Covid-19 Round 3

So far the score of the round is Runoia 2 and Covid 0. As we enter our third summer of living with Covid, we hope to make the score Runoia 3 and Covid 0 at the end of this summer, too.  We take the health of our community seriously and the emotional and physical safety of campers and staff are paramount.

Here’s the sneak peak of our Covid testing plan for camp this summer. Things might change but you get the sense of our approach through these details.

Camp Runoia Summer 2022 Covid-19 Testing Plan

Campers must arrive at camp healthy with no cold or flu symptoms, if you are sick with cold/flu symptoms (even if you are Covid negative) you may come to camp when you are fever free for 24 hours and symptoms are gone or mild. Campers with mild symptoms may have to mask at times in camp. 

Campers who have had Covid in the past 90 days: 

  • Campers who had a confirmed case of Covid-19 (a positive test, not a presumed case) within 90 days of the start of their camp session, do not need to test at all prior to or upon arrival in camp. This includes if they have a positive antigen or PCR test 10-12 days prior to arrival and have completed their 10 day quarantine. 

Camper Testing – Pre-Arrival Testing – two tests BEFORE arrival: 

  1. PCR test at home 10-12 days prior to camp- done locally to camper and arranged by family. This allows you to quarantine before you get to camp if you test positive for Covid. Report positive results to camp. 
  2. A rapid antigen test is required the night prior to camp or the morning before departing for camp. This test can by the family with a test they provide for themselves. Report positive results to camp. 

Positive Results:

If the rapid antigen results are positive, the camper should not come to camp on opening day and should contact the camp director. A positive result is a positive result: no PCR confirmation is needed if the rapid test is positive. 

If vaccinated, the camper must isolate outside of camp with their family for 5 days, arrive 5 days late and then mask (indoors and outside) for 5 days upon arrival and sleep and eat separately for those first 5 days at camp; completing their 10 days of isolation. 

If not vaccinated, (asymptomatic or symptomatic), the camper remains with family for 10 days and may arrive 10 days late to camp. 

Post Arrival:

All campers will PCR test in camp (saliva test) 3-4 days after arrival to camp. For Senior campers, we plan to test the evening of day #3, for Junior campers, we plan to test on morning of day #4

For campers who test positive for Covid while at camp: a family member will have to pick up their camper within 24 hours and isolate out of camp for 5 days. They will not be able to remain in camp and will need to be picked up from camp. Exceptions may be made for campers who are vaccinated and are non-symptomatic, decisions will be made on a case by case basis.

Camp Runoia Staff Testing Protocols for Pre-Camp and Staff Training One Month – 10 days before campers arrive.

  • Staff will self-administer rapid antigen test the night prior to camp or the morning before arrival to camp.
  • Staff will take a rapid antigen test in camp on day 3
  • Staff will take a rapid antigen test in camp on day 5

Staff must remain in their cohorts until 3rd test (day 5) is negative.

Reminder about Covid Positive Cases within 90 days of camp: Any campers or staff that had a confirmed case of Covid 19 (a positive test, not a presumed case) within 90 days of the start of their camp session, does not need to test at all upon arrival or in camp. This includes if they have a positive antigen or PCR test 10-12 days prior to arrival and have completed their quarantine. 

Testing Overview:

Camper Info: Staff Info: Exempt from testing
PCR 10-12 days prior to camp Antigen test day prior or morning of camp Positive case within 90 days prior to the start of camp including antigen or PCR positive within 2 weeks start of camp 
Antigen day prior or morning of camp Antigen test day 3
PCR day 3/4 of camp Antigen test day 5

 



 

 

Inclusivity at Camp Runoia

Camp is inherently an inclusive experience where youth have the chance be a member of a community, part of something bigger than themself and to develop skills at their own pace. They also have a chance to form and express opinions, try new activities without fear of humiliation and unplug, laugh and be silly.

More recently youth across country found themselves exploring more about pronoun usage, gender identity and wondering who they are in society. Camps became safe harbors (across the country) where youth explored pronoun usage and other gender non-conforming concepts – not because camps were promoting exploration but rather because it was a youth-driven experience.

What surprised me most about the summer of 2021 was not another round of Covid challenges (expected), not a staff shortage (expected), not simple joys of face-to-face connections (expected) but finding out from my peers who operate boys camps, girls camps, co-ed camps, day camps, that they too, had an increased amount of youth exploring their identity. One camp said they had a whole bunk of girls show up in skirts and dresses to support a boy who wanted to wear a skirt to dinner. Another director told me most of the boys in camp painted their nails at one point or another and he also had his nails painted. Another camp owner mentioned an increase in girls who returned to camp wanting to use the pronouns he/him/his and be called by a typically boys’ name. All camps I know of just went with the flow and allowed campers to be themselves and just enjoy camp rather than freak out about being accepted.

At camp we introduce ourselves now as I’m so and so and my pronouns are… it feels normal and fluid although it took some getting used to by many older people. Here’s one camp mom’s perspective.

Are you reading this and wondering how we went down this path and why camp is an inclusive experience? Do you feel like you need a few more tools to figure out what we’re talking about?  Or maybe you have more to share with us. Please do!  We turned to NPR for some better understanding ourselves. We don’t pretend to be experts in diversity and inclusion but we are willing to learn and our leadership staff and summer staff at Runoia are 100% behind us.

The bottom line at Camp Runoia is we want all people to feel safe, accepted and part of our community. We continue to be a girls’ camp offering amazing, top notch, premiere camp experiences for youth. This includes age appropriate conversations about who you are, how you feel about yourself and how you want others to include you. We also want to support parents and collaborate with them to provide the best camp experience possible going into 2022.

How old is the ‘right’ age to start camp?

Trying to figure out when the right age to start camp is can be a real challenge for families.  Actual yearly age carries a lot of weight in our society.  We celebrate milestone Birthdays with celebrations and sometimes commiserations!  My daughter just turned 16. There was pressure for a ‘sweet 16’ . We went with the ‘sassy’ version but all the decorations and marketing available were ‘sweet.’ Other friends bemoan that their child is about to become a teenager and by how much emphasis there is surrounding this event.  Mom friends commiserating that they will have a ‘teenager on their hands’ and that it is apparently just the beginning of the ‘tumultuous years’ suggest that the big 13 is bigger than it really is.  Truth is those kids will be the same person today at 12 as they will be tomorrow when they turn 13. There are displays of some of the teenager characteristics for a couple of years before 13, others are sure to develop over time or may never appear for a particular child.  Age does not define us yet it has societal normative behaviors placed up on it.

As a parent I feel like I am often battling the social norms imposed upon my children.  It is hard to go up against them when ‘everyone else’ does it, has it or has been there.  I love that my sons K-8 school used the ‘wait ’til eight’ theory for cell phone use as it took the pressure off getting him one and now as a 9th grader we are just getting into that realm.

Figuring out when your daughter is the right age for camp can also appear to have social norms and external pressure about when is the right time to send kids off to sleep away camp.  We all know that kids develop at their own pace, have varying life experiences and certainly come with an array of different personalities that are more or less conducive to the camp experience.  We often get calls from concerned parents wondering if their rising 7th grader is ‘too old’ now for camp? Or if aged 7 is ‘too young’ to start.   Will she fit in if she didn’t start in 5th grade when all of her classmates went off to camp?  Can we advise them about what truly is the best age to send your child to an overnight camp experience?

The truth is there is only a perfect age for each individual child, some kids are ready at 7 others at 12 or 13 and some girls  just may never have the desire to be away for an extended time period.  As we talk to parents starting the camp research process we are always excited to chat about their daughters and to help them figure out if she may be ready to join the Runoia fun.

Great questions to ponder for prospective families are: how does your daughter feel about camp? is she driving the process? does she enjoy being away from home overnight with family or friends? is she age appropriately confident managing her own belongings and time?

If you are pondering camp for 2022 and are wondering if your daughter is ready give us a call. We are happy to help support you in the process of determining if this is the best summer – Camp Runoia  207 495 2228.

We have limited openings and would love to find the right ‘ready’ campers to fill them!

Love and Friendship, a dedication to the 2021 Log by Natalie Martin

LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP
The challenges of this past year have caused me to reflect on the strengths of my friendships. Because of the effort we all had to put into our relationships — zoom, social distancing, texting — I realized who my true friends were. The people who I found myself staying in touch with the most during these wild times were… you guessed it: My camp friends.
Friendships that are built on love and kindness are the ones that work best. Friendships at Runoia are made of all ages and backgrounds, none the same as the other. The summers at Runoia give campers the opportunity to grow and work through challenges to strengthen their character and come out the other side as a stronger person. 
The role of my camp friends in my life is not a surprise to me. Over my ten years at Runoia, I have discovered that camp friends are different from school friends. Maybe it’s living together in the “shacks” for three weeks or being completely unplugged from social media, or the bonding feeling we all share about our love for trips, but I know these friendships will last forever, the kind where you know they’ll be your bridesmaids at your wedding.
I’ve been lucky to spend 10 summers at Camp Runoia. Every year I come to camp with butterflies of excitement in my stomach because I know the next 3 ½ weeks will be pure joy: Smiles on opening day, hugs longer and harder, expressing all the love and miss from the year before. Camp to me is a place of new beginnings, a fresh start. A place to be truly yourself. Most importantly, camp is a place where love and friendship rules.
When I was asked  to write the log dedication I called my grandma to discuss this honor. And as I was talking with her I looked around and noticed that our camp was dotted with  signs that read, “Love lives here,” “Black lives matter,” “Love is love.” The signs are a reminder of the work that Runoia campers make to build and maintain love for each other and lasting friendships.
Tonight, I would like to dedicate the 2021 log to love and friendship.

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

Belgrade Lakes – the Foodie Town in Central Maine

With more people living in Central Maine, the demand for quality take-out and restaurants has grown as well. Over the years Central Maine’s population has grown and sophisticated pallets have grown with the influx of people “from away”.

With our new hospital, Maine General, attracting physicians and health care workers from far away, more retirees have been attracted to our recreational area, many skiers drive through to Sugarloaf on Rt. 27 and the fact that people have made the Belgrade Lakes region their second home. During the pandemic, many people have worked from home and stayed in Maine after the summer.

The influence of Portland, Maine restaurants movement to farm to table and sustainable food sources, local breweries and oyster and sea-agriculture, has influenced Central Maine as well. Belgrade restaurants like The Village Inn and Tavern source local food, grass fed beef, meat without hormones and antibiotics and locally brewed beer. Hello Good Pie, bakery, café and meals to go, prepares quality food with locally sourced dairy, meat, vegetables and fruit as part of their everyday fare.

Of course, if you’re searching for that comfort food, there is always the Sunset Grill, Spiro’s Gyros, the local hot dog stand on the way to the transfer station and even the 5-star Belgrade Lakes Golf Course serves everything from a dog to a lobster roll.

In summer the Belgrade Farmer’s Market is a place to see and be seen. Many people arrive by boat to the 7 Lakes Alliance docks where the market opens every Sunday from mid-June until harvest season is over in the fall.

Many of our parents will be driving their daughters to camp this summer. You may be one of them! As you prepare for your trip to Maine, make sure to include a stop in Belgrade Lakes to experience our Foodie
Town.  Finish off your tour of tasting at The Dairy Bar for a Gifford’s cone and call it a good day!

Camp Runoia – overnight camp is a hot commodity

We may be in the sparkly depths of winter here in Maine but many people’s minds are on the summer and planning for a season of camp. Overnight camp is a hot commodity this year. Many children missed the opportunity last summer and are longing to get back to nature and friends at their summer home away from home. While there is hope that the pandemic situation will be a little more resolved by June we also have the realization that mass vaccination and development of herd immunity is going to take a good while to accomplish.  We need some hope and fun to look forward to. In some States teachers are slated to be vaccinated soon and there is potential that kids may get back in school before the end of the year but other places lag behind and virtual or hybrid school continues with little end in sight. We are holding out for an awesome summer and are ready to jump right in to camp life!

Camp has the unique opportunity to create a healthy, fun, in person environment where we can spend as much time as possible outdoors and can participate in all kinds of activities, in real life with other people. Our success last summer proved that we can navigate covid protocols and that while it may look a little different to how camp operated in 2019 it is still spectacularly Runoia. If you are curious about our adaptations last summer you can check them out here.

I have spoken with families from California to NY whose children have been in virtual school since last March. Little interaction with peers, no sports or after school activities along with  isolation from places and people that they love has been hard for everyone. Regular family vacations and summer plans are also looking unlikely for this year as travel still remains challenging and there is a great deal of uncertainty about how open States will be. This recent New York Times article sums up the challenges  that parents are currently facing.

Camps in Maine are filling up faster than ever, and Runoia is already almost at capacity. Already signed up are our campers that navigated camp successfully in 2020, those that took a leap year and are excited to be returning, new families that are ready for the opportunity and a myriad of girls that want to get out on their own for some summer fun. Full season spaces are at an all time high as other summer opportunities are currently limited and it seems like once you get to camp it’s the best place to stay for the summer. We are not kidding when we email and tell you there are just one or two spaces left in a cabin and if you want them sign up today!

‘Masks up lets go’ and get enrolled for the best summer ever!

We Rejoice in Phase Two!

In the midst of a global pandemic, our responsibility to the health of our campers and staff, the greater Belgrade Lakes community and campers and staff families, home towns and cities is paramount.

With the results of negative testing at camp, we have rolled out phase !! of our summer. Campers’ household groups expand to at least twice the size, more time is spent with more people without face coverings, and camp is rolling along with activities, surprises memorable moments, face to face connections problem solving, beautiful sunsets and fun. Our careful plan to methodically increase concentric circles for contact tracing is in play.

Due to our cautious roll out of phases, we feel confident by next week we will be able to move into phase III for our final week of camp. Campers’ households will expand to include entire neighborhoods and as in Runoia culture, girls of different ages will be interacting and playing together. Campers will be able to “tag up” for activities and daily camp life will be much more like normal.

We will consider CRH a success when every camper and every staff member returns home safely with memories of playing tennis, swimming in Great Pond, water skiing, horseback riding, connecting with new friends and meeting up with old camp pals become subjects of school essays and college applications.

Meanwhile, our gratitude to the families who believed in us and the hard work of staff at Runoia who are making this possible is enormous. In the camp time warp, every day feels like a week and every week a month. hundreds of things happen in one day and life feels full. We linger on the moments created and take stock in the memories to hold.

Sincerely, Aionur

 

News From Camp July 22, 2020

Dear Families,

We have had a busy and full three days of camp. We got right into activities and now we are on day four, AKA Wacky Wednesday, where the schedule is mixed up a bit. Tomorrow we start our next block of activities so girls will move onto three new activities in camp plus swim time, evening program, rest hour, snack time and meal time.

Just like vacation, we seem to schedule everything around meals! We are active and eating well and
hydrating. Drinking the amazing Harmony Land Water which tastes magical and gives us super powers! All campers have adjusted well to coming through the banquet line and going to their assigned seating as if they have been doing it forever. Sleeping in the cool Maine air is simply delightful (and restful)!

Our Evening Programs, based out of cabin areas, bring a great close. We have enjoyed Name That Tune, Country Creations, Scategories, Jen’s Surprise Skits, Mostest, Sport Rotations. Cabin counselors run the EP and sometimes we combine with social distancing.

Today is the beginning of our two days of testing. We’ll test all our campers and hold our breath until test results come in by next Monday. We feel positive and are cautiouslyoptimistic. No camper or staff has symptoms that would cause alarm. However, we all know, we cannot be too careful. We will continue to do our best practices of COVID protocols. Building lifelong skills at Camp Runoia!

You can find pictures of campers and activities on our Facebook page. We have been posting every night but may not be able to keep up with that schedule. Every day at camp is filled with the events of a week and every week is like a month-ful! 140 people doing a lot of awesome things!

Campers love getting mail. Probably the last mail from home should be mailed out on Saturday August 1. If you want you can mark envelopes with a date on the address (August, 5, 6, 7) if you don’t want your
daughter to get all your mail at once. After August 1, we do not think the mail will get delivered in time for your daughter to get it. We will hand out Camp Stamps from Camp in Touch through Friday August 7 – please do not write on the 7th because we won’t get it until the 8th when we will be organizing campers for the bus and pick up.

Meanwhile, we have two and one half weeks left of glorious summer camp experience. A summer that will last a life time.

Wishing you the very best from Harmonyville!

Love,   Aionur

Sharing our Update to Staff

What’s New for Staff at Camp Runoia Harmonyville for Covid-19

This important document communicates what we (you and everyone at Runoia) will be doing to help arrive healthy and stay healthy at camp while having fun, allowing campers to interact meaningfully with peers, building life skills and experiencing camp and the outdoors for three weeks this summer. 

Training and Management: This year, our medical staff will be trained on COVID-19 management procedures and be equipped with PPE when needed. We have a health cabin to manage the regular needs of camper and staff health issues and an isolation area ready to handle anyone who may get COVID-19.

Health Care Workers: We are committed to running camp in a responsible and health-focused way. To figure this out, we are listening closely to health care professionals and the relevant authorities (for instance, Maine CDC, National CDC, American Camp Association) to ensure we have the most accurate and current information. New guidelines from the CDC came out today.  We are “camp experts,” and have brought onto our team medical professionals to guide our process. Our doctors are also camp parents so really ‘get it’ from all angles of camp care.

Hygiene: We have raised our sanitation standards to match and exceed recommendations from health care professionals. We will increase the frequency with which we perform deep cleanings of shared surfaces and indoor facilities, and deploy extra sanitation teams throughout the day. “Teams” means all of us staff/counselors/administrators/kitchen crew and health team. There will be hand washing stations throughout camp, along with hand sanitizer dispensers (all of this is new) and counselors will be prepared to model best hygiene practices. Campers and staff will shower daily.

Monitoring: In order to ensure camper and staff health this summer we will add monitoring elements including daily temperature and symptoms checks first thing in the morning. In a cabin “household” counselors will take and record temperatures and symptoms of everyone in the household. 

Guidelines: In keeping with public guidelines, we will modify parts of our camp program to achieve physical distancing standards. For example, our Dining Hall will operate in shifts this summer to prevent overlap between neighborhood groups. We also plan to operate camp activities with smaller household (cabin) groups that will not interact with other households unless there is appropriate social distancing and sometimes face coverings. 

Self-Quarantine and Health Screening: Staff will be required to monitor their own health and practice low-risk/low-density distancing 14 days before they arrive. Staff will quarantine on-site before camp and campers will be asked to self-quarantine before and after camp. Counselors will have a health check upon arrival. Campers will have a health check at drop-off on Opening Day and everyone joining the camp community will be tested. We will adjust the way we manage Opening and Closing Day to minimize interaction between camp families.  

Camp in a Bubble: Parents will not be allowed on campus on opening and closing day. Counselors will help all their household campers unpack and organize their rooms.There will be no outside visitors during the summer. We will limit entrances and exits to and from camp property to essential services only. 

Staff have made the extra commitment not to leave camp in a vehicle or go to any other place except camp property and exercise in the area of camp (including walking/running/biking down the Point Road or Woodland Camp Road) during their time off. 

Illness at Camp: In the event that someone does get sick at camp this summer, we have multi-staged quarantine and isolation procedures that will allow us the time to determine the best response, including whether or not the ill camper or staff member will be able to rejoin the camp population after a period of time.  We will have a team of RNs to care for anyone being tested for COVID and isolated. If you have COVID-19 symptoms or you contract COVID-19 at camp, we will have a comfortable place on campus for you to live until we can make a plan with you.

Communication: Camp Runoia will communicate with parents and staff in a thorough and transparent manner. We recognize the importance of sharing the best information available as quickly as possible.  The information also changes and we are providing updates to families and staff. 

This summer, we aspire to be better than ever.  Thoughtful and detailed communication is more important than ever in keeping our community well-informed and highly-prepared.