Tag: getting ready for summer camp

A Whole New World

At one of America’s Finest Summer Camps, a first year camper, upon stepping off the bus on arrival day for the first time, immediately exclaimed, “I’ve been waiting for this moment my whole life!” The awe of that young camper at that moment was very reminiscent of the scene in The Little Mermaid in which the young mermaid Ariel finds herself on land for the first time and, with her new legs, begins experiencing a whole new world.  She is mesmerized by the smallest human things—flatware, trinkets, and mirrors.  For young campers who finally get to come to camp for the first time after sometimes waiting their “whole lives,” there is a sense of wonder in being in a new place with different people and things.  They are surrounded by literally dozens of activities that perhaps they’ve never tried and, sometimes, of which they’ve never even heard.  Like Ariel the mermaid, they sometimes hear about the world of camp from older siblings for years before finally getting to experience themselves.  With that newness and the adventure of being in a place one has dreamed for a very long time comes a sense of openness and a willingness to try new things.  New campers often want to try EVERYTHING!

And why not?  What better way to discover which things one loves than at summercamp, an environment in which many new campers are away from their parents for the first time?  There is no sideline pressure from over-zealous parents and coaches at camp sports.  There are no teachers to mark right from wrong.  Instead, new campers are surrounded by supportive counselors, staff, and friends, many of whom are also first time campers and that natural empathy creates an atmosphere conducive to bonding and the formation of lasting friendships.

As campers maneuver the new world of camp, they share like experiences.  Whether big, like taking on a high ropes course for the first time as a cabin  or bunk, or small, like learning how to bait a fishing hook, learning what camp is all about becomes the foundation for the transformation of the new world of first time campers into the special world of camp. Because the menu of camp activities constantly expands and evolves, there is a perpetual newness to the summer camp experience.

It’s Time to Start Thinking About Packing…

For summer camp parents the arrival of June means it’s time to start thinking about packing.  For first time parents, the task can seem absolutely overwhelming.   How much sunscreen and shampoo do I pack?  Do they really need shinguards?  How many t-shirts are enough?  For seasoned camp parents, packing is a science based on experience.  The art is in packing just enough but not too much or too little…and knowing which items the children have sneaked into their bags to take out and which ones to let go.  Packing properly takes time…and patience.

Camps provide rather comprehensive packing lists.  These should not be disregarded.  They’re compiled by professionals with years of camping experience who have excellent knowledge of what children’s bags need to contain in order for them to arrive prepared for a successful summer at camp.  Also keep in mind when packing that living space is somewhat limited at camp.  Your child will not have his or her own room at summer camp.  He or she will live together with several other campers as well as a couple of counselors. This means that there is not a whole lot of room for “extras” and labeling clothes is important as mix-ups are otherwise bound to happen.  If laundry is your primary concern, rest assured that camp laundry is done at least once per week.  Your child’s counselors and other camp staff will see to it that your child has clean clothes.

Summer camp values also often downplay appearance.  The emphasis of summer camp is on fun, friendship, and safety.  Before the end of the summer, your child will likely get wet, slimed, painted, generally messy, and a host of other cool things that tend to make children laugh and adults cringe.  So keep the really good stuff at home and send clothes that neither you nor they will miss too much if they have to be “retired” at the end of the summer.

It’s important for both new and seasoned camp parents to pay as much attention to the items your child’s camp asks not to bring as those items it asks to bring.  There is a reason your camp requests that certain items not be brought onto campus, whether it’s to help facilitate a specific environment, protect those with allergies, or to avoid other issues not conducive to the spirit of summer camp.  Packing “do not bring” items risks them being lost or confiscated until the end of the summer.  This ultimately causes undo stress on your children.  Alleviating stress that results from the idea of having to leave a beloved item such as a cell phone or notepad at home is typically accomplished by reiterating to children about what they will have at camp as opposed to what they won’t.

By following your camp’s advice and being proactive rather than reactive, packing for camp can be a fun countdown to camp rather than a reactive chore.

Preparing for Camp

With the start of our Camp Weequahic Tribal session just a little more than two months away, it’s a good time review a couple of things that will help prepare your family for camp.

The Basics:
1. Have you reviewed the packing list and placed your order from Cloz? While it may still seem like a long time from now, the start of camp will be here before you know it and thousands of families will be ordering from them over the coming weeks. Please make sure to get your order in soon.
2. Have you scheduled your baggage pickup with Camp Trucking yet? They provide a fantastic service the picks up your camper’s bags from your home and delivers them to camp so that we can unpack them to make that first day so much more fun. Please go to their website to register today.

3. Have you scheduled your child’s pre-camp health check up yet? We must have an up to date health form signed by your child’s doctor before she or he can join camp.
4. Finally, have you had a chance to look through our parent handbook and completed the requested forms? The majority are due on May 7th. Thank you for working on them promptly. You can find the forms in your My Camp Manager account.

OK, so those are the basics. Let’s get into more weighty matters:

I know many campers (and their parents) are getting really excited and slightly nervous about the first day of camp. Both feelings are completely normal and expected! While it is a big deal to go to camp, we will do everything we can to provide both of you with an incredible experience from start to finish.

If you have a question, please call us and ask! Whether its about the size of the sheets you should send or the difference between wakeboarding and water skiing, please call. We want to help and are happy to do so at any time.

Should children be getting a little nervous about missing home, I suggest parents acknowledge the feeling and then remind them of all the fun they are going to have at camp this summer. With over sixty activities, an incredibly fun (and safe) staff, and so many like minded campers, your child will not only make a bunch of new friends but come home feeling it was the best summer ever!

We will continue to be in touch over the coming weeks with more information about camp to help you and your family prepare for an incredible summer. Please keep an eye out for emails as well as notices on our blog and Facebook page.

Can’t wait for camp,

Cole Kelly