One of the most special things about Camp Runoia is the strong scholarship (deemed ‘campership’ in our community) effort made by the CRAO – Camp Runoia Alumni Organization – that makes camp possible for so many campers every summer. What many don’t know about our program, however, is that our hope is to not only open the Runoia gates to those campers once, but to keep it open for years of camp and to bring them into our camp community for the rest of their lives.
It’s often not a one-summer shot for our campers, but a multi-summer relationship built that often leads to participating in our CIT program and eventually joining our staff.
One such community member at Runoia is former camper and current staff member Dallas White. Dallas was a long-time Runoia camper – 7 summers total – and is now an incredible advocate and proponent of camp and the CRAO campership program. We’re lucky that Dallas is still connected to the Runoia community and is here to share a piece of her camp and campership experience in this week’s blog:
Incoming… Summer 2013. I want you to think about where you were, what you were doing, and what was the most significant thing going on for you at the time. For 9-year-old Dallas and her sister Dillan (age 13), thinking about if we were going to be able to attend sleep-away camp for the very first time felt like the end of the world.
We came from a single-parent household and sending both my sister and me to a sleep-away camp seemed nearly impossible. My sister and I had done many a day camp, but from our affluent peers, were constantly being bombarded about how much fun sleep-away is.
Learning how to rig a sailboat? We’d instead learn how to ride the subway system by ourselves first, being from the “big apple” and all. A sleep-away camp was simply a dream for the White-Haynes family.
However, my mom was not the type of person to give up so easily. She was going to make what my sister and I wanted so badly a reality. She got online and found Camp Runoia and immediately reached out to former owner, Pam Cobb, about what potential financial aid could be awarded to us. Elated, Cobb helped out my mom generously with a “campership” from The Betty Cobb Memorial Campership Fund pooled together by the Camp Runoia Alumni Organization (CRAO).
The BCMCF has been helping kids since the 1980s. And smiling from ear to ear, my sister and I’s most memorable summers had just begun. From the barn to the waterfront, we did everything – soaked up every moment.
There’s something truly magical about sleep-away camp that I truly believe every child should get to experience. It’s a feeling that never leaves you with memories that never fade.
-Dallas White, year 8 in 2023
The impact of camp is unarguable. The impact of providing access to that experience inexplicable. We are so grateful for our incredible CRAO and the impact they’ve made!