But that also means time’s a tickin’ on getting ready for camp. So I thought I’d throw together a list of ten easy things you can do to make getting ready for camp easier. After all, you know it will creep up on you and there’s nothing worse than having fewer than 24 hours to get all your supplies in order, pack, and leave.
So, without further adieu:
Read, set, camp!
1. Inventory. It’s hot enough to pull out those stored summer clothes to find out what fits from last year and can be used again and what needs to be handed down or taken to the thrift store. Once you know what’s already on hand to meet your packing list needs (or Mini Camp packing list) then you can make a list of what remains for you to borrow, acquire, or buy.
2. Order Those Name Labels. I’ve said it before, don’t wait till the last minute to order these because why incur added shipping costs or risk not having enough time to both get them and affix them? Then when they come — get them on! 😉 Label everything else too, with a Sharpie — water bottles, trunk, shoes, etc.
3. Acquire Accessories. You don’t have to have little extras like a headlamp or battery-powered fan. But if you want them, start planning. Maybe you want your daughter to do some chores to earn money to get the extras she wants — leave time to plan for her to wash the car, bathe the dog, or babysit her younger siblings in order to get her extras. Or, if that’s not a concern, find out if there are some you can borrow to keep overall costs down and use fewer resources! 🙂
4. Shop. She’s not likely to grow that much in the next 46 days (see exception below), so put those orders in for blues and whites, for cot sheets and whatever else is on your “still need” list. The one exception is shoes. If your daughter is at one of those “growing like a weed” stages it may be wise to wait until a week before to get any necessary new shoes. This makes it more likely they’ll fit all summer.
5. Case Out Your Trunk. Trunks take a beating and often wear out over time, especially ones made with fiberboard like materials. Find out now if yours is thrashed and if so, plan to either refurbish it, or to get a new one. Nice trunks are worth investing in because you can always use them — as off-season storage, as college-age apartment furniture, as a place for her outgrown baby dolls to live until she’s ready to unwrap them again.
6. Address Those Envelopes. You know it’s true — your daughter may never write you if she doesn’t have her stationery all laid out with the parents’ and grandparents’ addresses pre-labeled and a stamp affixed. So source some cards or papers and take ten minutes (maybe while waiting on a ball game or dance class to end) and get them done. When those sweet little letters roll in (hopefully) you’ll be so glad you took the time to guarantee them!
7. Prep Care Packages. While we’re very strict in not allowing food stuffs to be sent to camp, we understand that every camper loves to hear her name for mail call. If the summer will leave you too busy with other things to run around gathering care items, plan one or two packages now. Stickers, extra stationery, a cheery message, camp journal, glow-in-the-dark sticks, Mad Libs, July 4th tee shirts, and other small touches can all make for a great envelope of fun. You could also send her a few pictures of your camper and more of those self-addressed envelopes (this time to her) so that she could share a photo with a special friend she’s made at camp and give her friend a pen-pal starter kit.
8. Plan Your Own Trip. If your daughter isn’t riding the bus, but is being brought to camp by you, remember to check out our deal with The Greenbrier Resort and book a stay. There’s lot to do in the area (as I wrote about in a recent blog), so if you’re coming all this way…hey, stay a while!
9. Plan a “Last Night” Party. Your baby, whether she’s 10 or 16, is going away to camp. It’s only 1 week (Mini Camp) or 3-6 weeks for Term Camp, but still, your baby is going away! Plan a special bon voyage send off. This can be as simple as pizza and a movie (maybe camp themed?), or as prim and proper as a fancy lunch or dinner. Book a reservation or put it on the calendar for a home-night — and then make it fun and treasure your moment together.
10. Steel Yourself. Your baby is going away. But guess what? You picked the absolute best place for her to be (except for home!). She’s coming to a camp that’s nearly a hundred years old, where girls and young women have been welcomed and nurtured and challenged and beloved for almost a century. Our long-standing pedagogy, our history and traditions, our mission and values, and our up-to-date training and expertise all combine in a camp experience that’s rich and meaningful, playful and yet a rite-of-passage as campers stretch the wings of their independence. Remind yourself of all these wonderful things and give yourself a pat on the back for making a decision that will so enrich your daughter’s life. And then take a deep breath and let her go into our arms for that short while! And then take a break! 🙂
I hope all this advice will hold you in good stead as you prepare for your daughter’s stay at Camp Alleghany. And as always if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.
–Elizabeth Dawson Shreckhise, Assistant Director, Camp Alleghany for Girls