‘And the seasons they go round and round’

Today the minutes of day light start lengthening. We have past the shortest day of the year and know that when the summer solstice arrives with its seeming endless day we will be gathering on Great Pond for our 114th summer of Camp Runoia. As we move towards those summer days we are eagerly anticipating all that the new year has to offer and planning for another fantastic summer season.

As we reminisce on the old year, we have a deep gratitude for the people that have touched our lives and the experiences that we have been fortunate enough to have. We have met fabulous new people and dug deeper into strengthening old relationships. We shared successes and challenges and celebrated new beginnings while mourning loses of those dear to us. Being given the gift of watching children and young people grow, develop and build life skills is one of our biggest joys.


We wish for a peaceful and happy 2020.

Runoia provides such a great opportunity for all those that get to have some summer time fun here. We are particularly grateful to all of those that donate to our alumnae organization scholarship fund. The camperships given enable girls whose families may not have the financial means to have a fabulous, often life changing Runoia summer. We truly believe that camp makes a difference in people’s lives and are thankful to touch as many people as possible.

As you welcome the light into your home for the Holidays, with twinkly trees and bright candles we wish you all the best from our Runoia family to yours. However you celebrate may your days be filled with good food, laughter and the love of family and friends. As we sail off into the new year 2020 holds the hope of fresh promise and opportunity; we look forward to sharing it with our Camp Runoia campers and staff.

Sail into the new year with confidence and courage.

Friday night pizza- we love camp food!.

As the Holidays roll around and our focus becomes not just on family but also a lot on food,  it is a great time to reflect on how camp food plays an important role in the overall experience. Food in general has such significant cultural value, it shapes our days and times with people. At camp we enjoy food together for three meals a day and spend a lot of time talking about our favorite things to eat. Sometimes we may miss things from home and at others we are wondering when some camp favorites are going to be served.

At Thanksgiving dinner you probably ate food that has meaning in your family; grandma’s pumpkin pie made from an age old recipe or that sweet potato bake you have every year without fail. Food not only fills us and gives us a reason to come together with loved ones but its sentimental meaning also truly warms our hearts.

Days at camp are often a blur with not as much definition as you may find in your regular week. It’s often hard to figure out what day of the week it is unless it’s Thursday trip day or a sleepy Sunday.  More often than not the days are measured by the food being served. Friday night is always homemade pizza night! Chef and the kitchen crew cook up the usual cheese and pepperoni favorites but there are always also a couple of surprises that you don’t know about until they are served! On Fridays there is always a buzzing excitement around super time for pizza night.

Sunday morning donuts and cinnamon rolls are a staple. Even though it is still sleepy come in your pajamas breakfast there is often a line after the first bell at 8am as campers are keen to dig into the sweet treats.

You may remember the’ green table’ and grill for Saturday night cookout with hotdogs and burgers. The location has changed to be closer the kitchen but there is still the same fare.

Alums will likely remember ‘Sunday Sundaes’ served on the last Sunday at the end of the session, it’s a tradition that is much anticipated and has been around for many years. Congo bars are perhaps the truest Runoia favorite and have been enjoyed throughout the generations.  Do any Alums may remember bishops bread?

Our Camp Runoia food is healthy and wholesome and fills not just our bellies but also our hearts. It leaves us with tasty memories of our long summer days

Transferring camp skills to school

The camp bell is soon to be replaced by the school bell.

When Runoia girls arrive home from camp their parents often tell us that not only do they seem to have grown a few inches but that they are moving through the world with more confidence and have added to their inventory of skills.  During their time at residential camp girls acquire life skills that transfer to all aspects of their lives and are particularly useful when they head back to school. Acknowledging this skill development and verbalizing with girls what they can take from camp back to the rest of their year can be valuable and may smooth the back to school transition for those that find it a little bumpy.

Camp bus
We’ll take the camp bus over a school bus!







At camp girls often become more self-reliant, they learn to make new friends, manage their personal belongings and get from place to place on time and in the right attire. Day to day living tasks become their responsibility. They problem solve, communicate and advocate for themselves every day. The Runoia community is rich with opportunities for girls to push beyond their comfort zones, try new things and build on their strengths. Campers often surprise themselves with their new found competence and confidence. They learn that with perseverance and dedication that they can do things that once seemed difficult or that make take multiple tries to master. They learn that they have value and a place in our community, that they are respected for who they are and that there are people who want to build relationships with them. Making independent choices are a huge part of a Runoia camper experience and they affect all aspects of a girl’s daily living and camp experience.

Our favorite kind of backpack! The challenges of hiking a mountain can fill your child’s tool kit with skills that transfer to school.

Intentionally re affirming your daughter’s summer successes, reminding her of the great camp friends that will be there next summer and actively naming all of the skills that she now  has in her tool kit can really help strengthen confidence through those first sometimes daunting back to school days.

We wish all of our campers a smooth transition back to school and if they need a ray of camp sunshine to brighten their days enrollment for 2020 is opening this week! For some of our teachers on the Runoia staff school is just a filler job between summers!

We are officially starting the countdown to Camp Runoia’s 114th season on Great Pond.

Camp Runoia Traditions – the ‘name story’

The close of a Camp Runoia summer has a lot of traditional moments. Some seem like camp classics; from finding out the end of season scores,  singing ‘It’s Blue and White’ at Cotillion to enjoying a final campfire together. Others are a little harder to fathom how they evolved. Runoia examples are the log book statistics and the ‘name story’. I’m sure if we pored over the Logs for a long time we could go back and find out when some of these traditions became established and maybe even who brought them to camp.  Certainly some have evolved over time and others have come and gone in just a few years.

The ‘name story’ was an established  part of Log Night long before my time at Runoia and I have been writing it for a lot of years now. It includes the last name of all of the campers and staff that stay with us the whole season and needs to be read with a creative flair as there are some tricky names to get into some kind of tale. There were more names than ever this year.

Camp Runoia staff 2019 their names are in the story!

Here is the 2019 version of the Camp Runoia ‘name story’:

FFMD’s – Fabulous Fine Maine Days

After a very rainy May, that had put a real Strain on getting everything Doone to open up Camp Runoia it had been a summer filled with  ‘fine Maine days’ and beautiful sunsets to the West on Great Pond.

Campers had enjoyed the familiar routines of camp life. Nagle every morning the Flagg was raised, the Bellringer kept the Kells ringing on time, Vanns had taken the campers out on trips, girls got to tie Dye their T-shirts in all kinds of Clancy colors and it had been a great time with lots of Cartmell’s across the kickball field. A ride down to the Marini on the ski boat was a real treat.

At assembly even with a Hacking cough the Germain counselor was really good at translating the word of the day.  In Liu of songs, Dresdowed in their camp uniforms everyone headed out across the Heath to visit the old Mill on the other side of the farmhouse. ‘Budeiri that we have an old ruin at camp’ said the young rapper McCarron to Sidorsky.

When lunch time rolled around after Grace everyone sat down to a delicious meal. On the Plata that Jacob took out of the Hubbard and brought out to the table was a Bolduc roasted in Herbst the Corneluius delicious too. That was a fine Bolduc-Jackson saidI Kotsiri would like some of those Hobbs Knobs British biscuits for desert.’ Meanwhile the vegetarians were delighted with their Heuberger made from chickpeas.   While everyone was waiting for desert Frank O’Malley the Irish counselor enthusiastically played a little jig on the Picariello while campers joyfully McLellaned around the dining hall.

Up at the farm the chickens were making such a Kranefuss when laying their Brown and White eggs. ‘Ojeah I feel like a real Pratt’ said Dean the farm counselor ‘I think that the baby goats finally escaped by jumping on the old Cobb horse and have Krakoffed down the road.’ ‘I Quinonnes what to do!’ Now that they are Friedman, I will have to Mullen over a plan with Emerson, Alexander in order to capture them maybe Cooper can help us too.  With a quick prayer to St Peter the counselors Tapiaed on the grain bucket and Skaliotised off after the goats.

When the trippers were out hiking a storm rolled in and the campers had to Neal down and Crawley through the Thacker underbrush toward the Goodoak that guided them to the edge of the woods. They Pulliamed themselves along using Phillips rope that luckily he had brought ‘That was pretty Roffman ‘ exclaimed Martin I hope that everyone is o’Shea. Pammenting the fact that they had to cut their trip short they all used the Holthouse and washed up with the biodegradable Castillo soap. Then with a big cheer of ‘hip hip Perez ‘ they hopped in the Radford van and with Davis driving headed back to camp.

The blue and White games had gone off splendidly even though there had been a petition for the introduction of a Brown team. Shooting competitions had been a big hit, using the old Smith and Wilson and the newer Santos-Pearcy model , Jackson and Gwilliam Atienzad perfect scores. ‘O’Dwyer ‘ said Harris even though I Browder my best effort I Mahedy must try harder I only scored a Kerti and need to get at least a 40 to pass my level. On the fields girls were Korineing around bases after using the Melgar bats to hit home runs. ‘Korosi’yelled the team captain as a camper ran for home base.

While sucking on Mintz and Mullering over the events of the season the directors figured that it May have been the best summer yet on Great Pond.

Let’s Move – Camp Runoia and Physical Fitness

Camp Runoia is an active place. Campers and staff walk or run from activity to activity and burn a lot of calories. We are unplugged with no screen time during camp so even inactive time often involves play. From playing Gaga in the Gaga pit to tetherball, badminton to ping pong; chill time is less than chill. Even walking in the woods, building fairy houses or climbing up the Lookout to make friendship bracelets involves movement.

One of the former First Lady’s programs, was “Let’s Move”.  The recognition of childhood obesity and one in three American children being obese or overweight was brought to light. The consequences would mean more teens and young adults with significant health problems. The reason: more calories, less activity. Calories from fast food and junk food, high in sugar low in nutrition is readily available to children. Taking buses to school, the reduction of outdoor play time and organized gym classes also feeds the crisis.

Programs like the NFL’s Play 60 and National Academies resources encouraging movement before and after school and in the classroom are part of the movement provide incentive and resources for play.

Camp instills habit-forming fitness in people with no screen time, walking  or running from place to place, sports daily, good food, fresh air, movement and plenty of time to sleep to recharge. Camp is more than Play 60 – it’s 12-13 hours of movement every day!





Vacation boredom – the art of learning to entertain yourself

Our kids are generally kept very busy with school, sports, extracurricular lessons, homework, play dates and hopefully some family time squeezed in.  Their schedules often need a PA and chauffeur to manage them and if there is any free time technology seems to be the quick and easy filler.  Free time seems to evoke anxiety and cries of boredom or having absolutely nothing to do.

We just barely survived winter break with very few concrete plans and only some skiing on our ‘to do’ agenda. There was a lot of free, unscheduled time.  It seems that life for kids is much easier and time flies by so much faster when every minute is planned for them.  Even though the time away from school was much sought after, suddenly hours with nothing to do makes the days seem endless and ‘boring.’

Life doesn’t always have to be planned and goal driven, it is good for our brains and especially for our kids to have space and time to contemplate their next move or in fact to not do much at all.  While boredom may generate some negative emotions and in my kids case a bunch of whining and complaining it can result in new motivation and a desire to change track and reengage with tasks that we then gain pleasure from.  Boredom can build self-reliance, creativity and self-motivation.  Giving kids an opportunity to plan their own day, make their own choices and figure out a strategy to provide for their own happiness is a great skill builder.  Check out this NY Times article for more support of letting children experience boredom.

There is always time at Camp Runoia to read a good book.

At camp free time is intentionally built into our day so that girls have the space to think about what they would like to do and to fill their own time.  There are organized opportunities provided like rec swim or a bracelet making party along with plenty of opportunities for spontaneous play be it in the gaga pit, on the courts or just around the cabin or in the woods.  Girls may also choose to hang out in the Lodge and look at the logs, read a book or play a board game with friends.  Often they can be found sitting on porches chatting or having fun with friends or visiting a sister or cousin in a different shack.  Campers never seem to be bored at camp. They engage with each other, with adults and with their environment and take advantage of the opportunities provided to keep themselves engaged.

Making friendship bracelets in free time.

We are really doing our children a favor when we let them have the opportunity to get ‘bored,’ maybe we need to schedule boredom in more often during the school year!


Organize Don’t Agonize! KonMari and Packing for Camp

Have you been on the Marie Kondo trend of KonMari? Do you find that you are organizing your own world to spark joy in your life? Start the summer camp packing off right and begin to organize now!

What we know is getting your child involved in the process of preparing for Camp Runoia is a great way to have them engaged and thinking positively – probably excitedly – about camp. Find our official packing list  and outfitter Lands’ End and organize now for a successful packing experience later this spring.

Figure out your budget and then give your “camper” options. For instance:

Trunk or a duffel or both?

There’s room for small trunks like ones you can order here  Trunks easily organize your campers’ belonging throughout the summer with a built in tray for smaller items on top. Trunks also are fun to decorate with stickers – a great way to involve your camper.

Alternatively, or in addition, LL Bean has sturdy duffels making packing a breeze and organize items for camp now.

Leggings or Jeans? Tanks or Tees?

Both leggings and jeans are useful at camp for the late afternoon/evening when the mosquito comes out. See our complete packing list on your forms dashboard and order your insect repellent here.  The biggest tip is Maine weather requires layers to be comfy. Cool mornings, hot afternoons and warm evenings are typical at Runoia. Don’t forget a rain jacket and Wellies!

A $5-10 shower caddy will help her organize her shower supplies when she heads to the “Soapies”. You can find it at the magic store or stores like Target

Water bottle – Two water bottles are a must for camp.

Don’t forget to pull out your Sharpie to label everything or order cool and fun labels from Mabel’s Labels

Have fun and let us know if you have any questions or discover some of your own tips along the way 🙂

Happy Packing!

The inside scoop on Camp Runoia

As we continue delving into how you find the perfect sleep away camp for your child it is definitely advantageous to get the ‘inside scoop.’  Once you have narrowed down your camp list to your top two choices talking with parents and campers is a great way to figure out which one is the perfect fit for your child.  Word of mouth referrals give a real perspective of a camps culture and value.  Candid conversations with current parents can help you to get a real feel for the place and the people.

Here’s what some of our 2018 parents had to say about Camp Runoia and why they and their daughter’s love it:

  • S’s highlight was water sports, particularly the “dot,” sailing, and tubing. She also loved tennis, archery and riding. She also loved meeting new people, being mixed up at mealtime at different tables. She loved making connections with older campers who had written to her as pen pals a great tradition.
  • Being white team captain (and all the other amazing camp experiences!!). As always, she is still talking nonstop about all the fun she had.
  • Both our girls seemed to have fully inhabited the physical space of camp. The freedom to do so much good healthy stuff all day long was fantastic. Ropes course and waterfront were much talked about.

She loved all her counselors.

  • Her cabin mates, she had a blast and has made incredible lifelong friends. It’s really special we are so grateful.
  • She was so excited about sailing. She drew us diagrams and explained all the terminology. She enjoyed all the activities and the girls with whom she shared the experiences.
  • For me, it was great fun to see her participating in a sailing major this session. She loved getting to know the girls in her shack.

She came home with more independence with personal care.

  • She loved trying all the new activities she wished she would of stayed longer to try all the activities. Definitely was very happy with all the activities she managed to do this summer
  • Greatly appreciated the quality of the counselors and their simultaneous focus on girls and readiness to reassure if I was worried.
  • Definitely improved her swimming in the 12 days of camp, which we appreciated. She benefited from tennis and riding instruction as well.

The awards and being able to experience different and new activities was very positive. She was very proud of all her awards 🙂

  • I am SO impressed with the academic caliber of the counselors. They are obviously intelligent in academics and also have a generous spirit to share with their girls.
  • She had a wonderful experience gained independence and increased confidence. As she enters 3rd grade she is really showing a sign of maturity that she hadn’t last year. I do believe it is part from her experience at camp.
  • Communication is EXCELLENT in all areas. I am always confident that T is safe, happy and in good hands. Any and all communications have been clear and prompt, whenever we have needed extra help with our girls in particular it has been handled incredibly well.

If you want a copy of our current family reference list so that you can get the inside scoop give us a call 207 495 2228 our parents are happy to chat about why they continue choosing Camp Runoia for their daughter.

The path to the lake at Camp Runoia in Belgrade Lakes, Maine.

Girls only!

Single gender or co-ed? how do you choose the right option?

Many prospective families are curious as to what makes an all-girls, overnight experience special or at least different to a co-ed camp.  Single gender camps have long been a tradition in youth camping.  The majority of the earliest programs were established just for boys or for girls only.  We imagine that back in 1907 when Ms. Weiser and Ms. Pond were establishing Camp Runoia for Girls it was likely highly frowned upon for boys and girls to be camping out in the Maine woods together!  We relish our long and strong tradition of girls attending sleep away camp in Maine and primarily being led by women.

A history of female leadership.

So why do girls enjoy a single gender experience? Many Runoia campers welcome a change in dynamic from their co-ed schools.  Often girls will say that they can be themselves at camp.  They enjoy not feeling any pressure to look or dress a certain way.  At camp the playing field is even and all opportunities are available to everyone.  There are no gender specific activities and the prevailing sense is that girls can do anything.  With the majority of the staff also being female there are many different types of role models and the opportunity to learn from slightly older young women who are in college.

Once you pass the Camp Runoia gate you’ve made a little date with fate.

There is a perfect camp fit for every child and a myriad of options to choose from. Focusing on your child’s strengths and personality traits rather than the perception of what a ‘perfect’ camp may be will help to narrow down those choices.   Your old summer camp that you attended 30 years ago may be perfect for the next generation or they may be better suited to a different opportunity.  Knowing where your child will thrive best and then asking questions to see if the camps you are choosing will be a good match is crucial to everyone’s happiness.

We are always happy to chat about what makes Runoia a special place for girls to grow and you can check out our philosophy on our website.

Finding the right camp

As we rapidly roll towards the summer season, this time of year is typically the busiest for new camper enrollment.  As families begin their search in earnest for the perfect camp for their child we thought that some tips and helpful questions may be of use.  There are such a wide variety of program options and so many great choices it can certainly be overwhelming to even get started.  So how on earth do you find the right camp?

A general internet search for summer camps turns up what seems like a million options for summer programs  and even when focusing on resources that are specific to camp selection the choices can be extensive. The American Camp Association website is filled with over 3000 accredited camps and summer programs and can be a great place to start. If you are already sure that Maine is the place that you want your child to be Maine Summer Camps also has a ‘find a camp’ tool which is also very helpful.

So how do you get started?

Set some parameters before you go near your computer and maybe even before you get the kids involved –  you don’t want them picking space camp on the moon when you were thinking arts camp in the woods!

Here are some potential questions to think through.

  • What genre of camp are you looking for?
  • Do you have family traditions with a particular program or location?
  • Are you restricted to specific dates or have a set session length in mind?
  • Is your child ready for an overnight experience or are you looking for a more local day camp?
  • What is your budget?
  • How far from home are you willing to travel?
  • Are you looking for specific program content or a more general program?
  • Do you want to do your own research or get help form a professional camp referral agency?
  • What are your child ‘s thoughts  about camp?

Once you’ve got a basic outline for your needs and wants you can dig in. Camp websites are typically filled with all of the initial information that you may need and directors are waiting for your calls to expand on what makes their camp unique.  Expect good customer service and attentive sales pitches, camps should want to find out about your child to see if it is a good fit for everyone not just push their program.  A great director will be able to head you in a different direction if their camp doesn’t meet your needs.  You should also expect to get referrals to other families and ideally a camp tour or home visit depending on the season.

Finding the right camp should be fun not stressful, give us a call if you need help 207 495 2228 there is a perfect fit for every child out there.  Want to learn more about Camp Runoia our website is a great place to start.

‘Once you pass the Runoia gate you’ve made a little date with fate..”