This year’s log dedication to the Runoia journey is written by Eliza Schechter, who began at Runoia ten years ago, as ‘Eliza Mae’ Brown – for just one summer, she thought – and has since found her way back year after year, through Covid, moves, near impossible schedules, and earning her doctorate.
Who better to share with us about the journey of Runoia?
Flash back to summer 2014, As I anxiously drive the mile down Point Road to a place I never knew existed until that year. That fall, I found an open position as “Head of Archery” and said “Sure, I can do that” even though I had little to no experience in a role like it. I took a leap of faith – just as many of you did – to join a summer camp I’ve never visited or had any prior connection to.
That summer was tough. I struggled to fit in and to connect with my campers. But probably the most difficult task: filling the shoes of the prior, very well loved archery instructor, Ted. It was a roller coaster of a summer, my energy drained by the time I climbed into my little twin bed at the end of circle time. Nonetheless, I found myself wanting to do more and more as the days went on – like a camper waiting to tag up for the new block. It was a summer packed with accomplishments and I can now say I understand the struggle SV goes through when completing their plaques.
That first summer was very rewarding, but it was also tiring and sometimes overwhelming. I felt comfortable leaving that summer with just my fond memories, and no plan to return.
And yet here I am in 2023, my 10th consecutive summer.
Runoia is the kind of place where you can grow. You might climb mountains you never knew you could, shoot bullseyes with a bow you’ve never picked up before, ski on water when you just learned about waterskiing 5 minutes before that, you may create art you never knew you had the ability to, or climb the rock wall even when your afraid of heights. You find new passions in activities you may have never done and you get to progress in those areas every year you return.
I started going to a summer camp similar to Runoia when I was 7 years old and spent 10 years there as a camper, then CIT, and junior counselor. Then I was lucky enough to be welcomed into this community for the next 10 years – from head of archery and a 6th shack counselor, to head of target sports and an Ocho counselor, to head of cabin, and now to residential life manager. Harmony Land campers, junior and senior campers, CITs, staff, cabin counselors, directors, alumni, and everyone in between – this is the Runoia community that makes camp what it is.
Therefore, I hereby dedicate the 2023 log to the Camp Runoia journey. It looks different for everyone, but that journey will always be yours.