Hitting our stride – camp life week 2

We are halfway through 1st Session. Can you believe it? We hardly can, especially considering all of the awesome action going on around camp! We said goodbye to our Harmony Land mini girls on Monday, and welcomed a new session of our youngest campers yesterday.

The Fourth of July  was a huge success thanks to our fabulous CITs who continued the tradition of planning and running the day. Campers awoke to very spirited, dressed-up counselor riding horses, followed by the always entertaining chorus of banging pots and pans! The dining hall and outdoor tents were decorated beautifully, we sang the National Anthems of all those represented at Runoia this summer, and special activity stations were set up throughout camp including a counselor makeover and treehouse jello drop – can you catch it in your mouth?! The fabulous kitchen crew baked and decorated delicious cakes, and there was plenty of watermelon to go around. Cooler temps and some rain meant that we ended our day with a campfire in the lodge instead of on our beach, but spirits were still high from all of the fun and games and the night was cozy and full of camp songs. We fell asleep to the owls and fireworks.

Everyone jumped right into the third activity block on Monday, our first “normal tag-up block” in two years(!), with many girls getting in time to ride up at the barn with our wonderful equestrian staff while others reached the top of the climbing tower or got bullseyes in archery or riflery. In our arts and crafts department, campers are weaving baskets big and small, working on stained-glass pieces, sewing fabric bags, wood-burning projects, shaping and glazing pottery, creating collage journals, and of course making plenty of friendship bracelets! Down at the waterfront, we’ve had both swimming lessons and free swim periods, first time and seasoned kayakers and canoers going out for a paddle, windsurfers and sailors learning to tack and gybe, and waterskiers zipping across Great Pond with hair blowing in the wind and huge smiles on their faces! We are so glad to be able to send girls out on day trips again! This week, Sixth shack hiked Bald Mountain and Ocho scrambled up Tumbledown. Monday afternoon rec swim was full of girls looking to jump back in the lake for the second or third time that day!

But the fun doesn’t stop after dinner! Last night’s evening program (EP) was Powder Fairies, and as usual it was a big hit! Girls worked together in mixed age groups to complete various tasks in order to solve the final puzzle, and it was a great opportunity to run around and let out some energy before bedtime. On Tuesday night we gathered together to watch our new campers pick out of a hat to learn whether they would become a member of the Blue Team or White Team for the rest of their time here at Runoia. Each girl was welcomed into her new team with cheers and songs. Earlier in the week, EP was “Get to Know Your Counselor”, a create-your-own-country night, Scattergories,  and Fractured Fairytales in which groups created new stories (think Mulan + Jack and the Beanstalk, or Cinderella + Shrek). 

Tomorrow we start our fourth activity block and girls are looking forward to tagging up and choosing activities. We are encouraging them to try new program areas while they are here as well as return to the activities that bring them joy. We are excited and hopeful for this weekend’s forecast of mid- seventies and sun, so that we can all enjoy time outside and make the most of the last 10 days of the Session!

Is it camp time yet? the anticipation is real!

I am nervous there are butterflies in my stomach, my nights are often sleepless and I start my days in great anticipation.  It is almost time for camp!   I have spent the whole year since the end of last August preparing for this.  The stage is set and I eagerly anticipate the curtains opening.

I know some of our girls are feeling the same way. I’ve been zooming with new campers who have a list of questions and are excited but also a little nervous about what to expect. The new staff are still a little unsure what to expect and are focused on wrapping up school and figuring out their travel plans to get to us. Even returning folk are apprehensive the world has changed a lot since the last time we were all together. 

These days in June become a blur; with long hours both in the office and out on site.  We are preparing, checking, double checking, chasing down information, finishing up the last projects and filling the waiting with work. Crossing the days off on the calendar is both exciting and a little terrifying. The time gets shorter while the ‘to do’ list seems to get longer. We know from experience it will all get done but still in the moment it can feel a little overwhelming. We want it all to be perfect for our girls!

Even though I have done this many times it is always so new, so exciting and just a little nerve wracking.  I will be met with a new audience while some faces are the same the mix is different.  Will I recognize returning faces?  It has been two years since I have seen some of our girls; they will surely have grown and changed. Will all run smoothly? Will the sun shine?  

I am fully confident in Runoia’s ability to run smoothly like a well-oiled machine as it has for 115 seasons.   We live for and store up our energy for this moment when the gates open and summer camp really begins.  Great Pond is looking beautiful and ready for our summer campers.

We truly can’t wait, staff start arriving this week and our campers will be here in 26 days. We truly cannot wait to have all of our Runoia community together on Great Pond.

See you all soon!


Mindfulness for Campers

As we anticipate the start of camp, we are aware of the mental health and wellness of our campers and how mindfulness and coping skills will help. For most campers, this is the first excursion away from home in a long time.

In addition to the extensive health plans and protocols for navigating Covid at camp, we recognize most campers will need help to develop coping skills while at camp. Thanks to our Behavior Health Specialist, Amelia Clancey, we have some ideas for your family.

To best support your daughters, we would like all campers to create a list of coping skills with easy access to make her feel good and also to provide clear ways counselors and staff can support her.

A few guidelines about the list:

  • Self-made List: Feel free to help your daughter AND have her involved. Her thoughts and creations will actually help her when she is at camp revisting her list. (see the last bullet)
  • Length: The list can be as long as she wants, but ideally a minimum of 5 choices.
  • The coping skills/activities should be things that are easily accessible and do not require many materials or assembly – perfect for camp!
  • Variety: Include options of all kinds, such as some for when they can’t sleep at night, some they can do alone, and some they can do with others. Please also think of some options that require materials
    (coloring book and pencils) and others that don’t (taking a walk).
  • Format: It would be best if she brought a hard copy of the list with her to camp. In terms of style, anything goes! Have fun with this! Type it in a fun font that you like, write it in a way that makes you happy, add stickers, add glitter, organize it. The ways to personalize your list are endless!

Take some time with your daughter to think about and practice things that help them to feel safe, calm, and comforted. We have included a couple resources to help with this task and of course are here to answer questions, help brainstorm, and most of all, enjoy a fantastic summer.

Stress balls are easy to packA Sample of Ideas:

      • Deep breathing exercises
      • Meditation (practice before camp)
      • Quiet yoga moves or mini yoga moves
      • Write in your journal
      • Color in coloring books
      • Read a book
      • Take a walk
      • Make Bracelets
      • Silly putty/thera-putty/calm scented putty
      • Scented squeeze toys
      • Stress ball

Some helpful links to peruse:

Grounding Techniques

Feeling a bit anxious? These ideas are about feeling calmer and less anxious.

50 Coping Skills

If she like the style of this resource, she could print this out and cut out the ones your she likes, then have them glue them to their own page

Coping Skills for Kids: Blog

This blog has many articles to help you and your child think of options for their list and help you learn a lot along the way!

99 Coping Skills

Love, Aionur

The Unique Treasures of Maine

When we share the unique treasures of Maine, we reveal the value proposition of our magical Pine Tree State.  During this unprecedented pandemic, we Mainers feel fortunate to live, work and play in a state where clean, fresh air, quality water sources and majestic natural settings are just a few of the vast resources that help keep us healthy, happy and safe.  We also live in a state where the elderly nest, millennials ignite and baby boomers find their roots.

There are indeed economies of scale, but there isalso incredible opportunities to embrace “the way life should be”. If one can find the best balance of work and innovation anywhere, they can find it in Maine. Helping our buyer & seller clients to find their best path of lifelong learning and living in Maine is like making the best patch of chocolate chip cookies.  You only want to use the best ingredients (your strategic partners).  Follow a well-crafted plan of action (the best recipe).  Pay attention to the bake time (do your due diligence).  And finally, share the baked goods with the ones you love (the dream home).

If you want to explore Maine, I’m here to help you find your dream home. Also, my real estate partner, Derrick Buckspan, and our REMAX Shoreline team are available to hear about your favorite house recipe and share our best approach about buying & selling  Maine real estate .  We’re here to help you mix up your very best patch! Please feel free to give us a confidential call or contact us @ team@mainepropertysource.com or 207 831 8159

Our friend, peer and camp director of Birch Rock Camp , Rich Deering wrote this guest blog this week and we asked him to put in his contact information. He is a friend to many, lives the BRC motto “help the other fellow” and is the 2020 recipient of the



Halsey Gulick Award

Thanks Rich!

Love, Aionur

Camp More Than Ever

Dear Runoia Families,

We all know things are changing day to day, moment by moment. Camp and the camp community continue to be an anchor for many of our campers, alumnae and staff.  We care about you and your families. We are connecting with campers and staff online and it feels good to all of us.

What we are doing now:

Our Team: We continue to plan, hire, maintain camp, order supplies and prepare to open safely. Over a dozen Runoia staff are remotely planning online programming for the upcoming weeks.

Afterschool Activities: We are offering online camp activities on our YouTube channel. New releases every Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 4 pm EST. This week: Faux Stained Glass, Making Congo Bars and Basic Horse Grooming. Next week new projects and experiences from Barb, Callie and Alex. Jen is working on a scavenger hunt and/or crossword puzzle from the camp “logs”. Stay tuned!

Campfire: We are broadcasting on Facebook Live Sunday night at 7 pm. Join in!


We think that by the early to middle part of May, we will know a lot more about what the summer holds for us and the timing of the start of camp. We realize we may have to be flexible with camp start and end dates, lengths of sessions, new health check in protocols, etc. We will continue to send you messages as we make decisions. We will work with families on transportation needs and challenges as needed. Meanwhile, it feels like April will be a long month – we will be in touch often.

Final Thoughts:

Camp is a place where campers are able to be themselves and connect with others.  The importance of camp has never been more real. It is a safe place for campers to unplug and come together to learn life skills and feel part of something bigger than themselves. Summer camps may, in fact, be one of the safest places for any child to be this summer, since they are generally protected, remote and closed environments with resident health professionals.

We believe in our mission statement now more than ever:

“Building lifelong skills and empowering campers and staff to live

in harmony with themselves, each other, and with nature.”

Be safe and stay healthy, wash your hands and best wishes for your shelter in place experience for the next days.

Until we meet (online) again,

Pam and Alex


Now is the Time

Thank a mentor before it is too late. The other day I was thinking about my 5th grade teacher and how, through his teaching, I was inspired to delve into creative writing, love math and grow curious about science. I think about him frequently. I searched for him online and found out I was too late; he had passed away in 2016.

Like school and other child development experiences, the camp experience transforms lives by increasing self-esteem, connecting face to face with people, building skills in activities and generating meaningful friendships with peers and adults. If you are lucky, you come across someone who influenced you in a way that has lasted throughout your life.

I have a camp counselor like this in my life. Although we aren’t in touch often, the learning experience from the summers of 1974-1975 lives with me in my daily life. That summer I started training for Junior Maine Guide and
she was my counselor: coach, guide and teacher. In the 15th summer of life, I was saved from my own insolent teenage personality. I was physically and mentally challenged. I thrived on the JMG program (solo canoeing, axe work, fire building, cooking, and shelter building) and had to stay focused to learn those skills. I lived in the present. Our JMG group canoed for five days on the St. Croix river – we read rapids and then “shot” the rapids – mostly successfully excepting a flipped canoe that wrapped around a rock. We went to testing camp and had to exhibit our skills through written and physical tests. We lived on our own without adults checking to see we were doing things right. What a learning experience. It was exhilarating and a great diversion from my self-proclaimed boring life.

Little did I know how much those two summers at Camp Runoia and the enduring patience and guidance of a camp counselor would stay with me. Those summers helped shaped who I am today.  I owe this to a person who believed in me through thick and thin and even in my less gracious moments. This week we had lunch together and I had the chance to thank her for who she was for me 44 years ago. Although it wasn’t for my benefit, it felt good.

Who influenced you in your life? Now is the time to reflect on who meant something to you through camp or school and reach out to your mentor to thank her or him.

Second Session Smiles

Hello from another Fine Maine Day at Camp Runoia! The sun is shining, the boats are out on the blue waves, and the boisterous energy of our Second Session campers and their smiles is radiating throughout all of camp. 

We welcomed our Second Session Runoia Gals last Thursday, and hit they ground running with orientation and programming. Everyone has gotten into the groove of their block schedules, and echoes of “Hey! Are you going to Rec Swim?” can be heard everywhere. 

5th Shack Bringing The Inner Sunshine At Assembly

As we are almost an entire week into Second Session, the campers already gotten to tag up for two blocks of daily program activities. Our counselors have been working tremendously hard to make these programs magical, and all of the camper smiles and laughs tell us that it’s working. Even though yesterday was a rainy Maine day, our staff and campers rallied together in bright outfits and big smiles to bring out everyone’s inner sunshine. There was even a contest at Assembly for the shack with the brightest outfits, and people were in it to WIN it. Congrats to 5th shack who won the contest!

Runoia Gals At The Summit Of Katahdin

Today we are welcoming back our campers that went on trips this week. One group headed off to summit Katahdin, while another group went to hiking on Bigelow Mt. and canoeing on Flagstaff Lake. We’re so excited to welcome them back and hear everyone’s trip stories! Also today, several girls went to compete in a horse show at Camp Mataponi and represented Runoia fantastically winning show champions!

There is a feeling around Runoia right now that can only be described as “electric”— everyone zooming around to their activities, coming and going on trips and adventures, and making memories with new and old friends. Our hope is that while our campers enjoy the excitement of these fleeting days, that the memories made here will stay warm in their hearts long after summer leaves us. 

Until next week,


Maine the way life should be

So you just dropped the kids off at overnight camp in Maine now what?  Three or four weeks with no children to entertain can be liberating.   If you are not jetting off to Europe or racing back to work, you may want to enjoy the local area at least for a few days.  With the tag line ‘Vacationland’ Maine is the perfect place to be in the summer so why not extend your camp drop off or pick up trip and have a few days of relaxation and vacation time before heading back south.

With a myriad of things to do or not do Maine provides opportunity for everyone,  from the outdoor enthusiast to those that love nothing more than a beautiful view and a good book.  With places that are great to take the kids and places to just have some quality adult time, Maine really does have it all.  Here is a brief snap shot of some of our favorite places to visit.

In the summers E.B. White spent time writing on the shores of Great Pond – we have the ‘White House’ at Runoia.


Local to Camp Runoia

The beautiful and peaceful Belgrade Lakes region has all of the quintessential charm of lake life.  Renting a cottage on one of the large and quiet lakes is a perfectly relaxing choice.  The village hosts a number of interesting curio type shops and some great food experiences.  Days Stores has everything you never knew you needed including Lakeside Scoops Ice Cream.  Our friend Shari is always cooking up a storm at Hello Good Pie – it’s not just pie! and the Village Inn is also an excellent dining option.  Ranked best public course in Maine and with a world class view the Belgrade Lakes golf course is worth a round.  Spend a few days hanging out in the local area and you’ll be feeling relaxed and rejuvenated  in no time.

Bar Harbor/Acadia National Park

A little further afield but worth the drive up 95, the bustling coastal town of Bar Harbor is a great place to stay and check Maine’s National Park off your ‘must see’ list.  From car camping to deluxe accommodations, hiking to scenic drives there is something for everyone.  Acadia’s Mt Cadillac boasts the earliest sunrise in the US and we are pretty fond of biking on the carriage trails around the park.

Disclaimer you really can’t get a lobster for 99c these days!

Portland – Foodie City

If you don’t have time for a long stay and are heading back south as soon as drop off is done at least take time to stop for a bite to eat in Portland.  The little city of the east coast has fast become a food haven with so many choices everyone will be happy.  Got a little more time? Shop the Old Port, take a stroll at the most photographed lighthouse – the Portland Head Light, take the ferry out to Peaks Island or visit one of the many attractions in town the Victoria Mansion and Museum of Art are always popular.

This is obviously just a few of the spectacular Maine opportunities.  Hopefully on the way too and from Camp Runoia you will have time to enjoy our great state. Still need inspiration? We have a Pinterest board for that!

We can’t wait to see you this summer.

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



A Girl from Chicago in 1947

My name (way back then) was Anne T, Nelson.  I came to Runoia from Chicago with Janey Holler and Janey Rose and had a profound camp experience in two summers of my life. The “Janeys”, as they were called, were three years older than I was.  I was in the second cabin my first summer and then in the third cabin. The “Janeys” were in the 4th (the oldest cabin in camp then).

Back in Chicago, the three of us went to Girls’ Latin School. I was living with Janey Holler while my mother was elsewhere. Perhaps she was taking care of her mother who was ill and I was taken in by Janey’s family.

Janey knew of Runoia from living previously in Pennsylvania.  The founder of camp, Lucy Hanson Weiser, lived in Pennsylvania and I’m sure that was the connection. Camp was all word of mouth back in the day. Janey had been to Runoia before. I can only suppose that getting me somewhere away from my mother’s situation was the reason. The three of us took the train to New York from Chicago and all the kids from Cincinnati met us there and we all took the night time train to Maine. Coming back we were left at Grand Central Station and were picked up there by family or friends. From then on I was HOOKED on Camp Runoia, the East Coast and New England.

I stopped by camp about 15 years ago. It is quite bigger than when we were there. but much of it seemed very familiar. Thank you for keeping Runoia going!

I received Janey Holler Rotman’s annual holiday card from AZ last year. Our time together at camp have kept us connected all these years.  I’m glad I traveled from Chicago to Maine in the summers of 1947 and 1948. My life is better because of the experience.