Love and Friendship, a dedication to the 2021 Log by Natalie Martin

The challenges of this past year have caused me to reflect on the strengths of my friendships. Because of the effort we all had to put into our relationships — zoom, social distancing, texting — I realized who my true friends were. The people who I found myself staying in touch with the most during these wild times were… you guessed it: My camp friends.
Friendships that are built on love and kindness are the ones that work best. Friendships at Runoia are made of all ages and backgrounds, none the same as the other. The summers at Runoia give campers the opportunity to grow and work through challenges to strengthen their character and come out the other side as a stronger person. 
The role of my camp friends in my life is not a surprise to me. Over my ten years at Runoia, I have discovered that camp friends are different from school friends. Maybe it’s living together in the “shacks” for three weeks or being completely unplugged from social media, or the bonding feeling we all share about our love for trips, but I know these friendships will last forever, the kind where you know they’ll be your bridesmaids at your wedding.
I’ve been lucky to spend 10 summers at Camp Runoia. Every year I come to camp with butterflies of excitement in my stomach because I know the next 3 ½ weeks will be pure joy: Smiles on opening day, hugs longer and harder, expressing all the love and miss from the year before. Camp to me is a place of new beginnings, a fresh start. A place to be truly yourself. Most importantly, camp is a place where love and friendship rules.
When I was asked  to write the log dedication I called my grandma to discuss this honor. And as I was talking with her I looked around and noticed that our camp was dotted with  signs that read, “Love lives here,” “Black lives matter,” “Love is love.” The signs are a reminder of the work that Runoia campers make to build and maintain love for each other and lasting friendships.
Tonight, I would like to dedicate the 2021 log to love and friendship.
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