Monday, September 26, 2022

The following is a packing list for things your kids need in camp. It’s possible the camp already sent you a packing list, but there’s a pretty good chance you accidentally packed it.

If your kid already left for camp, you can still go through this list, and then jump into your car and chase down the bus. Unless what you forgot is something that your kid won’t notice is missing for the two weeks until visiting day, such as a toothbrush. As long as he has a toothbrush holder, he’ll just assume.

NOTE that if your child is a girl, you should adjust the list accordingly. For example, most girls’ camps do not require a baseball mitt, which means, I guess, that girls don’t hurt their hands as much when they catch baseballs. On the other hand, they might need to bring whatever it takes to keep their hair from turning into a clown wig.

• Enough clothes for a month—Every piece of clothing should be labeled with your child’s name. If you have a common name, like Schwartz, you should just bring enough clothes for the whole bunk.

• 5,000 yarmulkes—because he’s going to lose most of them. Especially on overnights, when everyone sleeps head to head. Around a campfire.

• Something to wear that is red and something else that is blue—in case war breaks out. This happens nearly every summer. You put that many kids in the wilderness for two months, it’s like Lord of the Flies over there.

• Waterproof slippers or Crocs—so he can wear them in the shower and he doesn’t have to wash his feet. Also useful for when he goes swimming in the lake. Especially if they float.

• Robe—in case he’s part of the skit.

• Negel vasser set—for water fights.

• Shabbos suit—Shabbos suits are the #1 item that kids forget, according to statistics based solely on my own life experiences. To be fair, I also forgot my suit when I went to my own Shabbos sheva brachos. Which is ironic, because I remembered to wear it to all my other sheva brachos.

• Clothes hangers—for when pigs fly.

• Sock bag—so that he doesn’t lose as many socks in the laundry. Unless he forgets to zip it.

• Laundry bag—You can also use a garbage bag, because all the clothes he comes home with will probably get tossed anyway. Get one with a drawstring to keep the odors in.

• Linens—should be as embarrassing as possible.

• Sleeping bag—so that if there’s an overnight, your child will not have to sleep directly on a large rock.

• Tissues—to wipe his nose with, because he’s mostly wearing short sleeves.

• Bug repellent—to be used up in a bug repellent fight on the first day. Or to keep unwanted pests out of the bunkhouse. (“Quick! What’s the correct dose for a raccoon?” “I think all of it.”)

• Bathing suit—for bathing. Also for swimming.

• Big towels—for swimming and showers. Send two towels, because your child will drop one in the pool.

• Washcloths—your child will honestly not know what to do with these. They’re an extra thing he has to carry to and from the shower while holding his robe closed.

• Soap box—for public speaking, I guess. Should contain soap.

• Shampoo, deodorant, mouthwash—Make sure your kid knows what everything smells like, so he can later figure out what’s leaking.

• Toothbrush—will taste like whatever’s leaking.

• Hairbrush—for scratching bug bites.

• Swimming goggles—to find his slippers in the lake.

• Writing paper—so your child can learn origami. And wastepaper basketball.

• Stamps and envelopes—and make sure he knows how to use them—how to address the envelope, where to put the stamp, and that he should not use a row of stamps to seal the envelope. This is not automatic knowledge anymore.

• Baseball cap—in case there’s baseball. The brim of the cap will also provide sun protection for the back of your son’s neck, which is good because that’s the part that gets irritated by the iron-on labels.

• Sunglasses—so your kid doesn’t have to make that face kids make when they go outside in the sun. These will get lost before he even leaves the house to get on the bus to go to camp.

• Seforim—Inexpensive ones, if possible. Like those paper mishnayos that are clearly not made to stand up to kids.

• Canteen—Not the kind of canteen that sells snacks. The disappointing kind, that holds water.

• Fans—your child might need two fans: One fan gets clipped to the edge of his bed, providing white noise and blowing all of his hair in the same direction so he doesn’t have to comb it in the morning. The other is a small portable battery fan that should be able to withstand being dropped, because that’s mostly what he’s going to do with it. That and talk into the wind in a robot voice.

• Flashlight—so he can do things after lights out, such as read, play Frisbee, and shove writing paper into the back of the fan.

• Extra bag—for him to bring home anything he didn’t go to camp with, such as woodworking, the entire rest of his canteen allowance that he bought on the last day, small woodland creatures and other people’s socks.

By Mordechai Schmutter

Mordechai Schmutter is a freelance writer and a humor columnist for Hamodia, The Jewish Press and Aish.com, among others. He also has five books out and does stand-up comedy. You can contact him at [email protected]


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