Parenting

Summer Camp Care Packages


Every summer our daughter goes to summer camp. She looks forward to it every year. I can't believe next summer will be her last opportunity to go to camp before she goes off to college.

Our daughter started going to summer camp when she was in middle school and has gone every year since. She finally graduated from camper and kitchen help to camp counselor this year. Every year I send her a care package with candy and other treats and she always looks forward to receiving it.

Our daughter just returned from spending two weeks on a ministry trip to Honduras, was home for one day, and then is going off to church camp for a week. I knew we wouldn't have much time to talk between trips, so I decided to write letters to her to send to her at camp.

I wrote to her about some of my day-to-day activities and about what she was missing in the news. I wrote about Hurricane Dennis and how worried I was for her so far away from home. I told her she was always in my prayers and how much I missed her.

Just in the two weeks she was gone she missed her baby brother's hair falling out and her brothers' first colds. I knew she missed her baby brothers very much and missed their baby hugs and kisses. I told her about what they were doing and that they missed her too.

Because we like to spend a lot of time talking about our spiritual lives, I shared with her what I had been learning in my daily devotions and shared what my prayers were for her.

I wrote three letters to my daughter to open on different days and included pictures of her brothers that she likes to carry around with her wherever she goes. I packaged up the letters with some candy and sent her care package off to her today.

If you decide to write to your child at camp, here are a few tips:

* If your children are young and this is their first time away from home, make sure to send several letters to let them know you're thinking about them and that you miss them.

* Have other family members write to your child also. Kids love to receive mail.

* If you have a child who would be embarrassed by letters from home, just send a care package with some of their favorite candy or other small items. One year I sent my daughter a pair of Sponge Bob boxer briefs, and they were the hit of the camp.

* Be creative with your packing. You can use a 2-liter pop bottle as a mailing container. Cut a slit in the side to place items in it and then tape over the slit. The kids will get a kick out of seeing what's in the bottle.

* Depending on how long it takes the mail to get to the camp or how long your child will be gone, you may have to mail the package the day your child leaves, or even before they leave.

* If you know any of the other kids at camp, like your child's closest friends, don't be afraid to send them a note or treat too. I often send thinking-of-you cards to some of my daughter's friends, and I know they love receiving mail from people other than their parents.

In this day and age, letter writing is becoming a dying art. If my daughter keeps the letters I wrote her someday they will be a special keepsake for her, capturing an exciting time in her life.

We don't always take the time to do little things for our kids or tell them how we feel about them. Writing to them at camp is a great way to keep in touch with them while also sending them a welcome treat.

Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom of four. For more inspirational articles and tips for everyday living, visit her web sites at http://www.creativehomemaking.com and http://www.christian-parent.com


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