Like many other moms this summer, I sent my oldest child off to overnight camp for the first time this summer. Like those other moms, I shopped, packed and prepared with my first-time camper. I bought stationery and stamps. I filled out the forms and signed the waivers. I drove her to camp, kissed and hugged her goodbye. I watched her walk away with her tipi-mates, and I haven't stopped thinking about her since.
All of which is pretty par for the course, I think. I so desperately want her to have a fantastic time, meet great new friends and count down the days until she can go back again next summer. That was my experience at camp as a kid, and I only want the same for my girl.
If my daughter is a first-time camper, that makes me a first-time camp parent, and I spent the week before her departure racking my brain trying to come up with as many things I could do to support her as possible. I mailed a few letters before she left so that I could be sure she'd get them, I signed up for the camp email system, I sent her with everything on the packing list and more. But one of the things I loved in my camp days was a care package from home. My mom would send cookies, magazines and my favourite little camp treat - Tang orange drink crystals. I ate it Lik-M-Aid style. Don't judge me.
So of course: I want to send my girl a care package of her own. I baked 3 dozen cookies and was ready to pack them up when it hit me - I don't think I can send her any food. You see, she's at camp in the Rocky Mountains, sleeping in a tipi. If you've ever camped in the Rockies, you'll know that you don't keep food in your tent, because it will surely attract bears. In fact, in the picture above the girls were all bringing their toiletry bags to the wash-house. Why? Because in bear country you're just asking for trouble if you keep anything that smells human in a tent, tipi or other soft-sided dwelling. So what to send in the care package?
Well, after checking the internet, I discovered that you can pack loads of great stuff off to your camper without including anything edible at all. Here's my shortlist of fun things she can enjoy during a few quiet moments to herself, or share with her tipi-mates:
inflatable beach ball
I might throw in a few packs of gum - if it's too smelly she can always store them with her toiletries!
What about you? Are you a camp-mom? Do you send care packages and if so, what do you include in them?