Like it? Then label it!


This is a hard blog to write because I have to drop a bomb on you, dear readers, that I’m sad and embarrassed about. But my hope is that, after you read it, you’ll join me in making this the best summer yet for labeling your daughter’s camp gear.

So the ironically bad news is that parents buy really nice gear for their daughters (though we encourage you to send less expensive and even hand-me-down gear) but too often don’t label it.

Then the campers, being the young people that they are, leave things here and there as they go about their days and before long our Lost & Found swells to a mountainous collection of goods, some of it ordinary, but too much of it extraordinary and quite expensive — Hunter boots, Tevas, Crazy Creek chairs, L.L. Bean duck boots, Patagonia fleeces, Orvis flashlights and much, much more.

These beautiful items that you lovingly bought or acquired for your daughters (including the time spent sourcing them by Internet, shopping trips, or from friends and family), now sit rejected, dejected, forgotten.

Maybe your plan was that each of these items would go to a younger sibling, cousin, or friend one day to save costs overall but then you’re out of luck when the item doesn’t come home.

And all of this is to say nothing of the environmental costs of things produced and shipped far distances just being discarded, nor of the entitlement and misguided privilege of not taking care of one’s belongings.

We like to cultivate a greater sense of responsibility and stewardship in ‘Ghany Girls that includes more personal management of each campers’ property.

And we know that parents don’t like wasting time or money — or having to buy the same item again when the first goes missing.

Sometimes labeling things is not uncool

So…..if you like what you bought for your daughter(s), and you want it to come home with her, you really, really, really must LABEL IT!

Lost and Found is a snap when items are labeled — we can just read the label and get the item back to the right camper’s tent.

We even line up all Lost & Found items on the blacktop and parade campers by them in the hopes that any remaining unlabeled items will be found and claimed by their rightful owners. Counselors come in handy in this regard because they sometimes remember a distinctive item better than a camper who, for completely natural reasons of child development, might not be that tuned in to her own goods.

But so much of this is avoided altogether when every single one of a camper’s items are properly labeled. Here are our best practices for that:

  2. Pack WITH your daughter so she knows what is hers
  3. Check out the new label system offered within your CampMinder account
  4. Work with us to help reduce the Lost & Found
  5. Read our Mini Camp Parent Handbook on packing and labeling, or
  6. Read our Term Camp Parent Handbook on packing and labeling

Lost but not forgotten

Maybe you’re wondering what happens to all that gear after camp?

Well, we launder any unclaimed clothing items and hang on to them for a few weeks to see if any parents call. We’ll ship home anything that parents call about at your expense.

Whatever we still have remaining does get donated, which is time-consuming and incurs some staff time (and expense) but at least these things end up with needy folks who can use them. But if that’s not what you wanted to happen to your lovely red rain boots, Barbour jacket, or Lily Pulitzer beach towel, it’s a loss for your campers and for you, which makes us sad.

A better way

While we have pointed you to camp labeling sources in the past, we think the new high-quality label option being offered through your CampMinder account is the best bet yet. It’s called Oliver’s Labels and it makes ordering labels and applying them a snap!

Parents can start ordering Oliver’s Labels today, including fun themes and packages for a completely customizable experience of labels and tags personalized for kids. Since 2007 Oliver’s Labels has made extremely durable and tough personalized labels and tags that, “withstand the dishwasher, washer/dryer or microwave, and will never scratch, fade, peel or tear.”

To make labeling as easy as possible, Oliver’s Labels has created three unique packages — ranging from $23.99 to $58.99 — offering an assortment of labels and tags from those described below that are perfect for camp.

  • Original Labels (2 x ¾ – great for water bottles, sunscreen, books and other large items)
  • Mini Labels (2 x ¼ – great for toothbrushes, glasses, pens and other small items)
  • Shoe Labels (2 x 1 – apply to the insole of any footwear)
  • Iron-on Clothing Labels (2 x ½ – great for tagless clothing and natural fiber garments)
  • Large Bag Tag (3 ⅜ x 2 ⅛ – credit card size – great for knapsacks and duffel bags)
  • Stick-eez™ Clothing Labels (⅞ x ½ – great for use on clothing with tags, any synthetic fabrics)

We encourage you to log in to your CampMinder account, where you’ll readily see the Oliver’s Labels option, and order your labels today. Then get labeling — and packing WITH your daughter!

Of course if you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact me!

Together we can cut down on waste and loss, keep the earth healthier, and teach campers about the personal responsibility of taking care of one’s goods.

Happy packing!

— Elizabeth Dawson Shreckhise, Assistant Director, Camp Alleghany for Girls