Camp Grows Lifelong Learners

With the first week of January behind us, we are all settling into a new year with ambitions and a peaceful, quiet month to work on them. In my house, we are working on a goal of reading more in 2022. We’ve set up a system to help us reach this goal – using the GoodReads app to track our reading, utilizing our library cards and the Libby app to get access to more books, and checking in with friends with similar goals. It has me thinking about how much I value my identity as a lifelong learner – a quality fostered by camp – someone open to new goals, learning new things, and always working on a growth mindset.

One of my favorite books, Mindset by Carol Dweck, delves deep into fixed vs. growth mindsets. A fixed mindset makes us believe that our talents and abilities are “carved in stone” – we only have a certain amount of intelligence, ability, a certain personality. But the growth mindset tells us that our efforts, passions, and help from others overtake our natural abilities. Dr. Dweck’s research shows us that while we can always retrain ourselves, our mindset is often formed very early in our lives. The people, the ideas, and the opportunities we surround ourselves with can make or break this mindset.

This is where camp comes in! Camp provides the opportunity to continually challenge ourselves – campers and staff alike – to try new things, build our skills, and learn from new perspectives. Our campers understand the value and thrill (and, in all honesty, nervousness) of trying something brand new, and the bravery of attempting the next level. Many of our activities at Runoia feature levels that encourage our campers to build skills and aspire to the highest achievement – maybe American archer, windsurfing queen, or advanced equestrian. Campers who return year after year often spend each summer building toward these goals with the help of a growth mindset, some serious tenacity, and an awesome support system.

Camp challenges our staff members – from first-year counselors to admin who have been here for decades – to grow, as well. What a challenge it was for me to show up to camp in June of 2018 not knowing a soul – and for our international counselors, add on the bravery of navigating a new country!

Our campers and staff benefit from this mindset even after passing through Runoia’s gates – back to the ‘real world’ – at summer’s end. One of our stellar staff members, Mackenzie, talked to me about learning to ski as an adult – something I’ve also been tackling in the past year. So excited to learn, she started slow “with pizza skis and falls every few hundred feet.” But a growth mindset tells Mackenzie that even after hard falls, she has the ability to learn and grow: “After big wipeouts that knocked the wind out of me I’d sit and catch my breath wishing I learned at the age of 3 like it seemed everyone else on the mountain had. After studying the way others moved, advice from friends who ski, and a beginners lesson, I learned new skills one at a time.” Mackenzie closed out our conversation with some serious growth-mindset attitude: “I continue to learn one step at a time and remind myself of the privilege it is to ski regardless of starting age. Now I know that there is truly no ‘mastering’ a skill because it can always get better from there.”

Here’s to new things, more books, and growth in 2022.

Spring is in the Air!

GH1Spring time is a happy time at Camp Runoia. It’s basically a celebration! We are excited about the summer season and everyone arriving and getting busy with camp fun. We are busy as bees buzzing around getting buildings spruced up, lawns and trails cleaned up and ordering equipment and supplies for the fun summer ahead.

 New in 2014? Lots of things. Among them honey bees! You may have heard a buzz at Runoia and it’s true. We have two bee colonies located in two hives. Both hives are healthy and producing honey and taking care of their queen and producing more honey bees.GH2

Our honey bees will be pollinators for local farmers (as well as our own farm and gardens) and hopefully they will produce honey we can all taste and share at camp!  We are learning as we go and with the help of other bee keepers in Maine, we hope to keep our hives alive and healthy!

Honey bees are hard workers and aren’t the type of bees that want to sting people or animals.  They are very busy doing their jobs which include guarding the hive, being field bees and pollinators, nursing the queen and other drone activities. If you are worried about a friend who is allergic, we will let you know where the bees are and how to avoid their area! Meanwhile, if you are a bee enthusiast, feel free to share anything with us at Camp Runoia about bees if you’d like to. We are all learning together!

This summer campers can don the bee costumes and learn more about bees. It will be a fun time on the Runoia farm!

Here’s a picture of us checking the bees today: