Nine pro-tips to pack your child for Tawonga
From camp parent and part-time Tawonga Summer Assistant Director, Jessica Colvin
When packing up her seven year-old son, Lev, for the Taste of Camp session last year, Jessica Colvin mastered some helpful methods to ensure her son would arrive at camp prepared and ready to rock:
1. Make sure to pack something nice and clean to wear for Shabbat – not too dressy, but something a bit nicer to mark this special highlight at Tawonga.
2. Put labels with your child’s name on everything – literally, everything. Clothes, bathing suits, water bottles, flashlights, etc. When in doubt, label it!
3. Throw in plenty of sunscreen, in addition to bug-spray and long-sleeved shirts for that mosquito witching-hour of dusk. Camp stocks these items at the infirmary, but make sure your kid has a stash as well.
4. Get in the camp spirit with a packing mantra (seriously, this works). I ask my boys what we can’t forget to pack and always carry with us at camp – and they chant back, “Sunscreen, water, closed-toe shoes!!” (Note that Tawonga’s beautiful land is unpaved, and though campers can wear flip-flops, they should also bring easy-to-wear closed-toe shoes for protection, especially for trips downhill to the river.)
5. Speaking of shoes, campers in Sessions II, III, and IV will venture into Yosemite National Park for overnight back-packing trips. Hiking shoes are on Tawonga’s packing list and if your kid gets a new pair, I highly recommend breaking them in at home to avoid blistered heels while trekking.
6. Pack two water bottles (labeling both of course) in case one goes missing. Camp is gloriously hot at the height of the day, and your child will be hydrating constantly – we make sure of that!
7. During that hottest time of day, bunks relax during rest hour after lunch, so be sure to throw in some small, quiet games and activities: a deck of cards, Mad Libs, paper and pencils to write letters home – whatever your kid enjoys (that is screen-free). I love to add pre-addressed, stamped envelopes to really encourage that my husband and I receive a sweet note in the mail.
8. Pack enough underwear, socks and a few changes of clothes for six days for Taste of Camp, and about 10 days for longer sessions, during which time campers can opt to add items to bunk laundry. Remember to toss in a bag for that dirty laundry too.
9. This may only work for the somewhat organized child, but I recommend compartmentalizing items, like socks, T-shirts, and underwear in separate, labeled bags so your child doesn’t immediately lose track of where everything is. Which very well might happen for a few items, so it’s best to keep any cherished clothes or items at-large at home for safe-keeping!
Happy packing, and happy camping Tawongans!
Jessica and Matt Colvin are 6-year Family Camp parents with sons Lev, 8, and Shai, 5. During the summer when Jessica works as a Tawonga Assistant Director, Lev and Shai live up at camp with mom. Jessica and Matt met working at Tawonga in 2000. Aw!