The power of the pen – handwritten notes are special

I know I have blogged about handwritten letters before.  Again it feels worthy of a mention. It is of great relevance as we are coming up on the camp season and are reminded that contact with the outside world through mail is so valuable. When technology is not accessible a pen and paper is a great connector.

There is some great commentary and many books written about the art and often ‘lost art’ of letter writing. It’s worth acknowledging that in our high tech times, jumping on face time or a zoom is easier than finding pen and paper and the ever illusive correct postage stamp.

I was inspired this week by a photograph on facebook from my camp friend in Australia. Her daughter had asked for letters so I had pooped a note in the mail and after a long and arduous journey she finally had it in her hands. The pure joy on her face was amazing and she apparently slept with it under her pillow. She has never met me and as her mum explained our connection, they looked on the map at how far the letter had traveled. A lot of lessons were learned just through a piece of mail that took a few minutes to write and the cost of a stamp. I am excitedly awaiting my letter back from her. 

The majority of people that I send postal mail to are my camp friends. While we do keep in touch via electronic means we mostly write to each other. It’s so fun to get an unexpected note in the mail and then know it’s your turn to write back at some point. It’s very casual and doesn’t feel like an obligation, we share daily life news and stay up to date with each other when we feel compelled to.

Mail at camp has extra value,  when you are away from home a fun card, or a letter is a treat at rest hour. It is great to see girls get writing too! As it is there only means of communicating there are stacks of letters waiting to go out in the camp mail bag every morning. I hope parents cherish those notes from camp even the ones that just say ‘camp is fun’ in big letters across the whole card. 

I love sorting the mail at camp, the fun stickers on the envelopes, the scrawly handwriting from younger siblings and the formal notes from older relatives. I laugh at the bills that I know will likely go unopened until August. It always reminds me of our larger camp community, the campers that have graduated that still write to camp friends, the parents who were alums and carry on the traditions of Runoia in their family and all of those people at home wondering how much fun we are having on Great Pond. It’s a whole pile of love coming in letter form.

We truly can’t wait for the summer season, so stock up on your stationary because we love getting mail!

….love Aionur

In the past couple of weeks, birthday postcards and enrollment welcome notes have been flying out of the Runoia mailbox by the dozen . How fun it is to send them and hopefully they are received joyfully with a glimpse of a warm, camp summer accompanying them. In our virtual world it’s fun to get something tangible in the mail. It’s personal just for you and reminds each of us that we are being thought about even when we are not at camp. For new campers it may be their first connection to a person at camp soon to be followed by pen pal letters and begins their relationship with Runoia that is separate to their parents.

For alums and returning campers it’s part of the magic of Runoia. The notes don’t come from a particular person; they just come from camp. From the place you call your summer home, from the memories and magic that Camp Runoia holds for you.

I often wonder when the signing off of mail from camp as  ‘Aionur’ started. Maybe our Camp Runoia Alumnae Organization has some secret intel about the tradition and who instigated it. I chuckle a little thinking about new families scratching their heads trying to figure out who the note is from. Sometimes they get a clue, other times there’s a confused email saying they aren’t sure who this person is but they appreciated the note and will they meet them at camp?

When sending mail to camp friends, many campers may sign off with ‘Bobo’s’ a reminder of our camp cheer and that you are loved and appreciated by your camp family. Back when camp was a little smaller girls received a departing ‘bobo’ individually as they left camp at the end of the summer.

These traditions though seemingly small keep us connected to each other and to our summer home. We can’t wait to be back with all of our Camp Runoia family and hope to see many return for the reunion this summer, maybe we will get to the bottom of the Aionur history mystery then.

See you on Great Pond.

Love Aionur