As camping season approaches my Facebook feed is filled with moms and daughters who are off to their first Spark or Brownie Mother Daughter Girl Guide Camp. Some are excited and some are dreading the experience. As a Guider of over 25 years, I wanted to prepare you for this adventure, so I came up with my list of the top 6 things you need to know to survive.
Take What’s on the Kit List
This document is not up for interpretation… this is what we send out to your family to help prepare you and your daughter for camp. Don’t feel like finding a tin can for the craft? It’s going to be awkward when your daughter can’t do that activity…(okay, we’re Guiders, we will have extra ones, but help us out please). Thought you should bring three suitcases instead of one backpack? That’s going to really suck when you’re having to lift those up to the top bunk, and there’s no room for extra bags.
Have Your Daughter Pack Her Own Bag
For goodness sake parents, please STOP PACKING FOR YOUR GIRLS! This is the absolute worst thing a parent can do for a girl that is going off to camp. The reason? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “I don’t have ________”. This means a trip back to their bag to dig through and discover what Mom has packed. I’ve had girls break down and cry because they are missing a piece of equipment only to discover that it was actually packed in their bag.
Please either let the girls read the kit list, OR what I did when my daughter was younger, draw little pictures next to the items. Then we laid them all out, checked them off the list and then packed them up.
This is an excellent way for the girls to learn the following things:
- What clothing is appropriate for camp: When they add something that isn’t appropriate you can discuss why it’s a good fit or not, and they can learn about materials, length, and layering capacity.
- How to pack a bag: At first everything may seem like too much stuff to pack, but with the proper folding it’ll fit. This is especially a critical skill when girls are leaving camp and having a hard time fitting everything back into their bags – however, if they know it has been done before you’re more likely to have the items you sent to camp returned.
- How to carry their own gear: Being responsible for all of their own gear is a great skill, as is being able to carry it all. It is super helpful at camp when girls are self-sufficient and well prepared.