So it’s the first summer your son is packing up his ball glove and sleeping bag and headed off to camp. It seems like it would be so easy – boys, cabins, nature. But then you start worrying about the weather, the trip up, the trip home. It’s a lot! I’ll tell you what one of my amazing midwives told me when I had my first child. “Trust in the process.” We’ve been at this for 110 years! If you forget to pack something, it’s NOT a big deal. (Honestly, there’s Amazon Prime now!) And anyway, we probably have it in the store.
As usual, we have lots of first-timers this summer and I’ve been collecting all the great questions moms and dads have been emailing me, so without too much fanfare I’ll get right to it…
Q. My daughter’s camp asks that we ship the bedding in the trunks and bring the clothes in the bags. You say differently but I wanted to make sure I have that correct. Does your staff make the kids beds, or do the campers?
Trunks, duffles and back packs, oh my – just pack it up however you see fit.
A. Don’t worry how you pack it. Just get it here! We do recommend putting clothes in the trunk and bedding in the duffel, but it’s really however you can fit it all in. The counselors make the beds for the little guys and they help the bigger guys make their beds when they arrive. I prefer to pack my kid’s clothes in the trunk so that they don’t need to repack when they get to camp. But honestly, it doesn’t really matter.
Q. Do boys ever bring e-readers? Books are kind of like friends to my son and he’s really nervous about camp.
A. He can bring it, but it falls into a grey area of “what if something happens to it?” Can you guys be OK with it getting wet, stepped on – or worse – if it walks off? The e-reader is up to you guys. But all other electronics should be left at home. Maybe just stock him up on books before camp. (P.S. We have hundreds if not thousands of books here at camp. We have a great tradition of bringing a book you’ve read during the year to camp to donate to the library.)
Q. Do we need to pack mosquito netting for his bunk?
A. We provide the mosquito netting or “dinglebats” (as we call them). Make sure you pack a bottle of DEET bug spray. We are hoping the dragonflies and bats will do their job before the campers get here, but we’ve had a very wet spring and the skeeters are pretty thick right now.
Q. Do boys his age (nine) bring blankets/stuffed animals, etc? He has a special blanket that he sleeps with EVERY night but he thinks the other boys will laugh at him.
A. Absolutely. My 11 year old still sleeps with his (grungy) blanket at camp.
Q. For a nervous camper, what time do you recommend arriving? Will we have time to tour around or should I drop him and go? You tell me what’s best so I can prepare him…he does better knowing these things in advance.
A. If I were you, I’d arrive after lunch – around 1 p.m. is perfect. Meet his counselor and the nurse, tour camp and then quickly and assuredly say good bye. I’d aim to head out of camp around 3:00 p.m. or so. That way there won’t be too much down-time before the buses with the rest of the campers arrive around 5:00 and camp really gets underway with spaghetti dinner at 6:00 p.m.
Q. I wanted to clarify how pick-up works. I understand there is a banquet. Is it on Friday or Saturday? Do some people go to the banquet and spend the night there and then leave the next day?
Speeches at the final banquet are always great!
A. The banquet is on FRIDAY at the end of camp. Festivities start at 3 pm, a picnic supper is at 6 pm, followed by awards, etc. The evening ends around 8:45. Depending on your travel plans, your son can go home with you after the banquet OR they can spend the night and be picked up by 9 a.m. on Saturday.
Q. His birthday will be during camp. Do you celebrate birthdays?
A. Do we ever! They get recognized at breakfast with a birthday button (like Disney World!) and their cabin gets their own special birthday cake a lunch, and of course all of camp sings happy birthday to him! It’s pretty great.
So, I know there are LOTS more questions, and maybe you old professional camp parents have two cents you’d like to thrown in here? Just put them in the comments section and we can start answering! Or you can send me an email, or give me a jingle here at Camp. We are looking forward to an amazing summer!
Q. Do you have a visiting day?
A. Parents are invited to come at any time to camp. However, we suggest keeping the visits brief. You are welcome to make a reservation in the Lodge (call 715-542-2950 and talk to Sharon), or stay in one of the area’s accomodations
. We also recommend that if your son may be wrestling with homesickness, a visit can actually make things worse, not better. If you do visit, we ask that you are a “fly on the wall.” Free time is a good time to spend time together. Having parents join in activities is disruptive to the boy’s experience.
Q. May we call our son during camp?
A. We have a very strict policy of no phone calls at camp. The exception is if it’s your son’s birthday. This applies to all of our campers, including international campers. Phone calls home are difficult for office staff to arrange, as we have only one line at camp. We also believe that a phone call home can induce homesickness, something that no parent wants to do. Thank you for respecting this policy!