprey for a water-skiing lesson four-five times a day and I must learn their individual needs and how best to teach them. Every girl is different and unique and they bring their own needs and expectations, which is something I love to cater for in my lessons. Their enthusiasm creates the belief that anything is possible, and that they can drop their ski or slalom start. Their creativity is encouraged and there are no limits to what can be achieved in a lesson that I teach. Each day at Runoia presents a new challenge that allows me to learn more about the environment and people that I work with. At times, the work can be frustrating, when a child doesn’t succeed in getting up on skis, not frustrating for me, but a feeling for the child, and then it is fantastically rewarding after watching a girl try all summer and finally succeed. I have to say that it is never boring.

I love doing what I do and particularly passing on my knowledge about water-skiing. The idea is to learn, work on your skills and have fun. It’s not just about what the girls can learn, but what I can also learn from them. I can’t wait to return and do what I love for Summer ‘17!

Karen Long




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