What a year! One that none of us could have imagined this time last year as we were planning for the summer of 2020. What we assumed would be a typical camp summer season turned into anything but and taught us lessons that will guide us as we prepare for 2021. We have so much gratitude for those that were with us along the way, there was so much team effort at all levels. What initially appeared to be a pervading darkness evolved with lots of hard work into joy and light.
The Maine summer camp community pulled together in ways never seen before. For the good of all Maine camps there was advocating at the legislative level and support for all regardless of the decision to operate camp for the season or not. Camps were offering resources and practical help to each other wherever they could. Calling and cheering on those that opened camp, celebrating the wins together and also mourning the losses. Maine summer camps were definitely stronger together working to support each other in a time that created great hardship and an unprecedented struggle for many small family businesses. The resource sharing continues as we plan for the next season, those of us that opened sharing our journey and all forging ahead to ensure that as many children as possible get to have their summer camp experience.
Our Runoia camp community grew stronger too. Even though we were missing so many of our summer family, the support was incredible. The families that trusted us to take care of their girls and literally dropped them at the gate showed a commitment and bravery to the camp experience that we couldn’t have imagined. Our girls were brave and bold, flexible and willing to adapt to all of the protocols and changes. They showed up ready to have a blast at camp and did just that.
The staff group that literally came together in May as we decided that yes we would open was such a dedicated and resilient group. We definitely couldn’t have opened without their commitment and flexibility. Our senior staff who after a zoom call about protocols and what camp would look like said ‘let’s do it!’ and dived in with gusto to create a fabulous and safe camp experience. The health team who planned and prepped and took all the protocols seriously and kept everyone healthy. Our amazing kitchen crew who masked up in the incredibly hot kitchen and kept us well fed. Everyone who pitched in, sanitized, cleaned up trash, kept kids entertained, figured out how to operate their program safely and stayed on site for 5 !/2 weeks without complaining! How lucky we were to spend the summer with this group of folk, many whom were feeling the sadness of their own camps being closed yet showed up for us.
In this season of lights and bringing in brightness to our homes on the shortest days we are grateful for the joy that camp brings to us. Although the year has been challenging in so many ways there is so much to be thankful for and so much light in our lives.
We are so grateful for the smiles and laughter of a summer on Great Pond, the relationships that endure over the years and the promise that Runoia will be there no matter what.
However you are celebrating the holidays may you have light and love around you.