There isn’t much space at camp so the less stuff you take, the better. It’s also good to keep things minimal for all your travelling after summer camp, I had a huge suitcase and it was an absolute nightmare to carry around. Having said that, you don’t want to run short either. You won’t have regular access to a washing machine and it’s not like you can get mum to wash and iron your favourite top for the next day.
My number one tip is: don’t take anything you don’t want ruined.
Camp is a dirty, messy and busy place. It’s not the time for flashing designer labels or expensive items. You don’t want to be worrying about your Gucci jeans in the camp wash or your iPad in your bunk while you’re out teaching for the day.
So here’s my list of bare essentials that every camp counselor should take to camp, and a few possible extras at the end.
Lots of undercrackers: you don’t want to be without.
Swimming stuff: one pieces and shorts preferably. No sexy kinis or Speedos – it’s not the time.
Trainers: depends what your teaching whether you want Converse or Nike I guess.
Hoody: definitely. As you’ll read in my book, the nights can get cold in the US and if you’re pulled out for midnight meetings you’ll want something cosy to wear.
Shampoo/conditioner/shower gel/hairbrush: all the cleaning products you’ll need. You never know when your next opportunity to get out of camp will be.
Two towels: one for the lake and pool, and one for the shower. At my camp they gave us one when we arrived – you should check before to save on luggage space.
Full length trousers: there’s some nasty bugs out there at night.
Shorts: few pairs should do it. Don’t make them to short, no one wants to see your bum no matter how pert it is.
Socks: you’ll probably live in flip flops, but there’s nothing like pulling on a fresh pair of socks on a cold night.
Flip flops: see above.
Tshirts: a range of colours should do it. Don’t bring any new or sentimental ones though. Prepare to have them ruined by crafts and sports.
Strappy tops and wifebeaters: you want to make the most of the sun, surely?
A ‘nice’ outfit: there will usually be a ball, or end of summer party, or ‘getting to know your colleagues’ night where you might want to wear something a bit more special.
Pyjamas: no naked sleeps please.
Sleeping bag: maybe, depends on your camp. I ended up buying one from Walmart because they just gave me a crappy sheet.
iPod dock: Hmmm, depends on you. I ended up buying an alarm clock/cd player from Walmart for cheap just so we had a bit of music in the mornings. Remember, don’t take anything you’re not prepared to lose.
Makeup: you might want it for the evenings, I didn’t bother.
Cadbury’s chocolate and magazines: this will ensure your popularity immediately.
Stuff for Independence Day: my mum ended up sending me a tshirt with the UK flag and some boxer shorts. At my camp everyone dressed up for Independence Day, but check first.
Raincoat: the rains in the USA are amazing! I didn’t have one and was alright, but it might’ve been nice.
Think that’s it for the essentials. Of course you can add your own flair to the list, but don’t leave home with the above as standard. If you’ve got any questions about what to take to summer camp, ask me below…