Education for Camp Directors

Once again Maine Summer Camps was hosted by the Migis Lodge resort for our annual membership meeting and education and networking event. Migis provides the quintessential Maine resort experience. At this meeting for directors and owners, educational round tables and a lovely luncheon were offered. The prestigious Halsey Gulick award was given to Alan Kissick of Kingsley Pines. Congratulations Alan!

Educational topics were in a round table format where camp directors and administrators shared their challenging moments and the group helped process together and shared best practices systems. It is always a fantastic opportunity for peers to get together for a common good. It is infrequent in this world where direct competitors actually want to make camps safer and better  for all campers and staff by sharing and helping each other.

Another highlight of the event is seeing friends over an amazing cook out lunch hosted by Migis Lodge. Sitting by the waterside, enjoying the September sun as it pokes its way out of the misty clouds is a great way to wrap up the summer.

We are lucky to have such close ties to the Maine camp community. Thank you Maine Summer Camps and Maine Camp Experience for the networking opportunities and educational opportunities you provide to Maine camps.

Next up for networking and education for Maine camp owners is the fall Maine Camp Experience meeting. Camp owners and board members meet in October in Portland, Maine.

The Common Loon – Iconic Maine Wildlife

The Common Loon with its striking silhouette, black and white spotted plumage, and red eyes is one of the most iconic wildlife images of Maine. Due to the size and clarity of Great Pond we are fortunate to be the home of nesting loons throughout the summer months. These majestic birds delight us daily with their swimming antics, diving and popping up some distance away, and their distinctive and haunting calls.

They are fascinating birds with many unique characteristics:

  • Loons are amazing swimmers and divers – they look a bit like submarines. Their solid bones make them less buoyant, and they can quickly expel air from their lungs and flatten their feathers to achieve great distances and depth in the water. 10-60 seconds underwater is typical, but can extend to three minutes or more.
  • As graceful and efficient as Loons are on the water, they are awkward walkers on land. Their legs are very far back on their bodies which leads to stumbling and pushing themselves on their bellies. Their land time is limited to mating and incubating their eggs in the nests on the water’s edge.
  • Loons are like airplanes. They need a long runway, at least 30 yards of open water “running”, to take off. Once airborne, they can fly at speeds of up to 70 mph.
  • Fish are a favorite food and a hungry family of four can eat about a half a ton of fish over 4 months.
  • Loons usually mate for life and raise their chicks together. It’s not uncommon to see their babies riding on their backs for the first week after hatching to protect them from predators.
  • Open water is a must, so Loons migrate, often spending winters in the ocean. At that point their plumage changes from black and white to gray, and their eyes turn from red to gray.
  • Loons have four distinct calls: tremolo, wail, yodel and hoot. These are used in courtship and territorial disputes, communication between pairs and offspring, and among flock members, and to signal danger.

We are so lucky to share Great Pond with our Loons!

Planning Your Trip to Camp Runoia and Maine

Some of our camp families have made their daughter/camp drop off day into an adventure to explore Maine. Maine is a vacation destination for thousands of summer visitors and planning this winter will help you secure lodging and help you escape from the January doldrums!

A local favorite lodging spot is right in Belgrade Lakes. The Village Inn accepts reservations year round and fills up quickly. Dinner at the restaurant or tavern is rewarding as you gaze on the mill stream or sit outside with live music.

Portland is a foodie’s paradise with more farm to table restaurants per capita than most small urban cities. Sustainable harvesting and creative chef inspirations has been a trademark for Portland over the past decade. New hotels are popping up in Portland’s Old Port. Portland and its many charms from sunset sails, lobster piers, harbor cruises, kayaking trips, forts, nearby beaches, rock cliffs and light houses, minor league baseball team the “Portland Sea Dogs”, boutique shops, art galleries, first Friday art walks, music venues with summer concerts added, a world class museum and manageable-sized children’s museum make Portland an easy and fun town to visit. Did we mention bakeries, ice cream, farmers markets and food carts?

Seeing and experiencing the natural beauty of Maine is not just limited to your campers! Check out some of the highlights Maine has to offer:

Acadia National Park – “the crown jewel of the North Atlantic coast”

Baxter State Park and Mount Katahdin

Get your Moxie by White Water Rafting
The White Mountains in Maine and the Appalachian Trail

Hiking Hut to Hut on Maine Huts and Trails

Now is the time to day dream and then PLAN! Maine has a limited summer season that fills to the brim.

Our very own Belgrade Lakes area has lake side cottages to rent but realtors all over the state of Maine can help you find a lake or coastal rental for a week in Maine:

Finally, Maine isn’t beautiful only in summer. Plan your winter, spring or fall trip to Maine as family!

Maine hunts for spring

Patience is apparently a virtue of which Mainers require an excessive amount.  Spring while allegedly here on the calendar has yet to truly arrive in person.

I write on a day when once again snowflakes are falling from the sky and the ground is still covered in a good amount of the white stuff.  The lakes are still frozen and while there are signs that spring is on the way it still seems like weeks until the grass will be green and the leaves are on the tress.

March came in and went out like a lion this year and it will be April snow showers that hopefully bring May or perhaps they will be June flowers.


While it would be easy to complain the general feeling is one of anticipation and even excitement.  There are pussy willows to be spotted along the sides of the roads.  Those days when the temperature’s get over 40 seem balmy and call for picnics on the porch and even shorts!  The days are longer and there are many more birds singing in the trees and geese flying back overhead this time on their way north.  Many a bet is being placed on when the ice will be out on local lakes and generally people are upbeat and hopeful for the new season ahead.

Ice on Great Pond, Belgrade Lakes ME

Every day at our house there is talk of camp.  How many weeks to go? Will the lake warm up quickly? When can we open up our camp house?  Who needs new uniform ordering? Is school almost over?

We cannot wait to see all of our Camp Runoia family and reconnect and embrace the new people that will be joining us.  One of the great things about spring in Maine is how quickly it turns into summer; we just have to make it through mud season first!

See you in June!

Sleep away Camp in Maine – ‘the way life should be’.

This past summer a photo journalist from Maine Magazine spent some time with our alumnae at Runoia’s 110th reunion.  It was a bit of a wild and windy day for August but the Camp Runoia warmth shone through.  The reporter was amazed that women of all ages had traveled from near and in some cases very far to join together to celebrate their Maine sleep away camp experiences.  For many the time they had spent as a child at camp had been a very long time ago yet the memories and friendships made had truly lasted a lifetime.

Camp Friends for always!

It is very exciting for us to be featured in the camp issue of the magazine and to get the front cover cameo! How perfect to see alums flicking through the log books that record a hundred years of our sleep away camp history.  Runoia in 2017 still maintains the spirit and some of the activities that girls participated in back in 1907.  We are proud of our heritage, history and traditions.


The passion that these women have for Runoia was apparent, they dove into the chilly waters of Great Pond to swim to Oak Island in order to raise money for the scholarship program, sang songs with gusto and shared memories and stories from their childhoods.  Many brought along their family members to share the experience and enjoyed playing and laughing together and sharing meals in the dining hall.

Maine is the perfect place to spend time in the summer, the clear cool lake, usually bright sunny days and nights filled with the cries of the loons make it a relaxing getaway.  Camp still provides girls from many different places the chance to grow and learn together.  They build long lasting relationships, have a chance to embrace the natural world and be a part of something bigger than themselves.


Maine Maple Syrup – natures bounty

The sap is running!  It is an exciting time of the year in Maine. After being buried in snow we are so happy to see that  spring is just around the corner.   At this time of year local syrup producers long for cold nights and warm days.  As the air warms up and the signs of spring appear, trees are tapped and buckets of sap collected in order to produce real Maine maple syrup. The temperatures must be below freezing at night and above during the day time. Right now with a thaw happening conditions in Maine are perfect.

Maple syrup comes from sap.

By literally tapping into Mother Nature sap is collected and boiled down in a simple process that produces maple syrup. It does however, take a large quantity of sap, time, patience with the weather and a willingness to get outdoors even with a chill in the air and snow still on the ground.

Maine Maple Sunday is the last weekend in March if you have the chance to pop up to Maine it is a fun time to see the process in action.  Maple Syrup producers are often small, family owned operations that welcome the public to visit and see the all-natural product being made.  Along with the syrup there are always a large selection of yummy maple products to try, our favorites are maple popcorn and maple beans.


Great Pond frozen.

Sometimes we wish we had winter camp at Runoia then we could do fun things like this!  Can you imagine skating on Great Pond, cross country skiing around the archery field and warming up by the fire in the Lodge?  Sadly the shacks would be a little chill so I suppose we will have to stick with our summer overnight camp experience.

We are now actively counting down the days until camp! 119 to go.