5 07/09/2012 parenting

Summer Camp Cares

Like many other moms this summer, I sent my oldest child off to overnight camp for the first time this summer. Like those other moms, I shopped, packed and prepared with my first-time camper. I bought stationery and stamps. I filled out the forms and signed the waivers. I drove her to camp, kissed and hugged her goodbye. I watched her walk away with her tipi-mates, and I haven’t stopped thinking about her since.

All of which is pretty par for the course, I think. I so desperately want her to have a fantastic time, meet great new friends and count down the days until she can go back again next summer. That was my experience at camp as a kid, and I only want the same for my girl.
If my daughter is a first-time camper, that makes me a first-time camp parent, and I spent the week before her departure racking my brain trying to come up with as many things I could do to support her as possible. I mailed a few letters before she left so that I could be sure she’d get them, I signed up for the camp email system, I sent her with everything on the packing list and more. But one of the things I loved in my camp days was a care package from home. My mom would send cookies, magazines and my favourite little camp treat – Tang orange drink crystals. I ate it Lik-M-Aid style. Don’t judge me.
So of course: I want to send my girl a care package of her own. I baked 3 dozen cookies and was ready to pack them up when it hit me – I don’t think I can send her any food. You see, she’s at camp in the Rocky Mountains, sleeping in a tipi. If you’ve ever camped in the Rockies, you’ll know that you don’t keep food in your tent, because it will surely attract bears. In fact, in the picture above the girls were all bringing their toiletry bags to the wash-house. Why? Because in bear country you’re just asking for trouble if you keep anything that smells human in a tent, tipi or other soft-sided dwelling. So what to send in the care package?
Well, after checking the internet, I discovered that you can pack loads of great stuff off to your camper without including anything edible at all. Here’s my shortlist of fun things she can enjoy during a few quiet moments to herself, or share with her tipi-mates:
Rubik’s cube
playing cards
inflatable beach ball
glow sticks
I might throw in a few packs of gum – if it’s too smelly she can always store them with her toiletries!
What about you? Are you a camp-mom? Do you send care packages and if so, what do you include in them?
  • kim

    FANTASTIC! I went to camp and now send my girls to camp. They leave in two weeks for their two weeks of adventure and they LOVE it. I too could not send food. They are on an island in a national park, so no outside food or weapons (true, can’t even have archery at their camp).
    I sent some Madlibs books (funny stories created by random inserted adverbs/adjectives/nouns etc.)

  • http://cardetailinghq.com.au/ Car Wash

    Thank you for posting this. Have a great day, here comes a share for you

  • Amreen

    I never went to sleep away camp, but my mom sent fantastic care packages to me in first year university. What I remember most are homemade banana breads wrapped in tin foil. by the time, my residence-mates had got their share, there was barely any left for me!

  • Carol

    I typically include magazines in my girls care packages. Archie is their favourite. Teen celebrity and fashion magazines are also a great hit. Hair accesories work well too. Both practical and fun.

  • Sonya

    This is good to know! I’m sending my kid off for the first time to overnight camp. So, this comes in very handy! Thanks!

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