Happy Camper

Miss C is attending her first summer day camp this week. She ran to me waving a blue flier one day after school raving on and on about this particular camp. Horseback riding and 12-foot water slide sealed the deal and I wrote the check. I have a feeling it is the first of many. Because camp isn’t exactly free, she’s just doing one week. The rest of the summer will be spent between my mom and mother-in-law and then there is the traditional Daddy Thursdays. Last week the hubby introduced her to the fine American pasttime of bowling and stinky bowling shoes.

Every afternoon I pick her up and she looks sun kissed (brown as a nut as my mama would say) and smells of fresh air and sunscreen with tales of the totally cool dunking booth and the friendly camp dog, a black Lab mix named Lulu. I didn’t hesitate to sign her up for this particular camp, which is staffed by a couple of the PE teachers from her school. I also felt comfortable sending her this first week because she has known three of her fellow campers since her diaper days at daycare.

Yesterday morning on the way to drop her off bright and early at 7:30 she told me that one of the older girls had been mean to her. Now her definition of “mean” and mine can differ, so I asked her to tell me about it. Also the “older” girl is all of 8 years old. Basically this girl has been bossy to Miss C. This apparently hasn’t been a huge deal as Miss C barely discussed it and has seemed quite happy to return to camp each morning. A few years ago she might have told me in tearful spurts.

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First day of summer camp, June 2009.

Now my girl is holding her own. Also it helps that she’s the oldest sibling and may be just a tad boss girl herself at times.

I may or may not have been tempted to dust off the can of mama whoop ass this week should things have gotten out of hand with the older mean girl. I will admit to giving all the older girls an extra attentive gaze this morning at drop off. Just so they know who they’re messing with. Ahem.

Here are a few things I’ve learned this week about day camp, which seems to be a fine segue into the whole summer camp experience…not sure we’re ready for overnight camp for a few years (OK maybe she might be ready, but mama’s not ready):

  • Camp organizers mean it when they say write your child’s name on EVERYTHING. I failed to write Miss C’s name on the tag of her bathing suit the first day and sure enough she came home without it. Thankfully they had it in the camp van the next morning. I promptly grabbed that sucker and emblazoned it with her initials in bright blue Sharpie. We have nifty colorful labels from Mabel’s Labels, too, and I’m going to be reviewing some products from Applied Labels (they have a great camp pack) on Savvy Housewife later this summer.
  • Old tennis shoes are essential for tromping around on the playground or near the creek.
  • UV protective wear is great for hours spent in the sun. Miss C wore her pink tie dye look shirt from UV Skinz.
  • Be sure to pack a bottle of water in your camper’s lunch box.
  • Go ahead and apply sunscreen before you leave the house. Even though you’ll pack sunscreen it helps the camp organizers if they don’t have to apply sunscreen to all the kids first thing in the morning. I noticed some kids had these nifty sunscreen bottles with a clip fastened to their backpacks (like this one.)
  • Take a picture of your camper on the first day and start a tradition of doing so each summer. (I do this on the first day of school, too. Hey I may be a scrapbook slacker but I use the heck out of my digital camera.)

Do you have any tips for first time day campers? Do your kids attend summer day camp? I hope to sign up both Miss A and Miss C next summer since Miss A turns 5 next March. But again, ouch my checkbook! One week will probably fit into our budget.

9 comments

  1. Ashley @ mrs007.com says:

    I would love to know which camp she is going to. Addison is doing a drama camp later in the summer and she is slowly warming up to the idea. I want her to go to a different one next year and the YMCA camp is way expensive. I am trying to convince my parents and inlaws to throw in with me.

  2. Heather @ Not a DIY Life says:

    I won some Mabel’s Labels in a bloggy giveaway and I LOVE THEM! And Ladybug is only in Mom’s Morning Out, so I have plenty saved for her camp days.

    I bought the Avon Skin So Soft bug repellent/sunscreen which would be great for camp days too. but for now, we need it at home. Poor kid gets HUGE welts with everyone bug bite! Camp days will be fun, indeed. Can’t wait! I remember those days very fondly.

  3. Emily says:

    As a Day Camp Director I can throw in a few suggestions!

    1. Put sunscreen on your child before you arrive.

    2. Expect that your child is going to get dirty! It’s summer camp! They will be playing sports, making art, and just enjoying all that the outside has to offer! Make sure you let your child know that it is OK to get dirty. I’ve had to deal with many children who were “freaking out” because they were worried that Mom and Dad would be upset if they got dirty!

    3. Make sure you send a water bottle with your child EVERYDAY!

    4.ACTUALLY READ THE NOTES AND CALENDARS THAT ARE SENT HOME! PLEASE! You don’t want your child to be the one to miss the field trip because you didn’t fill out the permission slip!

    5. Dress your kids according to what activities they are going to do that day! A Jean skirt in August is not appropriate for a Rafting Trip.

    6. Go ahead and pack an extra set of clothing everyday!

    7.I know this one might be a little nit-picky, but oh well! If your daughter has long hair, please pull it up in a pony tail or a braid. It’s very uncomfortable for the little girls that have their hair sticking to their sweaty faces and necks!

    8. Really….Do write your child’s name on everything. Sunscreen, Water bottles, t-shirt, shorts, UNDERWEAR, bathing suits, towels, backpacks, socks, sweatshirts. EVERYTHING. It is just sooooooo helpful to the counselors and staff to know what stuff belongs to what camper. Have you ever tried to keep track of belongings for 14 kids? It is NOT easy!

    Ahhhhhh…..Summer Camp, my favorite time of year!

  4. Kieren @ Prams and Pushchairs says:

    What an exciting time for her! This brings back such rich memories of my own when I was about that age! It’s a great time to really grow and develop by doing things outdoors. It’s a little worrying as a parent though – glad to hear it was generally s success!
    😀

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