Camp Prep #5: Packing
Welcome back to the WimberLead, your weekly news source for camp preparation.
This week’s topic: PACKING!
Before we get into the details, we are excited to announce that the CYJ Swag Store is now live! Click here to order your swag for the whole family, just in time for summer.
In some ways, camp begins not on Opening Day, but when you start collecting your belongings for the experience. Trust us on this one: do not let camp begin the night before! (Preparing your child at the last minute is the adult version of doing your book report 4 hours before it’s due.) The sooner you begin planning, the sooner your child will get into the right mental space for the summer of a lifetime.
Saying goodbye to your children can be hard enough. This issue will help reduce the stress of preparation through our:
Top 12 Packing Tips for a Successful Summer!
1. Follow the Packing List
Though it may be your first summer at CYJ, it’s not our first rodeo! We review and modify our packing list each and every year to best help your children fit their things into their cubby at Camp. If you follow the list exactly, your camper will have everything he or she needs for a truly “spec-PACK-ular” summer!
Each camper has a single cubby (see the picture in the packing list) so sending more than the recommended items will make it hard to keep track of his/her belongings. Even though that new 14 piece-set of “Avengers” towels may be cool, better to keep them at home for a few weeks.
We encourage printing the list and using it, along with the checkboxes, so you don’t have too much or forget anything. A “pro-tip”, have your children pack with you!
2. Don’t forget the water bottle, hat, and sunscreen. Send extras.
You already know the Texas summer is hot and that’s no different at camp! ALL campers are required to have hats, sunscreen, and water bottles to stay hydrated – this is not negotiable. If your camper doesn’t pack them, loses them, or runs out, we will provide them for a small fee billed to your camp account.
3. Keep your camper’s wardrobe camp-ready.
Your camper’s clothes should be appropriate for a variety of camp activities, including sports, art, garden, swimming, and more – all in the hot Texas summer. Your kids will be dirty, they’ll be sweaty, but they’ll definitely be happy. Leave their favorites at home-you’ll be glad you did! Nothing fancy and no heels (it’s camp, remember?).
4. Keep it G-Rated.
For the vibe we’re looking to create at camp, think “Full House” over “Animal House”. Please pack simple, modest clothing without inappropriate advertising (no alcohol, sex, drugs, swearing, or cigarettes). Please bring only one piece or tankini bathing suits.
5. Shabbat is when we “dress up.”
Though we stand by “nothing fancy”, we do make a small exception for Shabbat when our community comes together to celebrate the end of a great week. A polo shirt or a sundress (no heels!) is perfect for Friday night. On Saturday mornings, it’s our tradition to wear white t-shirts. And who would we be without our traditions? As Tevye says “Tradition, Tradition….”
6. New Laundry System
In order to streamline the laundry process, CYJ will provide each camper with a mesh laundry bag at the beginning of their session. Each camper’s laundry will be washed and dried inside their individual bag to prevent clothes from getting lost in the process. Clothes may still go missing, get traded, or be gifted to a friend, but the goal is to keep each camper’s laundry contained to their laundry bag. We have tested these laundry bags and they WILL hold up in our washers and dryers, so you do not need to send your child to camp with a laundry bag.
7. Themed Lunches!
This year’s themed lunches are Superheroes, the 1980s, and Hawaiian, so be sure to pack a fun, themed outfit for your camper for each of these!
8. Label EVERYTHING.
With apologies to Beyonce, “if you liked it, then you shoulda put your name on it.” To increase the likelihood that your possessions make it home, you should label EVERYTHING from hats to socks, sheets to shoes, and everything in between. Several websites sell packages of labels in different shapes and sizes, so you can explore those if you wish, or just do it the old-fashioned way with a sharpie! If you want it back after the summer, then label it. Experienced parent tip: If your last name is unique enough, order labels with just your last name, then you can use the same labels for all of your kids and you won’t need to update them for hand-me-downs. To put it simply, if you want it back - label it!
9. Pack in duffel bags.
We suggest packing clothes in one duffel bag and bedding and towels in another. Once the kids unpack, we will store the duffels away for the session. Duffels are easier to store than lots of bulky suitcases or trunks. Segel campers will need to bring a second duffel bag for the trip. We recommend a 25”x45” duffel for this aidah. Here is an example of an ideal Segel duffel (no wheels, please).
10. Leave the tech at home.
“Mom? Dad? How did you survive as kids without cell phones and Alexa and Netflix and…..?”
It may be hard to remember, but we did it! Though the world has changed, much of what makes camp so special is a BREAK from our fast-changing technology.
We allow mp3 players without internet connections but no devices with screens (including Kindles or other e-readers). Regarding wearable technology (e.g., FitBits, Apple Watches): if your camper is responsible enough to keep track of his/her technology AND its charger, and if the device does not have internet connectivity, it is allowed.
For those traveling by air who need cell phones or tablets for the trip, we will hold their devices and travel documents in the office safe and return them at the end of the session.
11. Don’t stress if you forget something.
If your child runs out, we have a stash of the basics (toothpaste, sunscreen, deodorant, etc.) for purchase. For anything not in stock (e.g., a pillow, shoes, glasses), you can send it to camp, care of Camper Care (excluding that 14 piece-set of “Avengers” towels.)
12. PACK TOGETHER!
For younger campers, it is sometimes easier and faster to do the packing for them (especially to prevent an entire duffle from being filled with candy or toys). However, caring for their belongings is a big part of all campers’ independent experience, and participating in the packing is an important first step. The cabin stays neater and laundry day runs more smoothly when every camper can identify and organize his/her own things.
If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to ask: email@example.com or 713-723-8354. You can also search our Knowledge Base to learn more about not only packing but anything you may be wondering about to get ready for camp.Next up in the Camp Prep series: Camper Care and Medical Teams
Click on the links below to read previous Camp Prep emails: