Second Session Smiles

Hello from another Fine Maine Day at Camp Runoia! The sun is shining, the boats are out on the blue waves, and the boisterous energy of our Second Session campers and their smiles is radiating throughout all of camp. 

We welcomed our Second Session Runoia Gals last Thursday, and hit they ground running with orientation and programming. Everyone has gotten into the groove of their block schedules, and echoes of “Hey! Are you going to Rec Swim?” can be heard everywhere. 

5th Shack Bringing The Inner Sunshine At Assembly

As we are almost an entire week into Second Session, the campers already gotten to tag up for two blocks of daily program activities. Our counselors have been working tremendously hard to make these programs magical, and all of the camper smiles and laughs tell us that it’s working. Even though yesterday was a rainy Maine day, our staff and campers rallied together in bright outfits and big smiles to bring out everyone’s inner sunshine. There was even a contest at Assembly for the shack with the brightest outfits, and people were in it to WIN it. Congrats to 5th shack who won the contest!

Runoia Gals At The Summit Of Katahdin

Today we are welcoming back our campers that went on trips this week. One group headed off to summit Katahdin, while another group went to hiking on Bigelow Mt. and canoeing on Flagstaff Lake. We’re so excited to welcome them back and hear everyone’s trip stories! Also today, several girls went to compete in a horse show at Camp Mataponi and represented Runoia fantastically winning show champions!

There is a feeling around Runoia right now that can only be described as “electric”— everyone zooming around to their activities, coming and going on trips and adventures, and making memories with new and old friends. Our hope is that while our campers enjoy the excitement of these fleeting days, that the memories made here will stay warm in their hearts long after summer leaves us. 

Until next week,


Living in the moment – enjoying the time, place and people without FOMO

Smart phones and social media keep us connected in our fast paced world.  We know that younger and younger kids have access to constant media use and switching it off for a few weeks of camp can be a challenge for all of us. Fear of missing out (FOMO) is a very real affliction for many who are used to a constant stream of updates and notifications telling them what everyone they are connected to is up to at any given moment.  Added into the Oxford Dictionary in 2013,  FOMO is defined as “anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website.”

There is a great deal of scientific and social research about how FOMO has become a rel phenomenon in our current society.  For an interesting read check out this article from Psychology Today.

Appreciation and mindfulness for the moment that we are in can generate great satisfaction.  It may be hard initially to turn off our brains to wondering what our friends and family are up to while we are at Camp Runoia but once we get into the busy days of camp life, the outside world becomes more of a blur. At camp we learn to be present in the moment, to engage with the people around is, to not worry what others are up to or even what is going on in the outside world.  Fortunately camp is generally exciting and interesting! There is always something going on and a wide variety of people to connect with.  We learn to enjoy and relish living in our Runoia bubble

Not having access to electronics at camp really helps reduce the FOMO

Parents, family and friends can really help their campers adjust to camp life by sending letters and emails that are encouraging and ask questions about camp life.   Making life at home sound really boring and not listing a bunch of fun things that have been going on while their camper has been gone really helps too.

Camp is where all the action is in the summer and when we are living in the thick of it we definitely don’t feel like we are missing out on anything and are so sad to see it come to an end.

Camp Runoia Alumnae Organization Spring Newsletter

The spring news from the Camp Runoia Alumnae includes the president’s greeting, a word from camp, info on alumnae daughters in camp and other news including reminders of the 115th reunion!

If you’d like to receive the CRAO twice-yearly newsletter by email, just let us know. Email and ask to save paper by receiving your newsletter by email. Fundraising is part of the newsletter so be sure to check in on the CRAO page to use your PayPal account or info on where to send a check.

Camp Runoia staff hiring

At this time of year a large focus of our office time shifts from camper recruitment to staff hiring.

We are literally scouring the globe to find the right people to join the Runoia summer team.

Being a camp counselor is never dull! Hiring staff who will fit into our camp family is crucial.

Our returning staff are usually quick to sign back up and then long time camp staffers find us if they are looking for a change from their previous camp. Campers from years gone by often reappear on our radar as they enter the college years and find themselves with a summer available to make a return to Great Pond.  Positions quickly fill up as friends and alums also tell people about the opportunities available at Camp Runoia.

Our primary goal with hiring staff is to find the right people for our community. We want them to get to Runoia and feel like they have arrived at their summer home where they fit into the ‘family’. In our experience being happy and content produces peoples best work so having a philosophical alignment with Runoia is essential.  Staff having a true passion for working and living with children is crucial; we can easily teach people the policies, procedures and systems.  Finding caring young adults that are willing to share their skills with our girls is our focus.

Most of our staff are college age students both from the US and overseas.  Many are on a focused career track and are seeking to gain more experience working with children. Camp also provides the opportunity for a new adventure and to see a different part of the world.  The connections counselors make with their campers and peers are often long lasting and have great value.

For those that have never attended camp spending a summer in the woods of Maine without their technology can be a harder sell.   It is often a challenge to convince students (and their college tuition paying parents!) that camp can provide them with the opportunity to continue developing and honing their 21st century skills.  Often colleges are pushing career related internships and work experience that will be a resume builder. It may come as a surprise to find out that camps are often more than happy to accommodate internships and also provide an array of transferable skills that are attractive to employers. Along with hard skills there is a great deal of holistic development gained from a summer at camp.  We are happy to help translate these skills developed at camp into tangible resume language Translating-Camp-Employment-To-Your-Resume.

If you think you have what it takes to be part of the Runoia team or know someone who does there is an online application via our website.  We can’t wait to meet the summer staff of 2019 our  ‘Runoia rock stars.’

Why I work in Maine when I live in Oregon

“Why do you work in Maine when you live in Oregon?” is a question I get fairly often. Between coworkers asking if I’m from somewhere on the East Coast, or if I have family there, or if my mom thinks I’m going to end up moving there, Maine comes up a lot.

If you had asked me a few years ago where Maine was, or the capital, or even if it snows there, I probably would not have been able to tell you. (Yes, I do know these things now.)

I found Runoia when I was looking for a “traditional” camp. The year before I had spent my summer at a day camp with British military kiddos in Germany, and the year before that I had worked at another day camp with kids from the American military in South Korea. After spending a few years in unorthodox camps, I was looking to stay in the US in 2017 (granted Maine is the farthest away from Oregon I could have been).

I had a few ideas of what I was looking for. I wanted a sleepaway camp, I wanted something that worked with my summer break dates since I was still in college, and I wanted a camp that had been open more than 50 years.

Not a very extensive list. I wanted traditions, things that people maybe couldn’t even remember why they started (Pigtail Friday or Hawaiian shirt Monday anybody?)

but were still very present at camp. This was the most important factor to me, since other camps I’ve worked at were relatively new or were still figuring out their own identities. I essentially became a first-time camper myself as I combed through the internet, squirreling out all the information about a camp that I could find.

After the longest weekend ever, I was down from 280 camps across the eastern United States to three that all seemed like good fits. I applied to all three, Runoia being the first one to respond back. I was on the phone with Alex in under 12 hours of applying, and that is not an exaggeration. The second camp and I had a Skype interview, but when I told them I didn’t have a driver’s license they told me I didn’t have a job with them. The third camp and I played phone tag for three days until I gave up on them. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, Runoia sounded great from the phone interview and everything I found online, so the fates had made the decision for me.

And Runoia was great! Driving up to the camp for the first time was just wonderful, and the amount of information and history that I got on day one was more than enough to make sure that I chose the right camp. There were similar elements from other camps that I’ve loved in the past, too, like family style dining, field trips offsite, singing songs, and Runoia seemed like a place I could really invest in. I can’t tell you what specifically got me “hooked” on Runoia. If it was the towering trees or the time by Great Pond, or the expectation that if this is what I could do in my first year, what could I do next year? I was sad, to say the least, when we started to pack camp up. How could it be over already?

After camp I got to spend time back in Oregon with my mom, experiencing what many campers probably feel after camp: being camp-sick. I was trying to decide

Ruby enjoying our Sunday Morning Pajama Breakfast

if I was going back to Runoia in 2018 and my mom basically laughed at me and said, in my sad state, that I had already made my decision.


In addition to building my own life long skills in basket weaving at Runoia, I continue to work with girls who, I think, really just need their own space and time to find themselves! I know I needed that when I was younger, and I’m glad that I can be someone that kiddos can look up to.

Oh no, now I’m campsick again.


Rules and regulations

Once you have narrowed down your camp search it is great to delve a little deeper into the operations management of the organization.  Be prepared to ask some specific questions about how the management ensures the safety of it’s campers and the reliability of it’s programs. How are the camps that you are interested in sticking to the rules and regulations that are in place to effectively ensure that the camp is safe and credible?

Operating a seasonal summer camp isn’t just all swimming in the lake and s’mores around the campfire there are a number of agencies that govern how camps are managed particularly focusing on the health and safety of the children and staff. In Maine camps must be licensed through the State  and there are a series of State laws that govern basic operations along with minimum standards required to get a license and operate as a youth camp.

Safety should always come first. Camp Runoia girls are well prepared for their adventures.

A camp may meet the basic State standards but then there are also best practices in the camping profession.  The American Camping Association is the national governing body for youth camping and it has it’s own established set of guidelines for ensuring consistent quality in the programs that it oversees.  This ACA Accreditation has been a long tradition at Camp Runoia.  Not only have we maintained our compliance since the 1960’s we also have many years of being visitors and experiencing the opportunity to check out other camp programs.  This reciprocal peer process is a great learning opportunity for both parties and allows sharing of ideas and best practices from a wide variety of programs.  Our programs are designed around the ACA standards of best practice and we strive to operate above and beyond any minimal standards.

Once you’ve narrowed down your camp search and checked out some great websites talking with the Camp Director initially by phone then ideally in person at a home visit or camp tour is next for getting your questions answered.  This great Newsweek article helps define a little more why asking the right questions is important and the value of choosing a camp that has been accredited by the ACA.

If you are still wondering if overnight camp is the right choice for your child check out this short video about the impact of camp in a child’s development ‘the impact of camp lasts forever

As always give us a call or shoot us an email if you want to chat more about camp for your child, we love helping families to find the best fit.

Thinking about Camp in 2019?

Natalie Dresdow, Camp Runoia CIT and returning for her 10th summer, shares insights and her thinking about the conscious decision of returning to camp:

Natalie as Willie Wonka with Izzy and Sofia in the camp play

As we’re into the holiday season, soon to be the new year, all of us are spending quality time with our family and friends to celebrate. Personally, I’ve been spending time with my new friends, my family, and my horse.

Some of us haven’t stopped thinking about camp since August or maybe just started to think about next summer. CIT’s have applied, and staff and campers are starting to ask themselves “do I want to go back to camp?” And you might think you don’t want to go back. You’ll be thinking to yourself, you have your family and friends at home that you’re gonna miss, and you’ll miss opportunities at home. Perhaps you think about camp and remember those first few days that were tough, a small disagreement with a shackmate, or something that was hard to do the first time, like getting up on the windsurfing board or making a bowl on the pottery wheel.

    On Top of the World

But as the time gets closer to camp, you’ll probably change your mind. You’ll remember how the lake feels every day when you get in for swim lessons, your first bullseye in archery, the exhilarating feeling you get when you’re riding for your blue or white team in the horse show. You’ll remember your shack trip, whether you canoed to Oak Island or climbed Mount Katahdin. Most of all, you’ll remember all of your friends at camp. You’ll remember the first day you met them and the last night when you’re sitting together, listening to the staff sing.

2019 will be my 10th summer at camp and I can’t imagine spending it anywhere else. There have certainly been ups and downs each summer. I’ve had bumps and bee stings on trips, missed the target more times than I can count, and experienced hurt feelings when my friends and I disagree. But those are all temporary and far eclipsed by the memories and friendships I’ll have for a lifetime. Camp has taught me perseverance, self-reliance, and that the journey is just as important as the goal.

Starting over – Runoia 2019 are you ready?

September has arrived with shorter days, cooler evenings and an opportunity for a moment to breath and reflect on the past summer season.  2018 was fantastic.  We had so ‘many fine Maine days’ that we were honestly wishing for a little more rain! Camp was full of happy campers and our staff group had an impressive skill set that they shared with enthusiasm.  Even though at camp we fit so much into a day the time flew by way too fast.  We can’t believe that it is time to start over and that our 2019 season is already open for business.

The cycle of camp is an interesting one as there is little down time as we are constantly moving towards the next season.  It is hard to believe that we are now open for early enrollment for our returning campers.  We are hopeful that most will be back and some are already clamoring for the limited full season spaces.  New families are waiting to see if there may be a space for their daughter while others are getting in touch and just beginning to think about plans for next summer.

We are ready to help people make decisions about if Runoia is the right fit for their family.  We are making room for younger sisters and cousins and figuring out how we can continue to make a Runoia summer a crucial part of a girls development.

There is excitement as new enrollments pop into our inboxes, we miss everyone and are already counting down the days until we can all be back together on the shores of Great Pond.  We are really ready to start over and move into 2019 while reminiscing and holding on to the memories and great times from 2018.

Sending positive thoughts for a great back to school and we hope to see you all back on Great Pond next summer.

Camp Runoia 2019 bring it on!

After Camp – More Camp

We are thrilled to host Young At Arts again for an amazing after camp.

YAA is an organization founded in 2005 to bring youth together with the power of art, acting, dance and music. Sharyn Pirtle is the founder and director and she runs the program year round in Bronxville, NY.

About 65 people gathered at Camp Runoia for the week to work on performing arts: music and dance. Seeing the campers arrive nervous and uncertain and leave empowered and connected affirms the great work MANY camps do across the country. YAA campers practiced their arts and also got to enjoy Runoia activities like kayaking with MJ, Art with Eylse, Climbing Tower with Kate, Archery with Eliza Mae , Tennis with Amelia and Basketball with Eliza.

Runoia is honored to have YAA here in August to have their “summer” camp and enjoy a residential experience on the shores of Great Pond. 

Thanks for joining us YAA. And Bobos for a great performance this week!

Heart of Camp ~ Counselors and Staff

I have been so fortunate to do my life’s work as a camp director for over 30 years. I have had the deep satisfaction and joy of sharing the lives of thousands of children as they have grown into such fine adults. I have been honored to be welcomed by families as a partner in their parenting. I have worked with so many fine counselors. I have lived, worked and played in the beautiful out-of-doors while learning so much about myself. And I have had so much fun!

All of these experiences have been connected completely to the heart of camp – the counselors and staff. Each summer we bring together a group of young, and not-so-young women and men to work with our girls. They come from different parts of the world with diverse life experiences. The reasons they come to camp are many. Some have grown up in camp and often cite that they want to give back to the community that has given them so much. New staff members are excited about teaching skills, working with children, being outdoors, making friends, etc. etc.

For whatever reason they come, they soon realize that it is a job working 24-hour days, 7-days a week that requires being a friend, coach, mentor, big sister, role model, and parent all rolled into one. Counselors need to employ skills in decision making, problem solving, motivational speaking, organization, refereeing, group management, interpersonal dynamics, safety awareness, creativity, time management, teaching, care taking, sensitivity, empathy, and flexibility. They set aside much of their own lives – friends, family, hobbies, social life, work, school – to take on this responsibility. They demonstrate amazing commitment every day as they give so much of themselves to create a magical experience for girls.

We know that are counselors and staff could choose to do so many other things with their summers, and we are so grateful they choose to be with us at camp. These fine people truly are the heart of camp.