Tips for Sleepaway Camp

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summer camp guide

Are you planning on sending your kids to sleepaway camp this summer? To help us out we are sharing some tips from Summer 365a free resource for parents founded by Susan and Lauren Kasnett, a mother and daughter team.

This includes FREE consulting to parents contemplating hundreds of camp experiences for their kids -- from traditional sleep away camps to specialty, special needs, travel camps and camps for kids with allergies. They also work with hundreds of camps nationwide and can offer some great “news you can use” advice for parents. Leading authorities on the youth summer experience, the mom and daughter team can also offer tips to your readerscloser to the start of camp -- from packing to homesickness and everything in between. Check out some of their tips for your own camping adventures this summer.

1) Prepare for camping: Packing for camp is part art, part science. It’s important to start early. Begin by reviewing the camp's packing list, which will provide an overview of the required items to bring (uniform, clothing and accessories, bedding, equipment, etc.). This is a ready-made checklist and should be your go-to reference when shopping and packing for all of the essentials. Before making any purchases, be sure to do some home investigating to see what your child really needs. Also, and equally as important, be sure to check if your camp arranges pre-camp departure luggage pickups. This date will give you a deadline to complete all your shopping and packing. For luggage, we love Everything Camper: www.everythingcamper.com. Also, check out our complete guide to summer camp we call it the Happy Camper's Guide.

Happy Campers Guide

2) Create your own brand-name, signature labels. Label everything. Yes, everything! It’s just one of those necessary chores that will help ensure that most things will return home with your camper. This principle applies to all clothing items worn head to toe, plus sports equipment, small games, and even toiletries. If you were to visit a camp, you’d quickly learn why this is a necessity. There’s constant hustle and bustle going on at the waterfront, athletic fields, and cabins—where towels, shirts, shoes, and gear are thrown everywhere. In this kind of wonderful chaos, children can easily forget their belongings. So, what are the best way to brand all of your campers goods? There are several options available to get ’er done. None of the methods are perfect, but some are easier to use than others. Most families combine methods to suit their needs.

You’ll most likely use a combo of the following:

1) Order fun, bright, and cutely designed custom labels from Mabels Labels or Label Daddy and adhere them yourself.

2) Note that your camp’s official camp outfitters will likely pre-label any clothing ordered from them.

3) Check out your local clothing boutiques who sell camp merchandise—some offer free labeling when you spend a certain amount in store.

4) Do it the old fashioned (and inexpensive) way and grab sharpie.

3) Keep it cozzzy: From the very beginning of the camp journey—on the bus or plane ride to lounging around during rest hour—your camper’s comfort it key. We love this travel hoodie pillow from Dormify for traveling and lounging in style. And of course, all campers want to make their beds extra comfy. Our easy, tried and true trick is adding a mattress topper (or more commonly referred to as “egg crates”) on top of the mattress for extra cushion and extra zzz’s.

4) Camp Sweet Camp. Ahh, just like home: Accessorizing can make all the difference. For starters, get your camper involved in the shopping process, which is especially important for first timers. It will help get them excited about their new summer home. Campers love to personalize their space with bedding, pillows, and wall decor to make it their own. It’s also great idea to send pictures of friends and family to hang on the wall and any comforting items that your child can turn to (stuffed animal, blanket) to remind them of home in the event of any homesickness.

5) Pack smart and don’t overpack: Of course you want to send your camper with all the right stuff, so they’re prepared and ready for a summer of fun. Just remember not to go overboard and to check the recommended type of luggage and the number of pieces permitted. Each child only has a limited amount of storage space and camp will provide laundry every week so an over abundance of clothing and tschotskes are not necessary! Clutter will not bode well during bunk inspections. So it’s a good idea to inquire what kind of storage your camper will have available in the bunk (shelves, cubbies, drawers, closets) and whether extra containers are suggested and allowed. (PSST! Here’s a secret. Use the biggest, strongest bags EVER. They’re a real space saver!)

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