We were so lucky to have had the WoW (Women of Wisconsin) team at Camp Runoia this summer. Their dedication to overnight summer camp, creating amazing experiences for campers plus a desire to see the great State of Maine generated an epic road trip and a summer for the memory books.
In their own words….
It’s 4 in the morning, still dark, a little damp out, and four people with their summer’s worth of gear are looking at a small Nissan Versa with a determined squint. Collectively, we all understand “it will fit” and spoiler alert: with some very creative packing, it did. A forgotten wallet and an accidental detour later, the WISCO girls were on the road. We had compiled a 12 hour playlist to make the drive more manageable and at some points we took breaks to read listicles. Finally, we reached our layover in New York where racoons stole some baked goods. Again, we piled into the car and were about to finally make it: Maine couldn’t come soon enough.
The WISCO Girls arrived at Camp Runoia greeted by what we assumed were smiling faces, but everyone was masked, so who really knows? We comically unpacked our clown car: more and more things and people seemed to keep coming out. And so it started. Camp Runoia COVID Camp. We had arrived late, so we met only a few people and were herded into Sixth Shack. The next morning, we grabbed our warm beverages and hit the ground running.
Those two weeks of training were a whirlwind. Phrases like, “wash in, wash out” and “masks up, let’s go” continue to run through our brains to this day. Some topics were familiar, standard camp fare we’d been trained on for years, but some new and mysterious things such as The Pix, Pigtail Fridays, and The Soapies were demystified. We met all our coworkers and eventually were separated into our shacks- Emily and Mary stayed in 6th, Kerry went to 5th and Victoria to 7th.
Once we had been sufficiently trained and quarantined, it was finally time for campers. We could fill a book with all of the wonderful adventures and experiences we had with our Runoia gals this summer, but we only have so much space, so we’ll provide you with some highlights:
-Being serenaded by 6th shack’s original song “Green Bean Salad”
-2nd Shack’s Wolf Biology Lesson
-Spooky loon calls
-Playing mermaids in Great Pond
-Attempting to learn Tik Tok dances the kids taught us
-The Talent Show
-A Floating Breakfast
-The Wicked Witch of the East, Bro
COVID protocols which seemed overwhelming at first quickly became second nature. Before we knew it, we were saying goodbye to our campers and packing the car to head home.
In the end, this crazy-covid-clorox camp (as Alex put it in one of her emails to us) ended up being just what we needed during the uncertainty of COVID. While anyone who has attended or worked at any camp knows that being at camp often leads to a summer of chaos, that chaos is predictable, familiar and sometimes even intentional. During a time where the world was (is) so rapidly changing outside of anyone’s control, it was that special predictable type of camp chaos that drew us to Runoia. All of us WISCO gals are scattered around the country now and it’s anyone’s best guess as to where we’ll find ourselves next summer, but we feel very lucky to have gotten the opportunity to spend Summer 2020 on Great Pond with campers and staff alike.
The WISCO Girls
Emily, Kerry, Mary, and Victoria