With camp season quickly approaching, parents are gearing up! Big purchases will be made and backpacks will be jam-packed with all the clothing and supplies happy campers need. Certainly there are plenty of camp lists that can advise you on how many pairs of underwear and socks to pack, but there are a few other items worth sending along that many parents might never think of.
Glow Bracelets. Do you have a camper who is afraid of the dark? Once it’s "lights out" and flashlights are tucked away, some kids may be left a bit fearful of what is lingering out there in the dark. I gave my little scaredy cat a pack of glow bracelets. Each is bright enough to give her comfort, without being so bright that it bothers bunkmates. The glow bracelet is her own version of ‘This Little Candle Light of Mine,’ minus the fire hazard of open flames.
A Spare Sleeping Bag. Do you have a bed wetter? Camps can set up the perfect arrangement to ensure privacy and confidentiality around this issue. Quite simply, send your child up with two identical sleeping bags. The spare can be kept in the camp office. Each morning when campers go for their morning dip or head off for breakfast, a staff member can inspect the bed wetter’s sleeping bag. If there has been an accident, they can perform the sleeping bag switcheroo—replacing the wet bag with the clean one. This routine means the child is never required to report a bed wetting; it just gets magically taken care off. Simple and respectful.
A Headlamp. If you have a kid who likes to read in bed, a headlamp beats any old flashlight by providing hands-free light for your little page turner. It’s easier to focus on the words on the page if they’re not trying to hold a flashlight at the same time.
Odds and Sods. Veteran Camp Director Jocelyn Palm mentions all the bits and pieces that kids miss at camp: hair elastics, nail clippers, safety pins, sticky tape, craft supplies and a deck of cards. She notes that campers never regret bringing a costume or crazy hat along—finding ways to integrate those things into every campfire sketch!
Mabel’s Labels. We know campers need their gear labeled before heading off to camp, but throw a few labels in for them to use while at camp too. If your kid buys a new water bottle or camp sweatshirt at the tuck shop, it's handy to have a few labels on hand.
No matter what you decide to pack, Camp Owner/Director Anne Morawetz of Camp Ponacka gives her number one packing tip—have your camper pack up his or her OWN trunk or backpack. That way the camper knows what he or she havs and where it is. After all, mommy’s not going to be there to remind her that their toiletries are in the side pocket of the backpack.
My girls with Megan, Assistant Camp Director of Glen Bernard Camp