Providing opportunity for leadership and growth in personal development is a key component of all of Camp Runoia’s programming. Multi age classes and self directed goals allow campers to navigate their own skill development and girls of all ages are given a chance to have their voices heard. Older campers often take on the role of friend and mentor to younger girls and share their skills and love of camp activities with those that are in need of help. Skippers in sailboats, captains of teams, helpers at the barn and other opportunities to be up front all allow campers to gain leadership skills while working on their own goals.
The Counselor in Training program (CIT) is often the capstone of camper years and allows for a very intentional, full summer experience with a leadership focus. In typical summers CIT’s live as a group with their CIT Director and work together in and around camp to build skills. 2020 proved to be a whole lot different. Four amazing young women who were up for a new and evolving challenge joined Harmonyville for a different kind of CIT program.
With the creation of ‘households’ and restricted interactions of groups it meant that in order for the CIT’s to get the best experience of actually working with campers they spent much of their summer living in cabins. The CIT’s also joined us for staff training and were able to live together during that time and get some very intensive skill coaching before their move to live with campers. It was a very different approach yet worked incredibly well under the unusual circumstances. This group of young women were able to navigate not only the transition from being campers to taking on a more comprehensive leadership role but also having to be separated from their peers and fellow CIT’s. They truly were living their leadership development as they actively engaged with all aspects of daily life in camp.
This fabulous four accomplished so much over their unique CIT summer. Even with a reduced amount of time at camp and additional responsibilities they passed archery instructor training, managed to navigate a socially distanced lifeguard class, made connections with their campers, took classes in child development, homesickness and a multitude of other camp related situations and did it all while maintaining and building their personal friendships. Their growth was amazing and they worked through the hard parts and saw the benefits of being at camp even when it wasn’t what they had originally imagined. They built life skills that will serve them well as they head out into their junior years and begin to navigate what life after high school may look like.
We hope that this tenacious group will be back for more Runoia summers. Our counselor staff group will benefit from their skills, capable competence and true Runoia spirit.