Getting Ready For Camp

What to pack for the summer excursion.

Summer is on its way, and your child is off to camp. Whether itís your childís first time at camp or heís returning to a favorite place, ensure the experience is as excellent as possible by packing all the things your camper needs to have a great time. Here are tips to master the process.

Pack light.

You donít want your child to be weighed down by too much. If attending sleepaway camp, your child merely needs a trunk or a duffel bag, maybe both for older campers, filled with summer essentials and a few extras. Make sure things are easy for your kid to store and use while at camp.

Make a list.

The camp youíve selected most likely provides a list of items to bring. Also, most summer programs have rules about what items are and arenít allowed at camp. Be sure to review this information.

Label everything.

There are several methods of labeling, including laundry pens and iron-on or sew-on labels. Just be sure to mark everything with your childís initials or name.

Pack for comfort.

If your camper wants to wear new shoes or boots at camp, consider having him break them in before camp begins. Blisters are no fun, especially when kids are playing sports or hiking.

Think about packing from the top down.

What will your child need for headgear? Scarves, bandannas, baseball caps, a sun hat, eyeglasses, sunglasses and swimming goggles are all possibilities. For clothing, consider T-shirts, tank tops, shorts, long pants (for leg protection on hikes and horseback rides), jeans, swimsuits, jackets, sweaters, sweatshirts and sweatpants. Pajamas, a robe and underwear are essentials for overnight campers. Donít forget a raincoat or poncho. Remember to check with the camp on any specific clothing items to bring. For footwear, tennis shoes, boots, socks, sandals, flip-flops and dress shoes are all important options. Make sure your childís footwear is comfortable and durable for active days. Again, check with the camp to see what is recommended.

Bring bedding and towels for overnight camp.

Youíll want to pack easily laundered bedding thatís appropriate for the climate at camp. Articles to include are sleeping bags, sheets and pillowcases, blankets and pillows. Towels donít have to be the familyís best, since theyíll be used for swimming and other waterfront activities, as well as for showers. Check to see if you should pack a mattress pad, too.

Use a bathroom kit to make things handy.

A small bag or plastic bucket will help your child carry and keep track of essentials such as soap and a soap container, shampoo, toothpaste, a toothbrush and a holder, deodorant, a comb and a brush. At some camps, campers walk to separate facilities to take a shower, so something to carry these things in will be especially helpful. If your child needs them, donít forget feminine products or shaving gear.

Keep your child protected from the elements.

Pack insect repellent, sunscreen, lip balm, as well as a water bottle, a flashlight, perhaps a small fan and batteries.

Be mindful of medication.

If your child needs to take any medicine, be sure to talk to the counselors or directors. Ask how you should bring the medications to camp and let the camp staff know how they need to be taken.

Donít forget spending money.

Many camps have a canteen service and may suggest a certain amount of spending money for that purpose. Sometimes, camps collect the money up front and put it into an account. As your child purchases items from the canteen, the costs are deducted. At the end of the session, any money left in the account is returned. Items, such as camp T-shirts or group photos, may be available. Usually, camps include these fees on their bill.

Above all, use common sense.

Think about the activities that take place at camp and the climate where your child will be. Again, check with the camp if you have questions. Now that your tyke is all set, the next thing on the checklist is to have a grand old time!