Top 10 Summer Camp Packing Tips
Your friend may be looking at you like you have three heads – “You’re stressing over packing for CAMP already?? Really??” And while they may be rolling their eyes, your neighbor may say to you, “You haven’t labeled the socks yet? Really??” And while they’re rolling THEIR eyes, your kids may be driving you crazy by messing up every pile that you’ve begun so far by pulling out their favorite pair of lacrosse shorts.
If any of the above sounds at all familiar to you, then it’s officially spring and you are officially a typical camp parent. But do not fear, because in partnership with our official camp store, Everything Camper, we’ve created a checklist to ensure that all goes smoothly for you while packing for Timber Lake West for your son or daughter!
1. Figure out your camp apparel needs. Go through West’s Packing Checklist and figure out what you have and what you don’t. If you have a returning camper, go through last year’s camp “stuff” and determine what still fits and what needs replacing for this summer.
2. Find the location in your home to turn into “2013 Camp Packing Central”. No doubt you have a room in your house that is just begging to become a staging area for your child’s camp stuff – clothes, flashlights, stationery, shoes, bathing suits – start organizing and making your piles now! The more organized you are, the easier this process will be!! This is where you should also keep your extra labels (the “no-iron” kind!!) and extra sharpie markers so that you can label as you go.
3. BREATHE AND RELAX! Need I say more? When your lists have lists and you’re not sure whether to drive towards Target or Denny’s, take a few deep breaths and remain calm! Everything WILL get done in time! We promise 😉
4. Complete forms. Make sure you’ve completed the necessary medical and emergency contact forms. You’d be surprised how many parents arrive at the bus stop on Opening Day having ignored this very important duty.
5. The sock fairy. Don’t underestimate the number of SOCKS your child needs. Socks have a way of getting swept under beds, they get left outside on cabin porches after a rainy, muddy day and get taken away by the sock fairy. Plan to bring up some extra pairs on Visiting Day, and don’t be disappointed when they don’t make it home at the end of the summer. Trust us, you’d rather have them left at camp than brought back home for you to look at and wonder if your child ever wore shoes.
6. Extras. Flashlights, extra batteries, stamped envelopes (and pre-addressed and pre-stamped envelopes for younger campers), zip lock bags, sock bags (for laundry), an extra sharpie marker (for labeling just in case)…ask other parents for “secret” packing items that you (or we!) may not have thought of.
7. My camp bed is my castle. Make a bag with pictures from home, poster, a mini dry-erase board, stuffed animals or cute pillows, a cozy blanket (in addition to a comforter/sheet set)…don’t forget to include all of these items that will make your child’s bed cozy and warm. Remember that your child’s bed is the one place in camp that is his or her own, and you want to make sure that your child feels good and excited about it!!
8. Talk to Jenn, Justin or Cassie. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone if you have concerns, issues or questions. Our camp Directors love to hear from parents because it helps them build relationships with you and prepare successfully for your child. Whether you have bunking questions, dietary concerns, medical issues, …etc. A lot of parents are nervous to make that call because they don’t want their camp directors to think they’re annoying or pushy, but in truth…the more information you provide them and the more questions you ask…the better off everyone will be on Opening Day!
9. Don’t overdo it when it comes to Quality and Quantity. Camp is a place where kids get dirty. It’s a place where they have fun and don’t care if they drip chocolate ice cream or pizza sauce on their crisp new white t-shirts. So if you’re considering sending your son or daughter with a brand new wardrobe of fancy and expensive clothes…RECONSIDER!! Send some older t-shirts and shorts mixed with a few new items and remember that the laundry at camp is NOT your laundry at home. Remember this now AND when you are unpacking duffels at the end of the summer! Camp is also a place where storage space is limited and there aren’t endless walk-in closets and extensive shelving, so plan accordingly. If you pack too much, it will be hard for your child and his or her counselors to find space to put everything, resulting in some of it being packed away in the duffels for their entire time at camp!
10. Finally… Once your child steps up onto that big coach bus on Opening Day, after you shed your good-bye tears and wonder about the counselors and the first day’s activities and the food they’ll be serving for dinner at camp that night, go back to #3. BREATHE and RELAX. Think back to why you chose Timber Lake West in the first place. Smile at your spouse, go for a walk, get yourself to a yoga class… and spend some time thinking about YOU! Enjoy a little peace and quiet and rest easy knowing your child is in wonderful hands and is in for the most incredible summer ever here at West!!