Summer is has officially begun with the Summer Solstice occurring a couple days ago on Monday June 21, 2010. If your child will be attending summer camp it is important to prepare necessary items to use during the course of day-to-day life (clothing, camping gear, toiletries, etc.), while also keeping in mind that some things might be prohibited at camp.
All summer camps are different with respect to items which are required as well as those which are not allowed, so you are strongly encouraged to inquire directly with the specific camp. Often times a “packing list” or “gear list” will be available directly on a camp’s website.
Camps often utilize a particular provider for camp logo apparel such as t-shirts, hats, sweatshirts, etc. and may require your child to purchase a number of these specific items to participate in camp related activities. An official packing list may also provide you with a recommended amount of clothes and supplies to bring to camp. Keep in mind that if your child is going to attend a residential or “sleepover” camp, be sure to check whether or not laundry services are provided and plan accordingly.
Food is by far one of the more prevalent items which are prohibited by most camps. Cell phones, hand held video games, & other electronic items are often not allowed. Still, it is possible some might be permissible … such as digital cameras or GPS units. You may want to review your camp’s website or contact the camp director if you have questions as to whether a particular item is allowed at camp or not.
If your child is taking any medicines or has special needs (i.e. diet, allergies, etc.) it is strongly recommended that you insure the camp director is aware of these issues before camp begins. Many camps have medical staff to organize and regulate medications for campers. However, your camp might require you to send medications via a particular protocol to insure that “everyone is on the same page”.
Keep in mind there may be some items of equipment which are the responsibility of the camper to bring along to camp (i.e. sleeping bag, flashlights, canteen, baseball mitt, etc.), yet other gear might be made available and supplied at the camp (i.e. basketballs, tents, water skis, etc.). Remember, don’t be afraid to ask the camp director if you are in doubt, most will be happy to assist you.
It is often a great idea to clearly label the clothing and gear with your child’s name. There are many label companies who provide customized label solutions. Labeling such items might even be a requirement at camp. A permanent magic marker can also be of use for labeling gear and equipment.
Most camps either require or encourage writing letters, so a supply of paper, pens or pencils, stamps, and envelopes will definitely be useful for your child to write to family and friends regarding all of their experiences at summer camp!
Be sure your child has the necessary supplies to write back home to friends and family while they’re attending summer camp. Not only is letter writing a great way to maintain and improve upon the academic skill of writing, it also helps maintain an important connection to family and friends at home while they are away at camp over the summer.
While there are certainly some residential or sleepover summer camps which might have computer stations available with the ability to send email back in some capacity (be sure to check with the camp director prior to the start of camp to find out one way or the other), there is really no substitute for an old fashioned supplies such as: a pen or pencil, pad of paper, envelopes, and stamps. Be sure to provide your child with enough of these basic letter writing supplies to last throughout the duration of their stay at summer camp.
Whether your child is going away to camp this summer for only a few days or eight weeks, letters written back home will serve as a real time journal (or real life “blog”) which will record their thoughts, activities, accomplishments, fears, encounters, etc. in real time so as family and friends can follow along on a camper’s journey over the course of their time away from home at camp. The act of writing a letter helps a child process and record their individual experiences in a manner which is meaningful on a personal level; whether it is regarding issues such as homesickness as well as about significant accomplishments.
By the same token, letters written to campers attending summer camp might serve as a valuable connection to life back at home with respect to relatives, friends, and general happenings in the neighborhood. At many sleep away camps, there is often a time dedicated to “mail call” whereby a camp counselor will distribute letters to all campers in their cabin or unit. While it is certainly an important life skill to be able to cope with not receiving a letter when most other kids have gotten mail, it is also a nice feeling for a camper to be on the receiving end of news from home.