While our camper attrition is low, we are lucky enough to be able to welcome new families each year in limited spaces. With each sad goodbye to a graduating camper comes a space that opens in our youngest age groups – a subconscious gift from one Runoia gal to another. And those graduating campers are so often welcomed back as CITs, then JCs, and eventually fully-fledged counselors as we watch them grow up in front of our eyes. Just this summer, four of five CITs of summer 2021 joined us as JCs – and we certainly hope to see them return as counselors, just as three of our four 2020 CITs did this year, too.
It’s crazy to think that for many such campers, their Runoia experience began years prior as they settled into a junior end cabin for the first time. Research, camp tours, and plenty of conversations often precede the life-changing decision to walk through the Runoia gates for the first summer of many, and it can be weird to not know what to expect! So, for our new parents, guardians, campers, and family members, let’s get a lay of the land so we know what to expect when you’re expecting a Runoia experience.
The months leading to camp
It can be a long haul between signing up and the big day – especially for families who have built excitement by touring, Zooming with us, and signing up early. If you’ve signed up by early or mid fall, it can be a quiet few months through the holidays, but we are always here as questions come up along the way. In the spring, you can expect communications from us to become more frequent as we fill you in on everything we can think of: food details, options for trips, tricks for packing, information on shipping, help with transportation, any special protocols for the summer, and more!
Preparing for camp
Preparing for camp really comes down to the big three: forms, packing, and transportation. All of your forms and helpful information regarding prep for camp, packing luggage, and transportation will be easily accessible on your Camp in Touch dashboard. Here’s a quick rundown of some key take-aways about preparation for camp:
- Forms are mandatory for attendance at Runoia! Forms include a signed medical form, activity release, health history, and more. It’s not unlike forms for sports and school, and you will get plenty of help and reminders from us.
- We will give you a detailed rundown of packing, but we prefer two big pieces of luggage over many smaller items. Popular choices are hard-sided trunks and large duffels!
- Campers are welcome to have luggage shipped to camp, especially if they are flying! Bedding is available for rent to cut down on the packing volume.
- Campers can come by car, plane, or our camp bus – which stops in NYC and Massachusetts.
Suddenly the big day is here, you’ve completed the right forms, packed the right things, and set off with the address in your GPS! The rest is cake, right? Well, it can certainly be hard for parents, guardians, and other family members to say their goodbyes for over three weeks. We keep it old-school and truly ‘campy’ for our communication – letters are our love language. From home, families can utilize our Bunk Notes systems to get digital letters to their camper(s) quickly, and campers write letters in return. Another great option is to send a letter ahead of time so that it’s ready for your camper on the first full day. Phone calls aren’t a typical Runoia thing – they are reserved for international campers and birthdays calls! While the communication change can be a big adjustment, we work hard to have qualified and well-trained staff members to support your camper(s), and a great system of communication with families. As a new family, you can expect:
- Trained live-in counselors in the cabin to ensure the physical, mental, and emotional safety of your camper(s).
- Connection with your camper(s)’ HOC (Head of Cabin) – a senior staff member who knows kids and Runoia well – who will update you on your camper(s)’ activities, friends made, and growth at camp!
- Detailed communication with Colleen, who acts as our liaison for new families. New families will have a phone call to talk about their camper(s)’ adjustment to camp and their experience.
- A little bit of homesickness from you camper – which is totally normal and usually short-lived. You’ll soon be receiving letters all about the greatest parts of camp!
Post-camp can look and feel different for every camper – the experience is unique. Some campers may hop in the car talking a mile a minute, seemingly unable to get all of their amazing stories out fast enough! Others may be experiencing feelings of sadness due to camp ending. Others may be quiet and not quite ready to share. There is no “normal” when it comes to post-camp emotions. Look out in 2023 for a detailed blog on what to expect post-camp and how to help your camper(s) process their feelings!
No matter where you are in your Runoia journey or camp decision process, we hope to see you in 2023!