‘Filling Your Cup’ at Camp as an Introvert

January is a quiet time – an introvert’s dream – a time for ‘filling your cup’ to store up energy for the summer.  Here in the mountains of Colorado, it means soft, plush snow and a trail so quiet, you can hear the trees creaking in the wind. As a high-energy assistant camp director and tutor, I think people often assume that I am an extrovert. How could you possibly do all of that and not be? I love being around and working with people, sure, but oftentimes it is draining. I recharge as an introvert does – alone, often outside on a trail, or maybe inside with a cup of tea and a good book or craft.

So then, why camp? Or rather, how camp, as an introvert? Is camp really a space where an introverted camper or staff member can happily thrive in such a busy environment? Yes – with a little something we call “filling your cup” here at Runoia.

We know that our staff and our campers cannot ‘pour from an empty cup’, and introverts can find that cup drawing dangerously low after a busy day full of social time. Filling your cup means something different to each person; it is whatever we like to do that recharges our battery when we sense it getting low. Some may find a solo, early morning run before breakfast fills their cup; others may be seen reading a book during rest hour to recharge.

Luckily, Runoia is built for our extroverts, introverts, and ambiverts alike. Our schedule is built intentionally to include quiet, reflective times like rest hour and bed time routines, as well as times of choice – unstructured free time when campers can recharge however they need each day. Even our 30+ activity areas offer campers the chance to slow down, focus on a project, or spend more time in nature.

Our campers may slow down and recharge with a bracelet-making session on their shack porch, a walk down the nature path, or perhaps a book enjoyed in a Crazy Creek on the lawn. Staff may be seen watching a sunset on the docks, taking an early morning walk or run, or enjoying a yoga session with Kara.

Camp’s reputation as a space for everyone is not for nothing. We see a beautiful spectrum of personalities in our campers and our staff each summer, and it is what makes our community whole, and so strong. Introverts and extroverts alike – here we are, settling into winter,  dreaming of summer.

The creep of winter at Camp Runoia

Winter has started to creep its way into Camp Runoia.  The first layer of snow is covering the ground and the edges of the lake are beginning to freeze.  Buildings are closed up tight against the weather and all is still and quiet. There is still great beauty in the familiar views it just has a different lens. It is a treat to see places that are not so visible in the summer that now offer us a different perspective of a familiar scene.  Particularly down by the lake it is such a dramatic transformation from the bustling days of summer. Trying to describe the differences about camp to a winter visitor is almost impossible and requires a great deal of imagination. How do you explain not just the dramatic change in scenery but also that the atmosphere is entirely different?

As we rapidly head towards the winter solstice and shortest day of the year the daylight hours in Maine seem so few.  It is hard not to think of a day in terms of the camp schedule.   A frequent lament at this time of year is the fact that it feels like time to be getting into PJ’s when at camp we would just be starting EP!

The long days of summer provide such an opportunity to be engaged and outdoors doing all of the activities that are so much more restricted during the winter months. Residential summer camp is so unique in its ability to allow children and youth a myriad of experiences that are not as readily available in the other times of their lives.

One of the great benefits of a Runoia summer is that campers get so much choice in how they spend their long summer days. They can try new things, focus in on classes they really want to build skills in, take something just as a one off for fun and enjoy such a diversity of experiences that they are never bored. Ending with evening program as the sky starts getting dusky and in the early part of the summer heading to bed before the stars are out make it a full day.

Until summer rolls around again we’ll trade our rackets for skates and our water skis for downhill.

We will be so ready for another season of Camp Runoia summer fun on Great Pond.