Sending Your Love to Camp

You’ve hugged and kissed your children and confidently sent them off to camp. Next step, care packages!

As someone who has worked in the camp mailroom, I have seen the postal carriers and FedEx couriers drop off hundreds of packages to be delivered to hundreds of children having the time of their lives at camp.

Camps require that packages are screened, and I have opened many with cleverly hidden “contraband” (candy) inside.

Most camps do not allow candy with good reason: It brings bugs and other creatures into the cabin, and often there are children with peanut allergies, so some candy could be dangerous.

Check your camp’s mail/packages policy. Many are getting away from boxes, only allowing flat packages and letters.

If your child’s camp allows packages, there are a variety of options. There are numerous companies on the Internet that will send prepackaged goodies right to your child’s camp gate. Etsy and Pintrest also have darling creative out-of-the box ideas, or stop at your local Target, Dollar Store, or Walmart and shop the aisles.

Here are a few ideas:

• A pillow case to decorate.
• A quiet time kit: a deck of cards, friendship bracelet kit, stationary/pens.
• Temporary tattoos
• A book or magazine
• A small book light
• A fun girls package of nail polish, hair products, and fun socks
• Colored Zinc sunscreen (protects sweet faces and also a fun decoration)
• July 4th package (anything red, white and blue)

Probably one of the most special things your child can receive is a hand-written letter from you. Letters are uniquely powerful in the lives of camper and a parent. After camp your child can get them out and read and reread the letters, a treasure of wonderful memories for years to come.

When you write, assume your child is having a good time and say so in your letter. Show enthusiasm and ask questions about their new friends, new activities, wonderful camp food, and their new experiences. Do not say how much you miss them or how much the dog or cat misses them. To encourage writing, send addressed and stamped post cards to camp with your child.

Mail call is one of the many highlights of a camper’s day. Care packages do not need to be big or letters long. It is better to keep it simple: a card, a little love note, or a small box of goodies is all it takes to put a smile on the face a busy camper and send a long distance hug.

Helene Abrams, an advisor with Tips on Trips and Camps, a free summer camp and trip advisory service, helps parents of children ages 7-18 find enriching summer overnight experiences. Reach her at 214-484-8141 or [email protected]