Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Its Time For Camp-Packing

Its about time to load the bus and head off on a
900 mile adventure to CAMP!!!!

In my first post (here) I told you how we go about planning our budget for camp. Now he is just a few day away from leaving and we are all about packing! Packing is an activity that we start early! Now, I will admit, there have been times when I was up the night before trying to do laundry, pack, clean house, shopping for supplies but do you know what? Every time I did this, I would find myself getting upset, mad and just wanting to cancel the whole trip! That's no way to start a trip! I would get in the car having made everyone mad then because I was calmed down wonder why my husband and my kids were in a bad mood! After going down that path to many times I decided to STOP! Now when we leave for a trip we start packing 4-5 days before we actually leave. Since this trip just involves Kyle its much easier then packing up the whole family, but still requires planning. We break our packing into a few categories; Clothing, Personal Supplies, Travel/Fun Bag, Snacks, Bedding. Because he helps pack he is aware of how to unpack. Unpacking/Set-up only takes a few minutes then its off on a great adventure!


Play Clothes
- When packing clothes for your child at camp its good to have the daily schedule with you as you pack. Keep in mind that morning time at camp is usually a rush to get up, showered, dressed and out the door in a short amount of time. When we pack clothes we keep that in mind. Using the daily schedule we roll everything needed for that day together. For instance, if its going to be an outside day then we put shorts then on top of that a shirt, underpants and socks. We then roll this together and place it in the suitcase. When he was younger I would put into a zip lock bag (yea, I was that Mom) and write Monday-Morning. I would do this for everyday of the week. We include two extra shirts because sometimes he would get hot or dirty and want to freshen up.

Church Clothes - Since he goes to church camp there are always evening services so he needs a set of clothes for this time as well. We do this a little different then most. Because I don't want him pulling church clothes out of the bottom of the suitcase and rushing off to church we came up with a system that really works and helps him if its a rush. After packing, church clothes go on top on hangers. For him I only send two dress pants and five dress shirts. I include an over the door hook (closets at camp are often not available) that he can hang on the end of the bunk bed or over a door. When he opens the suitcase he just hangs them up and no wadded up clothes!

Laundry - This is another area we worked on when he came home after his first year. We purchased a well vented laundry bag and another over the door hook. He can hook it on the end of the bed or under the top part of the bunk bed (at the foot so it hangs off the end) then hook his laundry bag. This really helped him keep the dirty clothes away from the clean ones. Then when it was time to pack up, just throw the bag in the suitcase or on the bus! After loosing several items of clothing the first year we found the laundry bag worked really well. We are always missing socks, but I think socks have a mind of their own! Note: Plan on missing items, don't stess about it, they are replaceable.

Towels and Swimming Clothes - We send two towels with him. I send the light weight towels because they dry fast. Again, I send a hook so he can put it at the end of the bed or over a door. He has one towel for swimming one for shower. By using the hook, it allows the items to dry between use and keeps them from getting spoiled and sower! Again, another lesson learned!

Shoes - Shoes are always a space hog! When he goes to camp we pack play shoes, old play shoes, water shoes like beach shoes (if you are swimming in a lake), dress shoes and flip flops (for the shower). We send an old pair of play shoes for muddy activities and if they are messed up then they go into the trash when camp is over, not back home! If he does not have a pair then we go to the thrift shop and get a pair.

Personal Supplies
Did you know when you go to camp you have to share a bathroom with several people? How tragic! No private restroom! Oh, well, I guess that's why you go to camp in your youth! We like to go to our local drug store and stock up on storage containers like a tooth brush holder, mini shampoo bottle..etc. They don't cost much but they saves so much room. No need to take all those large bottles. Its also easier to carry to and from the shower. Hint: Get one of those small colapisable baskets (like the Easter baskets) then they can put their supplies in the basket and take to and from the bathroom. This way, everything is together and while they are in the shower they don't forget the shampoo or soap! When they are done in the shower it just slips under the bed with their luggage.

Fun Bag
Since he will be traveling a distance he always packs a fun bag for on the bus. He likes to bring things like a book, art supplies, Bible, notebook, gum, snacks, small photo album that his brother makes for him, UNO, Camera, YoYo and I am sure several other items. Not only is this good for traveling but its also good for those down times during camp.

Snacks For The Week
After getting dehydrated one year we now send a few items that he can keep in his room. We send several bottles of Gatorade, as well as powdered drink mix, trail mix, granola bars, beef jerkey and a few other snacks.

Going to camp and sleeping on the hard beds is not something I desire! Kyle on the other hand can't wait to go! When I pack his bedding I put it all in a laundry bag so it does not get shoved into the already over loaded suitcase. Another thing I learned was to send a light blanket. Although its 110 outside during the day when the sun goes down and the AC unit is on in the room (if your cabins have AC!!!) it often gets cold. Having a light blanket and a sheet not only keep them warm but porvide a little comfort too, its usually at night when homesickness sets in and if they have a favorite blanket and pillow that can provide some real comfort. A stuffed animal can help too!

This is a long post but I hope it provides you some useful tips for sending your child off to camp. Its a great time for taking on new responsibilities. God has a special plan for Kyle this year and we are excited to see what's in store for him. What tips do you have for sending your children off to camp? I would love to hear them!


  1. Oh, my - I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed and I still have a couple of years before one of mine heads off to camp! I may need you to come by my house and make sure we have everything we need when the time comes!

  2. Yeah, sending them off the first year is hard. I was so glad the first year he went was only 45 minutes away and I went to help him set up then came back home. He had a fantastic time and God really worked in his heart that week. When its time, just call!