Women who dared

I have long been amazed at the tenacity of our Camp Runoia founders Lucy Wieser and Jessie Pond.   Their dedication to starting a camp for girls showed great bravery and confidence when heading off into the unknown wilds of Maine.  In our world of high speed transportation and at your finger tips technology it is sometimes very hard to imagine how different life was back in the early 1900’s.  Rural Maine was sparsely populated with few paved roads and limited access to many areas.  The Maine Central railroad had only established the Belgrade Depot in 1850 and the local community was mostly made up of farms with some vacation housing  in the village.  Arriving by train from the city into Belgrade must have been quite a culture shock.  While the actual story of their first adventure has become a little lost in the mists of time I imagine them in skirts or dresses, hiring a horse and cart to travel around the area.

Belgrade Depot station around the time Ms Weiser and Ms Pond founded Camp Runoia.

On our staycation this week we traveled to the Owls Head Transportation Museum which had some fascinating displays the most interesting of which for me was about the early female pioneers of travel.  Like our Runoia founders they were making history in the early 1900’s and boldly going places that women typically hadn’t ventured to.  Their names were new to me and their adventures and experiences seemed so radical for the time.  Can you imagine driving a car cross country with a couple of your girlfriends?  Now think about doing it when there were only 156 miles of paved roads and your car barely had a roof!

Can you imagine traveling cross country in this?!

I shall continue to be inspired by the brave bold women of the early 1900’s and to keep sharing their stories with our fearless young women at camp. Maybe they will become the pioneers of this new generation.

Traditional books

Reading aloud, a classic Runoia tradition

At camp we love the tradition of reading a book out loud to campers at night in the shacks before lights out.  I am sure that like it is at Runoia, story time is a revered part of the day in many homes.  As my children have aged the density of the books and length of reading time has significantly increased. What was once a pile of picture books that took maybe 5-10 minutes to read through is now at least a 30 minute sojourn into a hefty novel.

Even with kids of different ages and interests we often hit on a book that everyone wants to listen to.  After finding a pile of old Nancy Drew books in the Runoia library we have recently traveled down a path of reading older children’s literature.  This not not only stimulates our imaginations as we read about places far beyond out imaginations but these books also generate many interesting conversations about life for children  in ‘the olden days.’

Here are some of our recent favorites with our ‘what were they thinking observations and questions?!’

Enid Blyton was a favorite author of my childhood.  We had these books shipped over from England so that my kids could enjoy them too.

“I mean really Mum, like you would let us go traipsing all over the countryside with just a basket of sandwiches.”  “You probably shouldn’t climb giant trees without telling your parents what you are up to”


“Mum if we were gone for a whole day and had just vanished you’d call the police right?”  Narnia







“Wow there is no chance I’d be traveling on a boat by myself from India to New York if I were only 12 years old!”







“I think if I went adventuring I certainly wouldn’t be wearing a pretty dress.  She really should wear jeans.”






We would love to know what you are reading.  We will be looking for suggestions for the Runoia summer book club in the Spring.

Enjoy curling up with a good book and don’t forget to make it more fun by reading aloud with your family or friends.  You never know how it will stimulate conversations and your own imaginations.