Our Runoia mission is all based in building life long skills and empowering girls to live in harmony with themselves, each other, and nature. We strive to create activities and experiences in all aspects of camp to fulfill this mission. But sometimes our mission just happens organically in really simple ways – for instance by making Friendship Bracelets.
On any given day, you can stroll around Runoia during free time and you will see girls sitting in groups on shack porches, picnic tables or grass. They are focused on several strands of brightly colored embroidery string. This string might be attached to the plastic loop on their water bottle or anchored to their leg with a piece of duct tape. These girls are making Friendship Bracelets. With a quick glance you’ll see their “work” – simple patterns, complex patterns, those that are evenly woven, and those that have a few loose spots here and there. But if you look closely to what is going on beyond the simple act of weaving embroidery string together to create a bracelet, you’ll see life skills being practiced and built. Strange idea but consider this…
Each time a girl makes a Friendship Bracelet she is making decisions – what colors should I use, what pattern am I going to tackle? How about when she makes a mistake – is this a hands-on experience of problem solving and trying again until it comes out right? Or when a girl asks for help or gives coaching to another girl – is this an opportunity for collaborative learning? You bet!
While weaving a bracelet is an individual activity, a very special part of this process at camp is that girls are often talking as they work on their bracelets. Their conversations are far-reaching – sometimes random, sometimes deep – but they are all adding to that special kind of relationship building that happens when you share time together. And of course a Friendship Bracelet is often made for someone else – it is a generous act of giving of your time and effort to say to someone else, “I value you”.
So yes, a whole lot of good is happening when a girl makes a Friendship Bracelet. And of course, it’s really fun to make, give, receive, and wear them!