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

Thinking about Camp in 2019?

Natalie Dresdow, Camp Runoia CIT and returning for her 10th summer, shares insights and her thinking about the conscious decision of returning to camp:

Natalie as Willie Wonka with Izzy and Sofia in the camp play

As we’re into the holiday season, soon to be the new year, all of us are spending quality time with our family and friends to celebrate. Personally, I’ve been spending time with my new friends, my family, and my horse.

Some of us haven’t stopped thinking about camp since August or maybe just started to think about next summer. CIT’s have applied, and staff and campers are starting to ask themselves “do I want to go back to camp?” And you might think you don’t want to go back. You’ll be thinking to yourself, you have your family and friends at home that you’re gonna miss, and you’ll miss opportunities at home. Perhaps you think about camp and remember those first few days that were tough, a small disagreement with a shackmate, or something that was hard to do the first time, like getting up on the windsurfing board or making a bowl on the pottery wheel.

    On Top of the World

But as the time gets closer to camp, you’ll probably change your mind. You’ll remember how the lake feels every day when you get in for swim lessons, your first bullseye in archery, the exhilarating feeling you get when you’re riding for your blue or white team in the horse show. You’ll remember your shack trip, whether you canoed to Oak Island or climbed Mount Katahdin. Most of all, you’ll remember all of your friends at camp. You’ll remember the first day you met them and the last night when you’re sitting together, listening to the staff sing.

2019 will be my 10th summer at camp and I can’t imagine spending it anywhere else. There have certainly been ups and downs each summer. I’ve had bumps and bee stings on trips, missed the target more times than I can count, and experienced hurt feelings when my friends and I disagree. But those are all temporary and far eclipsed by the memories and friendships I’ll have for a lifetime. Camp has taught me perseverance, self-reliance, and that the journey is just as important as the goal.

Out on the Blue Waves

Perhaps you’ve paused to wonder, “why does Runoia reference Out on the Blue Waves so frequently”.

Well, it’s a favorite Runoia song, of course. And, it’s more than a song.

It conjures up memories for many. It reminds people of their accomplishments and achievements. It makes women recognize when they were girls, they were sailing boats, paddling canoes, surfing on wind surfers, and swimming to the Big Float, to Oak Island, across the Soapies, out to the Marjorie. Many of these references are Runoia unique names for the names of floating rafts or the area we have recreational swim in at camp. Those tales are another story for another blog!

But the important thing is girls, young and older are propelling through and over the water and learning skills Out on the Blue Waves. So, it’s a phrase that’s more than a song. Just to satisfy your curiosity, here’s the song lyrics to the chorus:

Out on the blue waves, where summer breezes blow

Our boats go sailing into sunset glow.

We leave the shoreline, to realms of dreams we go,

Out to the center of the lake where breezes blow.

and you can hear the whole song here

Enjoy and be proud of all you accomplish #runoiagals !!


Jen’s Update on the Runoia Horses

The Runoia horses heard that the chickens and guinea pigs were featured on the blog, and of course, they insisted on being highlighted as well. While most camps rent a herd of unknown horses each summer, at Runoia we own many of our horses, supplemented by a few leases from Dream Acres Equestrian Center, who return year after year.

After camp, most of our horses head back to college! Coco, who celebrated his 10th summer at camp last year, and Verano, who earned his 5 year blanket last summer, were at the University of New Hampshire this winter. Did you know you can take riding as a PE class in college? Coco & Verano, not only work in PE classes, but also show in Intercollegiate (IHSA) competitions with the UNH equestrian team. Additionally, UNH runs a therapeutic riding program for the community and both Coco & Verano are valued assets in that program. They will both participate in the New Hampshire special olympics on June 2nd before they head back to camp. We are proud to have such calm and safe horses in our program and to be able to share them with the kids in the special olympics program.

Johnson & Wales University Equine Center in Rehoboth, MA is the winter home to four of our Runoia horses. At JWU, our horses work in both hunter/jumper lessons with the IHSA team as well as dressage (IDA). Pablo will be back for his 5th summer in 2017. Avatar & Coastal, who were new to Runoia in 2016, will return as well this summer. We are also welcoming a new horse from JWU/Dream Acres, Vale, this summer. Vale is replacing Toby, who is taking it easy this summer. We hear great things about Vale and we are excited to welcome him to our herd.

Ditto and Rory got a reprieve from the New England snow and got to spend their winter in Virginia at the Liberty University Equestrian Center working in the IHSA lesson program. Ditto, back for his 4th summer, and Rory, on summer three, are both gentle giants who take great care with even the tiniest of riders. Dulce, who stables at the Runoia summer barn, has spent the winter in Florida at Fox Lea Farm and won Circuit Champion in the .75 meter Jumpers at the Venice Equestrian Tour.

Prince, who also returns for his 4th summer at Runoia, spent the fall with Jen in Indiana working in a lesson program. He is a favorite in the Interscholastic Equestrian (IEA) circuit known for his great manners and easy going nature. Joining the royal Runoia family is Duke. Natalie (Jen’s daughter) has been busy getting to know her new horse and he will join Jen and Natalie at Runoia this summer.

Flower, who was a wonderful pony in our program last summer, is retiring this spring. But don’t worry, we are leasing two new wonderful ponies, named Cricket & Dazzle. Both of these ponies come to us from Dream Acres and have been in lesson and show programs for years, so we know they will be wonderful ponies.

We hope our returning campers look forward to seeing their favorite horse back at Camp Runoia and we can’t wait to introduce our new campers to our wonderful horses and ponies. Just like you, our horses have been in school all winter long and they are excited for summer. They are well trained, safe, and ready to make 2017 the best summer ever!

Coco, Verano, Pablo, Avatar, Coastal, Vale, Ditto, Rory, Prince, Cricket, Dazzle, Duke and Dulce look forward to seeing you soon!

To the Runoia Gals: An Open from Your Teary-Eyed Counselor

You Wonderful and Spectacular Ladies,

I never imagined how beautiful a shooting star could be when you’re sitting next to someone who has never seen one. I never knew how wonderfully exhausting a game of Gaga with a group of 8-year-olds could be (or how often they would beat me!). I never realized that it was possible to sing so much and so loudly that it would take eight weeks for my voice to return to normal, or laugh so hard that my stomach would ache for hours. When I packed my bags for my first summer at camp, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

When I came to you for that first summer, I considered myself pretty well cooked. I had it in mind that I, as the adult, was there to provide a life-altering, fun, and unforgettable experience for you. While that was and has always remained my primary goal, I now see that you amazing young ladies, with whom I was lucky enough to spend three unforgettable summers, have had a far greater impact on me than I could ever have imagined.

When you become a camp counselor you hear all about how much your campers will learn from you, for better or for worse. But what you don’t hear as often is how much you will learn from you.

You’ve taught me many things in my three summers at Runoia, more than I could count and definitely more than I could ever share with you. But I would like to try to share some. You taught me about the curative nature of a hug from four children at once. You showed me how important it is to laugh and have fun every time the opportunity presents itself. You taught me how to “whip and nay nay,” wobble, dougie, and do all sorts of things that would make me hip and with it! You helped me realize how rewarding it can be to share my love of the water, which I discovered as a child, with others. You showed me every day that we are all at our most beautiful when we are being ourselves and when we are happy. I saw, first hand, the transformative power of a summer with friends in an environment that encourages growth and fosters an undeniable feeling of complete and utter happiness.

The past three summers have been the most indescribably amazing part of my life. I cannot thank you girls enough for all that you have shared with me, or your parents for helping you become the unbelievable and inspiring young women that you are. Runoia gals, I will carry the lessons you have taught me throughout my entire life, and will remember you always.

Thank you for helping me become who I am today and I hope that somewhere along the way, I may have helped you.

With love,

Your Teary-Eyed Counselor



Run, Swim, Jump, Kick at Runoia

It’s Sports Week! What some camps call Color War, Runoia calls Sports Week. The short story is we have kicked, run, raced, swum, jumped, trotted, shot arrows, competed, played hard and played like a girl!

On top of it, we have had birthday parties, Evening Programs of “Create Your Own Country”, Pillow Football, Birthday Bash, Build A Boat to Float Contest, Talent Show, Runoia Caberet, Graduation Dinner and a Camp Fire with the theme of What Camp Friendships Mean to You.

Here are some of the pictures to tell the story:

Our Dear Trip Leaders (Some of Them)!
Our Dear Trip Leaders (Some of Them)!
Birthday Table Groups by Shacks!
Birthday Table Groups by Shacks!
The Runoia Play was a Medley Cabaret!
The Runoia Play was a Medley Cabaret!
Blue White Horse Show
Blue White Horse Show
The Epic Oak Island Swim


Blue White Swim Races
Blue White Swim Races
Blue and White Team Captains Second Session
Blue and White Team Captains Second Session
Junior Soccer Players
Junior Soccer Players
The Pine Tree in the Back Shows it's a Maine Peach!
The Pine Tree in the Back Shows it’s a Maine Peach!
Coco Crisp Enjoys his 10th Summer at Runoia and Gets His Own Blanket
Coco Crisp Enjoys his 10th Summer at Runoia and Gets His Own Blanket

We hope to see you next year!

The Runoia Team

News from Runoia July 31

Ms Tacky Runoia Judges
Ms Tacky Runoia Judges

The weeks have flown by this summer. It’s impossible to believe two weeks of our final session have ended today. The good news? Tomorrow is another full week of camp! That means another week of majors, another week of trips in the beautiful state of Maine, more Blue White competition and team captain elections. More fun evening programs, skill building, poignant moments, beautiful sunsets, friendships strengthened, life long skills and memories created and let’s face it, more amazing desserts! Today when almost all of us were in camp, we took our “formal” photos for the Log and in fact, Jeanne’s word of the day today was the word formal! She’s so clever.

This past week we have had a counselor hunt, a beach party and  Ms. Tacky Runoia with Tori and Charlotte taking the Jr. and Sr. crowns.

Harmony Land Camp, our new camp for 7 & 8 year olds ended this week and our 5 little friends departed – we can’t wait to see them next summer again!

Yesterday we had 25 campers plus wonderful and helpful counselors run a 5K to support our local library. Yay Runoia runners!

Runoia Runners at the Belgrade Library 5 K
Runoia Runners at the Belgrade Library 5 K

Some of our full season campers attended the Lupine Farm horse show in Vassalboro, Maine. Congrats to all who attended and participated. Here’s a snapshot of some of those who were there! Go Runoia Riders!

Full season horse show
A few brave Runoia girls who have been training and working all summer attended Junior Maine Guide Test Camp this week; a five day encampment where our campers camp together, cook meals together and are tested on skills ranging from their encampment and food to

JMG Candidates at Testing Camp
JMG Candidates at Testing Camp

map and compass, solo canoe, fire building, ax work, environmental essay, tree identification, first aid and more. It’s a grueling and wonderful week. This week 69 campers and CITs from over 8 Maine camps participated and tested their knowledge and skills. More information on the JMG program is available here

More trips including 6th and 7th shacks and 3rd and 4th shacks went out and returned to Bigelow (backpacking on the famous Appalachian Trail), Flagstaff Lake, Oak Island trip on Great Pond and a Camden Hills trip to the beautiful coast of Maine. Day trips included Senior Village and Ocho to Popham Beach and 4th shack to Morse Mt. hike through the salt marshes to the beach at the Morse Mt. Bates College conservation area.

Today we’ve played a lot of sports and enjoyed the lake as well including a special event of Blue White Archery Tournament to end the week and begin another! Shoot well Runoia Archers!



Take a Minute: Camp and the Introverted Child

This weeks blog is by long time camper and staff member Julia Shenkar.

I’m an introvert. camp063 310

It means I need a minute. I need a minute to myself. I need a minute to observe what’s going on around me. I need a minute to think through what I’m about to say or do. I need a minute to listen to others. I need a minute to absorb information. I need a minute to identify my needs. I need a minute to get comfortable.

In my adult life, this works out great. I live by myself and I have an office with a door on it, so, whenever I need a minute, I can take one. But what happens at a place like Runoia where there are no doors or solo living situations? What happens when an introverted child needs a minute?

At home, a child may have her own room to retreat to at the end of the day. She can sit and read her book or draw without interruption, and her parents recognize times when she may need to take a step back. At camp, however, this is a little challenging. Living in a cabin with nine or more other girls and no doors between you can come as a culture shock. Camp presents a child with constant stimulation—there is always someone to talk to or somewhere to be or something to do. This is an engaging, special, and unique experience, but it can be completely overwhelming. Especially for first-time campers, a flood of emotions may come pouring out in those first few days of camp as a result of over-stimulation.

Is she homesick? Is she actually sick? Is she mad? Is she not having fun?

Chances are, probably not. The child may just be super overwhelmed and wondering when she’s going to have time to herself – when she’ll be able to take a minute.

In a camp community, there’s going to be a mixture of introverts, extraverts, and ambiverts, and it’ll be a challenge managing everyone. Here are a few ways to help an introverted camper ease in to camp life, straight from a textbook introvert’s mouth:

  1. Recognize her need for space. It’s a counselor’s job to make sure that her campers are getting the most out of the Runoia experience. However, downtime in-between activities and meal times can be a great opportunity to let your introvert do her thing—to take a minute. Shack bonding can be a lot of fun, but make sure that there’s a balance of structured and unstructured free time.
  2. Check-in. Your introverted camper may not want to sit and have an idle conversation with you, but she will value your attention. Simply saying “hello” in passing or asking how her day was can really leave an impression and opens up the door for conversation, if the child is interested. Let her know of activities the cabin may be doing before dinner. “Hey, Anna! A few of us are taking a walk down the nature trail. Do you want to come?” This gives your introvert an option while letting her know that she’s being thought of. Some campers may see an introvert as standoffish, but really she’s just not sure how to involve herself. Letting her know that she is welcome to join in on group activities during downtime is a great way to start building relationships.
  3. Find her strength. It’s redundant, but introverts are really good at what they’re good at. Introverts like to latch on to topics of interest and really dig into the details. They want to learn everything there is to know about the subject of interest and avoid things that aren’t really their speed – an expert vs. a jack of all trades. For me, my strength was sailing. In most other activities, I stood more to the side and let others take the lead because, as an introvert, I am uncomfortable jumping into an activity without making sure I really understand what’s going on. Sailing came naturally to me and, even as an eight year old, I was confident enough to get on a boat and flex my nautical muscles. If you help your introvert identify an activity that they truly excel at, their light can truly shine as they help fellow campers learn new skills and assist counselors in lessons.
  4. Realize that “introversion” and “shyness” are not synonymous. I’ll use myself as a prime example for this. Once I found my niche at camp, you couldn’t tell I was an introvert. As a young girl, it was really difficult for me to hear “oh, she’s just being shy” when I was at large gatherings – especially that first day of camp or at meal times. I wasn’t shy (and I’m still not!); I just didn’t know what to say! I hadn’t established the feel of the group. Once I am able to take the time to step back, take a minute, and observe each and every element of a situation, my personality can start to emerge.

Camp is tricky for an introvert. They usually like smaller groups, but in small groups of people they don’t know, it’s easier to be singled out. At camp, it’s hard to be anonymous—which is what I think a lot of introverts try to do in school. At camp, a child is kind of put on the spot.

But this is what makes camp so special—this blending of different personalities and backgrounds. It’s challenging for everyone the first time around … or the second, and maybe the third! As an extroverted camper, it’s important to recognize that your fellow shack-mate might not want to play “Spit” all the time. As an introvert, you’ve got to understand that there are going to be times where you’ll need to engage.  Balance is difficult, but a major key.

Whether you’re an introverted or extroverted member of the Runoia community, we all need to remember that sometimes everyone needs a minute.

Magic Makers

Magic Makers Schedule (mini version) for Runoia Counselors and All Staff:
Sunday, June 12 – Riding Training – How to be an AMAZING Runoia Riding Instructor and Barn Team Member.
Monday, June 13 – Training Clinics/You would know if you are doing them – when in doubt, email Alex: alex@runoia.com – Ropes, Trips and more!
Tuesday, June 14 – Brilliant New Staff Training from 9 am till 8:30 pm.*
Wed., 15th – All staff training VIP Stuff: emergencies, health care, full value contract, cultural exchange. Afternoon and Evening with Jennifer Stanchfield most awesome presenter and facilitator on experiential education.
Thurs., 16th – Lively lesson planning, program time with your heads of activities and in your fantastic camp activity department. Prep for “mock” lessons where you teach other counselors your activity. Lucky them!
Friday., 17 – Waterfront Orientation and safety. Also find out about: “A Fabulous Rec Swim”, Mandatory Kitchen Training (keeping it safe my friends) for all kitchen staff, More Program Time because you know you love it.
Sat., 18 – Finish up loose ends in your pretty perky program. Cell Phone Funeral, practice driving time for authorized (safe and keen) motor boat and van drivers, Afternoon time to move into summer cabin assignments (!) and shoot for 4:30 pm Terrific TIME OFF – you are due back MONDAY morning 7:30 am for Flag Raising.
Optional trips offered by camp on Sunday – check with Jen Dresdow for more info on trip options.
Sunday – Dear ones: Day Off!
Monday – June 20, DUE BACK BY 7:30 am. Just do it! Cabin prep and training, preparing to greet and settle in our campers and make it the best and most successful summer EVER!
Tuesday – 21, Cabin Training 401. Trip leader group/bus chaperones – you are fabulous. All others Graduation!
Wed., 22, Final prep for camp looking tidy and neat for parents and campers (don’t forget the French braid or at least a shower and comb through!),  meet and greet & first impressions. revisit your plan and schedule for opening day. Late evening, international campers arrive. WELCOME! Thanks Jen and Kelly for the Boston pick up trip. You are rock stars!
Thursday – OPENING DAY FIRST SESSION! It’s gonna be a good one FOLKS!

Camp Runoia video blog

Staff member Erica Carthy ‘Dream Team 2015’ captured the spirit of camp in this excellent video blog.

Take 3 1/2 minutes to relax and become absorbed in Runoia life #magichappens at Camp Runoia.

We are certain that it will leave you longing for camp days.



Thanks Erica!

We’re gonna make this place your home!