How I Have Practically Prepared and Packed for Summer Camps

Are you ready for summer camp!? (Image courtesy of pixabay.com)

Are you ready for summer camp!? (Image courtesy of pixabay.com)

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For the past 9+ years I’ve been going to student camps, children camps, and then week-long mission trips each year. I estimate that I’ve been on around 27+ trips over my time in student ministry. This does not include an annual fall retreat or leaving for a Dnow weekend or other overnight trips. What I want to do here is simply share my list of ways that I have practically prepared leaving for camps over the years. This post will relate mostly to packing and will assume that spiritual preparation has been in process for many months now.

Christian Books and Bibles

  1. Since I usually have to be somewhere early the next morning for camp, I do ALL the preparation that I can do the night before or even the afternoon before. I do this so that I am not rushed in the morning to get out the door, lest I am frazzled the day leaving for camp, and that is not a good way to begin a week of camp! I usually set my bags in my car the night before, or, if there are valuables in them, then I set them right next to the front door so that I could “trip over them” to remind me to take them to the vehicle.
  2. So what do I do about those items that I absolutely cannot pack until the morning of? I have created in my “Notes” section on my iPhone to look at the next morning to assure I have everything.  I also set an alarm on my phone the night before about 30ish minutes after I am awake (to give me time to get up, wake up, and get a shower) to remind me to look at that “Morning list.” There is, then, another alarm that I set when I am soon to arrive at the church to remind me to get various items out of my car like my iPhone car charger, my sunglasses, Bluetooth device, and my bags sitting in the back of my van.
  3. I have created items on lists that relate to some of the different camps I’ve attended.
    1. Here are some items on my general list that applies to almost all events, with my explanation behind each one:
      1. Carry-On Bag-I have a bag that is my “carry-on” or “traveling” bag that goes with me everywhere and stays nearby on the van. This bag has my bible, notebook, “The Valley of Vision” (Best Devotional Ever!), 1-2 other books, all liability forms, all camp information in a folder, extra pens for the students, tic tacs, mouthwash (to eliminate “coffee breath” on the run!), ear buds, 1 bottled water, non-meltable snacks (Rice Krispie treats have worked well over the years!) and hand sanitizer.
      2. Phone charger-This is obvious!
      3. Ear buds-These are the earbuds that I put into my ears to sleep at night so that I am rested each day of camp with minimal interruption while I sleep. I have an app on my iPhone called “Nature Sounds” that I have created various sounds on, so I’ll let that play in my ear all night to drown out noise that happens in rooms above, beside, and below during camp. If you don’t get sleep, you won’t be cheery during camp (or is that just me!)!
      4. Sleep Mask-This is to block out all light from my eyes so that I can sleep better. Again, if you don’t get rest, you won’t be able to handle the stress and situations of camp too well!
      5. Medicine/Vitamins
      6. Pillows-I have three total pillows that I use: One pillow for my head, One pillow that I hug with my arms, and then a small “knee pillow” that is created to go in-between your two knees while sleeping. This particular pillow helps to keep my back straight when I sleep.
      7. Car Phone Charger-Obvious!
      8. Water-I mentioned this briefly above, but I put a lukewarm bottle of water (with a screw-on cap to prevent spillage on items!) or 2 in my “carry-on” bag. This is so that I am not without water wherever I go and can easily refill at a water fountain if needed. I use “lukewarm” because when I’ve packed water that has been in the fridge, then the condensation gets on my Bible, notebook, and other items in my bag.
      9. Bluetooth (or some other hands-free device)-Safer for chatting while driving if necessary.
      10. Sunglasses-Necessary for driving or for being in the sun on the long summer days at camp.
      11. Contact Lens Solution-I have next to this note “Put into bathroom bag!,” which means when I put my contacts in in the morning, I’ll put the solution in my “bathroom bag” that holds all of those items.
        1. ATTENTION!: If you have contact solution or shampoo, or anything with a lid that can come off, I highly encourage you to put duct tape over the top so that it doesn’t spill! I’ve had all my items in my “bathroom bag” covered in shampoo because the lid came off, or I’ve had contact solution all over the bottom of the bag because the cap came off.

Grammarly is wonderful!

  1. Our students have gone to Mission Fuge summer camp for 8 out of the past 9 years. They love to serve and love it better than even the “fun” camps that they’ve gone to as children.  Here is a list of Mfugespecific items I pack
    1. Socks with pads on them-I’ve noticed over the years that I would, at times, either get sore feet or get blisters on the bottom of my feet at camp, so I recommend socks with pads on them, or you could even put extra “cushion” in your regular socks through cotton balls or some other fabric.
    2. Bar soap or liquid soap-This is soap that is in addition to your regular soap for the shower. The reason I have this soap here is because, oftentimes at camp, they do not have soap readily available when washing your hands. Maybe your camp provides this, but the camps we’ve attended in the past has not.
    3. Don’t Bring “Good Shoes”-I usually have a “better” pair of tennis shoes that I wear to the office, and I’ve worn them to camp before and have either torn them up or got them excessively dirty. What I bring, instead, is an older pair of shoes that are already worn out that can get worn out some more while at camp. This way I can preserve my “nicer” shoes (not really nice shoes, but just new) for the office or some other proper venue.
    4. Baseball Cap (or other type of hat) for the sun-It is quite likely that you will be out in the sun a lot for many hours at time, therefore, bring a cap to keep the top of your head from scorching and to keep you, generally, a tad cooler than you would be without it.
    5. Doo-Rag-Some people call these items “bandanas” as well. If you’re not too keen on a hat, then wrap one of these items around your head to give you some sun protection and keep you a tad cooler as well.
    6. Outside Sunglasses-These are usually cheap sunglasses that, if messed up or broken, won’t be any sweat off my financial back. I do not own a $100ish pair of sunglasses, but I do have a pair that is a tad nicer than the cheaper ones I’ve worn to camp.  I usually have some cheap ones lying around the house, etc. Sometimes these camps will send you a bunch of stuff before you arrive, and there are sometimes sunglasses in the box! Use them for the more active days to keep the sun out of your eyes and to keep from messing up a nicer pair you might own.
    7. Guitar-I bring my guitar with me since, often during serving tracks, we would have open-air worship or go to nursing homes to sing.
    8. Guitar books-I’ve created with physical paper some guitar books for others to sing within the group who may not know all the words to the songs we’re singing. This is so that everyone can sing along.
    9. “Frogger Towel”-You can get this at Wal-Mart and use it to keep yourself cool and block the sun.
    10. Extra Bath Towel-I usually bring two towels to dry off after showering, but this extra towel is for emergency or should there be some type of water event or activity where a towel will be needed.
    11. Flip Flops-You might call these “Sandals,” but I call them “Flip Flops.” I use these to walk around in while in the room if I want to take my shoes off.

How many animals were on the Ark? AIG Link

YOUR TURN! (I’d love to hear your thoughts in the “Leave a Reply” section below!)

  1. What do you do to practically prepare and pack for camp? Any other packing tips you would add to the list?

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