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How to Get Ready for Summer Camp

Summer camp is a great chance for you to enjoy some fun in the sun and make new friends, but preparing for camp can be a little more complicated. Let me give you some tips that I wish I'd have known for my first summer camp.

Pack Early

It's easy to put off packing until the day before you leave, but don't do that to yourself. I didn't pack until the day before camp, and I ended up leaving half the stuff I needed and had to borrow from other campers. Instead, you'll want to start packing some of the essentials a good few weeks before you leave.

For your everyday clothes, you'll want to focus on bringing things like flip flops, shorts and t shirts. Remember that even the hottest camp can get cool at night, though, and be sure to bring some jeans and sweatshirts to keep warm.

It's All About the Gear

It would be impossible to make the most of your camp experience without bringing the right equipment. Here's a list of some of the most important camping gear that you'll need to bring to your summer camp.

  • Sleeping bag and pillow. Even if your camp has cabins, there will definitely be a few nights where you want to sleep outside.
  • Sunglasses. Not only do they look cool, but they'll stop you from squinting around camp all day.
  • Flashlight and batteries. This will come in handy when you're trying to find the outhouse in the middle of the night.
  • Toothbrush, deodorant and soap. Nobody wants to meet new people when they have bad breath and haven't bathed in weeks.

Making the Most of Nature

Part of summer camp's appeal is the chance to explore the great outdoors, but living in nature isn't always easy. For me, there were a few parts of nature that I absolutely hated.

Mosquitoes: These blood-sucking pests are perhaps the worst part of any camp experience and even any home experience, and you'll need to learn some mosquito control techniques if you wanna enjoy your time at camp or at home. The most obvious solution is to use bug spray regularly, and that's a good first step. Another way to protect yourself is to avoid standing water whenever you can. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in still water, so avoid splashing through puddles and slow rivers when you can.

Sunburns: Sunburns are often painful and annoying, but they're also dangerous and can cause some serious skin problems. That's why you'll want to bring sunscreen and make sure you're applying it every morning before you start your day. On top of that, be sure to reapply it every few hours and whenever you get wet. Applying sunscreen a few times a day may not sound like the coolest thing ever, but you'll be glad you did when everyone else is red and uncomfortable and you've got a summer tan.

Dealing With Homesickness

Almost everyone who goes to summer camp will get at least a little homesick, so there's nothing to be embarrassed about. I spent the first day of camp crying to a counselor, but I was fine by morning. Here are a few things you can do to deal with your homesickness and keep enjoying your summer camp experience the whole time you're there.

  • Bring a family photo. A small one can easily be kept in your wallet to pull out whenever you're feeling lonely or missing your family.
  • Bring a cellphone. Some camps don't allow cell phones, but in that case you'll probably be able to call home at specific times during your stay. Either way, you'll be sure that you'll have time to contact your family during your camping trip.
  • Stay busy. Summer camp will keep you busy, but it won't fill up every second of your day. A good way to keep from feeling homesickness is to be doing things, so bring a favorite comic book or deck of cards to keep you entertained.
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