The Gift of Camp

When my mom went back to work after years of staying home with my sister and I, she says one of the first things she prioritized saving up for was to send us to summer camp. I’m lucky to barely remember a time before camp was a part of my life – I spent seven summers growing up at camp and will always consider it a gift that I am tremendously grateful for. Camp gave my sister and I life-long friends, leadership development, practical skills, and a sense of community that we otherwise wouldn’t have experienced.

Hanukkah began yesterday evening, and Christmas is well on its way – as we all know from the songs playing everywhere we go. This season of giving, family, and community has our entire team reflecting on the gifts we experience year-round at Runoia:

  • The donations made to the CRAO that pass on the gift of camp to campers who otherwise would not have the opportunity
  • The countless new families we get to meet and welcome to our community each year
  • The effort our Diversity Advisory Committee (DAC) puts in to making camp an accessible and inclusive experience
  • The immeasurable laughter and smiles our campers inspire each summer
  • A loving and supportive alumni community
  • Watching our staff community grow over the year and connect over staff training

… just to name a few!

Runoia believes strongly in the impact of camp on our children, staff, and families and will always propose that it is the greatest gift we can give. The lives of so many in our community across the past 117 summers have been changed for good by the camp experience. It’s a gift that keeps on giving – each summer brings something new: new lessons learned, new friendships made, new skills gained. Even for those who have been here for 10, 15, even 28 years!

But you don’t have to take our word for it – take our families’ word for it! The gift of camp is evident in these parents testimonials from 2023:

“I know my kids are in great hands at Runoia. I have total confidence in the staff leadership to create an environment for my kids to explore, discover, make friends + have fun while doing everything possible to keep them safe. I love that my kids try new activities at camp + are encouraged to do a range of fun stuff. I LOVE how much support Alex gives to parents. She lifted my heart. That’s worth every penny! (THANK YOU!)”

“From the camper perspective, she loved almost all her activities, she had a blast on the Acadia trip, she made wonderful friends, loved horseback riding.”

“She has been transformed! She is more independent and brave. She loved being able to select her own activities, and use her free time how she saw fit.”

“[We love the] growth over the years; the friendships, the traditions, counselors, and increased confidence from being independent and learning new skills.”

“[We love] the friendships my daughter develops at camp and her chance to step outside her comfort zone.”

If you have a child or a grandchild in your life who could benefit from experiencing camp, consider giving the ultimate gift this season!

If you’d like to pay it forward instead, and contribute to providing this experience through our campership program, consider making a donation to the CRAO today. See the way that your donations impact our campership recipients in our testimonials.

No matter what role you play in our Runoia community, your involvement is as big a gift as camp is!



Posted in: Camp
Tagged: best summer camps in Maine gifting camp for the holidays