In less than a month, the kids will be back at home at Lake Owego Camp (but who is counting??).
This is my fifth year packing my sons, and you would think that as a Camp Timber Tops alumna and a veteran sleepaway camp mom, packing would come easy – wrong! My boys and I lay out what seems like everything they own in our house, in piles, and as I look at the piles and heaps, I have to remember that it will not be as bad as it looks.
Here are a few tips for new moms to help make packing seem less overwhelming.
- Follow the camp list. It is provided for a reason. Check off each item as it is laid out, and check it off again when it is actually packed in the duffle.
- Go to the camp store (Bunkline) online and pre-order camp officials. I usually buy a size up so I can get a few summers out of them.
- Buy stick on laundry labels! Gone are the days of mothers sewing labels into underwear, pants, shirts and socks. These attach right to the tags of clothing. I use Mabels Labels (http://www.mabelslabels.com/) for my kids each year.
- Still purchase a few thin sharpies for the tag less clothes and socks. Don’t forget to label the duffels too!
- Assign your children the task with picking out the appropriate number of t-shirts, shorts, swim suits, etc. (so they can pick their favorites) and then go through their picks before packing into the duffels. This way, you can pull out the extras that may find their way into the piles (they do not have to pack every camp t-shirt they have from every summer they have attended camp!).
- Buy cheap socks and underwear. Do not plan for all of these to come home. I send my sons to camp with lingerie bags for them to put their socks (which have their initials written in sharpie on the bottoms) into before sending to the camp laundry, though I have my doubts about whether or not they are actually used J.
- Send old towels that you are not attached to for swimming and bath towels. They will use towels for multi purpose, so don’t stress over what kind of towels are packed.
- Pack a raincoat or poncho, and old sneakers to wear on rainy and muddy days.
- I send them with pre-stamped postcards and pre-addressed everything. This way they only have to write the letter and put it in the mail, guaranteeing that the letters will at least get to me.
- Pack an extra set of flip-flops for the shower!
- A battery powered, clip-on, flexible fan goes a long way.
A few more tips that I’ve picked up along the way:
If you forget to pack something, or if your son runs out or something, the camp will let you know and ask you to send it up or they’ll simply get it for them. They will be well taken care of!
You will see your son in pictures wearing the same clothing over and over. This is because when it comes back from camp laundry, it is on top of the pile in their cubby and is just easier for them to wear it instead of putting on something new. It is OK – only you will notice it, and hey, it’s camp!
Lastly, I always send a letter to camp well before they leave. This way, they have a letter from home waiting for them on day one.
Good luck, and plan for your boys to have the best summer of their lives!