Home School, Remote or Hybrid Learning – Runoia Can Add to Your Daily Schedule

Trending across US education are hybrids of remote learning, home schooling and some in-person connection at schools or pop up play spaces. Let the experiential education of camp layer into your school year with these great tutorial videos from counselors. Last spring Camp Runoia staff put together about 20 videos of easy to do at home projects including science, crafts, exercise and more. You can find them all on the official Runoia YouTube channel.

Build in Break Times During Your School Day

Building exercise breaks into the school day helps increase attention and creates more brain space for learning! Fit in a break during the day by having Kara teach your children a yoga class.

Cooking is also a fun break and involves, following a recipe, measuring, learning about stove safety and more. Check out Jen and Natalie’s fun baking moments on the Runoia Youtube channel.

Craft Ideas – Stimulating Creativity

Crafts involve planning, organization and coordination – great skills. Get your Runoia “building lifelong skills” action happening by checking out our craft ideas on Youtube. Simple crafts from things around the house – join Callie to see what you can do with TP tubes or get more involved (pre-order supplies) macramé with “K” or nature imprints or marbled paper with MacKenzie. Abbie shows how to make a pipe cleaner flower, too!

Science Applied to Camp and Life Experience

Baking comes up again in the science category as does CJ’s 24 hour Egg Osmosis experiment. And, check out Ruby’s Best Paper Airplane Ever –add in some physics lessons about aero-dynamics and physics with this Scientific American article and learn how Bernoulli’s principals also apply to how a sail boat’s sails involves lift and how it harnesses the wind to move a boat forward.

Challenge your daughter to sing (and or learn and sing) Out on the Blue Waves – one of our favorite sailing songs at camp.



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



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!

How the Runoia Pix Got Its Name

According to Runoia lore, as told by Joan “Baynie” Williams, may she rest in peace, the Runoia bathrooms got the name PIX on the train from Grand Central Station to Belgrade Depot.

The Belgrade Train Depot
The Belgrade Train Depot

Back in the day campers would arrive with their trunks at Grand Central for the train to camp. Both Runoia girls and Pine Island boys would voyage on said train. Of course the ride was chaperoned but there were plenty of shenanigans to go around, as you can only imagine.

Girls being girls and boys being boys back in the 1920s pretty much stayed with their own kind. The rueful glance, a random prank and other tit for tat ensued. The boys from Pine Island Camp wore their camp shirts that said PIC. After a few years of trips back and forth, Baynie and her gang decided the name for the Runoia bathrooms should be called the PIX (clever disguise) – as you can see an acronym not to far from the initials of that boys camp across the lake!

So, to this day, the Runoia bathroom is called the Pix.

We Call it the Pix!
We Call it the Pix!

I’ve noticed in the past decade that the word pix is falling from the vocab of the current campers and counselors. As many traditions go, it only remains a thing if people keep saying things like “I am going to the Pix” or “I have to go to the Pix” or “Will you come with me to the Pix?” or “Where’s the closest Pix” (Come on folks, I’m spoon feeding you here – let’s keep it going!). Runoia alumnae out there, you know you are horrified at the thought of Pix disappearing from the vocabulary, right? It’s our 110th summer and we will make an effort at bringing back this 90+ year tradition!

Maybe our next blog should be on how to resuscitate lost traditions!

New Pix at Fairy Ring
New Pix at Fairy Ring

Spring Training – Hitting a Home Run in the Job Market

We’ve all read about the parenting style of the Millennium Generation. Following the Millenniums is Generation Z – our current teens are Gen Z children. These parents have parented in similar ways.  Here’s a hint to parents about how to help your children: let them figure out some stuff themselves.

Parents who try to help their teenagers by contacting businesses for jobs for their children should recognize that that child is the least likely person to make the team.

On the other hand, teens who contact businesses directly, act confident, carry their resume or email a resume ahead of time before they call, ready themselves with references, have the chance at hitting a home run.  Feel free to coach them but let them play the game themselves.


Here’s ways you can help coach your children for the job market and not have them sitting on the bench:

  1. Ask your child to make a list of businesses she/he is interested in working with to help build her/his skills
  2. Discuss together how she/he will safely get to and from work. If it’s a resident job, help them come up with a list of good questions to ask a prospective employer and resident director.
  3. Encourage your child to contact her/his references for the job application BEFORE they are contacted.
  4. Practice, role play if possible, interview scenarios (phone and in person)
  5. Ask your child what they think they should wear and how they should clean up to look presentable for the interview.
  6. Other hints: A strong handshake, eye to eye contact and a smile go a long way. A smile while talking on the phone improves their tone of voice.

As a business owner whose organization hires 55-60 people under the age of 25 every summer, having a parent contact us about a job for their children is a strike out.

And parents, when your child, as a young adult, goes to work a professional job at a camp, please know that if they are over 18, we won’t talk with you about their job, the interview, the details of the process, etc. Obviously we will contact you if there is any kind of emergency but otherwise, they are an adult working at their job. You can find out that Camp Runoia is an accredited camp by the ACA, Runoia has employed many teens, young adults and 20-somethings over the years. Runoia’s website has an FAQ page for staff and our policies and handbooks are on line. Read them to help ease your own anxiety and know that we will help guide and coach your child to be a great camp

Summer Camp Work is Wholesome and Skill Building!
Summer Camp Work is Wholesome and Skill Building!

counselor.  Working at sleepaway camp is a hard job and it’s a great, healthy outdoor living experience that will ready them for many things in life. Let them get up to

bat and hit the ball. If they strike out on their own, they might actually ask you for your help! If they hit the ball and make a home run on their own, they will be happier and more connected to the process.

Beware, if you, the parent, step into the batter’s box, the umpire may have to throw you out of the game!

That is So Cool; Camp Runoia – Style!

“Wow! That is so cool. Where did you learn to make that?”

spring baskets happy

Upon being asked, you reply, “ Camp Runoia”.

With great pride, you show off your stained glass, woven basket, or wooden box–just a few of the art projects possible at Runoia.

For many years, Camp Runoia has provided campers with a unique and exciting visual arts program which continues to flourish. The days of summer are filled with inspiring opportunities, allowing girls to find their inner talents, regardless of age or skill. Think back to your first time you finished a basket and stood on the rock and heard the shouts of “BASKET WEAVING SHOW OFF TIME.” Remember when you showed up at dinner wearing earrings you personally designed. How did it feel when you learned to wood burn and created a beautiful image of a loon on the box you made in woodworking?

This summer, I encourage you to tag up for a visual art project at Camp Runoia–perhaps one that may seem challenging or time consuming. You will be surprised to find

Make a Basket - a Runoia Keepsake!
Make a Basket – a Runoia Keepsake!

that you have talents waiting to be discovered. You will also learn a few things about other campers in the activity and perhaps find a new friend. The very best part is that you will have an object to keep as a memory of your summer or a special surprise gift for someone you know. More links to arts and Runoia programs are here.

I am very excited for you to discover the many visual art opportunities around camp. You will be amazed at the artwork created by fellow campers as well as yourself. Just think of what your friends back home will say when you show them the art project you made at summer camp!

By Jeanne S. – returning to weave baskets with you second session 2016!

And When You Get Back Home Again…

“You get a strange feeling when you leave a place, like you’ll not only miss they people you love, but you miss the person you are at this time and place because you’ll never be this way ever again”-Azar Nafasi

Three weeks have come and gone, since we bid farewell to each other and our place.  Our place is Camp Runoia.  At camp we are the best possible “us” that we can be.  We are safe, we are encouraged and we are organically just ourselves.  The friendships we formed at camp are unique.  They are extraordinary relationships.

The Bittersweet End of Camp Cotillion
The Bittersweet End of Camp Cotillion

I recently traveled to California and was with friends and family who I had not seen in years.  We talked a lot about camp.  My uncle and cousins said at one point “ We get it.  We are camp people.”  Until you have been to camp, until camp has defined who you are, you cannot totally comprehend the degree of depth that overnight camp has on an individual.

Jumping off the Dragon Fly to Zip and Soar
The Dragon Fly to Zip and Soar

And now the sun sets earlier, September is upon us.  This fall brings anew for us all.  New school year, new teachers, some have new homes and communities.  But we have our best self, stashed inside.  Like a treasure in our pocket, we can bring our inner strength and our inner sunshine to this new season and these new experiences.  We will never be the same again, we grow and we change and with that is the hope that we are our best selves because in part of who we became at camp.  At our Camp Runoia…our home away from home.

I find that I take myself home, to Camp Runoia, almost daily.  I hum along to songs and think about the sound of the lake and the green of the giant ferns.

Each Campfire Lights Anew
Each Campfire Lights Anew

“…Dip, dip and swing them back…Flashing with silver…follow the wild goose flight…dip, dip and swing…” — Hum along through the changing seasons … and be your best self on whatever adventure this fall brings.

Kyleigh – Camp Runoia Associate Director

A journey to camp

Is it a torch or a flashlight?

Perhaps the greatest adventure of my life was my first trip to the US.  I had just finished my second year of college and having spent the previous summer living back at home and working retail full time had I was in search of a different opportunity.  Luckily my college was  a big early proponent of ‘abroad’ experiences and the being a ‘camp counselor at American summer camp’ was a popular choice for sports science majors.

AJ 1995I have vivid memories of the planning, packing and journey.  Remember this was back in the dark ages before the internet so I had little clue what the place looked like and had honestly never heard of Maine!  My entire knowledge of American culture had been absorbed from the limited US TV shows on British television.  It was likely some combination of ‘Fame’ and ‘Starskey and Hutch’! This was also before the time of the super Walmart and I thought I needed to pack every item I could possibly need for the next 3 months in my human sized backpack it never dawned on me I could shop when I got there!

I was giddy with enthusiasm, met a random girl who was working at the same camp at the airport and headed out into the wide blue yonder.

What a trip it has been! While I have traveled to many countries and had many experiences that trip to the US was truly a life changer.

AJ office (2)Now over 20 years later summer camp has become my career, the journey has taken many twists and turns and I have met so many amazing and interesting people along the way.  I could never have imagined that I would have ended up living and raising my children in Maine.

Having the courage to take the first step of the journey can lead you to places you never imagined. Be daring and go for it.