Unpacking on Opening Day - New Camper Blog Series

Hello new camper families! Another Tuesday means another blog in our New Camper Blog series. Last week, camper mom Laura shared some great tips with us about Opening Day, from packing to planning for your goodbye. If you haven’t read it yet, make sure to check it out! This week, we are going to look at another part of Opening Day – how your daughter will unpack her things. Let’s dive in!

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How Opening Day works:

After you drop off your daughter, our Group Leaders will walk her to her cabin. She will meet her counselor(s) and any fellow cabinmates that have arrived already. At the same time, we will be transporting her larger luggage to her cabin porch so that she has everything she needs. Then, the unpacking can begin!

How to prepare your daughter for unpacking

We often hear mixed reviews on unpacking, with some girls really loving the process of setting up their bunks and organizing their stuff, while other campers can feel overwhelmed as they have never had to unpack themselves before. Good news! You can help. Preparing your daughter for this process is a great way to help her feel confident!

Here are some tips on preparing your camper for unpacking:

Have her participate in the packing process: There’s nothing more overwhelming than opening your trunk or duffel and not knowing what you’re going to find in there! Have your daughter participate in the packing process so she knows what she brought and which items are hers.

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Help her know where items will go: You probably haven’t been inside a Greystone cabin, but you can go over the basics with her so she has an idea of where everything will go. And, don’t forget we have packing lists for each session on our Packing page, so check those out to know what all you need to pack!

  • Clothes: Campers unpack their clothes in their big drawer under their bunk. These clothes usually include t-shirts, shorts, underwear, socks, pajamas, swimsuits, and cold weather gear. Camper mom Laura had the great tip last week about drawing out the size of the drawer on a big piece of paper and showing your daughter where everything will go (drawers are 32 x 32 x 9.5 inches); not necessary, but if your daughter is better when she can visualize something, or if she is nervous about her things, it’s a great idea!
  • Towels: Girls will have a spot in the bathroom where they can put their towels. Most girls put their towels in a pile on the bathroom shelf.
  • Toiletries: Campers bring their toiletries in a toiletry bucket, and these will go in the bathroom as well. Most campers put them under the sink or on the bathroom shelf.
  • Hanging clothes: Campers at our June, Main, and August sessions usually bring a dress or two for our church services (plus hangers!). These will go in the cabin closet.
  • Shoes: Each cabin has a big shoe rack on the porch. Girls will put all of their shoes on the rack.
  • Bunk shelf: Campers often want certain items easily accessible, so they put these items on their bunk shelf. These often include a Bible, stationery, books, Rest Hour activities, a flashlight, sunscreen, bug repellent, and other similar items. Girls also put their fan on their shelf (each bunk has an outlet if the fan needs to be plugged in).
  • Bunk hook: Each camper will have a hook on her bunk to use for her things. Girls will use this hook to hang up their laundry bag, Crazy Creek, and backpack.
  • Other random items: This will leave each camper with a mix of other random items she will need to decide what to do with. These may include: an extra set of sheets, costumes, team dress-up items, riding outfit, etc. If there is room in the drawer, many girls will put these items in the back of their drawers. However, the drawer fills up fast! The other option is to keep these extra items in her trunk or duffel, which will be moved to the porch. Girls can access these “not as necessary” items when they need them, as most won’t be used every day.
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Help her know how to make her bed: For many new campers, this will be the first time they have ever made a bed by themselves! As many girls struggle to do this on their own, our counselors are trained and work with the girls to get their beds made. Fun fact: beds are easier to make when they are not on the bunks, so girls will often take their mattress off their bed, add the sheets and blankets, and then put it back on their bed, tucking everything in. Your daughter’s counselor will help make sure her bed is cozy and ready for her first night’s sleep.

Let her have fun settling in: Most parents (moms especially!) have a very specific way they think the bed should look and where everything should go. However, it’s camp! Your daughter is learning a great skill on how to organize her things and make her space feel homey, even without you there. Campers love hanging their pictures in their own unique way to finalize their bunk set-up.

Know that she has help: Your daughter’s counselor(s) will be very hands-on with the unpacking process. Not only will the cabin have a list of the steps to take (i.e., put your towels in the bathroom, put your toiletry caddy under the sink, etc.), but our staff will be showing your daughter where everything goes and will be helping to make her bed. It’s a crazy time in the cabin (all the girls are unpacking at the same time!), but it is also a lot of fun. Girls love meeting their new friends while settling into their bunk. Teamwork from the start!

That wraps up our list of unpacking suggestions. Have any questions? Let us know! Until next week!

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