preparing your camper
Preparing for an overnight Camp can be exciting but also may bring some worries, especially for new Campers and families! Encouraging and having conversations in a positive way leading up to Camp can be very helpful.
Here are some tips we have gathered along the way:
Involve your Camper in the packing process! Working off the list together to gather all their things gives your Camper a sense of independence and responsibility for caring and keeping track of their things through the week(s).
Discuss how your Camper can take care of his/her things while at Camp (particularly toiletries and clothes): clean clothes to be kept inside trunk (or duffle, etc), keeping dirty laundry in a separate laundry bag with wet clothes and towels to be hung outside the Cabin on the clothes line. Counselors go over these things when your Camper arrives but it helps to discuss it ahead of Camp.
Have a dialogue on what sharing a living space is like: sharing a living space is a huge learning experience and comes with a lot of fun but also some challenges.
If this is your child's first time at an overnight Camp, discussing how you will communicate with your child while they are at Camp can be helpful. Some Campers may not realize you won't call each night or won't be able to send you text messages through the day. Some Campers, however, may not even give much thought to this at all. Deciding on how to prepare them (and you!) on what it means to be "un-plugged" at Camp may be helpful. Trust us, this "unplugged" thing is way harder for parents than it is the Campers! Letter writing is fun and Campers love receiving mail!
Show photos to your Camper from our website, Facebook or Instagram page: sharing details of the camp schedule, what their days will be like, and where they will sleep all contribute to your child learning and feeling more comfortable about what they can expect.
Practice being away from home: this is huge! Allowing your child to experience being away for a night or more, stepping outside of their normal routine, having all the feelings associated while away and learning how to cope, process and talk about the experience is really valuable to gearing them up for a week away from home.
Understanding that your new Camper may miss home a little bit...this is normal. You may also miss your Camper...which is also normal! We are always in touch with families if we know Campers are really having a hard time adjusting. Please know you can also check in with us at any time.
Speak with other Camp families and Campers! This is really a great way to get your Camper super excited and relieve some of those nervous feelings! It can also be a wonderful way for parents to connect, ask about specific experiences first hand or get any other details you may be curious about. Please let us know if you need help getting linked up with any local Camp families. We are more than happy to facilitate this!
Talk about using flashlights at night, being around bugs, snakes, critters and wildlife. Family camping can be great practice in this arena!
Some additional reminders to discuss with your Camper:
Please remind and advise your child not to share drinking cups, towels, or clothing with other campers.
Wet bathing suits should not be worn for a prolonged time after swimming nor should they be shared.
Practicing and discussing independent body care and hygiene.
We do not recommend strongly perfumed body washes, body sprays and lotions as they can and will attract animals, bugs, mosquitoes, gnats, and bees.
Makeup and Camp are like oil and water: it can attract bugs, melts, breaks, gets lost and just does not do well in the summer heat.
Packing: Label everything!
Everything your Camper brings to Camp must be labeled (sharpie!) with his/her INITIALS OR NAME: each article of clothing, towels, sleeping bag, sheets, water bottle, all toiletries, shower caddie, etc.
Trunks are a long-time Camp favorite for packing + storing clothes. A trunk works really well for Campers to live out of for the week!
Traditional, hard plastic trunks seem to be the preferred trunk of choice. Soft trunks or other large zipped-bags however will work just fine.
Duffel bags or tote bags are great for carrying linens and pillows into cabins.
If you have questions about packing, please let us know how we can help!
Be sure to go over all the items that have been packed for which your Camper is responsible! Any items lost during the week will be placed in the Camp Lost + Found box. The Camp Lost + Found box is located every Saturday morning (check out days) on the Camp Store porch, so be sure to check this before departure. Camp Varsity is not responsible for any missing or damaged items.
Laundry + Dirty Clothes
Laundry is done for our Campers who stay at Camp for consecutive weeks. Laundry day is every Saturday throughout the summer. Campers need only to plan on packing one weeks’ worth of clothes, even if he/she is planning to come for multiple weeks. We are always able to help take care of any specific individual laundry needs throughout the week on-site, should any need arise. Trunks, bags, and most all gear can be slid under bunks inside your Campers cabin. The space under each bunk is fifteen inches.
Things Not To Bring to Camp
Things can get lost, dirty, borrowed and/or damaged at Camp.
Do not send expensive equipment or valuables which are easily misplaced or broken. Please leave make-up, hair dryers, curlers, straighteners, strongly scented-lotions, and perfumes at home.
Cell Phones, electronic screens/devices, tobacco products, illegal drugs, alcohol, knives, hatchets, guns, weapons, or fireworks must NOT be brought to Camp.
Clothing, Swimwear + Footwear
Worn out sweatshirts, old tee shirts and shorts are the very best for Camp! Please send only comfortable clothing that can get dirty and worn without worries. We spend our days outdoors in all kinds of weather, so think clothing and (rain) gear for hot summer days, a possible cool rainy evening, mud, paint, arts and crafts marks, etc.
Swimwear should be comfortable and remain securely in place to wear for fun and sports related activities.
For safety throughout the day, shoes must be a closed-toed option: sneakers or hiking sandals with closed-toe protection (like Keen’s). Closed-toed footwear must be worn to and from showers. Flip flops are ONLY worn during shower time.