As we come toward the end of an incredible 117th consecutive summer, one thing remains true year after year: Runoia loves to sing, and our singing builds community at camp. When COVID came and changed life and camp as we knew it, we weren’t able to sing as a community in the same way we always had.
Luckily, with the continuity of our campers, staff, and leadership – our singing and passing down of camp songs has resurged with so much energy this summer. Campfires are alive with songs new and old, and our oldest campers especially jump at every opportunity to sing more and push their bedtime a little later.
Songs can be heard at meals – singing for birthdays, the melody of ‘save your spoons, save your spoons for dessert…’, at assembly with songs led by staff, CITs, and campers, at campfires as we join together for our most reflective songs, and all of the in between moments – even at CRAO meetings!
Singing is vital to the Runoia community, and not for no reason – singing at camp benefits our community in countless ways –
It’s a chance to be silly and care-free…
a chance to be creative and make your own songs – like our HLC B campers who created ‘The Monkey Song’ from ‘The Beaver Song’ this session, or our 4th shack campers who rewrote a Taylor Swift song for the variety show
a chance to be brave and bold and stand up before a crowd
a chance to connect to camp’s history and sing the songs of generations before us
a way to relax and have fun
an opportunity to learn new things
and a way to build community.
But don’t just take it from us – singing to build community is a tale as old as time, a thing of historical and cultural significance, and has scientific evidence to back its social benefits.
In Berkeley’s Greater Good Magazine, writer Jill Suttie shares that “Listening to music and singing together has been shown in several studies to directly impact neuro-chemicals in the brain, many of which play a role in closeness and connection.” She goes on to share that research in community music shows that “endorphins produced in singing can act to draw large groups together quickly.”
We’re glad to know that the science recognizes what Runoia has known as a universal truth for generations. We won’t be halting our singing, dancing, or piano-playing anytime soon here on Great Pond.