What are you reading Camp Runoia?

Reading is an integral part of our Runoia summers. A tech free environment means that campers and staff have ample opportunity to grab a good book and delve into the pages. Whether it is at rest hour or before bedtime, a book is a great way to settle and relax on your bunk. We encourage campers to bring their books from home and also have a large library in the Lodge with reading material to suit everyone. It is an established tradition that in all cabin groups staff read to campers at night from a shack book. We also try to keep track of how many books collectively get read throughout camp over the summer.

While often an independent activity, reading can also be a great connector. We sometimes run a ‘book club’ at camp so that campers of all ages can engage together about a particularly enjoyable novel. Our Runoia staff share their reading favorites on our group facebook page and it often results in some cross cultural exchange with our friends across the pond.  Maine camp directors use books to come together for professional development and meet every few months to share thoughts about an inspiring text that helps with camp management. Talking about what you are reading can not only be enjoyable but can be the start of great friendships.

Women’s History month is the perfect time to take on some thoughtful reading and explore more about how women have shaped our society and cultures. We continue to build our already well stocked Runoia library to include more diversity and love to offer books by great women authors. Suggestions of any favorites that you feel are a ‘must’ read for our camper population are very welcome.

It is often hard to pin down what to read next – there are so many books and so little time! Check out the list here for reading material for kids of all ages, A Mighty Girl is a great place to get other ideas and resources too.

For the more mature reader this proved to be a great list and many of our staff were reading titles from this collection.

If you don’t have time to grab a book there are plenty of TED talks that may be equally inspiring and focus on women’s issues.

As our thoughts start turning towards the summer, having a summer reading list is an exciting part of the planning process. Certainly some campers have school books that need to be read before school is back in session but there are endless hours of time to grab a great book and sink into the joy of turning the pages. There are so many great spots around camp to be in harmony with nature and just jump into a book, we can’t wait to be back on Great Pond.

The benefits and joys of reading aloud

The end of our long Camp Runoia day finishes snuggled up in our cabins with a good book.  While some campers choose to read their own literature that they either bring with them or borrow from our extensive library, group reading is still the cabin norm.  Every night after circle time the on duty counselor sits in the hall on her crazy creek camp chair and reads a chapter or two from the shack book.  We truly believe that there are great benefits and joys of reading aloud to children of all ages and celebrate this camp tradition as an important part of the Runoia experience.

The shared bedtime reading experience provides cabin groups with a reliable bedtime routine, discussion points for the next day and a chance to collaborate and decision make as a group when choosing a new book.

The shack is quiet and the main lights are turned off so only flashlights light up the pages.  For some campers the excitement of a story that is new to them is engaging, for others they are literally lulled to sleep by the sound of the reading.

On rare occasion some staff have been known to scoot back early from a night off to catch a much anticipated chapter that ended on a cliff hanger the night before.

Reading is an important part of the Camp Runoia culture, we have a book club that meets a couple of times a week to discuss a chosen story, girls can borrow books from the library and reading is a great activity to do during rest hour or free time.  In the shacks girls keep track on a paper plate of how many books they have read collectively in their cabin group and we celebrate those high numbers at the end of the session.

In the technological age camp provides campers with the opportunity to engage with reading without distraction and to enjoy the feel of a real book in their hands.

If you want a good book to read before you get to camp the first session 2019 book club book is Shannon Messenger’s Keeper of the Lost Cities.