Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I Would Recognize That Knee Anywhere

Packing a child to go to overnight camp is akin to packing to go to college.  The difference is that your child is going for a fraction of the time and bringing three times the amount of stuff.  I would actually say that it's more like the packing the pioneers must have done when they headed west, never to return to the their homes.  Of course, the pioneers did not bring flat irons, regular sneakers, basketball sneakers, soccer cleats, sandals, and eleventy million pairs of flip-flops.

Here's the other thing; when you go to college, you can use whatever suitcase or trash bags you want.   And, you can bring as many bags as will fit in your car.  Not so with camp packing.  Camp bags are usually shipped to camp (a week or so ahead of the campers, who still NEED everything in said bags).  Usually you send two bags.  These bags are in lieu of old-fashioned hard trunks.  Some are shaped like big rectangles (picture a soft-sided trunk) and some are just giant duffel bags.  The giant duffel bag is big enough to comfortably fit two five-foot tall people.   Even if the two people are both extra fat.  And even then, they'd have room to play cards in there.

SB is 3rd from left.  You can
see, by the corner of her head
and her foot, that she is
having a blast.

These bags are then packed until they are bursting at the seams and not movable by humans.  Once collected (by Terminator-strength androids) they are then handled with the same gentleness as your luggage is when you hand it over at the airport.  Oh wait!  I forgot!  Before you can pack a single item, you must first put your child's name (using labels or markers) on all 1,162 items, including toiletries, shoes and sports equipment.  Rest assured, you will ruin several shirts by writing in the wrong spot, allowing the marker to bleed through so people can see your child's name (backwards) through said shirts.  No big deal though since about 85% of campers have this going on and it passes as normal.

Okay then.  Campers and bags have both been dispatched to camp and you breathe a sigh of relief.  Then you realize the child who has been annoying you and uncooperative during the whole process is gone!! (Her father may not be speaking to you as he blames you for her absence).  But don't worry friends, no need to panic.  You can now begin your obsessive web site checking to see if your child's picture has been posted.  Camps now post pictures every day so you have a clue what your child is up to (and can be assured that they are still alive).  Letters from campers are useless for this information as they will not contain the answers to any questions you may have asked.  Said letters will only contain complaints and requests for items to be brought on visiting day.

Way on the left, purple shorts,
white tee, that may be the
back of SB, clearly enjoying
morning line-up.

But back to the picture hunting.  Each day there will be approximately 150 or so pictures posted by camp.  They are thumbnail size.  Unless you want to go through all these pictures individually (you will not want to), you have to try to determine, via the tiny view, if your child "might" be in the picture.  This means you will end up looking at about 25 full-sized pictures, only one of which will contain a picture of your child.  By "picture" I mean that with arduous detective work you will be able to spot an elbow, ponytail or sneaker that may possibly belong to your child.  Sadly, you will thrill at this slight glimpse.

After about 2 weeks of this endeavor you will start to send your child angry letters asking why she cannot possibly position herself in front of a camera when she sees pictures are being taken.  You may even threaten to call camp and demand that your child be photographed more regularly, like that obnoxious (not so cute) camera-hog kid who is in like a million fabulous action shots.

Once camp ends and your child and her belongings are returned to you, you will again sigh in relief.  You will be happy that your child had a great summer and that your money was well-spent.  Then, you will realize that all 1,162 items must be unpacked and washed (read sanitized and de-smelled).  Now.  Because she NEEDS everything in said bags.  And no, she will not know how, when she is the one who packed to come home, she has someone else's comforter and shoes.

2006, first year of camp.
Even from the back, we can
see how happy she is and
how much she loves basketball.


  1. This is from the mother who couldn't wait to get relief from the beautiful, but BAD, child?
    Good thing she has a loving grandmother. Keep those pictures coming!!

  2. somehow our camp manages to get good facial shots of my child.. This is good because I have no other shots of her smiling except the ones from camp. She certainly won't smile for me. I assume they also use Bunk1 for their expert photography safekeeping.

    I am NOT looking forward to the unpacking/laundry/destenching. I think we still have a few items that belong to others from last year that I was going to send but never did.. oops. Maybe I'll remember them on visiting day.

  3. for every 10 pictures of the back of her, I do usually get one useful one. We use Bunk 1 also.

  4. I loved this. This is my summer times 3!!


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