June has snuck up on me this year – it’s been a busy and hectic few months and without any warning at all, June has arrived. The month of June always brings so many wonderful things……. sunny skies, school barbecues, warm weather…….but the most important thing about the month of June for many children all around the globe is SUMMER CAMP!
Kids are counting down the next few weeks until they get to return to their homes-away-from-home. Many camps begin their first sessions at the end of this month, so the excitement of sleep-away camp is in the air.
The hard part about these next few weeks is that kids must focus on finishing up their school year and getting through their final exams. Parents alike must stay focused on the packing and labelling and budgeting that comes with getting everyone ready to leave for camp.
Duffle bags are being brought out of storage and aired out. Last summer’s equipment and supplies are being examined in order to see what can be salvaged for another summer and what needs to be replaced. It’s a busy time for everyone, and the rush to get everything done can at times feel very overwhelming.
As a veteran camper and counsellor, and now a parent of campers, I am all too familiar with the excitement, expenses and stress that come with preparing for the send-off to sleep-away camp.
But why do we have to get so stressed about packing and preparing?
Why can’t we all take a deep breath, and join our kids in the countdown to departure day?
Camp today is much different than when I was a camper. Back in the day, packing for camp involved the simple things – clothing, linens, raingear, a sturdy flashlight and a baseball glove. Today’s packing list (often created by the kids and not by the camp) includes pillow top mattress pads to make the bunk beds more comfy, plastic drawer sets to ensure for more “clothing space”, pieces of carpeting to make the cabin floor feel cozier, hair straighteners and curling wands for those special evening programs……. The extras that kids choose to bring to camp are endless.
When did packing for camp become so complicated?
And are all of the extras that our children want to bring to camp truly necessary???
Let’s be honest, a lot has changed over the years with regards to the camp packing list. Most camps do send out a list of what items campers should and should not be bringing to camp for the summer. My advice is to look over the list that is provided by your own camp, and most importantly read and respect the rules of what is NOT ALLOWED at your child’s camp. Those rules need to be followed. The extra drawers and carpeting aren’t really things to stress about. If there is room in the duffle bags after the essential items have been packed, then pick your battles and go with the flow. Ask your children why certain items are important for them to bring to camp and then decide together if they will be sent. Involve your kids in the packing and labelling process – they are never too young or too old to help out. The bottom line is that preparing for camp should be exciting and fun, so do all that you can to eliminate the stress.
What is important is to remember why we are sending our children to sleep-away camp. For me, my hope every summer is that my daughters will learn, grow, and experience new things while they are away at camp. Camp is a place for kids to get a well-deserved break from the schedules and routines of city life. It is a place where kids can breathe the fresh air and be completely disconnected and UN-PLUGGED. It is a place for kids to socialize and to connect with other kids. Camp is somewhere where children can learn new skills and try new activities. Most importantly camp is a place for kids to gain independence and confidence under the guidance of skilled and caring counsellors. What more can a parent ask for.
So, grab your sharpies or name tags and start labelling! Breathe through the stress and realize that the bags will be packed and out the door before you know it.
Join your kids in their countdown to summer camp…….. Camp is right around the corner, so let’s all celebrate summer!