Bee’s and E’s – week two @camprunoia

Week two of Camp Runoia’s 116th season, has been packed full of adventures, new skills, friend making and about a 1000 friendship bracelets being produced. The Fine Maine Days have been filled with laughter and singing as we sink into the camp experience.

From weather forecasters and TV appearances to July 4th celebrations our days are packed from the minute we wake up until we fall into bed at night. Loons on the lake at night lull us to sleep and we wake to the crows and sheep ready to start new days filled with fun. 

Our campers have settled in, made new friends and are enjoying the fabulous Maine weather and lake life. With a covid free camp it has been a mix and match program week spending time with friends throughout camp. There have been lots of fun activities to tag up for, art projects to get started, rec swims, gaga games and wacky evening programs. The food has been amazing and we often joke that we have to fit camp in between meals and snacks! We are grateful to the positive energy that radiates from the kitchen and the hard work of the staff to keep us all fed with healthy, nutritious and delicious food.

We have been able to get back to more trips this summer and are enjoying getting out and about seeing the best of Maine. It’s the perfect place to be in the summer with so many natural resources and bright sunny days for visiting the mountains and the ocean. Day trips and camping trips get us out of camp and out into nature.

It was a ‘Wild Wednesday’ with some campers doing activities in camp, whilst the other half ventured out on trips. The Juniors went to Camden Hills State Park for a hiking day trip. The keen hikers went for a two hour, woodland hike and enjoyed their packed lunch with the beautiful scenery at the top of Mount Battie. Other hikers even complimented the girls singing as they climbed the mountain, showing off their Runoia spirit. Older girls had a prep hike at Tumbledown, they will be hiking Mount Katahdin later in the session and stretched their legs and enjoyed the lake at the top. Surrounded by nature on yet another Fine Maine day, campers took on the tough hike with determination and excitement. At the end of the four mile hike, campers were rewarded with the stunning views of Tumbledown’s surrounding mountains.

For our Harmony Land Mini campers, they had a fun day trip on Thursday to Pemaquid Beach. Campers were able to cool off while having fun on a hot, fine Maine day. They enjoyed splashing around in the waves, making sandcastles, and seeing the beautiful, coastal landscape that Maine has to offer. We were sad to see them leave at the end of their session and will welcome HLC A on the 5th. Seeing our youngest friends grow and learn during their stay at camp was very rewarding and we know that they will all be back to join main camp next year

The longest trip of the week consisted of a three day overnight camping trip to Acadia National Park. Here our campers went to the beach, climbed over rocks, explored nature and learned camping skills for outdoor living. The favorite thing about the whole trip was watching the sunrise over the harbor from Cadillac mountain.

Evening Programs or EP’s at camp are a great way to end our long days being altogether and having fun. From running games like Capture the Flag, Run Sheepy Run and a Scavenger Hunt to a Pairs Party and Lyp Synch contest we have used teamwork, creativity and athletic ability to have a blast. We always end the day with milk and crackers served by our fabulous CIT’s

The World of Change Truck rolled in yesterday and we chose how we would like all of our loose change to be spent helping kids in our community. Some campers felt very inspired to take the message home to their hometowns and get the program going there too. Encouraging kids to make a difference however small and truly be ‘the change’ in their world builds life skills that are of great importance.

New campers picked their teams or followed their alumnae family members onto a team. Campers have embraced the new team names and colors and are busy updating and rewriting cheers and creating new team spirit! Bees and Elephants or Ellie’s or E’s are ready to hit the fields and courts next week and earn points for their teams. Martina was able to articulate well the importance of this change and how it is our responsibility so show up in positive and affirming ways for all members of our community. Integrating and explaining out DEI work is an important part of being a progressive camp that works for continual improvement and is willing to say just because it’s been that way or is a tradition doesn’t make it right!

We will be slipping and sliding through today for the 4th of July celebrations with crazy fun stations and our traditional all camp relay later in the day. Ending with a campfire and sparklers at the lake these are the days that make our camp memories strong.

Sending much love home from the shores of Great Pond!

Ten for Two by Nina Budeiri

Mid-August through Mid-June are a fine ten months of the year; filled with family and vacation and school and re-releases of our favorite Taylor Swift songs.

We get up each day and do what life expects of us- finish that report or group project, sit through that meeting or class, brush the snow off the car.

We enjoy holidays and concerts and road trips and time with loved ones. We grow and change and pursue our life goals.

And while these ten months are just fine, there are two months of the year that go so far beyond “fine”, that sometimes they are all we can talk about for the other ten.

At least once a day, something happens in “regular life” that reminds me of Camp

I’m positive that this experience is not exclusive to myself- How could it be when the summer months are filled with so many memories and unique experiences to share?

From hiking to pottery to nearly every water sport imaginable, to having so many sing alongs, laughs, and stories with our siblings for the summer. We celebrate achievements with excited screams and hugs. We sing silly songs loudly, every day. We gather by the fire and remember how lucky we all are to be together.

Campers and staff alike are currently counting the days to when we can all return to Runoia. Diligently performing our worldly duties for ten months until we can return to the place we all love most.

I look forward to the day when morning assemblies will again consist of weather reports, camper birthdays, laundry schedules, and Evening Programs. I can’t wait to see how much everyone has grown and changed, to hear about school and sports achievements, and their goals this summer at Runoia.

The countdown clock keeps ticking. We’ll be waiting for you all on Great Pond.

Nina Budeiri – Camp Runoia’s Director of Resident Life

The Last Monday in May

This time of year, people around our town in Maine are busy getting ready for a big weekend. Maine lifted restrictions for capacity for dining and outdoor activities and tourists and families with second homes will be flocking to the lake like Canadian geese in October.

To the other Americans Memorial Day represents family gatherings outside, grilling meals for the first time since last summer and maybe, if you are fortunate, a long weekend off from work.  For some, it means a getaway to a vacation spot. Others are cleaning up their yards, if lucky to have one, and catching up on spring cleaning.

Many people hope their plans for their local parade and celebrations honoring the people who have died serving our country in active military service are safely happening in 2021.

In the spirit of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, we are grateful for our military who are currently serving, have served or have died in active duty allowing us to run summer camp, have girls from all over safely come to spend time with other wonderful adults and experience a meaningful summer opportunity.

Love, Aionur



First Impression

My First Impression in early May is the scents that are only at Camp Runoia. The leaves and grass and earth and air and lake water scents all combine into one scent. If we bottled it up, it would be called Eau de Runoia, or perhaps Eau de Harmony in the spirit of the meaning of Runoia.  I was instantly reminded of E.B. White’s book, “Once More to the Lake”.

Traditions abound at camp and one of the Camp Runoia traditions is recording your First Impression of arriving at camp for the “Log”. The Log is a record of all the things that happened in a summer.

You can only have a first impression, once (we like to do it once a season). Not unlike making your own first impression on other people (warm, stern, welcoming, exclusive, funny, serious, happy, sad), the land and lake puts on its very best display of nature and scents and views which evoke feeling. Especially when you return again and again.

The phrase First Impression seems obvious but here’s further explanation to get you pumped to record your immediate reaction to arriving at camp. A definition of first: Coming before all others in time or order; earliest, Combined with a definition of impression: An idea, feeling, or opinion about something or someone, especially one formed without conscious thought or on the basis of little evidence.

Of course, when we arrive in early spring, the parking lot is empty. Jen is not standing at the gate welcoming us, Alex is not in the parking lot directing us and beaming upon your arrival and Mark is not perched on the waterfront eager to greet your family and share the beauty of the “crown jewel” of Camp Runoia, Great Pond. Your counselors are not here yet to give you that big “hello” and “let’s go” kind of attitude. Finally, the sounds of shrill, excited voices from girls floating all over camp are not here, yet.  Only the spring birds, rustle of soft winds in the trees and waves lapping along the shoreline are here this time of year.

What will your First Impression of camp be when you arrive at camp? You may have to wait and see and feel and then write it down before it disappears.



Spring Equinox Is Almost Here by Guest Blogger Mark Heuberger

The first day of spring is March 20, 2021, which coincides with the vernal equinox. According to astronomers, this is the moment when the sun crosses exactly over the earth’s equator and the length of day and night is approximately the same.  The days then start to become longer than the nights, leading to those long summer days at Camp, when the sun does not set until 8:30 PM.

For Camp Runoia, the first day of spring starts us thinking about the fields, forests, and lakes warming and recovering from winter. We will soon start seeing the tiny sprouts of the ferns emerging from the earth; some ferns will grow to three or four feet high. The trees slowly become colored with buds, flowers, and leaves. We begin combing the woods for lady slippers and trillium flowers.  We are counting the days until Camp (100 till first session 2021!).

And of course, the first day of spring means that “Ice Out” is soon.

Some readers of this blog may not realize that the lake freezes over completely in the winter, covered in several feet of ice. Enough for trucks to drive out on the lake towing ice fishing huts.  At some point in spring, the ice suddenly thaws and disappears. Soon the loons will return and we will hear their calls again. Boats and docks will reappear on the lake and in a few short months we will be swimming, paddling, sailing, and skiing on Great Pond.

According to the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, who keep records of ice out dates on all Maine lakes, “Ice Out” is defined as the first day when you can navigate from one end of the lake to the other, even though there may still be ice in some coves or along the shoreline.

Ice Out dates for Great Pond over the last 20 years have typically been in middle to late April, but in four of the last 20 years, ice out has been in March, as early as March 20 in 2010, the first day of spring!  When will ice out be this year? Stay tuned.

For many this winter has been especially challenging. The coming of spring, the long warm days, the new beginnings, and the new opportunities are almost here and are welcomed.

Love, Aionur

Collect Loose Change – Start Now!

Camp Runoia families’ efforts to collect loose change from their homes, autos, drawers,
dresser tops and neighbors is making a difference in

Maine. Thanks to our campers who arrived with their change purses filled, and in some cases baggies full of coins, AND those families who mailed in their collection, we were able to raise $344.90. Matt Hoidal and his vision at World of Change WOC has made giving as easy as this

  1. Collect loose change from around your home, vehicles and from relatives
  2. Bring it to camp
  3. We combine it all and Alex delivers it to WOC
  4. WOC partners with organizations in Maine (and other states for other organizations donating).

This is the second summer Runoia collected and donated to WOC as well as our December holiday gift on behalf of our 2019 campers and families. Our donations have contributed to feeding people, providing school supplies, supplying beds to children who sleep on the floor, and more. Check out what WOC is doing and where your change goes.

Our 2020 donation was donated to The Locker Project. From TLP’s website :

Maine has the highest child hunger rate in New England and one of the highest in the nation. One in five Maine children regularly experiences food insecurity. One in three students in Cumberland County and more than half in the Portland schools are at risk of going hungry.

See how The Locker Project is managing to operate with donations and volunteers during the pandemic.

Be on the look out for reminders to collect change for next summer and find out how you can start your own collection in your community with WOC’s ideas about birthdays, Bat Mitvahs, school and business collection sites.

Last year we were able to provide backpacks and school supplies as well as one bedroom set for two children. This year we are feeding many children. Thank you for those of you who collected and contributed to make a difference. It feels good to provide food and meals to children who are food insecure and help to support them to have the band width to learn and participate in education without being hungry.







Happiness and Smiles

From my friend Joy, posted on Runoia’s blog with Joy’s permission:

COVID-19 and Happiness- A Strategy For Everyone

Mother Teresa said “peace begins with a smile.” Researchers report the facial muscles used in creating the simple act of smiling triggers special brain neurotransmitters that release endorphins and immune boosting T-cells. In fact, the simple act of smiling lowers our stress hormone called cortisol, and produces hormones that stabilize our blood pressure, improve our respiration, reduce our pain level, relaxes our muscles, speeds up our healing, lowers our chance of depression, and creates a change to stabilize our entire mood.
Did you know that it takes 62 muscles to frown and only 26 muscles to smile… so then why don’t smile more often?
Resilient people know the importance of taking positive actions to enhance their mental status. Would you like to practice a simple goal and watch its powerful effects during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Goal: Commit to 5 smiles a day.

Keep a record of incidents during the day that make you smile. Interestingly, you will notice that the sheer fact of changing your focus and “looking” for things that make you smile, will actually stimulate you to witness increasing items that make you smile. Give it a try !

Copywrite: Joy Miller, PhD, LCPC, MAC

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.

Let’s Move – Camp Runoia and Physical Fitness

Camp Runoia is an active place. Campers and staff walk or run from activity to activity and burn a lot of calories. We are unplugged with no screen time during camp so even inactive time often involves play. From playing Gaga in the Gaga pit to tetherball, badminton to ping pong; chill time is less than chill. Even walking in the woods, building fairy houses or climbing up the Lookout to make friendship bracelets involves movement.

One of the former First Lady’s programs, was “Let’s Move”.  The recognition of childhood obesity and one in three American children being obese or overweight was brought to light. The consequences would mean more teens and young adults with significant health problems. The reason: more calories, less activity. Calories from fast food and junk food, high in sugar low in nutrition is readily available to children. Taking buses to school, the reduction of outdoor play time and organized gym classes also feeds the crisis.

Programs like the NFL’s Play 60 and National Academies resources encouraging movement before and after school and in the classroom are part of the movement provide incentive and resources for play.

Camp instills habit-forming fitness in people with no screen time, walking  or running from place to place, sports daily, good food, fresh air, movement and plenty of time to sleep to recharge. Camp is more than Play 60 – it’s 12-13 hours of movement every day!





Finding the right camp

As we rapidly roll towards the summer season, this time of year is typically the busiest for new camper enrollment.  As families begin their search in earnest for the perfect camp for their child we thought that some tips and helpful questions may be of use.  There are such a wide variety of program options and so many great choices it can certainly be overwhelming to even get started.  So how on earth do you find the right camp?

A general internet search for summer camps turns up what seems like a million options for summer programs  and even when focusing on resources that are specific to camp selection the choices can be extensive. The American Camp Association website is filled with over 3000 accredited camps and summer programs and can be a great place to start. If you are already sure that Maine is the place that you want your child to be Maine Summer Camps also has a ‘find a camp’ tool which is also very helpful.

So how do you get started?

Set some parameters before you go near your computer and maybe even before you get the kids involved –  you don’t want them picking space camp on the moon when you were thinking arts camp in the woods!

Here are some potential questions to think through.

  • What genre of camp are you looking for?
  • Do you have family traditions with a particular program or location?
  • Are you restricted to specific dates or have a set session length in mind?
  • Is your child ready for an overnight experience or are you looking for a more local day camp?
  • What is your budget?
  • How far from home are you willing to travel?
  • Are you looking for specific program content or a more general program?
  • Do you want to do your own research or get help form a professional camp referral agency?
  • What are your child ‘s thoughts  about camp?

Once you’ve got a basic outline for your needs and wants you can dig in. Camp websites are typically filled with all of the initial information that you may need and directors are waiting for your calls to expand on what makes their camp unique.  Expect good customer service and attentive sales pitches, camps should want to find out about your child to see if it is a good fit for everyone not just push their program.  A great director will be able to head you in a different direction if their camp doesn’t meet your needs.  You should also expect to get referrals to other families and ideally a camp tour or home visit depending on the season.

Finding the right camp should be fun not stressful, give us a call if you need help 207 495 2228 there is a perfect fit for every child out there.  Want to learn more about Camp Runoia our website is a great place to start.

‘Once you pass the Runoia gate you’ve made a little date with fate..”