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  1. #1
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    Default s/o what questions do I need to ask before summer camp?

    DS is going away to a Jewish camp in a different state. Our temple had been affiliated with a different camp for many years and just switched to this one this year, so no one we know has been there yet.
    In the confirmation, there is a specific person who is supposed to answer first-year camper questions. I want to try to get all of my questions out in one email. I admit that my questions are colored by the stories my BFF has told about her girls going to a Jewish camp in the Boston area - where "everyone" has one kind of camp chair, and there are certain clothes that "everyone" has, etc. I want to make sure DS doesn't get there and find he's the one kid who didn't know to bring something. However, I was able to look at pictures from last year online and it seems like the kids are pretty low key in terms of dress - lots of free and team t-shirts for example. The camp packing list is pretty standard and mostly the stuff that I would have automatically packed.
    My questions so far:
    - is there something along the lines of a camping chair that he should bring?
    - how do the kids pack/store their clothes - should he have a trunk, plastic storage drawers, etc.?

    what else should I be asking???

  2. #2
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    Does the camp have a Facebook page? If so, I would post saying that you are the parent of a first year camper and asking parents for their ideas of what you should know about camp. The camp staff is unlikely to tell you that everyone has a particular brand of camp chair, for example, but parents will probably tell you that (especially if their kid was the only one who showed up without one their first year). For your list of questions to the camp, I would probably ask if they had a list of camp songs/cheers etc. that your DS could learn before arriving at camp and also (if the website doesn't already say this) ask them to give you a description of a typical day/week for the campers (i.e. early swim is always at 7 am, campfires are on Wed and Sun nights etc.). I think this would help your DS feel comfortable more quickly at camp. I was a camp counselor for many years and noticed it was often difficult for kids who were new to our camp to feel like they belonged right away when they were around kids who had been going to the camp for several years and knew the songs, schedules, counsellors, camp staff already.

  3. #3
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    Forgot to add, this is the camp chair that "everyone" at my DS's camp has: https://www.mec.ca/en/product/5041-0...er-Senate-Seat

    I don't know if this type is popular in other areas as well, but it is "the" chair to have here. It isn't listed on the packing list (even as optional), but lots of kids have them. DS didn't his first year, but asked for it for a birthday gift before going his second year.
    Last edited by moosemama; 1 Week Ago at 11:17 PM.

  4. #4
    nfowife is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    Hi, my children go to the URJ camp for mid-Atlantic states. My older ones are on their 4th year. My youngest will be there for the first time for the introductory session. There is a very active parent Facebook page where new parents can ask questions and connect. They also start sending lots of information around February such as packing lists, forms, etc.
    there are also calls with camp staff for first time families ahead of time with questions. You should have lots of chances to connect beforehand and there is lots of time!
    The chair most kids seem to have is called a “crazy creek”. My older kids have one too. Some kids seem to use them a ton; others not as much. Happy to connect if you have other questions. The packing list our camp sends has lots of extras and most kids do just fine- boys especially don’t seem to care as much about having every thing on the list and they share for color war and such.
    ETA- I drive my kids to camp and help them unpack. Most kids have big duffel bags. Last year I switched to using the zip ikea bags and they are awesome. Durable, cheap, and I can send each kid with 2-3 extras so they can pack themselves up more easily (mine take the bus home). Works great!
    Last edited by nfowife; 1 Week Ago at 12:03 AM.

  5. #5
    erosenst is offline Platinum level (1000+ posts)
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    Hi, my children go to the URJ camp for mid-Atlantic states. My older ones are on their 4th year. My youngest will be there for the first time for the introductory session. There is a very active parent Facebook page where new parents can ask questions and connect. They also start sending lots of information around February such as packing lists, forms, etc.
    there are also calls with camp staff for first time families ahead of time with questions. You should have lots of chances to connect beforehand and there is lots of time!
    The chair most kids seem to have is called a “crazy creek”. My older kids have one too. Some kids seem to use them a ton; others not as much. Happy to connect if you have other questions. The packing list our camp sends has lots of extras and most kids do just fine- boys especially don’t seem to care as much about having every thing on the list and they share for color war and such.
    ETA- I drive my kids to camp and help them unpack. Most kids have big duffel bags. Last year I switched to using the zip ikea bags and they are awesome. Durable, cheap, and I can send each kid with 2-3 extras so they can pack themselves up more easily (mine take the bus home). Works great!
    Funny how things vary even in sister camps. Our daughter goes to the URJ camp for the lower midwest - this will be her 11th summer there. (We happen to live 10 minutes away and she started at the day camp.)

    No camp chairs at hers - although a FEW have hammocks. Dress is REALLY low key. Many/most of the kids use plastic drawers, and each kid gets two 12x12x12 (I think) cubbies. One question I'd ask at a Jewish camp is what the kids wear on Shabbat. The first year of overnight I sent "nice" for both Friday evening and Saturday morning - but they only dress for Friday night. Her camp doesn't wear white/white&blue but some do. If there are color wars, fill in 'missing' colors with cheap Walmart/Michael's t's if you want - or they will borrow from friends .

    I'd ask about bathrooms - if not in the cabins they will need the kind of shower buckets one might use in a dorm. The packing list likely talks about bedding - I was a little surprised the first year that kids use sheets/blankets on the bunks and their sleeping bags as a bedspread.

    Feel free to PM if I can answer any other questions.

  6. #6
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    erosenst - I'm pm'ing you. I'm betting that your daughter goes to the camp my son is going to.

  7. #7
    erosenst is offline Platinum level (1000+ posts)
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    Small world

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