Why I love Camp Runoia (and You Will Too!) by Chef

I am “Chef” and I am returning for my fourth year of employment with Camp Runoia and I have to say that the experiences I have had at camp are outstanding.

I am known to the campers and staff as “Chef”.  You see, I work as a Chef for the Tri-Deltas at Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois throughout the school year and wanted a summer chef job that worked with my summer vacation schedule. I researched and interviewed with several camps all on the East Coast and chose Camp Runoia because the camp had so much to offer and the people running it seemed like genuine people. I am extremely pleased with my choice.

The close relationships I have built with the wonderful staff and campers is unquestionably the main reason I choose to return year after year. I run the kitchen and ensure we have everything we need food, snacks and special occasions for our camp kitchen to run smoothly.

My first year it was a bit overwhelming finding my groove and adjusting to such a higher volume of prep for our amazing salad bar.  Eventually I created a system and the prep is efficient.  I also enjoy the challenge of preparing meals for our dietary-restricted campers and staff with food allergies and food preferences.  I’ve even broadened my creativity learning how to prepare vegetarian options. I honestly get this warm and fuzzy feeling when our campers greet me throughout the day and during meals, “Hey Chef!” or as Pam says, “Good Morning, Chefy”

The traditions and songs that happen in the camp Dining Hall make for delightful times. I think about Camp Runoia often and every time it rains here I think about the Johnny Appleseed grace.  I sometimes find myself singing the Birthday and Cake Cheer melody while I am driving.

Our traditional desserts at Camp Runoia have been incorporated into my life outside of camp including Dirty Pudding, Congo Bars– alumnae page, Strawberry-yogurt Pie and more. Peanut Butter Pie is a big hit with the sorority, my family and our beloved campers as well.

I look forward to the day it is time to pack and return to camp. It is an escape from technology giving us all a chance for more face-to-face time and enjoying the joy of living in the outdoors. And let me say the fishing in Belgrade Lakes Maine is awesome. That’s where you’ll find me in my free time.

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