Cool and Unique Gadgets to Pack for Overnight Camp

School is almost over. It's time to start thinking about how you’re going to fit everything into that camp trunk. Most camps will provide their own packing list, but that just covers the basics. Here are some fun items that may make your camper’s life easier.

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Forget About the Kids! How about Summer Camp for Adults?

Yes, this is a thing.

A few years ago I attended a week-long chamber music workshop for amateur adults at my alma mater, UNC Chapel Hill. My colleagues thought it was a crazy way to spend vacation time, but it was the most rewarding experience I had had in a long time. Anyone who did something well in college and gave it up to get a real job knows how much you miss that sense of accomplishment.

You too can revive your youthful passion at a summer camp!

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Getting Ready for Overnight Camp

Most camps give you a packing list which covers the essentials. However, some appear rather sparse and you feel that surely some creature comforts must be missing. For a more comprehensive list, I have combined the lists of 20 traditional summer camps in North Carolina.

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Give Summer for Christmas

As your children get older it can be difficult to come up with meaningful gift ideas. The ease of picking out a Lego set or an American Girl doll accessory seems like a distant memory. Now all they want is a sparkly new gadget. And you’re wondering, what is the value in getting them the latest model of a device they already have?

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Kids Nervous About Sleepaway Camp?

My daughter went from "no way" to "let's go tomorrow." Camp info sessions are great marketing tools. The main selling point was The Video, which featured counselors and campers talking about how wonderful camp is. The activities, the friends, etc. Most importantly, there were Cabins - with bunk beds. Happy kids hanging out in their cabin, playing cards and sitting on bunk beds.

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Map of Overnight Camps in the Carolinas

You won't be surprised to learn that western North Carolina is chock-a-block full of residential camps. The scenery, weather, and abundance of activities make the Appalachians an ideal place for summer camps. There are also many camps scattered throughout the rest of the Carolinas.

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Questions to Ask Camp Directors When Considering Sleepaway Options

There are other ways you can ascertain whether the camp is right for your child besides scouring camp websites for hidden insights. Personal tours, open houses, in-home info sessions, and family camp weekends provide opportunities to meet the staff and see things first-hand. If you can’t make it to one of those, set up a time to speak with a camp director on the phone. Come prepared with a list of questions.

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Spotlight: Camp Glen Arden

Camp Glen Arden is a girls camp located in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Zirconia, NC. I spoke with camp director Erin Graham, who provided insights on what makes the program tick, and counselor Rachel Stukenborg, who explained what makes summer camp so impactful.

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Spotlight: Camp Rockmont

Rockmont is very intentional about designing programs that address each stage of a boy’s development. Activities and lessons are specifically geared to enhance emotional, spiritual, and physical growth. The goal is to help create “whole people.”

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Spotlight: Camp Ton-A-Wandah

This camp is nestled along one side of the lake, with a mountain rising on the other. You immediately feel cozy and protected. Girls are encouraged to have fun and focus on becoming who they want to be.

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Spotlight: Falling Creek Camp

My first thought upon arriving was, “Now this is camp.” To get to Falling Creek you meander up a long gravel road, which makes you feel like you’re heading into the backcountry. After passing a few outbuildings the road opens up to a parking area with an expansive view of the lake. The main building is reminiscent of a national park lodge, complete with round wood post railings. The setting implies “rustic yet grand."

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Spotlight: Merri-Mac & Timberlake

Director Adam Boyd believes there is a lot of value in single gender camps. Boys and girls approach new experiences differently. Girls tend to make friends first and then become more adventurous when they feel like they belong. Boys are more likely to dive right in and try everything regardless, and ultimately make connections through the activities.

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The Best Age to Start Overnight Camp: Younger is Better

If you google “best age for overnight camp” or “is my child ready for sleepaway camp,” you’ll find a slew of blog posts from various parenting websites.  Most of them include the caveat that every child is different. Meaning there is no perfect age to send your child off to a cabin in the woods to be cared for by a teenager. For some it’s Six, for others it’s Never. I have one of each in my family.

However, experts say that younger kids do better. Find out why.

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The Overnight Camp Traveling Info Session

Overnight camps employ a person-to-person marketing tactic that seems antiquated but is an apparently effective marketing tool. Every fall, representatives trek around the country to give presentations in people’s homes. Alumni of the camp host information sessions where a handful of potential campers get to meet with a camp director, hear from other kids, and watch amazing videos.

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