It’s finally June: you’ve paid camp fees, filled out all of the necessary forms, and you’ve been trying your best to collect every item that is on your camp packing list. Congratulations, you are officially a camp parent! Although you may not get the chance to leave behind your responsibilities and frolic outside all day like your children get to do, you are very much a part of camp this summer whether you realize it yet or not. There are a few easy steps you can take that will help keep your child healthy and safe throughout the summer, which will hopefully reduce your level of anxiety.

Organizing Clothes
Duffel bags are magical. They may be the simplest way to pack belongings in human existence, and man-oh-man can those puppies carry a ton. While you are stuffing them full in the days leading to camp, you’ll be so satisfied by how tightly you can pack in a month’s worth of clothing and supplies. Although when your child gets to camp… he/she will likely not organize this mess of material into neatly stacked piles. I want you to close your eyes for a moment (but keep reading). Imagine your child unzipping their duffel on the first day of camp, deciding it would be too much work to organize the clothing, sliding the duffel under their bed and never changing outfits while they’re at camp.

Don’t cry, don’t get nauseous, and please do not cancel your child’s camp registration. We can keep this from happening with four easy words: Big. Ole. Plastic. Bags. You’ve seen them before, whether they’re vacuum bags, ridiculously large freezer bags, or simply storage bags, these things are the Scottie Pippen to duffle bags’ Michael Jordan. You can make one bag designated for socks and underwear, another for t-shirts and shorts, another for heavier clothing, and you can even make one for miscellaneous supplies. Added bonus, you can even label them! In the end, you’ll save space, keep clothing folded, and make it 1000x easier for your child to get unpacked and settled in while they are away from home.

A Sturdy Yet Breathable Pair of Sneakers
Camp is rugged, consequently there are many obstacles on the ground that can do damage to a child’s feet. Camp is also hot, so wearing sneakers can often get sweaty and uncomfortable. Regardless, there are many activities that can put a child at risk for foot injury if they aren’t wearing an adequately supportive or protective shoe. Ultimately though, campers live in extremely close quarters, so 95% of kids would rather risk the most painful and restricting foot injuries than risk being given the name “Hotfoot McSmellysocks” by their bunkmates. Here’s how to get the best of both worlds: go down to your local discount sneaker store, and buy a cost efficient, stylish pair of breathable sneakers. If your child is going to play soccer or ride horses, they should never need to question whether or not it is worth wearing close toed shoes (as they will likely be advised to do). However, they will do anything to rationalize not wearing them if they suffocate their feet.

Toothbrush Cover
You’d be surprised by the number of camper’s that don’t come with a toothbrush cover. It’s common sense guys, no kid is going to want to use a toothbrush that has dirt-covered bristles, and I’m guessing you don’t want your kid putting such a thing in their mouth. You might even consider packing a back-up in case one gets misplaced.

Well there you have it, folks. I hope my advice is simple to follow, and I hope that these measures can take the edge off of your pre-camp willies. When you go to camping stores or talk to fellow camp parents, I encourage you to ask questions about important things to send with your kid to camp. You’d be surprised just how much one summer can teach a person about which items are important to pack. I want to leave you with one more piece of advice: trust your children to take care of themselves. If you send them with the right supplies and emphasize important habits, they will stay healthy and have an incredible summer. Surely there may come instances where they are forced to learn certain important habits the hard way, but with your help they won’t be too hard to learn safely and with ease.

Happy camping,

Hart Intern