Saturday, July 16, 2011

How to Pack for Camp

As my kids get older, our summers have become consumed by camps.  Our church offers a camp for every school age group and of course I have a kid who is eligible for each group.  So, we have become quite good at packing up for camp.
Thankfully now that my girls are older they pack for themselves.  Packing for them when they were younger was quite the ordeal.  Packing for boys is easy.  So, here are a few of my best tips on how to pack for camp.

Pack for dirt.  I don't know about your kids, but my kids usually go to camps that are hot and dirty.  So I NEVER buy them new clothes for camp.  We either pull out the old stuff or go to Goodwill or Salvation Army if they need anything, with the exception of socks & underwear.  I like to send clothes that we call "disposable". If it gets really dirty or lost it is no big deal.  It can be thrown away.  I tell my boys that if it get's wet & muddy just throw it away.  I know that girls are a little different, but the same concept can stand.  Don't send clothes that would be missed if they didn't make it home.

Let them help you pack.  Don't pack up your kids bags & not let them see what you put in the bag.  They need to see what towels you put in there & what clothes.  Even though they use these things at home all the time, for some reason when they get to camp they forget what it all looks like.  Make sure they know their own stuff.

How much to pack?  I usually send clothes for twice as many days as they will be there.  Zach will be at camp 4 full days so he takes 8 sets of clothes.  I know they get dirty during games & really sweaty, so I make sure he has something to change into that evening for dinner & evening devotions (or whatever they do).

Ben at camp
Label. Label. Label.  OK, 2 reasons why you need to label their stuff.  1st, if they throw their stuff on the floor their counselor can call them on it & make them pick it up. Scott & 2 of my daughters have gone to many camps as counselors and they are amazed every year at the stuff that is thrown around and even though it has the kids name in it, they swear it isn't theirs.  LOL!  2nd, if it get's left somewhere at the camp it can be returned to them.  If they are taking camera's or water bottles, it is inevitable that they will set them down & forget to pick it up before they leave.  Something besides their clothes that you might want to label is their spending money if they have any.  Guaranteed every year there is someone in a cabin who likes to help themselves to other peoples money.  We usually put initials or full name on the bills.  Works!

Kids love mail!  I am the absolute worst at this!  That is why I started sending my husband to camp with my kids.  LOL!  The week before camp, you can get the mailing address for the camp & start mailing them letters before they even go.  Some camps even have it set up where you can email your kid.

Snacks.  Most camps have vending machines or an area the kids can buy snacks, but honestly they are so expensive!  So I usually send some snacks with my kids.  I send stuff that is individually wrapped so that they don' t have open packages of food left in their bag.  That is nothing more than a giant WELCOME TO MY SUITCASE sign for ants & other nasty's.

Camps are so much fun & I am so thankful that my kids get to experience them.  They learn so much and always come back excited about next year.  I wasn't sure if I wanted my kids to do the "camp thing" as my experience as a kid was not always that great, but there are a lot of life lessons involved in spending a little bit of time away from Mom & Dad.

Happy Packing!

Sarah worked this Summer as a counselor at Joni & Friends Camp.