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!

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