Crisp Fall Reflections of Summer

“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” -F. Scott Fitzgerald

Looking at the calendar, it’s hard to believe that we are already nearing the end of September, and that our summer at Runoia ended more than seven weeks ago. The last few, scattered warm days here in the Northeast are trying to hold on, but the changing leaves and the smell of the air do not lie- Fall is here. Reflections abound.

Fall brings its share of Fine Maine Days along with it- red and copper colored trees that rustle in the crisp wind, the satisfying crunching noise that our boots make when we walk on fallen leaves, not to mention that perfect “Jeans and Sweater Weather”.

As the trees and weather are changing, the beginning of Fall is also a great time for all of us to think about this


summer and how it may have changed us. Maybe you feel more brave after coming to camp for the first time. Maybe you have more confidence to try new things now, or maybe you’re a better friend, or more conscious of the environment since leaving Runoia this summer.

During this season of embracing change, while the loons are headed for warmer coasts and the rest of us are settling back into school and work, it’s only natural to long for the days of summer that felt like they were going to last forever. But just as summer changed you, the rest of the year will change you too. You will come back to us at Runoia next summer with new stories, experiences, and exciting updates about your life that we can’t wait to hear about and celebrate with you.

So go forward, Runoia Girl, embrace change. Be your best self in everything you do— and we’ll see you back out on the blue waves before you know it.

by Nina Budeiri

Second Session is Rolling Ahead – Meal Time Tradition

Hello to all of our Second Session families and friends. We are already rolling along into 2nd Session having already completed our first Block of the session – time certainly does fly by!!  Campers are settling in nicely and getting to know all of their new cabin friends and counselors while meeting and getting to know our 130 Second Session campers. It has been a real smooth start despite some up and down weather conditions.

As you know, this is my first summer here at Runoia. One of my favorite traditions that I have learned here at Camp Runoia is during meal time. Each week our campers are randomly assigned to a specific table (rotated weekly) and sit together with 3-4 staff members mixed in to the tables as well.  This is instead of the more traditional cabin table approach during meal time.  For our campers, young and old, it is really nice that the girls get a chance to meet a wide variety of campers and on a very personal level this way. Especially for the younger campers, it is a great opportunity for them to meet older campers who show them the ropes and tell them all sorts of stories about camp and their activities. It is a great way to pass along traditions and make younger campers excited about growing up at Runoia. Even for the older girls, it is a great real life experience of being a role model and starting to develop true leadership skills. Undoubtedly, it is the start of a great relationship for many of our campers, that very likely would not have otherwise have formed if we did not sit in our tables in this fashion.

Camp Kindness table

Meal time is just one example of the purposeful and fun way that Camp Runoia helps campers and staff alike to develop meaningful relationships and learn some terrific life skills.  It is why I am a true believer in the Camp Runoia spirit.


Sunday was camper arrival under rainy conditions. With a few delayed arrivals, we are off and running with 2nd Session. Campers play Scategories and new additions to Runoia – Human Fusbol and Noodle Hockey for Evening Programming.

Monday – Orientation Day – all new campers get a full day of learning the ropes, tagging up for Blocks and get to try their first Runoia activities. Swimming in the afternoon for all!!

Tuesday – First day of Blocks – sailing, skiing, ropes, tennis, mountain biking, pottery making and all the arts & crafts you could ever want are rolled out all day for the campers. Staff is excited and gets campers juiced up for a full day of action.  5th Shack departs on a great 3 day hiking trip. At night, a newer EP called “Country Creation” is enjoyed. By Shack, campers created their very own country with mottos, official birds/animals and tourist attractions, and then promote then try to “sell” their country as the best to a panel of judges.

Wed – Blocks continue. Campers are having fun despite overcast conditions. No rain!! Horseback riding, soccer, windsurfing and target sports… campers work on their skills and try to progress with their ability. Lots of swimming today as it is pretty humid. At night, campers enjoy a Scavenger Hunt as they work together to locate some 40 specific items.  Winning tables managed 37 of the items. Great day!

Thursday – Morning activities get in even after some overnight rain.  But in the afternoon RAIN, RAIN, RAIN!  But does that stop us??? NO WAY!! Camp Kindness afternoon as campers make numerous art projects but for another camper in camp. It was really great and the girls worked hard to give away a nice project to one of their fellow campers.  Campers also created 60 cards for “Cradles to Crayons” charitable program. What a great way to spend a rainy afternoon. In the evening, it is time to “Get to Know Your Counselor.” Campers spent 20 min grilling one of their counselors with all sorts of questions and then have to be able to recite answers as part of a game show. Great time had by all.

Today is a nice warm and “fine Maine day.”  We are back on schedule with Block 2. Looking forward to seeing many of our Alumni up at camp for the weekend during then annual CRAO meeting. Have a great weekend!!!

More to come…

Finale to First Session

Hello to you all from rainy Runoia. Before we move into Second Session we need to put a wrap on the first 3 weeks which just FLEW BY! The last week of camp was fun and memorable. But more importantly was the connection our campers made throughout the session along with completing their many accomplishments. It was amazing to see the friendships develop and flourish, and the campers enjoy themselves so thoroughly. In just 3 short weeks – it was an unbelievable session.

Final week recap:

Starting on Sunday we had a full blown Blue v. White competition day with soccer, softball and kickball being played by all.  The campers went all out playing some fun sports.

Monday was the start of our last of our 5 Blocks as the campers did their last activities and final projects for the Session. Lots of good stuff as campers tried to squeeze it all in.

Tuesday night we ran around Apple Tree Field playing Capture the Flag. The campers had a blast trying to catch one another, freeing their friends from “jail” and getting the flags across the center line.

Wednesday we worked around the weather as the winds picked up making our water activities tough. But the girls would not be thwarted from their fun as we wrapped up Block 5 and finished our activities for First Session.

Thursday was a day for fun. The morning began with the long swim to and from Oak Island which 14 of our campers accomplished!! That led to Blue & White Swim Races – some 30+ heats for all the girls to compete in.  We moved into an afternoon of tubing, kayaking and canoeing on Great Pond and lots of projects to finish up. In the evening we enjoyed the play – PETER PAN. Nearly 40 campers participated with the help of counselors Meg and Charley directing the way. It was a fantabulous production enjoyed by us all.

Friday was Awards and Log Night – One of our great traditions is the last night of camp. First, all of the campers received their awards acknowledging their participation and accomplishments during the summer. It was amazing to hear everything each camper achieved and put their effort into. It was especially heartwarming to hear the campers describe something they themselves were proud of. In the evening, we went down to the beach as each Shack recalled memories from their time together. We sang songs and laughed until the night was over.

On Saturday the girls departed. Many tears were shed, lots of hugs and “see you soon.”  The campers departed for France, Mexico, New York, Boston, Atlanta, Florida, Ohio, California and all over Maine and New Hampshire. See you next summer!!!

CR Week 2 in Review – Accomplishments Galore & More

Hello from sunny Camp Runoia! It has been an unbelievable week here for our campers. As First Session rolls along, there is a great vibe among everyone. We have had unbelievable weather, no rain, lots of sun and that has translated to campers going all out in their daily activities. The accomplishments have been many as our girls try new things or hunker down and challenge themselves to improve and get better with their skills. And the projects… my oh my are our girls creative!  The great works of pottery and art are numerous and you can’t even begin to count all the bracelets being made whether for themselves or a new friend.
As we complete our 2nd week, it’s been a joy for me personally to meet all your daughters and already see what just 2 short weeks of camp brings out of them. Accomplishments abound with pure joy and happiness as she rides a horse for the first time, the big smile from learning how to drop a ski, the pride in showing her counselors and friends her finished masterpiece, a humble thank you after being congratulated for earning Blue or White Team Captain, and the appreciation to be back at Camp Runoia after returning from a challenging but worthwhile hiking or canoe trip. It’s all happening here… and in less than 2 weeks.
It’s so great, and a lot to cover in one blog post, but here is your Week 2 in Review…
After the 4th of July and a Trip Day, we got back into our regular activity schedule. This week your daughter signed up for and completed a 2 and 3 day block, so she was able to participate in up to 8 different Runoia activities of her own choosing. That led to lots of new projects, lots of boating and paddling in Great Pond and multiple attempts at new activities. Walk around and you see rock wall climbing, new arts projects in batik making, girls striving for that next level in archery and riflery and many more learning to shoot and dribble or swing a racket. Of course lots of fun was had along the way, like the “CIT Super Chill Sublime Time.”  Music was playing while the girls did their hair and nails and just hung out, and I even got my nails (fingers and toes) “done” for the first time ever. That’s right, all 10 nails and 10 different colors!! Just what I always wanted…
Speaking of awesome accomplishments, throughout this week most of the campers went out on their First Session camping trip.  This included the older campers heading out on a canoe trip on the Mooseookmeguntic, and two groups hiking up to the summit of Mount Katahdin, the highest mountain in Maine at over 5200 feet.  A great feat for anyone, and our girls were up to the challenge! Additionally, 3rd Shackers went to Camden Hills or Oak Island for an overnighter, and 1st Shack slept on the camp grounds over at Fairy Ring.  Upon returning home our girls felt a great sense of accomplishment… right after they got to take a hot shower.
For evening programs, it was a great mix of activity and creativity. One night we had the always popular Counselor Hunt – good old fashioned hide and seek. Another night, the girls enjoyed “Fractured Fairy Tales.” The girls were given two fairy tales and had to craft a short skit based upon the mix up of the two tales. Funny stuff and a great time had by all. Our most recent EP was right out of my era growing up, as the we hosted an 80’s Dance Party in the Den. The outfits were hysterical as neon and big hair was EVERYWHERE!! The girls danced the night away to all of our favorite hits from the great bygone era of the 80’s.  Now the girls are prepping for the big TALENT SHOW on Saturday night.
To say the least, it has been a fun and busy week.  And the coming week will prove to be just as busy as we head to the finish of First Session.  We are all so proud of our campers and what they are taking on, overcoming and learning along the way.  Great accomplishments by them all, and we are seeing our girls connect and make friends with one another on a very real and personal level. Camp is amazing, and camping at Runoia is at another level!!
Until next week…

Happy 4th of July from the HOTTEST Camp Runoia!!

Hi to all, hope you had a great 4th of July and enjoyed yourself. Here, like most of the country, it was and is HOT, HOT, HOT. So we have been doing lots and lots of things to beat the heat, mostly using the gorgeous Great Pond to full effect. Even with the heat, everyone is settling in nicely and getting into the routine of Camp.  Our first full week has been a wonderful time of old friends catching up, campers meeting the staff with our counselors getting to really know their campers, and the start of making new life long friends. Great times and it’s only the beginning. Here is our…

Camp Runoia Week 1 in Review

After Moving in Day and Orientation on Saturday, the girls “tagged up” and got started with Block 1 on Sunday.  New for Runoia in 2018 is 2 and 3 day Blocks (instead of daily sign up). This will give all of the girls an opportunity to better learn new skills, hone already existing skills and complete project more easily. Sunday started our first 3 day block, and the initial feed back has been extremely positive. So Sunday, Monday, Tuesday your daughter signed up for 4 activities of her choosing and then has Swim for 1 period.  Great start to the summer for all!!

For Evening Programs we really mixed it up a lot, from Crrazzy Counselor Night and Log Nite to my personal favorite (so far) Powder Fairies.  Crazzy Counselor Night is a funny dress up game where the campers get to pick one of their counselors and dress them up in as

Crrrazzyy Counselor Night was hilarious!!

many clothes as they can fit on their bodies. We had unicorn masks, layers and layers of shirts (over 80 shirts on 1 counselor) and tutus flying everywhere. Silly fun for all!! Powder Fairies was a lot more active for the kids as they got grouped into 12 different teams and then had to accomplish exciting and challenging team tasks at 9 separate stations. Making it more challenging, there were 3 Powder Fairies (counselors dressed up as… you guessed it… fairies) with the power to FREEZE the entire group if any member of the group was tagged. Needless to say, running and chaos ensued and the campers had a blast!!

Then the heat moved in on Tuesday afternoon and it has not stopped. 90s, mostly cloudless and pretty windless too. So it has been just HOT! And of course, what do you do at camp when it’s hot? Get in the water, so it has been water activities galore for all. Quick dips in the lake. Rec Swims. Get in the water and drink lots of water has been the non-stop message.

Nothing beats a swim in Great Pond. Nothing!!

But we did not let the heat beat us on 4th of July. No way. The CITs did an amazing job and put together a great day for all of the campers. After being split into their 2 traditional teams, America and Great Britain, it was time to go head to head at the Station Rotation. 10 different games for all to play, and with the heat, many of them were water themed – like Slip and Slide, water balloon toss, water wars and more. Into the afternoon they battled and did the annual Relay Race across camp ending in 2 Senior Villagers swimming their respective watermelons across the finish line together!!  Great time for us all, and it all ended with a swim in Great Pond to cool off again.

The heat is finally supposed to break tomorrow and should allow us to keep on moving ahead with regular programming into Week 2. More fun to come!! Talk to you next week…

Welcome to the Official Start of Camp Runoia 2018!!

And we are off!! The summer of 2018 is about to begin here on Great Pond. My name is Matt Abrams and this will be my first summer at Camp Runoia as a senior staff member.  I am a long time camper, counselor and former Director of a boys camp back in Wisconsin, and I will be your weekly (every Wed starting next week) newsletter blogger.  I am so excited to fill you in to provide just a glimpse of the fun and experiences your daughters are having here throughout the summer.

What a summer it will be!!  Horseback riding, swimming, skiing, sailing, zip lining to go along with arts & crafts, pottery, basket weaving, archery & riflery.  Add in some sports and activities like basketball, mountain bike riding, tennis and soccer and of course lots and lots of singing, quality time with friends and laughter, all while carrying on the amazing Runoia traditions.  We know it will be a memorable summer, full of growth and making ever lasting connections. It will be an absolutely terrific and unforgettable summer!!

Ready to jump into summer at Runoia!!

The Runoia staff is ready. They have been training hard for nearly 10 days now and are literally jumping out of their skin because they are so excited for their campers to arrive tomorrow afternoon to get summer underway.  For those dropping off their daughters at camp tomorrow (FRIDAY) – travel safe and we look forward to seeing you here soon. For those dropping off at buses and planes, be on time and know we are ready for your daughters to arrive.

It is going to be an outstanding summer on Great Pond.  Lets get jumping!

Please check in here every week for the Camp Runoia weekly newsletter that will be posted every WEDNESDAY. We will also continue to post pictures just about everyday on CampMinder (login through the and a few on Facebook throughout the summer. Looking forward to meeting you if you will be at camp this summer, but looking forward to meeting your daughters even more.

Until next week!!

Play ~ One of the Great Things About Camp

I love seeing girls and counselors grow in their confidence, skills, decision making, problem solving, team work, and self-esteem. One of the simple but critical parts of camp that helps all those things happen is play. We play in organized games and relay races, we play in activities and special events, but the really special play time happens during unstructured time. Girls make up silly games in the cabin, explore camp, jump rope, throw a frisbee, do somersaults, build fairy houses, make costumes, watch clouds, etc. etc. They giggle and tell jokes, they share stories, and create memories. It’s joyful and creative, it’s unplugged fun that sometimes can’t even be explained because it happens organically. When girls play they are learning about themselves and each other and they are tapping into parts of their minds, hearts and bodies that don’t always get the exercise they need.

I played organized sports all through school and was active in clubs and student government, and I loved it, but when I think back to my childhood, the memories that are the most vivid are playing. It didn’t matter if it was building forts, poking around in the woods, playing Kick the Can, jumping in leaves, making crazy things out of bits and pieces, or laying in the grass and seriously discussing Halloween costumes, these were the best times. I was fortunate that this simple play was woven into my life year-round and I wish the same was true for all children today. I know it’s not and I know it is also not the case for many of us as adults.

So yeah for camp – the place where playing is just as important as anything else we do and girls and adults alike are not only encouraged to play but expected to play!

Whys is play is valuable – check here and how about for adults? Check here

Camp is Coming to Life and Summer is Almost Here!

In just over 5 weeks, Runoia will open its 112th season, and camp is coming to life! Yesterday was a Fine Maine Day in the truest sense of the word; bright sunshine, blue skies, warm temperatures, and a little breeze. It’s crazy to think that just a few short weeks ago, the ground was still snow covered, ice coated the pond, the trees were bare, and the ferns were waiting patiently underground to pop up. Now, camp has emerged from its winter rest; the trees have leafed out, flowers are in bloom, bird songs are heard from early morning till evening, and it’s easy to see that summer is right around the corner. While our trees and plants are growing into their summertime beauty, there are lots of people busy with the long checklist of opening camp. Here’s a sample of what’s happening now and in the next few weeks:

  • Opening and cleaning cabins and buildings
  • Turning on water throughout camp
  • Putting in the docks and moorings
  • Mowing grass and trimming bushes
  • Planting the garden
  • Preparing the barn and riding rings for the horses
  • Spreading mulch
  • Inspecting the ropes course and climb tower
  • Readying the boats
  • Setting up the kitchen and ordering food
  • Unpacking supplies
  • Etc., Etc., Etc.

While the site is being readied, we’re also talking with families, answering questions, finalizing plans for program and staff training, making trip reservations, reviewing camper forms, arranging transportation, and taking care of all the myriad of details that need to be covered before June 29th. Everyday, more counselors will be arriving bringing their enthusiasm and energy and sharing in the fun of getting camp ready for girls.

Sure, there is a lot to do but it’s joyful work, because it means that very soon Opening Day 2018 will be here when we will welcome our campers for the best summer ever!

P.S. Check out our Facebook page for daily photos of camp!

Love Nature but Black Flies and Mosquitos?!?

I love nature. I am in my element in nature, but as any outdoor enthusiast in New England will attest to, black flies and mosquitos are challenging. Black Flies come first and whether you are a gardener, hiker or paddler, you have had to balance the joy of those first warm spring days with trees and flowers blooming, with the annoyance of those pesky insects.

So what good are black flies? Well, they are actually a great indicator of clean water. They require clean running water for breeding and cannot tolerate pollution, so if you have black flies you also have a clean stream or river nearby. While the females are seeking blood for nourishment, the males are only dining on plant sap and nectar, so they are doing their part in pollinating our earliest spring flowers. You can even thank a black fly for a great blueberry crop. Black flies are food for other wildlife including dragonflies, bats and swallows. It’s kind of nice to know that they aren’t just dining on us, but they too are part of the food chain! Happily, black flies depart just about the time mosquitos come out, so we don’t have to contend with both at once.

How about the mosquito and its value? Two words: food chain. There are thousands of species of mosquitos all over the world and they are critical to a healthy ecosystem. Mosquitoes are a food source for birds, amphibians, reptiles and other insects.  Just like black flies, male mosquitoes are often plant pollinators and larval mosquitoes live in aquatic environments and are an important diet staple for a variety of fish. And they are a source of many jokes. Anyone who has vacationed in New England and strolled around a gift shop has seen countless items with a picture of a mosquito with the tagline, “State Bird of…”.

While I can’t say I like black flies or mosquitos, I can say that I love that they have value in our natural world. So, I will put on my repellent, long sleeves and pants and venture into my back yard to share nature with them.




112 Years of Runoia & Special Ingredient: Alum

Camp Runoia will celebrate 112 years this summer of providing girls with an amazing camp experience. We have wonderful staff, a beautiful site, strong traditions, and excellent activities. We also have a special ingredient that supports everything we do: our alum, those dedicated women and men who have come before us. They support us through raising money for our scholarship fund so that girls, who would not be able to come to camp, can join us through their generous support. They introduce their own daughters and granddaughters, as well as new families to our special camp. They love to gather at Runoia or around the country to reminisce and rekindle lifelong friendships. They share their skills in creating beautiful artwork and projects to showcase our site. And always, our alum share their stories and help keep our wonderful history alive and vibrant. We are fortunate to have so many people who love Runoia and treasure their time on Great Pond. Enjoy the latest newsletter of the Camp Runoia Alumnae Organization  SPRING 2018 RUNOIA CRAO and if you’re not a member please consider joining, you’ll be glad you did!