How Girls Pack at the End of Camp - New Camper Blog Series

Hello new camper families! We are nearing the end of our New Camper Blog series – it’s hard to believe we’re so close to the start of the summer. We can’t wait!

While you are probably focusing on packing to SEND your daughter to camp, we wanted to explain a little bit more about how girls pack to GO HOME from camp. It’s quite the process, so we are going to give you some insider scoop on how it works.

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Packing for Home

Two days before the end of the session, the girls hear the dreaded announcement at lunch that it is Packing Day…and what follows is a lot of “NOOOOOOO” screams throughout the Dining Hall. Our campers are never ready to leave, and packing starts that true feeling that camp is ending.

During that Rest Hour two days prior to the end of the session, every camper is responsible for packing her things so she is ready to go home. Don’t worry…we help! But in the end, our goal is to get everything your daughter owns in her luggage and prepared for Closing Day.

Packing for Closing Day is not like packing for Opening Day. Imagine days (or even weeks) of FUN combined with wet clothes/towels, new art projects, letter mementos from friends, clothes that got unfolded in your daughter’s drawer…things have become a little less organized than when we started camp. We consider Packing Day controlled chaos, with a little more chaos than control, if we’re being honest!

Each camper pulls out her luggage and then starts putting her things in her luggage. We instruct each camper on what to leave out (clothes for the final two days, toiletries, whites to wear for Banquet, etc.), but everything else gets packed 2 days prior to Closing Day.

Sometimes, I think parents are surprised that we pack so early – there’s good reason for this. Many girls ship their luggage, and we have multiple steps to get that luggage ready (more below on that). Girls also never really finish during that Packing Rest Hour – it takes a while to really tame the beast that the cabin has become. Also, our final day is Banquet Day, and it is filled with lots of fun; the girls are often so excited that packing last minute never really happens. We need two days to find everything and get it into your camper’s luggage.

Here is what we tell the girls when packing:

  • What items to leave out for the final days of camp.
  • That they need to pack everything! If girls leave extra towels in the bathroom or books on their shelves, there is a good chance they are going to leave them on Closing Day.
  • To leave their bedding on their beds! More on this below, but we don’t pull bedding off until Closing Day unless your daughter is flying or you tell your daughter differently.
  • To NEVER put wet clothes in their trunks; we give them each a plastic trash bag to use for any wet items.
  • How to create a mountain: this is a pile of your daughter’s luggage that goes on the porch and has all her items once she is packed.

Girls will continue to pack the final two days of camp, and then on Closing Day, we pick up all of the large luggage first thing in the morning so that it can be moved and ready for pick-up when you (the parents) arrive. We carry anything that can close (trunks, duffels, and laundry bags) down to our Fort building. Anything that is left will be in a pile on your daughter’s bunk for you to carry to your car on Closing Day.

What it’s like when you arrive home: Even with all of these instructions, and the help from our staff when packing, it’s going to be a bit of a mess when your daughter’s luggage returns home to you – it’s been a BIG session at camp! With my two children, I just assume everything is going to be a little soggy (even though we tell girls to not pack wet things in their bags!), and I’m going to need to wash EVERYTHING, even clothes that may look like clean. So, prepare yourselves, parents! It’s going to be a lot of laundry when you get home.

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Special packing scenarios

Bring an extra duffel if you’re flying:
When you packed your daughter for camp, you had everything neatly folded and nicely placed in your daughter’s trunk. As I mentioned above, your daughter’s stuff has multiplied, and she probably doesn’t have your folding skills. The items just don’t fit as nicely. To help with this, we will give each camper a large tote bag for these last minute odds and ends so that you can carry them to the car.

However, because of this, your daughter is going to have an extra tote bag of items. If you are picking up your daughter and then flying home together, you need to bring an extra duffel to put these items in; otherwise, you’re going to have a massive tote bag of random items to carry through the airport. Don’t forget this extra bag!

Shipping and Airport Luggage:
We have great details in our Parent Handbook and on our website about how shipping luggage and airport luggage will work, so make sure to read the details prior to the summer.

For girls that are shipping luggage or have airport luggage, we pick that luggage up 1-2 days prior to the end of the session so that we can get it ready for departure (at some of our sessions, we have over 200 girls shipping items and over 100 girls flying!). Don’t forget to let us know on your Travel and Baggage form that you’ll be needing items shipped or put on the plane; we will follow up to confirm everything with you once your daughter’s session begins.

Bedding when Shipping or Flying Home (with camp):
So, what about bedding? We usually have two different scenarios for girls who are shipping or flying home:

  • Shipping Luggage: If your camper is shipping luggage but you are picking her up from camp, we instruct your daughter to leave her bedding on her bed. On Closing Day, since you will be there, your daughter will have her bedding in a large tote bag for you to take with you. If you want your daughter to pack her bedding and ship it with her other items, you need to tell her. We will then provide her with camp sheets/blanket for her final 2 nights of camp.
  • Airport Flyers: If your daughter is flying home with camp (where we take her to the airport), we will pack her bedding in her luggage 2 days prior to the end of camp. We then will provide her with camp sheets/blanket for her final 2 nights of camp.

That sums up the packing process – but in the end, it is hard to explain what it’s like…we should film some videos one day to give a real sense of the Packing Rest Hour process!

If you have any questions about how girls pack at the end of the summer, or if you have specific questions about how your daughter will pack with her travel plans, just give us a call! We are happy to help.

See you next week for our final week of our New Camper Blog series!

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