Parent Blog: Preparing for Opening Day - New Camper Blog Series

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Hi! I am Laura Richmond Vance. I am grateful to have been a former Greystone camper, counselor, and last summer got to add Greystone Mom to my titles (the best title of all if you ask me!). It was such a sweet experience to share camp with our 12-year-old daughter, Ellie.

Greystone is just the best, and I knew she would love it! I was thankful to have some extra years gaining insider knowledge when it came to preparing and sending Ellie off to camp, and I want to share some of that information so that it will help you as you prepare your own daughter for her 1st time at camp. You can hopefully feel like a pro and not overwhelmed!

Preparing for Packing:

  • Take full advantage of the packing list on the website or in the Parent Handbook! She had everything she needed – except tall socks for days she had to wear her rain boots a lot.
  • Label it all – we used the labels link on the Greystone website (log in to your Greystone account and click on Oliver’s Labels), and they have worked great. Sharpie pens also work well on towels and sheets.
  • Purchase items knowing they are all going to get washed and dried together. Go for function over fancy/fashion. Being casual and not caring how you look is one of the blessings of being in the camp bubble!
  • Costumes and accessories are always fun! Think about a few fun extras you can throw in.
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Packing for Unpacking:

My number one piece of advice would be to pack her with the process of her unpacking in mind. For her first year, I wanted her to feel confident and not overwhelmed by having to unpack all of her things for 3 weeks. Have her pack with you so she knows where and what everything is.

To start, we laid out paper the size of her drawer and then packed to fill that space. I wanted Ellie to know how to lay out everything in her drawer and how to keep organized. The drawer dimensions are 32 x 32 x 9.5 inches, so they are pretty deep. Also, make sure you look at the height of the bins you’re buying if you’re going to put bins in her drawers.

After doing this, we placed the actual bins she was going to use on the paper. Different clothing items went into their own bin (t-shirts in one, shorts in one, etc.) We just used cheap, random containers we found around the house (Ikea, Hobby Lobby, anything!). Then once these bins were loaded, we added them full into her trunk and bag. We used extra spots between two bins for things like socks that she could just toss in.

We talked about where to keep any overflow items, like towels and extra shoes; the best place was in her empty trunk. We talked about how dresses could be hung up in the closet.

We loaded her laundry bag with all her bedding that would go directly on her bed. I did put them in a trash bag inside the laundry bag for Opening Day transporting. As experience has taught me during my counselor years, Opening Day rain may happen, so best to keep that stuff dry!

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Opening Day Drop-off:

I will be honest drop off went so fast; I was shocked! Organized but moves quick. So, if you want a long goodbye, make sure you do it before you pull in the gates on camp.

Also if you are from far away, like us in west Tennessee, I was glad I didn’t make a big trip with all of our kids, because the drop-off was so quick. It just wasn’t worth it for them to come for Opening Day! And, it helped as I was back home to them by 3 p.m. on Opening Day.

Before you pull out on Opening Day, have the staff take a quick picture of you and your camper. You’ll treasure this photo! And, make sure to give big hugs!

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