The 40 Year Old Bat Mitzvah

Soulfish Parenting With Heart & Soul: Camp Days

Posted in soulfish by Juliet on July 23, 2010

Well, it took us 48 hours, but we finally managed to drop Eva off at Beth Am in San Diego to ride a bus up to Camp Ramah. Over 550 kids arrived at camp that day!

Check out this 32″ expandable rolling duffel:

Vacuum storage bags are nothing short of a miracle

Thanks to vacuum storage bags, here is what is in her single piece of luggage:

  • two sets of sheets, pillow, pillowcases, and a blanket (for daily sleeping)
  • sleeping bag (for overnight camping out overnight)
  • backpack & laundry bag
  • two sets of towels (bath, hand, and washcloth size) and pool towel
  • hiking shoes, refillable water bottle, flashlight
  • clothes for 14 days (they don’t do laundry for kids in the 2-week session!), AND it is blazing hot during the day but cools down at night
  • warm heavy jacket for night, light Polarfleece jacket, and two sweatshirts
  • bathing suits, pool cover-up, and flip-flops (double as shower shoes)
  • dressy outfits including shoes for two Friday nights/Saturday days shabbat
  • toiletries, sunscreen, stationery & stamps
  • extra full-size boxes of toothpaste to donate to campwide tzedakah project for Jewish Family Service
  • and more!

Packing was complicated by the fact that the girls had been out of town traveling for the two weeks immediately prior to camp, so I couldn’t even pack very far in advance.  Also since Eva is our oldest and it’s her first time at sleep-away camp, we’re just making it up as we go along.

Friends offered terrific advice:

Carlos, a road warrior who flies several times a month, said:  Throw everything on the bed and eliminate half.

Andrea, an organizational expert who knows pretty much everything there is to know about…everything, said:  Too bad you can’t use vacuum bags because Eva won’t have a vacuum cleaner at camp to re-pack when it’s time to come home.  Me:  Lightbulb!!!!  We’re picking her up from camp and I can just throw everything in Hefty bags.  The luggage restrictions are really strict just for the bus ride up to camp.

And Mariah told me her daughter Jeri, who went to Girl Scout camp near their home in Iowa, is really religious about sticking to the suggested packing list.

With those pieces of advice, I did it!  And it all fits.

One thing we learned for next year is that most of the kids carry pillows (either their regular bed pillow or a smaller one, or, in some cases, a Pillow Pet, which my incredibly pampered children both happen to have; “it’s a pillow, AND a pet!”**)  They use the pillows to make the four-plus hour bus ride to  camp more comfortable.  Live and learn.

I’m really glad we dropped Eva in San Diego.  The crowd was very casual and friendly.  There were several dogs saying goodbye to their little masters.  (I finally saw a labradoodle in real life, and I want one.  I also saw a poodle/bichon mix.  The owner, a salt-and-pepper haired South African-born doctor married to a gorgeous blonde glamazon, laughed when I said he could call it a “bichi-poo.”  I think there is a big South African Jewish community in the San Diego area.  We heard many distinctive accents during drop-off though thankfully there wasn’t a vuvuzela in sight.)

Camp is expensive and I want Eva to get her money’s worth, so I left her with this advice:

  • swim a lot
  • do “something Jewish”
  • choose something that looks scary on the first day, and do it before camp ends

If she does those three things, I for one will consider camp a success!

** The girls and I walked around the mall on several occasions for at least an hour each time, a good portion of which was taken up with begging for Pillow Pets.  I managed to fend them off since I figured they’re too expensive for something the kids would use once or twice then shove in a pile with their eleventy-seven other Build-a-Bears and Webkinzes and Fur Real Pets.  By contrast, the girls managed to get Scott to buy them Pillow Pets in the first five minutes of the first time he took them to the mall.  Dads!  Luckily I was proven wrong and the girls sleep with their Pillow Pets almost every night.

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2 Responses

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  1. Mom said, on July 24, 2010 at 11:49 PM

    What would an example of “doing something Jewish” be?

  2. […] July 26, 2010 · Leave a Comment Whew. We FINALLY got Eva off to camp. Check out the story here. […]

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