Friday, June 15, 2018

Suggestions of what to bring to camp

Every year I have parents ask "what should my child bring to camp. We supply a pretty comprehensive packing list for parents, but there are things people forget.

We asked many parents and alumni for things they thought you may need to make your child's stay a little easier.

Here is what they suggested....

Father carrying a trnk for his daughter

1. What you need to put all that stuff in!

Some parent send luggage, while others bring trunks. While trunks are sturdy, they can be broken if the camper stands on them (it has happened more times than you think) A great solution I have seen recently is the clear under the bed totes. They have plenty of space and can easily roll under the bed!

two young cowboys at camp2. Dress for success, not to impress. 
I have seen campers come with outfits that belong more in a upscale social gathering than they do in a camp environment. It's nice to have one nice outfit, but everything else will get dirty, wet and possible torn.  

One rule of thumb is ... 
"Don't send your child to camp that you will miss if it doesn't come home. "

We also suggest that the clothes be comfortable because they will be running around. 

3. Lots of socks- 
You never can have enough socks- there is nothing that makes a camper more miserable than wet feet! Also at least two pairs of shoes. One parent told me she went to the local thrift shop and got a great pair of hiking boots that her son could wear for the week, and it didn't break the bank!

A very messy faced camper during viking spagetti meal4. Glasses at camp:  
There is a good chance that your child may break or lose their glasses. I have repaired many of them while at camp, but you may want to look at sending them with an old pair, or getting them a set that can withstand the stresses of camp. Here is what one parent said about glasses...
"My son wore his sport glasses all week. The bonus is they were transition lenses so he had sunglasses when outside. When I set him up in the cabin we made sure he had a safe place to put them at night."
Camper presnts a duct tape wallet5. Packing the clothes
Sometimes  when you pack everything and the child returns home, everything except one or two sets of clothes are still where you packed them.  Here is what one parent said about this issue...
"Wrap daily wardrobes with underwear, socks, shorts and T shirts with a rubber band or place them in zip lock baggies.You wont over pack and kids can grab an outfit each day. This way they are not throwing clean clothes all over and they get a fresh pair of underwear a day."
6. Laundry bag -
I can't tell you how many times our younger campers have thrown wet clothes into their packed bags with clean clothes, and you get that infamous "camp musty smell". One suggestion is to send them with a laundry bag and explain to them that they put wet and dirty clothes into the bag each day.They can hang the bag on the side of the bunk.

Camper playing ukelale7. What did I bring?
Parents hate going through lost and found at the end of the week. Having campers come home with everything they brought is tough! Here is what one parent suggested.
"We tape a list of everything our son brings on the inside of his trunk. This helped so much! Don't forget to list the color or description of the item. Just saying 2 towels instead of saying one spider man and one blue bath towel can make all the difference. "
 We also suggest you label everything or put their initials on the tags in their clothes.

camper eating apple while reading mail from home8. Self addressed stamped envelopes or even better- self addressed & stamped post cards! Our clerk has some advice on that...
"Every morning when we get the mail we see that have incomplete addresses on them. We do take those letters and get the addresses off our database, but it makes your child's life a lot easier if you fill this stuff out before they come to camp. "
And if you give them a postcard for every day, it helps them to focus on something when they are sad! And who doesn't like getting mail form your children when they are at camp!

camper with a silly stick on mustache9. Pack one goofy thing
Last summer a camper brought stick on mustaches. He broke them out during viking meal, and gave them to all his bunk mates. It was so much fun.

I've also seen tattoo stickers, silly hats, and other simple costume things for use in our theme meals like mismatched lunch or twin lunch.

10. Bathrobes
Last summer many of the counselors said that if their campers had bathrobes, they could get more time in the showers. Since everyone needs to walk back and forth between their cabins and the bath houses, a robe would make it easier. Also while campers are waiting to shower, having a bathrobe make it quicker to get in and out of the shower.

campers stanging next to pool
11.  Extra towels
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has a few things to say on the subject of towels. A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have.
Towels at camp can get really messy quickly. They fall off the clothesline, never really get dry unless they are n direct sunlight, and can really smell if left under the bed when wet. At a minimum you should bring a bath towel and a beach towel. (An extra towel wont hurt either... Oh, and two swim suits aren't a bad idea either. Not required , but are a nice thing to have just in case it is a wet week.

12. Toiletries-
A small bag or a little bucket to carry shampoo, soap, toothpaste and tooth brush between the showers and the cabin helps a lot! We want them brushing their teeth!

13. A Little Something Special
"I always like to pack a small gift or item to let my child know that I am thinking of them and that I am proud of them. He usually doesn't find it until Tuesday!"

A small thing packed in your child's stuff can really brighten their day. A comic book, a small stuff animal, or something that has special meaning- these things can lift the spirit!

14.Opps- I forgot something
 Every so often a camper forgets something.A pillow, and extra blanket, a tooth brush, shampoo. Don't worry. We have many of these things in stock and will make sure your camper has them when they need them. We don't have enough for the whole camp, just enough to help cover those that forgot them.

We hope this list gives you some great ideas for this summer. Let us know if you have any other tidbits of advice we can share!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Welcoming Wednesday (part 5)

Everyone please join me in welcoming Tom for another summer at camp! He will be helping out in the kitchen.

My name is Thomas Bender. Most people call me Tom. In the fall I will be a senior at Holland Patent High School. I live in Marcy with my parents and my sister. My mom is a camp alumni and my sister will be a camper here this summer. My favorite school subject is American History and especially the Civil War. I enjoy traveling especially to battle fields and to zoos. In my spare time I enjoy playing Magic the Gathering with my friends. Several times a year I assist in teaching Minecraft at our local library. If I had a choice I would stay up all night and sleep all day!!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Our Camp Store

Here is a post from our very own Camp Clerk Judi!
One of my many jobs at all the camp’s I have worked at included running the Camp Store.  Never have the words “Candy OR ice cream” come out of my mouth so many times. Patience was required while trying to find a misfiled “camper card” where we kept track of purchases.  Patience was required while a camper barely tall enough to see over the counter contemplated the merits of Swedish Fish VS Fun Dip (a sugar stick you dip into more sugar), only to change tack entirely and go for the Atomic fire balls.  

Image result for atomic hot ballsAs a camper, however, the ability to go to the Camp Store was a real treat for me.  I grew up very rural and did not have access to a corner store to spend the allowance I received doing various chores.  To be able to go daily to a place that offered the delicacies of childhood not available to me during the rest of the year just added to making Camp Sacandaga a magical place.

Image result for atomic hot ballsTherefore it is my pleasure to announce that we are going to be able to offer the 2018 Camp Sacandaga campers an opportunity to visit the Camp Store every day.  As is tradition we will be giving campers a choice of one food item, ice cream or candy, and one drink. Shirts, hoodies, stuffed moose critters and other unique and cool items will be available for purchase during registration and check-out.

Image result for swedish fishStore will be open daily for food and drink during free time and occasionally in the evening for the older campers during “Teen Time”.  Typically parents put around $20 on a store account.  Directions for this process will be sent to parents as they register their camper.  Campers will NOT be allowed to purchase items with cash so it is not necessary for campers to bring any money to camp.  At check-out parents will have an opportunity to spend down any remaining balance in their campers’ store accounts. Any remaining funds at the end of the week will be placed in a campership fund.  

Image result for fun dipIn my own experience I know that some campers will not have as much in their store accounts as others and will be limited in their purchases.  Never fear!  There will be a bowl of fruit and “bug juice” (and water) in the dining hall for hungry campers during free time.  Some evening programs have a snack such as s’mores and popcorn as part of the plan. And as always, meals have multiple options to satisfy even the most discerning eater.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Welcome Wednesday (Part 4)

One of the key pieces of the camp staff puzzle is the camp nurse. Last year we struggled to find the perfect person for the job, but at the last moment we found Jessica! And the good news is...Jessica is coming back!

During the "off - season" Jessica is a school nurse. This makes her the ideal person to work with children in a camp setting. And her children have come to camp, so she has the parent prospective! She runs a very safe infirmary at camp, and keeps us all healthy while we are here.

I have worked with many nurses over the years, but I can honestly say that Jessica is one of the best! She also is one of the most relaxed and funny nurses that I have ever worked with!

Please let her know if you have any health concerns for your children this summer. You can reach out to her via email at   During the summer you can call her at camp at (518)548-4742.

Friday, June 1, 2018


I went out to take the girls (Gwen and Gabby, my dogs) on their morning walk when I was descended upon by a cloud of very hungry mosquitoes! I know they will be less of an issue this summer, but it made me think of last year when I was trying to figure out whey there was a spot of dead grass next to cabin 2 (yes, these things are related...).

As I was mowing last summer I noticed a circle of dead grass near the girl's cabin. I assumed that it was a place they all walked and was trampled down. But later that day I was sitting at the table under the Spruce trees when I saw each girl come out of the cabin, stand on that spot, and spray themselves with bug spray.

To say they sprayed themselves was an understatement. It was scary how much bug spray they we applying. I guess they were operating under the idea that more was better! But I know that isn't the case. It can't be good for their skin to use that much! Children are not the only ones who don't know how to apply the stuff. Last weekend at the carnival a saw a parent use almost 1/4 of a can of spray on their child all at once! There are many articles and warning on the internet about using too much of the stuff.

People send their children with many types of gear to protect their child. Arm bands, homeopathic repellents, sonic devices... I even had one parent set up a mosquito net on the bottom bunk for their child! Last summer we had two children show up with Thermacell Mosquito repellers. I am not sure how well they work but they they require a propane cartridge that has to be replaced every 12 hours, and a small mat insert that has to be replaced every 4 hours. I do not feel safe having those small propane canisters in the cabins and at camp. If you have questions about these units, please contact me.

So what can we do?

First off, talk to your child about how to use bug spray. Remind them that too much is not good for them. Show them how to apply it. Also look online to familiarize yourself about the different kinds of repellent. DEET can be scary if you don't' understand about it.

I have not had much luck with most produces, bands and alternative stuff. I personally tend to avoid the spray repellent.  For the past few years I have recommended to parents to use the wipes. I personally have been using the Deep Woods Off towelettes. It allows you to get all areas covered without over using the product. And you don't get over-spray on everything around you (including your friend's eyes)I typically apply a little spray to the underside of the brim of my cap to keep the bugs out of my eyes, and then wipe the areas that are not covered. Don't forget to tell your children to apply the repellent after they have applied sunscreen, not before.

Another thing for you parents...You need to check the box telling us your child can use insect repellent while at camp on the Medical Examination and Medical Authorization Form. I will be sending out emails to parents soon about that form with complete instructions.

When you arrive on camp, please give the counselor your child's repellent so they can keep it next to the door of the cabin to remind children when they leave the cabin. That way the counselor can remind the child to use it, and it doesn't get all over the cabin, the cabin  mates, the bunks, and everything else.

We do a great job keeping the grass low so ticks are not a major problem, but we still have children check for ticks when they come out of the woods, and the staff remind campers to check for ticks when they shower at night. Insect repellent will help with these little critters too.

Lets all work together to make sure you child has safe, bug free summer! I look forward to seeing all of your smiling faces at camp soon!