Camp is a Puzzle

Camp is a puzzle – and our pieces are slowly starting to come together this week.

The funny thing is, we don’t have a puzzle box for reference – we know what previous summers looked like in memory, but no two are ever the same! We will have to wait for each piece to be laid throughout the next two months until we can stand back and admire the picture made. 

For the past month at camp, we’ve strategically laid edge pieces and built the frame of our 2022 puzzle, leaving the sides of pieces open for others that hopefully click in perfectly. Edge pieces set in place include boats built and placed in the water, cabins cleaned and prepped for staff arrivals, seeds planted – literal and metaphorical, beds built, a kitchen stocked – you name it, it’s been done!

Yesterday we gained 10 new pieces – bringing hints of what our puzzle will look like this year. Of these 10 staff arrivals, 9 made their way to Runoia from across Mexico. Summer 2022 brings back puzzle pieces painted in hues of cultural exchange!

Today and tomorrow bring 8 more pieces – 7 of these to round out the leadership staff who have worked all year in preparation for summer. After this, the flood gates open – over 50 more staff members will make their way to us between now and opening day, and suddenly staff training is rolling in full force!

On the Runoia home page, way down at the bottom, is a countdown to camp. I’ve watched it dwindle from triple digits to double digits over months, and now it sits at a mere 14 days. In these two short weeks, on opening day of 2022, we will still only have a partially complete puzzle. Our campers will be the ones to fill in the remaining spaces and truly paint the picture of the summer with their experiences, skills gained, laughs shared, bracelets made, songs sung, games played, and friendships formed.

Here are a few more pieces I can’t wait to see click into place:

  • trip songs shared by brave Katahdin summiters
  • plaques and a dinner signifying our graduating camper’s accomplishments
  • levels passed and awards earned
  • cozy campfires on the beach
  • Oak Island swimmers crossing the finish line

Some pieces of this summer we will know well – traditions passed for years down the line at camp. But it’s the “new in 2022” pieces which I can’t wait to see find their place: new campers, new staff, brand new norms and traditions.

And we can’t wait to see how you fit into our puzzle this summer.

Until then,



Yesterday the Director  team was lucky enough to spend the afternoon networking at Migis Lodge on the shores of Sebago Lake in Raymond with a hundred or so other camp directors.  We embraced the late summer sunshine while enjoying our end of the season Maine Summer Camps organization meeting, lunch and fellowship.


It is always great to hang out with other directors to hear about their summer adventures, trials and successes.  The conversation themes are often common ones: how awesome 4th of July was, homesick campers, how well new site or equipment worked and either reveling or bemoaning the weather!  Although the style and affiliations of our camps vary greatly we all share a true passion for engaging children and youth in the camp experience.

10540998_10204840069381858_6361567739214661736_oIt is empowering to spend time with like-minded camp professionals, to get validation for the work that we do and to share our challenges and successes amongst others who truly understand .  We learn from each other,  are always willing to share our knowledge and ideas and work for the common purpose of getting more children to have access to a summer camp experience.

1379585_10152711276289509_6205014475655900113_nWe hope that as you are networking on the soccer sidelines, at  PTO meetings, in the office, at the gym and everywhere else you travel in your daily lives that you will speak to others about the intrinsic value camp has had for your daughter.

As open enrollment begins October 1st a plug for Runoia is always appreciated too!