Updated: Jun 13, 2019
Okay, so I have a lot of people on my Facebook that are sending their kids to camp for the first time. I know how hectic it can be. You worry you didn’t send enough clothes or are sending too many clothes. I worried the first year that we did camp as well, but that was 5 years ago. That first year that we sent my son to overnight camp was so chaotic. Well over the years I have a learned a few tricks of the trade. So here is my list of 10 things for Camp Moms to do.
1. Get a trunk! Spend the money and get a trunk. It is so much easier, and you can fit everything in it and yes it will fit under the bed. When we go to camp, we send the trunk and a backpack that has the swimming stuff in it. In most cases, we can even fit the sleeping bag and pillow in the trunk. We don’t have to carry anything else. You don’t have to worry about anything getting wet. It is 100% worth it. You can get them at Wal-Mart. My kids use them as toy boxes when they aren’t taking them to camp.
2. Ziploc Bags! Ziploc Bags! Ziploc Bags! Let’s say it again…Ziploc Bags!! Ziploc Bags are the most important items you can have for camp. Get the Storage Gallon Stand & Fill Ziploc Slider Bags or bigger. Average camp has 6 days after you drop off. Get 6 Ziploc Bags and label them Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday… (you get where I’m going). In each Ziploc Bag you have a Shirt, Shorts, Socks, and Panties/Underwear. You have a bag for extra Socks and another bag for extra Panties/Underwear. You have a bag for extra T-Shirts (Yes send a few extra T-shirts) You have a bag for toiletries.
3. Swimming stuff is important. Get an old backpack for them to take. (We normally just use one of their old school backpacks.) Get a Towel and their Swimsuit and a Cover or T-shirt. **Yes! Get a specific T-shirt for swimming so that they know this is the T-shirt they use when they go swimming not one of the other T-shirts. They might not swim in it, but it is the one they wear to go to the pool/lake. ** Get Water Shoes. NO FLIP FLOPS. They must wear water shoes in the lake and most camps will not allow open toe shoes so just buy the water shoes. Then you put Sunblock and Mosquito Repellant. That’s it! If you send goggles or something like that, but it in the backpack too. That is what goes in the Swimming Bag.
4. Theme Days are fun so let your kid do them. Print out the Theme Day list that the Camp has and try to get something so that your kid can participate every day. It isn’t stupid and yes, the other campers will be doing it too. Even if your child doesn’t want to do it still put something in their trunk that they can use so that the option is there. If the item is small enough or is a specific type of clothing, then put it in the appropriate day bag. Go to the Dollar Store. You can always find little things that they can use.
5. Now for Bathroom stuff. Don’t buy the little travel ones. They aren’t gone for 1 night; they are gone for a whole week. Get a normal size bottle. Get the Shampoo/Conditioner Combo. Get a bar of soap and a wash rag. Get a plastic soap case to put the bar of soap in. GET THE BAR OF SOAP! Do not get body wash! If the body wash spills out everywhere then your child does not have soap to wash their behind with anymore. Get a pencil bag that is just big enough for a toothbrush and a big tube of toothpaste (Yes, a big tube). All of this goes in that trusty Ziploc bag that is labeled Bathroom. Now get a towel that will go in the trunk. This is the bathroom towel. (So- we are now at 2 towels; 1 is in the Swim bag and 1 is in the trunk for Bathroom time. You will not need more than 2 towels)
6. Now for Sleepy Time! You need a fitted sheet for a twin bed, a sleeping bag, and a pillow. I would also recommend sending a blanket. You child does not need to bring a big comforter. It gets too hot for that shit. Let your kid bring the stuffed animal. They can just put it in their trunk. I promise your child will not be the only one with a stuffed animal. However, if your child is 10 or older, do not sent them with a stuffed animal. Your child is 10 you need to treat them like they are 10. Your child will get made fun of if you send them with a stuffed animal at that age. Don’t think just because it is a Church Camp that it doesn’t happen. Send 2 sets of pajamas. On girls I recommend sending pajamas that include either pants or shorts and a shirt. Do not send a gown. On boys I recommend the same thing. Check and see if the cabins are air-conditioned. If they aren’t then send your child with a fan. It gets hot at night and your child will need a fan.
7. LABEL LABEL LABEL…. You get it! I know you think “Oh no I don’t need to label my kids things.” YES, YOU DO! Label every single thing they have. Every shirt, sock, underwear, shoe…If it is going with them to camp then you need to label it. Also go check the lost and found when you pick up your kid. Chances are there is something of theirs there. Don’t believe your kid when they tell you that they didn’t forget something.
8. Dirty Clothes is the easiest thing to deal with it. Just put a big trash bag in their trunk and tell them to put all their dirty laundry in the bag. Easy and Done!
9. Pack 2 pairs of tennis shoes. They don’t have to be new. In fact, they shouldn’t be new. Just 2 pairs of crappy tennis shoes that you really don’t care about but are still good shoes.
10. If you don’t want to risk losing it, then don’t send it! NO ELECTRONICS and yes that means cell phones also! Your child will live without them and you don’t need to talk to your child while they are at camp.
Both of my kids love going to camp every year. This will be Sammy's 4th year to attend Sky Ranch and Bailey's 2nd year. We go to all sorts of camps every year. I have created a list below of some of the camps that I have looked at for my kids. These camps are in the East Texas area. Most of the camps have scholarship options that you can apply for. No lie!! That is the only reason my kids are able to go to Sky Ranch. The scholarships are a big help. Do not be ashamed of applying for them.
Sky Ranch- Van, Tx https://skyranch.org
Pine Cove- Tyler, Tx https://www.pinecove.com/
The Pines- Big Sandy, Tx https://www.thepines.org/
Camp Gilmont- Gilmer, Tx https://www.gilmont.org/
Camp Deer Run- Winnsboro, Tx https://www.campdeerrun.com/
Camp Huawni- Timpson, Tx https://www.camphuawni.com/
Allaso Ranch- Hawkins, Tx https://allasoranch.com/