Scenic view of trees at camp

What Every Parent Needs to Know About Care Packages and Camper Mail

by Jesse GarnerPosted May 12, 2020

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Updates for Summer 2020

Due to increased disinfecting practices, we cannot sort and deliver camper mail this year. This post has been updated with additional information, but here are the highlights:

  • All camper mail must be packed into the camper’s trunk before arrival, including packages
  • Digital mail through the CampLife app is still available on Tuesday and Thursday
  • We’re only taking emergency forgotten items via USPS, UPS, or FedEx

Like nap schedules, discipline, school choices, or pretty much anything in the parenting world, care packages are a topic that generate a diversity of opinions. Some parents fall into the “I already spend a lot of money on camp why in the world would I send you anything else” side of things. Others are in the “I miss you here’s some things to enjoy while you’re gone” side, and some in between. Our goal in this guide is to empower you to make your own decision based on your preferences and your family situation, so you can show up to camp blissfully confident.

As part of our adjustments for summer 2020, mail looks pretty different from our normal summer procedures. We are requiring all mail to be packed in camper trunks at the start of the week. Because of additional sanitation procedures, we are not able to sort and give out camper mail each day. We are also not accepting packages through the USPS, UPS, or FedEx unless it’s emergency forgotten items. If you forgot something important for your camper, contact us and we’ll help you figure it out.

Mail Time

Because of these changes, we’ll be downplaying “mail time” during FOB. Campers will be given permission to open whatever mail is in their trunks for the day during FOB, but there won’t be a time where the counselor is handing out mail (and potentially making it obvious if there isn’t mail for a camper on a specific day). What kind of mail might campers get?

Letters

Letters are a great way for campers to hear from parents during the week. There are two ways to get a letter to your camper.

Option 1: In Trunk at Drop Off

As the trunk is getting packed, put all your letters into the trunk, labeled with the day you want your camper to open them. Boom – good to go.

Option 2: CampLife App

The other option is through the CampLife app. Write a short letter into the app by 10 am on Tuesday and Thursday. Those are printed out and put in the mail pile. The CampLife App only allows one letter per household, so if there are multiple people in the family who want to write to your camper, you should encourage them to get you letters ahead of time.

One great thing about writing letters is that you’ll probably get a letter back from your camper! Campers are encouraged to hand write letters for the app twice a week during FOB. Those letters are then sent to you via the CampLife app! They are precious…and sometimes hilarious.

Packages

“Care packages” are a little bit of a misnomer since camp is already taking great care of your camper and they don’t really need anything else. But lots of parents enjoy sending snacks and gifts via packages. So many do, in fact, that we sell out of our pre-made care packages (keep reading below for more info!) every year.

All packages must be in the camper’s trunk upon arrival (because of our trunk sanitizing process, we’re not able to take extra gift bags or difficult things to sanitize like that back to the cabin).

Package Guidelines

  • no more than three packages
  • any snacks must be in resealable containers (those cookies are so good ants will seek them out no matter where they are). There are also snacks in the camp store.
  • nothing that’s already a “no” on our packing list, like gum, toy guns, electronics or magazines

Pine Cove Care Packs

Pine Cove’s pre-made care packs are both an easy and fun way for you to surprise your camper with Pine Cove products during their week at camp. Care packs can be ordered online through the camper’s account until Sunday at 11:59 pm or by phone until Monday at 10:00 am of their week of camp. They cannot be purchased at camp, so be sure to order before arrival! For our two-week campers, the deadline is still the Monday of their first week of camp and are delivered their first week of a two-week session.

We’ve sold out of these some summer so if you’re thinking you want want, don’t wait!

Summer 2020 Delivery Schedule:

Monday – Towers Camo Kit // Outback and Ridge Swag Bag

Tuesday – Shores Camo Kit // Outback and Ridge Camo Kit // Silverado and Camp in the City (CTX) Fun Pack

Wednesday – Shores, Timbers, and Ranch Swag Bag // Towers and City Fun Pack

Thursday – Ranch, Timbers, and Silverado Camo Kit

Send It On Home

If you’re a parent in the “no packages” camp, that’s great! Just know you’ll probably hear about packages from your campers when they see other kids in the cabin getting them. This might be a great conversation to have with your camper before camp starts! Campers write letters during FOB, so snacks and packages might get mentioned in a letter home via the CampLife app. It may get mentioned in the letter but it’s quickly forgotten once they are out of the cabin and back doing activities.

If you’re a parent in the “all the packages” camp, that’s great too! We just ask you to stick to these guidelines, and be considerate of others. Help keep the focus of the week on camp and not on the awesome thing they got (or are getting) in a care package.

If you’re in the middle, please don’t feel pressured to move to one side or the other. What you want to do in this area is totally up to you and we support your decision. We see you working hard doing this parent thing.

One thing we know is true is that a meaningful letter of encouragement and love is the best gift you can give your camper. So no matter what you decide, send some words of affirmation during the week to your camper. They may play it cool when you pick them up, but we bet that letter just might end up a little ragged from being read and reread in a treasure chest under a bed.


Jesse Garner

Director of Camper Engagement

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