Well everyone, summer is right around the corner and that means a few things: the temperature is getting warmer, exams are quickly approaching (or completely done!), and in only a few short days you will be heading down to Pine Cove to begin summer 2012!  You’ve already received all the information about job description, packing lists, etc. However there are a few items that might not make the official packing list, but can be very beneficial to you as you prep and pack for this summer.  So without further ado, here are the top five things you wouldn’t think you’d need for camp. (You should know, that nothing on this list is required…it is just a helpful suggestion from a former first time staffer to another).

  1. Stackable Plastic Drawers – I cannot talk enough about the benefit of cheap plastic drawers from somewhere like Target or Wal-mart.  With these plastic drawers you can turn the space under your bunk into a working closet!  For most of you, you will be moving cabins every week so you want to be able to pack everything up and move it quickly and easily.  Not only will it speed up the moving process, it will also assist you in keeping the cabin clean and tidy for our daily Pit n’ Palace competitions.  However, a bag will be needed for those road trips we’ll be taking with Base Camps!! See this old post for Base Camp info.
  2. Theme Night Clothes – I know what you’re thinking…Jarratt, theme night clothes are already on the packing list.  Yes, I know, and I HIGHLY encourage everyone to get creative and go all out with your theme night costumes, but I am talking about your campers theme night clothes.  Sometimes, your campers will have incredible costumes; other times, campers will not have brought anything.  If you have something simple that you can use to make a temporary costume for you camper, this will prevent them from feeling left out.  It doesn’t have to be anything crazy and after the theme night, you can get back your stuff and use it the next week.  This is a great way to increase a campers experience at camp and unify the cabin.
  3. More than One Bathing Suit – Interesting, right? I’ll explain. My second summer I had the awesome opportunity to teach sailing as an activity class.  Not thinking, I only brought one bathing suit.  Since I had to teach the class everyday, you can guess what I wore everyday for 5 straight weeks…my ONE bathing suit.  So at the end of every week I was left with one slightly smelly, lake soaked bathing suit. (On the positive side, this led to an inexpensive laundry trip on my day off!)
  4. Snail Mail Supplies – Camp is going to be an unforgettable experience.  One of the things we don’t want to happen is for you to experience and learn so many new things and not share them with anyone.  A great way to stay in touch with college roommates, family, significant others, etc. is to write letters.  A letter allows you to slow down your mind and fit in every detail of what you want to share in an organized fashion. Also, I think hand written mail is one of the coolest things to receive.
  5. Comfy Bedding – I can appreciate the ease of a sleeping bag.  It’s simple, compact and easy to move.  However, Pine Cove is going to be your home away from home for a few weeks…so why not make it feel a little more like home by bringing some sheets and a comforter?  Having done both, I would highly recommend the second option.   Also, it allows you to express your self by bringing some cool Toy Story or Hello Kitty sheets.

Well, there you have it folks: a list of things you wouldn’t think you’d need at camp, but can have a big payoff.  All of these things can be picked up at one of the three Wal-marts we have in Tyler, so if you forget or think of something else you need, no worries…it’s a short drive into town.  I’m SO pumped for this summer and to see what the Lord has in store for each and every one of y’all.  Continue to be praying for this summer.  Pray for safety, the campers, each other, and opportunities to share the Gospel!

Returning Staff, is there anything else you would add to this list?