Overnight Summer Camp - Any Tips?

Updated on July 16, 2008
L.M. asks from Meriden, CT
11 answers

Next Sunday we drop my daughter off at camp for a week. She's looking forward to it. Last summer she went to a different camp (one that she was familiar with) and really enjoyed herself. Of course I'm a little worried, only natural.

One tip I'd like to share that I got from the girl scouts was to pack a day's outfit (shorts, t-shirt, socks and undergarments) in a ziplock bag. This way there's no searching every morning and at the end of the week you don't wind up with an outfit that doesn't match. The ziplock bag helps keep things dry in case of rain and can be reused for wet bathing suits.

Does anyone have any other tips they would like to share?

3 moms found this helpful

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So What Happened?

Thank you all for the great tips. She's all packed and ready to go. I had purchased a toiletry bag last Christmas with a hanger, and I enclosed a few of those hooks with suction cups - we'll find out how that works. There are little love notes tucked in her luggage. I purchased an address book (along with some note cards) and wrote down the addresses of some friends and family she may want to write to, and she can add all her new friends to it. For a care package I got an autograph pillow.

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answers from Rochester on

That's a great idea! A few other things you can pack in a large plastic bag are all her toiletries. Toothbrush & paste, a wash cloth, deodorant, etc. Put a bar of soap in a separate bag within the large bag. This way when she goes to the bathroom each morning to "freshen up" she can just grab the one bag. Plastic bags are better then a cloth bag because if she happens to set it down somewhere in the bathroom that's wet, it won't matter.

4 moms found this helpful

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answers from New York on

Hi L., My daughter is into her second week at GS camp. She also went last year and will be going again in two weeks. She just turned 11. She loves loves camp.
Tips: Send her with pictures of you and the rest of the family. We did it last year and forgot to do it this year but in one of her letters home she asked for them. Sign up for Bunk Notes; this way she'll get letters from home even on Sundays and holidays. Don't know which camp you are sending your girl to but my guess is that the shower stall will have hooks- baby laundry bags make great shower toiletry bags. You can find the bags in the baby aisle in the dollar stores. Hefty and Ziploc make Jumbo, XL and XXL bags. The XXL are great for keeping her bedding in until she sets her bed up at camp. The Jumbo are great for keeping toiletries, sunscreen, bug spray or anything else that could leak until such time as she needs to use them. I put all my daughter's quiet time activities in an XL bag. Send your daughter with stationary, stamps, and preprinted address stickers for home (the ones you get when you make donations to charity are perfect) so she doesn't have to address by hand. I also create a sheet of address labels with HER return address so again she doesn't have to address by hand. I also sent her address book with her filled with friends addresses. Most important tip: keep praising and encouraging this endeavor towards independence. Even though she may get homesick (that's perfectly normal) she will know that you know she can handle it. Tell her to have a great time!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Syracuse on

I send my kids with a disposable camera, a journal an address book and an autograph book. They can get addresses and phone numbers/email IM of their new friends and keep in touch during the school year.
The photos are always great.
Last year my girls had their friends sign their pillowcases at the end of camp. A funny new book of jokes is always a fun thing to have in the cabin at night too (beats scary ghost stories!)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Hi L.,

Another thing I did was to email her camp mailing address to grandparents, extended family, Godparents and close family friends. They enjoyed this opportunity to connect with my daughter on their own, and my daughter was thrilled to get mail from so many loved ones throughout her camp stay. My daughter went to camp with a friend last year, and my only regret was that I didn't think to tell the other mother that I was doing this. My daughter got a ton of mail, and her daughter didn't :(

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I loved camp as a kid and worked as a counselor until I was out of college and I still miss it. I hope you daughter has as much fun as I did!

When packing put a big plastic bag inside the duffel bag or luggage in case of rain. Mark everything you care about seeing come home with a name or initials (Sharpies are great for this). Send extra batteries and a bulb for the flashlight. A few pre-addressed and stamped envelopes increase the number of letters home you might get. Pack the stationary in a ziplock or similar bag because things get damp and envelopes stick together at camp.

The other folks responding also have some good ideas.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

I have to agree that Bunk Notes is very helpful (infact, I'm about to email my 12 1/2 year old who just went to camp again today) Bunk Notes allows you to email your daughter so she gets "mail" from you as often as you want to email her. I email my daughter every day so she has mail every day. It is well worth the nominal fee and it beats sending letters. I also send a "care package" of fun stuff - kids love getting packages at camp (silly socks, games, etc - NO food or candy). Hope she has as much fun as my daughter who is going on her 3rd year at this camp - this year for the first time for TWO two week sessions!!

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answers from Buffalo on

I was a camp couselor for years as a teen and young college student (oh those were the days!! :0) ) The idea for the individual clothing bags is great. It will help. Pack extra batteries in ziplocks for flashlights too . Tuck a "love note" inside the clothing bags, the kids love hearing from home. Make sure they have an umbrella, a rain poncho and an extra pair of sneakers.
Hope she has a blast!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

I loved reading everyone's ideas. My daughter went away the last few summers, for 4 weeks each time (after a 1-week stint the 1st summer), and my son is leaving in 2 weeks for his 1st 1-week stint! I do a lot of what the moms wrote in already. Some things I'd like to add: tape her packing list to the inside of her luggage or the inside of a box...as for the box, I give her a small, plastic shoebox (actually, a little larger), to keep her stationary, pens, stickers, batteries, etc., in. As she has been away for multiple weeks, I also tape there some laundry instructions, if there is anything she shouldn't send to the laundry, or if she might not be sure what that is not 100% white can go in the white bag. I have a feeling she ignores all this, but it makes me feel better! I bought her CLEAR toiletries bags...one hanging, one not...so she always could see her things at a glance. Her camp also suggests a hanging shoe bag to hang items in...I again got her a clear one, so things wouldn't get lost in the compartments. I also send things to autograph, as well as permanent markers made for fabrics (from Michaels or AC Moore). I give her photos and tape, so she can hang the photos. (Last summer I sent my nephew at camp a little album from the dollar store, filled with family photos.) Some camps allow extra storage bins to go, some don't. I have sent her with a foldable bin (a cube) from the dollar store. I also send a caddy for the shower, with holes, that can get wet, that is just for shower stuff, or things that can get wet. Have fun!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I am curious as to what camp. My daughter is at her third girl scout camp this summer. This time at Bette Perot. She come home friday. I sent my last letter to her yesterday. I am hoping that means she gets something everyday. I started last Thursday. Mine took the bus this time. If yours went to Bette Perot, maybe our girls met. She is in Horseshoe Arch.

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answers from Seattle on

- this may be a 'tip' - or it may qualify as a cautionary tale- you decide- . My youngest was quite uncomfortable about her upcoming 4 days at camp ( it would be her first venture - the older two had always gone to this camp and LOVED it - but she was 9 and a bit nervous -) - so I 'packed' 4 lunch bags with little trifles - hair brush and ribbons in one, snack size bags of m and ms in another --- a disposable camera in another - and so on - and labeled each bag '''day1, day2 - etc --" She LOVED it and it became a family tradition. The cautionary part? - when she invited a cousin and a friend at 13 - to go to camp, too--- I had 21 little bags to fill because ''Mom they'd be so disappointed''

we all still laugh- and now I'm packing little lunch bags for my grandson - who at 9 is delighted to be going to camp, ''just like Mom did'''

Old Mom



answers from Chicago on

Camping trips are great. Your kids might want to bring dvd, ipod electronics gadgets to enjoy during there trip. I am a single mom ansd have 2 teenage boys as well and thas what they like to do. C.

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