I just returned from dropping two very happy kids off at sleepaway camp. Our kids absolutely love this ritual of summer … a week or two spent outdoors, unplugged, making new friends and having a few adventures. This also means I get to spend the week prior to camp packing up the beloved camp trunks. Call me crazy, but I think I love the packing as much as they love camp. For me, this experience is a little like organizing a village of impending fun.
Why a trunk? A sturdy trunk makes it easier for kids to find their stuff. A duffel bag has a way of just getting smashed under a bunk bed, and their stuff never quite makes it back in there. A camp trunk is solid and roomy and is a camp-tastic packing machine. (While my son did come home last summer with a tidy little ziplock bag filled with all of his clean underwear, I still like to believe it’s easier for them to find their clothes and camp gear in a trunk.)
There is no need to break the bank purchasing a trunk. A hard-sided plastic trunk from Wal-Mart will do the job. Or, consider going in on one with another family who goes to camp later in the summer — you could split the cost and take turns storing them during the off-season. We opted for slightly nicer camp trunks with handles and trays inside (helpful for holding small items like flashlights, books, stationery, etc.). Since both of our kids are huge camp fans, we figured it was worth the investment since they’ll spend summers there for years to come, and both dream of being camp counselors one day.
Yes, trunks are big and bulky and not so easy to move around. During the school year, we store their trunks in the bottom of their closets where they provide storage for their summer camp gear along with other off-season items. And I figure when they move into their first apartment one day, voila … instant coffee table, complete with stickers and stories of summers gone by.
While sending your kids away for a week or two (or six!) is a bit bittersweet, I love the experience of packing them up for camp! Everything is so clean, tidy and organized … full of hope and a sense of impending adventure. It’s like a Pandora’s box of organization. And then it all comes back filthy, well-worn and loved … and quickly gets dumped on the floor in front of our washer and dryer. But at least it’s obvious that they had fun.
Ahhh, summer … bring it on.