Camp is a Puzzle

Camp is a puzzle – and our pieces are slowly starting to come together this week.

The funny thing is, we don’t have a puzzle box for reference – we know what previous summers looked like in memory, but no two are ever the same! We will have to wait for each piece to be laid throughout the next two months until we can stand back and admire the picture made. 

For the past month at camp, we’ve strategically laid edge pieces and built the frame of our 2022 puzzle, leaving the sides of pieces open for others that hopefully click in perfectly. Edge pieces set in place include boats built and placed in the water, cabins cleaned and prepped for staff arrivals, seeds planted – literal and metaphorical, beds built, a kitchen stocked – you name it, it’s been done!

Yesterday we gained 10 new pieces – bringing hints of what our puzzle will look like this year. Of these 10 staff arrivals, 9 made their way to Runoia from across Mexico. Summer 2022 brings back puzzle pieces painted in hues of cultural exchange!

Today and tomorrow bring 8 more pieces – 7 of these to round out the leadership staff who have worked all year in preparation for summer. After this, the flood gates open – over 50 more staff members will make their way to us between now and opening day, and suddenly staff training is rolling in full force!

On the Runoia home page, way down at the bottom, is a countdown to camp. I’ve watched it dwindle from triple digits to double digits over months, and now it sits at a mere 14 days. In these two short weeks, on opening day of 2022, we will still only have a partially complete puzzle. Our campers will be the ones to fill in the remaining spaces and truly paint the picture of the summer with their experiences, skills gained, laughs shared, bracelets made, songs sung, games played, and friendships formed.

Here are a few more pieces I can’t wait to see click into place:

  • trip songs shared by brave Katahdin summiters
  • plaques and a dinner signifying our graduating camper’s accomplishments
  • levels passed and awards earned
  • cozy campfires on the beach
  • Oak Island swimmers crossing the finish line

Some pieces of this summer we will know well – traditions passed for years down the line at camp. But it’s the “new in 2022” pieces which I can’t wait to see find their place: new campers, new staff, brand new norms and traditions.

And we can’t wait to see how you fit into our puzzle this summer.

Until then,


Camp Runoia Traditions – the ‘name story’

The close of a Camp Runoia summer has a lot of traditional moments. Some seem like camp classics; from finding out the end of season scores,  singing ‘It’s Blue and White’ at Cotillion to enjoying a final campfire together. Others are a little harder to fathom how they evolved. Runoia examples are the log book statistics and the ‘name story’. I’m sure if we pored over the Logs for a long time we could go back and find out when some of these traditions became established and maybe even who brought them to camp.  Certainly some have evolved over time and others have come and gone in just a few years.

The ‘name story’ was an established  part of Log Night long before my time at Runoia and I have been writing it for a lot of years now. It includes the last name of all of the campers and staff that stay with us the whole season and needs to be read with a creative flair as there are some tricky names to get into some kind of tale. There were more names than ever this year.

Camp Runoia staff 2019 their names are in the story!

Here is the 2019 version of the Camp Runoia ‘name story’:

FFMD’s – Fabulous Fine Maine Days

After a very rainy May, that had put a real Strain on getting everything Doone to open up Camp Runoia it had been a summer filled with  ‘fine Maine days’ and beautiful sunsets to the West on Great Pond.

Campers had enjoyed the familiar routines of camp life. Nagle every morning the Flagg was raised, the Bellringer kept the Kells ringing on time, Vanns had taken the campers out on trips, girls got to tie Dye their T-shirts in all kinds of Clancy colors and it had been a great time with lots of Cartmell’s across the kickball field. A ride down to the Marini on the ski boat was a real treat.

At assembly even with a Hacking cough the Germain counselor was really good at translating the word of the day.  In Liu of songs, Dresdowed in their camp uniforms everyone headed out across the Heath to visit the old Mill on the other side of the farmhouse. ‘Budeiri that we have an old ruin at camp’ said the young rapper McCarron to Sidorsky.

When lunch time rolled around after Grace everyone sat down to a delicious meal. On the Plata that Jacob took out of the Hubbard and brought out to the table was a Bolduc roasted in Herbst the Corneluius delicious too. That was a fine Bolduc-Jackson saidI Kotsiri would like some of those Hobbs Knobs British biscuits for desert.’ Meanwhile the vegetarians were delighted with their Heuberger made from chickpeas.   While everyone was waiting for desert Frank O’Malley the Irish counselor enthusiastically played a little jig on the Picariello while campers joyfully McLellaned around the dining hall.

Up at the farm the chickens were making such a Kranefuss when laying their Brown and White eggs. ‘Ojeah I feel like a real Pratt’ said Dean the farm counselor ‘I think that the baby goats finally escaped by jumping on the old Cobb horse and have Krakoffed down the road.’ ‘I Quinonnes what to do!’ Now that they are Friedman, I will have to Mullen over a plan with Emerson, Alexander in order to capture them maybe Cooper can help us too.  With a quick prayer to St Peter the counselors Tapiaed on the grain bucket and Skaliotised off after the goats.

When the trippers were out hiking a storm rolled in and the campers had to Neal down and Crawley through the Thacker underbrush toward the Goodoak that guided them to the edge of the woods. They Pulliamed themselves along using Phillips rope that luckily he had brought ‘That was pretty Roffman ‘ exclaimed Martin I hope that everyone is o’Shea. Pammenting the fact that they had to cut their trip short they all used the Holthouse and washed up with the biodegradable Castillo soap. Then with a big cheer of ‘hip hip Perez ‘ they hopped in the Radford van and with Davis driving headed back to camp.

The blue and White games had gone off splendidly even though there had been a petition for the introduction of a Brown team. Shooting competitions had been a big hit, using the old Smith and Wilson and the newer Santos-Pearcy model , Jackson and Gwilliam Atienzad perfect scores. ‘O’Dwyer ‘ said Harris even though I Browder my best effort I Mahedy must try harder I only scored a Kerti and need to get at least a 40 to pass my level. On the fields girls were Korineing around bases after using the Melgar bats to hit home runs. ‘Korosi’yelled the team captain as a camper ran for home base.

While sucking on Mintz and Mullering over the events of the season the directors figured that it May have been the best summer yet on Great Pond.