The Runoia “Log” and More Traditions

Double entendres abound when I think of the word “log” – all related to Runoia traditions. My mind races to our weekend campfires and the logs we use to build the campfire. To camping trips and “hugging” trees – from before Leave No Trace… “hugging” was our phrase for finding a small standing dead tree we could hug out of the ground and saw into logs for our campfire.

Then I think, “Ah ha!” it’s the camp “logs” – the written logs of each summer’s camp activities and antics dating back to the summer of 1910. The logs have been scanned and uploaded through a generous donation from the Tabell family. They are available on our website – just click here.

And, last but not least, my mind recognizes the bi-annual newsletter of the Camp Runoia Alumnae Organization (CRAO). The CRAO was founded by the Cobb Family with support and guidance from Jody Sataloff and Jack Erler to provide a “Campership” fund for campers to be able to attend camp. A volunteer organization that has developed efficiently and with enthusiasm over the years to provide partial camperships for over 20 campers each summer. 10% of Runoia’s campers receive some kind of assistance.

With the guidance of past-president Andrea “Nandy” Florey Bradford, the name of the fund was updated to honor Betty Cobb. The fund is now the “Betty Cobb Campership Fund”.

Find out more about the CRAO in volume 31, issue 2 and the ongoing mission in the Fall 2018 newsletter “The Log”:

CRAO Fall 2018f LOG



What’s Up After Camp?!

Our Runoia season ended in a whirlwind – the White Team was victorious, the cotillion fire was bright, the “see you laters” and “farewells”, hugs and tears were heavy and overall the memories of the summer are emblazoned in our minds.

What happens after camp? While many families vacation and return home to prepare for  pre-season sports and school, Camp Runoia is still busy with events around the lakes in August.

Weekend One after camp: Runoia alumnae came from far and near to gather by the shores of Great Pond for a celebration of the 110th summer and re-connections and new connections. Some came to see what camp is like now and some came to enjoy the peacefulness and calm, sit by a campfire, read the Logs and sing camp songs.

Singing around the Camp Fire at Runoia's Reunion
Singing around the Camp Fire at Runoia’s Reunion

Others came to fulfill their part of fundraising for the Betty Cobb Campership Fund and make the now famous swim to Oak Island part of their fund raising feather in a (swim)cap.

The Famous Oak Island Swim - now a Campership Fund Raiser!
The Famous Oak Island Swim – now a Campership Fund Raiser!

Weekend Two: Cobb family and friends descend upon camp for a relaxing and fun filled weekend. ’nuff said.

Gathering Before the Race at the Runoia Beach
Family Fun
Family Fun

Weekend Three: The Great Pond Yacht Club holds the annual “Hurricane Cup” at Camp Runoia. Super fun sailing with 15 boats in the race this year.

Weekend Four: Coming up! The Belgrade Regional Conservation Alliance will held the 7th annual “Run for the Lakes” From Runoia’s gate. An out and back 5K, professionally timed event. Find your registration info here: or

Pretty soon it will be pumpkin season around camp. Enjoy the start back to school! And look for emails from camp about sign up for next summer!


The World Outside of Camp (WOoC)

Guest blogger, Carrie Murphey, writes a poignant passage about camp here:

In this moment snugged squarely into the season of gratitude and giving, I want to try to share my gratitude for what camp has given me over the years.

While camp is never far from my heart, the truth is, I haven’t worked at camp in five years now. I love my job as a college dean but I must report, the World Outside of Camp (W.O.o.C. for the fellow acronym-makers out there) is ever-so-slightly less amazing than every single moment is of camp. As such, I find myself thinking of camp often. Occasionally, it’s wistful longing for a campfire by the lake, but more often than not, it’s small everyday moments that help keep camp a daily touchstone.

Every Day Moments at Camp
Every Day Moments at Camp


Sitting in a chaotic staff meeting where many voices are trying to be heard and good ideas raised, I recall boisterous meals in the Dining Hall, working to listen with my whole ears – to tales of tag-up, swims in the lake, rest hour shack shenanigans – and add my voice when it is truly an addition, and not just because I am itching to make sure it still works.


Supporting students through their course selection process for next semester, I want them to pick topics in which they have a genuine and personal interest, rather than make a choice simply based on what their roommates or friends are doing. I think often of mornings at the tag-up board where Alex counsels Runoia campers into the same sort of thought process. “Are you really interested in being out on the water today or would you be happier playing tennis?” Making choices for yourself is a learned skill and one you get the chance to exercise every day at camp. I wish for days where all my available choices were as much fun as the ones at camp!

I think of camp at odd times and regular times (from my desk, watching as the sun goes down outside the window, I regularly find myself singing “Taps” in my head), and most often as I reflect on a new friendship I’m developing or an old one that I’m trying to keep active. For all the skills that camp builds, none is more important than those you pick up living in a cabin with fellow campers and counselors. You won’t think of how important your shack bonding time was, or how invaluable opening day name games were, until you come face-to-face with a new person and find yourself able to make comforting and comfortable conversation. PerhapsCarrie Blog 2 it is through those conversations that you’re able to develop a friendship out of a chance encounter. If you’re lucky, there’s always the possibility that your camp friendship skills will allow you to develop even a non-camp person (they exist!) into the type of friend you thought was only possible at camp.
This season and every day, I’m grateful for all of the memories I have of wonderful times at camp (and yes, particularly those involving campfire), but the real gift that camp gave me are the countless moments when camp is with me in the World Outside of Camp.

Ahhhh! Keep the "inner" Campfire Burning All Year!
Ahhhh! Keep the “inner” Campfire Burning All Year!


Do you want to guest blog for Runoia? Submit your blog writing to

Camp cooking.

Campers at Runoia have been developing their outdoor cooking skills for many years.  Wilderness trips have been an integral part of the program since camp opened 110 years ago.  Can you believe that back in the day campers used their bloomers to stash their lunches in when they went off canoeing!

Regardless of how far you are hiking or canoeing you have to eat and the food can make or break the success of a trip.  Trying everything from re-hydrating dried mixes to baking a cake in a Dutch oven many girls get their first taste of cooking at camp. Campers are involved in all aspects of trip menu planning and then meal preparation.

cookinFrom an 8 year old flipping their first pancakes to a 15 year old menu planning and cooking meals for a whole week and with everything in between; Runoai girls get a taste of independence and begin to build their own life skills around the campfire.

Food on the hiking trail has to be light weight, well balanced, nutritious and high in energy.  Trail mix, no bake cookies and other high protein snacks can be a great boost when you still have miles to go to your campsite.  Cooking over a camp stove requires good organizational skills, often a menu that needs minimal pots and some creativity for making the meal tasty.  A canoeing trip may allow for a little more equipment and often includes a reflector oven or Dutch oven so baking around the fire becomes a great option.

cooking flagstaff canoe 2005There is often nothing more satisfying than sitting around the campfire with a tin plate and a spork eating a meal that you have waited all day for and that you helped to cook.  big thunder flagstaff canoe 2005


Always a bonus if it is followed by reflector oven brownies or s’mores. marshmallow


Runoia – A Bittersweet Ending

The end is always bittersweet.

We like to think of the end as a new beginning. Campers and counselors alike take new skills with them to school and work and life. They cherish new friendships, some that will last a lifetime. Canoeing, sailing, swimming under the sun – those skills will last forever. The counselor who did something caring and thoughtful at a time that a camper needed it, a friend who helped another when they need help, that laughter, endless laughter that they can hear ringing in their ears… these glimpses and moments of summer are instants that weave into the tapestry of campers’ and counselors’ lives. DSC_0278 DSC_0066Cotillion is our final evening together. A night of tradition starting with processional singing It’s Blue and White, the teams sitting and facing each other in the Lodge, the awards and ribbons, points awarded and special moments of acknowledging accomplishments. The traditional game of #Hucklebucklebeanstalk to find the final scores of the season, the Bobos and cheers and tears, candle lit paths and the cotillion fireside singing.

DSC_0157 DSC_0169

This night helps put a punctuation mark at the end of the chapter of the summer of 2015. With Runoia’s 110th summer coming up in 2016, a new chapter will be written.Bitter and sweet.  Bitter in the ending, sweet in the experience. Bitter in the goodbyes, sweet in the new friendships.

The end is bittersweet.