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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Packing to Send Your Kids to Camp

Attending an overnight summer camp is sort of like a ‘rite of passage’.  I remember my first week long camp experience, and I’ll have to admit that I wasn’t all that keen on going.  But after I got there, the week just flew by, and then I wasn’t ready to go home.  It was a blast.

Gray is getting to the age where we are starting to talk about overnight camps – without us.  It’s so hard to believe.  Given how long it has been since I’ve been to camp and given that my mom packed for me, I started doing some research on how to properly pack a child for camp.  It seems that most camps provide a packing list, but I also learned a number of helpful tips by talking to a friend.

  1. Label everything.  My friend purchased an imprinter stamp with their child’s full name and stamped everything.  Of course, a sharpie works just as well, but resign yourself to the fact that they will likely lose something. 
  2. Don’t over pack.  They don’t have much space for their things, and apparently they all wear the same things over and over anyway – even if they have clean clothes to put on. 
  3. Use Ziploc bags.  We all know that Ziploc bags are fantastic for toiletries, but I will likely divide Gray’s clothes by item and place them in labeled Ziploc bags as well.  Ziploc also makes XXL bags, which are great for towels or bedding.  I also read where someone kept a bag that a new comforter came in and used it for their child’s camp bedding.  Terrific idea.
  4. Pack a clip on fan to clip to their bed.  I wish someone had invented those things when I was a kid.  One vivid memory of camp I have is just how hot it was.  It wasn’t bad during the day because we were out having fun, but lying in bed at night sweating was no fun.
  5. Stationary, addressed and stamped envelopes, and pens.  My friend told me not to be surprised if I don’t get too many letters or if they are very short.  It’s likely that he is having too much fun to take the time to write, and in the event I do get a letter that sounds like he is sad and homesick – by the time I read it, he will be long past that.

But knowing how I am about being clean and tidy, my friend left me with a few words of wisdom – “He will survive a lack of showers and not brushing his teeth for a week or two.  Every kid does it, and it is one of the many fun things about going to camp – getting to break mom’s rules.” 

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