Packing for Unpacking - New Camper Blog Series

Hello new camper parents – this blog is specifically for you! We are finally in the month of May, which is the month of camp! We can’t believe we are about to start our 102nd summer, and we are so excited to welcome your daughter for her first summer at Greystone.

So today we are looking at unpacking. In our recent camp updates, we’ve shared details about Opening Day, and last week we talked about what happens after drop-off when campers arrive at their cabins. Parents, we want to help you as you are preparing for camp: what’s the best way to pack so that your daughter can then unpack in her cabin on Opening Day? Let’s see what is best…

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Picking your luggage: When you are packing, we are asking that you pack in only 2 large bags: a trunk and duffel, or 2 large duffels. (And yes, you can instead use a laundry bag or another type of large bag, if it can stay closed on Opening Day). We will carry these large bags up to your daughter’s cabin for her on Opening Day. When she leaves your car, your camper will want to carry her backpack and pillow with her.

Packing with your daughter: When you’re thinking about unpacking, the best place to start is thinking through packing. The very best way to pack for unpacking is to make sure that you pack with your daughter right there alongside you. If your daughter knows what you’ve packed and what is in her luggage, she will be so much better prepared for unpacking.

Talking through her drawer: Your daughter will have a big drawer under her bed for her things. Girls unpack most everything into this drawer so that it is easy to access during the summer. Talk through the drawer with your daughter before she arrives. Girls can set up their drawer in many different ways: some use Ziploc bags for outfits and some use tubs for similar items (shirts in one tub, socks in another tub, etc.). Others just pile clothes into the drawer and embrace the chaos. No matter what you and your daughter decide, help her to think through what may work best for her. (We had a mom talk through why she ditched the Ziploc bags in a recent blog post, and another mom talk through some different drawer options in another mom blog, so if you are unsure what to do, check out these two posts. With my child, we embrace the chaos and don’t do any organization for clothes.)

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Working on making her bed: A big caveat on this one - your daughter’s counselor is going to be HANDS ON with making the bunkbed on Opening Day, but practice will only help. We do recommend going through the bedding you are packing with your daughter so that she knows what she is bringing. Work on making a bed at home, if your daughter isn’t doing that already. And if she has a favorite blanket or stuffed animal, make sure that makes it into her bags; it will help her bed feel like home right away.

Using a specific bag for certain items: While this is not necessary, you could consider packing specific items in certain bags to make it easier on your daughter. Use your duffel for all of her clothes; all of those clothes will then go into the drawer under her bunk. Then, use her trunk for all of the extras: bedding, toiletry bucket, Crazy Creek chair, extra towels, laundry bag, shoes, a few costumes – these things can be unpacked or left in the trunk until needed. This may not be possible when it comes down to actually packing, but worth seeing if it is possible when you start adding things to your bags.

Picking out things to hang on the bunk: We encourage you to keep things simple when you are packing, but we know every camper wants her space to feel unique and special. Whether it is a few pictures or a picture collage to hang up, you can help your daughter have everything together that she needs when she arrives. Put the pictures in a Ziploc bag with some tape and show her where you’re packing them. Her counselor will help to hang any pictures on Opening Day.

Watching our cabin tour video: A few years ago, we filmed a cabin tour video, showing you all of the ins-and-outs of the bunk and cabin space. A few things have changed since we filmed this video (for example, we ask that all girls bring their own sheets now), but overall, much is the same. You can watch this video with your daughter, talking through all the “extra” things in the cabin (like her laundry bag going on the hook by her bed, and shoes going on the shoe rack outside). While the counselor will help with all of these things, it will only help to prepare your daughter for unpacking.

Letting it go: While you can definitely help with unpacking (mainly by having your daughter pack with you so she knows what she brought to camp), the most important thing to know is that your daughter’s counselor can help your daughter settle in…no matter what happens. Unpacking by herself at camp is going to give your daughter a lot of ownership for how she wants to set up her space. This is a great step in independence for your daughter! All of the girls will be be unpacking together, and remember it’s camp! The unpacking process doesn’t have to be perfect. We will help her every step of the way, and it will be fun for all of the campers to unpack together.

We’ve shared many details on what to pack in other blogs and on other pages of our website; we’ve compiled most of those on our Packing for Camp page, so if you’re needing some packing suggestions, it’s a great place to start! Have any other questions about packing? Comment below, or reach out to us. We are happy to help. Enjoy the packing process with your daughter!