Sadly my kids will not be attending any sleep away camps for kids with diabetes this year. but here are some things I’ve done in the past to ensure happy campers – perhaps you can use them.
- put together a care package before you go and leave it at camp before you depart so it is delivered in a timely fashion rather than mailing it. (I did this secretly so my kids were surprised when they got it) I included various things, such as: Uno cards, decks of playing cards, 3-4 dice with notes on games to play with them, punch balls, small water toys for pool play, water balls for water play, set of jacks, small sketch book and colored pencils, note cards and stamps, business size cards with my kids contact info to give to new friends, nail polish and remover, temporary tattoos to share with friends, a white pillow case and colorful permanent markers so their new friends could sign it and draw pictures on it as a keep sake, disposable cameras (if you aren’t sending an inexpensive digital camera), water balloons, sidewalk chalk, face paint, small stuffed animal.
- Write letters ahead of time and leave them at camp to be delivered (I would put a sticky note on the front indicating what day the notes should be delivered) In my notes I would NEVER say I miss them. Sometimes reading that we miss them can make them feel sad. Instead I would tell them: I know you are in good hands, I know you are having fun, I love that you are there, I’m so proud of who you are, You can accomplish anything, remember to try new things, do 1 thing everyday that scares you, remember to wear sunscreen, remember to eat veggies, remember to be kind to everyone, smile for cameras (I might get to see the pictures on the camp website), laugh often, be goofy, tell ghost stories, brush your teeth, spend the day skipping instead of walking, take lots of pictures, tell your counselors ‘thank you’. I would also add some silly story of something that happened at home (even though it likely wouldn’t) for example: lizard got it the house, tried to catch it, it outsmarted me, now I thinks it will stalk me. Or unrealistic stories with things like fairies or dinosaurs. I’ve also sent notes that were from the pets (especially one to my daughter from her cat – slept today but only for 18 hours, played with a loose string on your comforter, saw another cat in window over the sink but it didn’t say much – just stared at me, dogs are stupid, let mom pet my tummy but then bit her, the bird in the tree outside the window is mocking me, etc)
- When packing clothes put each outfit in a gallon size ziplock bag including underwear and socks. They can put their previous days clothes in the bag when they change so dirty and clean clothes don’t get mixed up.
- Send a headlight flashlight if possible – keeps their hands free to catch themselves if they trip walking at night.
- Send a camel-back backpack instead of a water bottle – gives them a place to put camera and keeps their hands free from holding a water bottle while hiking – also less likely they will lose it.
- Label everything with a permanent marker.
That’s all I can think of right now. I asked Sweetstuff if there was anything that was more useful than anything else and she said defiantly the camel back. Also she and her friends loved drawing on themselves with permanent markers and would use sunscreen to clean it off – oh and two-in-one shampoo because shower time is limited.
I hope your kids can get to camp this year. I believe with all my heart that sending our kids to camp with other kids just like them is one of the best things we can do for them. My kids still say that their weeks at camp were the best weeks of their lives.