Oh, to get away from it all. Isn’t that one of the best aspects of a vacation? Turning off the cell phone, forgetting about the chores, putting aside the to-do list, and even putting household decor out of your mind until your return.
Well, really, kids are no different. And camp is the ULTIMATE place for kids to enjoy their own version of “getting away from it all.”
Now kids and adults have very different things that they need escape from. But kids do need that escape. And it’s one of the reason that we’ve instituted a new No Packages policy for Mini and Term Campers beginning this year.
Let me explain why, in reasons that I feel you’ll understand.
No packages policy
First, many camps these days are package-free, so going in this direction is in line with existing camp industry trends. And those camps universally agree that no packages is a positive move for camp, campers, and parents.
I know parents can identify with the frustrations of our increasingly abundant society, where cheap and available goods are constantly marketed to us, making us feel like the sign of good parenting — especially when we’re separated from our kids — is found in pouring on the little gifts.
We think the kids will love the gifts but soon find the little items discarded, forgotten, and just another source of clutter and trash!
The same thing happens here at camp — except times 200! The negative side effects are many. As you’ll find in the Parent Handbook, which you received via email:
The subject of packages, including who was receiving them and what was in them, began causing jealousy and unnecessary competition, as well as an influx of excessive and wasted “stuff” that hampered the camp experience.
In an effort to celebrate the unique, simple lifestyle that camp allows and to promote unity within the camp family…we encourage you to use creative ways of interacting with your camper through non-package letters, such as including word puzzles, a comic clipping from the newspaper, riddles, and pictures.
Other ways to connect
Your letter or postcard is more than enough to encourage, uplift, and connect your child to home while leaving her free to “get away from it all,” — including from toys, gifts, and just all the “stuff” from the modern, commercialized world.
Of course there are some exceptions, which we again noted in your Parent Handbook:
If you need to send an essential item that was forgotten at home, such as a retainer, glasses, or a spare inhaler, please send them c/o the Office and we will be sure the item gets to your camper.
If a camper’s birthday occurs during camp, she may receive a food- and candy-free package for her birthday. Please mark “Birthday!” clearly on the package and send it c/o the Office.
We believe you will find this a painless policy change and may even be glad to have one more thing off of your “feeling obligated,” list. When your camper gets away from it all, it’s also a time for parents to have a lighter load!
So please keep this in mind and note that any packages outside of essentials or birthdays that are sent to Campers will be returned to the sender unopened.
I urge you to please share this information with family and friends who may be planning to send packages! We wouldn’t want any hurt feelings and we encourage you to suggest ways for the family or friends to interact with your camper that are simple, as suggested above, or to plan on something for before or after camp.
As always if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to e-mail me. I’d be happy to answer any of your concerns.
— Elizabeth Dawson Shreckhise, Assistant Director, Camp Alleghany for Girls
*Packages are any items received in the mail other than a regular, flat envelope (up to the size of a flat 6” x 9” envelope).