The Camp Connection

Seven tips on sending care packages to campers.

Receiving a package at camp is like winning the lottery— only better. Not only does the child receiving the package get to be among the chosen few summoned to open a box brimming with presents and fun bunk junk, the camper realizes that someone back home shipped the package with love.
   
However, even packages sent with the best of intentions may be confiscated by counselors. Most camps have rules outlining what family members and friends can send children, often nixing food or electronics. Keep reading to ensure what you send is enjoyed by your happy campers this summer.

  1. Check with your child’s camp to inquire about the rules. Is there a limit on the amount of packages you may send? Are there size restrictions on packages? Also, find out if food is allowed.
  2. Ask the camp how many children are in your child’s bunk. When sending a package to your child, you may want to include a small gift for each child in the bunk, like a pen to write letters home or jacks for everyone to play together. And you want to be sure to have enough items to accommodate each child, particularly if you’re sending individual things. In fact, you may want to include one or two extra items in case of loss or breakage and maybe something small for the counselors, as well.
  3. If you intend (and are allowed) to send food in the package, include re-sealable plastic bags. Unsealed food may entice unwelcome visitors in the bunk, such as insects or animals.
  4. When choosing items to put in a camp care package, stick to non-fragile and non-breakable items, from stationery sets to a plastic picture frame without sharp edges. Assume that anything you send will fall on the floor and/or in the dirt, and pick items that withstand typical camp treatment.
  5. If your package has to arrive by a certain date, send it at least seven business days in advance. Note that delivery services do not deliver packages to post office boxes, and you need a street address for the camp. Some delivery services do not deliver on weekends. Also, allow time for camp staff to sort through the numerous packages that arrive each day. You don’t want your package to be late for that all-important summer birthday.
  6. During rainy days, camps bring activities indoors, frequently offering “bunko,” free play inside the bunk, in addition to drama and arts and crafts. Enhance your child’s time in the bunk by sending a package filled with a game for everyone to play or an activity for everyone to do. Board games with few pieces (that can easily get lost), Mad Libs, a deck of cards and even nail polish offer ways for bunk mates to interact.
  7. Especially nearing the end of the camp session, a great package comprises a keepsake for everyone in the bunk to sign. Camp retailers and most card stores sell whimsical pillowcases and books for all kids in the bunk to autograph. After all, when a child brings home a memento signed with personal sentiments from camp friends, it extends the spirit of the summer well into the school year. Happy packing!