At camp we often talk with our campers about how you can learn things at 8 and still be doing them at 80! Imagine still paddling a canoe in your older years after first dipping a paddle as a young camper on Great Pond. Some life skills are technical or ‘hard’ skills like learning a ‘J’ stroke while others are more subtle and referred to as ‘soft’ skills such as navigating relationships.
Camp provides campers of all ages the chance to learn, progress and master many skills that last with them long after their camp days are over.
In this week’s guest blog, Jen Dresdow talks about how years at camp prepared her daughter for a smooth transition into college.
In August, my husband and I became empty nesters as we sent our only child, Natalie, off to college. After many college visits her junior and senior year, Natalie chose Hollins University, a small private women’s school in Roanoke, VA, about 4 hours from our home in Alexandria.
As Natalie and I both worked at camp during the summer, we had about 10 days between arriving home from camp and her move-in date for pre-season riding. Natalie quickly organized herself for dorm life with the efficiency of a seasoned camp parent.
The transition into college life proved to be an easy one. After 12 summers at Runoia, Natalie found navigating the small campus and being where she needs to be on time an easy task. Similar to navigating her camp schedule as both a camper and a counselor, she quickly fell into the routine. From 7:30am riding lessons to evening French conversation groups to her work study in the gym, she is where she needs to be when she needs to be there. Camp taught her the skills needed for community living and navigating dining hall choices.
Natalie rides on the Varsity Equestrian Team, and just like camp, the barn bubble is her happy place. However, having a roommate who is not a rider, has been a great fit. Natalie used the school’s roommate match program to place with a roommate. Years of sharing a cabin with others, learning to share, keep spaces tidy, and communicating effectively, have helped her to settle into dorm life.
We are grateful for all the lifelong skills built at Runoia over the years that allowed Natalie to take a well stocked “toolbox” to college.