My nine year old daughter is starting to have more sleepovers this year, and I realized her courage about sleepovers and skills about respecting other peoples’ space or room, came from living in a group setting at Runoia.
At Runoia one of the many life skills campers learn is how to live with a group of people and how to work with a bunk mate. Learning how live in a communal living environment isn’t something you learn without living it out in real life. You have to actually do it to get good at it! Learning the skills needed to be patient with your roommate, or respect someone’s space before their first day of boarding school or college is a gift camp provides.
Some children who go to camp have never had to share a room with others. Camp provides the lessons through counselors’ gentle reminders of “respect others” or “think of others”. On the first night of camp individuals of each cabin group sign a community contract, making sure the ideas and goals on how to respect people’s personal space, our camp, the environment and each other are shared. Cabin groups, with their counselors’ guidance, refer to the contract when they need a boost about living together.
The night owls learn to keep things quiet after the lights go out, and girls who are up before the “wake up bell” learn to respect people still sleeping. Campers learn to do their chores and feel a sense of accomplishment leaving their clean cabin for the day.
Some peoples’ perception of summer camp is that it’s just about learning how to horseback ride or pass a swim level (and of course these things are an amazing part of summer camp). However, there are life lessons learned from the moment they wake up in the morning and throughout the day about sharing space, respecting others and learning how to live in harmony with others. Camp Runoia provides life skills at their best.
Jai Cobb Kells – Assistant Director Camp Runoia