Earth Day: the Runoia Way

As Earth day approaches – you may be wondering: how do we love the earth here at Runoia? To that I say: let me show you and we can count the ways – the Runoia way!

Learning to grow our own food…

and loving and caring for animals!

Learning outdoor skills and Leave No Trace in camp craft…

for the chance to practice those skills on trips to enjoy the natural beauty of Maine!

Learning to create with natural materials…

and watching sunrises and sunsets over Great Pond!

Moving our bodies outside…

and connecting with one-another, unplugged, each day!

We are so grateful for the earth that provides the water of Great Pond for us to swim, boat, and play in, for the tree that houses our favorite hangout spot, for the rocks and peaks that we climb together, for the herbs and veggies that grow in our soil, for the materials we make art with, for the sand we’ve spent hours singing our songs on, for the grass we do our cartwheels on, for each other. Join us in celebrating our earth and all of its splendors this spring!

Grant that we have safe and fun days, and that we respect each other, ourselves, and our planet.

XOXO,

Runoia

Camp Grows Lifelong Learners

With the first week of January behind us, we are all settling into a new year with ambitions and a peaceful, quiet month to work on them. In my house, we are working on a goal of reading more in 2022. We’ve set up a system to help us reach this goal – using the GoodReads app to track our reading, utilizing our library cards and the Libby app to get access to more books, and checking in with friends with similar goals. It has me thinking about how much I value my identity as a lifelong learner – a quality fostered by camp – someone open to new goals, learning new things, and always working on a growth mindset.

One of my favorite books, Mindset by Carol Dweck, delves deep into fixed vs. growth mindsets. A fixed mindset makes us believe that our talents and abilities are “carved in stone” – we only have a certain amount of intelligence, ability, a certain personality. But the growth mindset tells us that our efforts, passions, and help from others overtake our natural abilities. Dr. Dweck’s research shows us that while we can always retrain ourselves, our mindset is often formed very early in our lives. The people, the ideas, and the opportunities we surround ourselves with can make or break this mindset.

This is where camp comes in! Camp provides the opportunity to continually challenge ourselves – campers and staff alike – to try new things, build our skills, and learn from new perspectives. Our campers understand the value and thrill (and, in all honesty, nervousness) of trying something brand new, and the bravery of attempting the next level. Many of our activities at Runoia feature levels that encourage our campers to build skills and aspire to the highest achievement – maybe American archer, windsurfing queen, or advanced equestrian. Campers who return year after year often spend each summer building toward these goals with the help of a growth mindset, some serious tenacity, and an awesome support system.

Camp challenges our staff members – from first-year counselors to admin who have been here for decades – to grow, as well. What a challenge it was for me to show up to camp in June of 2018 not knowing a soul – and for our international counselors, add on the bravery of navigating a new country!

Our campers and staff benefit from this mindset even after passing through Runoia’s gates – back to the ‘real world’ – at summer’s end. One of our stellar staff members, Mackenzie, talked to me about learning to ski as an adult – something I’ve also been tackling in the past year. So excited to learn, she started slow “with pizza skis and falls every few hundred feet.” But a growth mindset tells Mackenzie that even after hard falls, she has the ability to learn and grow: “After big wipeouts that knocked the wind out of me I’d sit and catch my breath wishing I learned at the age of 3 like it seemed everyone else on the mountain had. After studying the way others moved, advice from friends who ski, and a beginners lesson, I learned new skills one at a time.” Mackenzie closed out our conversation with some serious growth-mindset attitude: “I continue to learn one step at a time and remind myself of the privilege it is to ski regardless of starting age. Now I know that there is truly no ‘mastering’ a skill because it can always get better from there.”

Here’s to new things, more books, and growth in 2022.

Self-Care: Integrating Time for You in the Hectic Schedule of Daily Life

You are catapulting around, working from your hectic home circus, syncing schedules between

hybrid education for your children, after school engagement, managing zoom meetings, connecting with your partner and family, caring for your parents, and hey, by the way, what’s for dinner?

As a reminder to myself and all of us, taking time for self-care during the pandemic is critical. One easy way to ground yourself is through stretching, yoga, movement with meditation. It all starts by rolling out the mat. Can you get up 20 minutes earlier? Can you escape for a lunch time stretch? 20-30 minutes is all you need for restorative healing and self-care.

At camp we are so lucky to have alumna Kara Benken Garrod lead both adults and campers in yoga practice. She teaches yoga in Ohio in the off season and generously helps guide us at camp.  

When we are not at camp, we love at home yoga with Adrienne Mishler.  Her brilliant and accessible at home yoga practice and her annual gift to all of us – 30 days of yoga in January. It is available to you any time of the day for free. She is so generous and beautiful to share her vision about yoga as a lifestyle with millions of viewers.

There are plenty of ways to get your children involved too. Ideas about yoga with children include stories and play about yoga, to classes  Here’s a fun way to introduce yoga, either a deck of yoga cards with some ideas about connecting breath and meditation or a poster of yoga moves for children to do on their own. Just have them roll out their mat and enjoy the fun!

Meanwhile, you can take a deep breath (breath in love, breath out fear) and grab your afternoon cup of coffee to get ready for the next 8 hours of catapulting around!

Love, Aionur