Cultural Exchange: Whatever Way We Can

How lucky Camp Runoia is to host friends from near and far reaches – from the east to west coast of the United States, to England, Ireland, Mexico, France, and more. Our cultural exchange from campers and staff alike is one of the magical pieces of Camp Runoia.


At one point, driving 8 hours from Upstate New York felt like quite the trip – but now I’ve moved just shy of 2,000 more miles to the west of camp and suddenly that ‘long’ drive is shortened in my mind. As I was putting together my plans to arrive back in Maine early May, I first felt resolved to drive across the country – it wouldn’t be my first time – but realized that instead, this will probably be my first summer flying to camp, as many of our far-reaching friends do.

The theme of camp in 2020 and 2021 really was “whatever way we can”. Runoia had a deep resolve in the past two years to provide a widely needed experience of unplugged escape for both campers and staff. This meant sacrifices to our normal – including not being able to welcome international friends in 2020. In 2021, with some very creative problem-solving from leaders like Jen Dresdow – and some serious willpower from staff – we began to welcome some international friends once again.

Now, as we gear up for round three of camp affected by Covid, we are thrilled to see plenty of countries represented on both our staff and camper lists. Travel plans are coming together for all of us (hopefully!) and we are gearing up to once again hear different languages at camp, share our beautiful state and waterfront with new-comers, and learn all that we can from a summer-long cultural exchange.

From “how lucky we are to be here” in 2020, to “how lucky we are to have YOU here” in 2022!


The international camper perspective:

You may wonder what drives our international parents to send their girls thousands of miles from home; to a place they have often never been; to have an experience that is not only challenging in itself but must be conducted with English as a second language!

This Runoia parent sums it up beautifully:

“I have been wanting to get in touch with you since the girls came back from their camp experience to let you know what an amazing, rewarding and joyful experience it has been for them! Even V. who had a more difficult start, came back announcing she wanted to repeat next year! And the friends they have made: they are already in contact via mail with some of them, and plan on keeping it that way…

And from my side, I feel they have not only improved their English, but gained self-confidence about their capacities to go beyond their own initial limitations. So once more, thanks for all of that! And indeed I will enroll them for next summer.” (Camp Runoia Mom from Spain)

While improving English skills may be the initial drive it is apparent that the whole camp experience is what the girls take home.

10351077_10152530144254509_5548788663595687066_nInternational campers and staff add diversity to our Runoia population and provide opportunities to share cultural exchanges.

In 2014 we had campers and staff representing more than 10 different countries!

It is a win, win for everyone.